For the first time since 1997, the Tennessee House of Representatives on Thursday adopted permanent rules that will govern the body. Following the landmark vote, Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga), and Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (R-Franklin) emphasized that the new rules will streamline government and save taxpayer money.
“I am proud of the House for voting to streamline government and adopt these new rules,” said Speaker Harwell. “This is an important step in furthering the principle of limited government that our founding fathers intended, and one that voters expect.”
Among the rule changes are the first-ever limits on bills. Each member will be limited to fifteen bills per year, meaning thirty total for the 108th General Assembly. Previously, the Tennessee General Assembly averaged over 4,000 while surrounding states considered roughly 2,500.
“These changes will help the House of Representatives operate more efficiently, saving taxpayer dollars in the long run,” said Leader McCormick. “We will now be able to prioritize and focus more on those issues that Tennesseans expect us to tackle: jobs, lower taxes, and reducing government waste.”
Leaders say that restructuring the committee system will aid in a more efficient operation by better balancing the workload of each committee. Further, the new rules include the annual ethics resolution, meaning that the ethics standards now have the force of the House rules from the first day given to the body.
“We are citizen legislators—not full time. The public expects us to keep our business brief, knowing that many of the bills we pass regulate their lives,” said Chairman Casada. “I am looking forward to our work this year as we strive to make Tennessee an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”