Rep. Floyd: Capitol Hill Review

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - by Rep. Richard Floyd
Legislature convenes, begins business
New rules will transform the way House does business

This week marked the beginning of the 108th General Assembly, with the House of Representatives gaveling into session on Tuesday at “high noon” in accordance with the Tennessee Constitution. With the Republicans reaching, for the first time in history, supermajority status in the House of Representatives, lawmakers began the organizational session. The week was a busy flurry of activity electing the Speaker, Speaker Pro Tempore, and the Constitutional Officers, setting new permanent rules for the House, and swearing in all the members.


Lawmakers take Oath of Office

Lawmakers took the official Oath of Office Tuesday, and House leadership posts were chosen and sworn in. Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) was unanimously re-elected to a second term, and Curtis Johnson, a Republican from Clarksville, was elected to his first term as Speaker Pro Tempore. Individual members were also sworn in and took the Oath of Office, including Representative Richard Floyd (R-Chattanooga).

Legislators are looking to build upon the success of the previous session that saw wasteful government spending cut from the budget, taxes cut for all Tennesseans, measures passed to encourage job growth, and numerous government reforms. 

Lawmakers have already signaled clear goals of balancing the budget, lowering the grocery tax, and ensuring every Tennessee student has access to a high quality education.

With the close of the organizational session on Thursday, the House will recess for two weeks and reconvene on Monday, January 28, 2013, to resume a normal schedule.

House adopts new rules to streamline, save taxpayer dollars

For the first time since 1997, the Tennessee House of Representatives this week adopted permanent rules that will govern the body. Following the landmark vote, House Republican leaders emphasized the move will streamline House operations, limit government, and save taxpayer dollars.

House Republican leaders said it was important to follow through on promises made to the voters by working toward a more efficient and effective state government. Lawmakers also hope the move will make it easier to prioritize the issues important to voters, including a balanced budget, jobs, and lower taxes.

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. 

Another major change is a restructuring of the House committee system. Leaders say the move will aid in a more efficient operation by better balancing the workload of each committee. For example, research uncovered some committees considered less than 100 bills, while others were often bogged down in more than 800. Under the new system, lawmakers anticipate the disparity will not be as great.

The new rules also include the annual ethics resolution, meaning that the ethics standards now have the force of the House rules and will be adopted earlier. Other changes in wording will facilitate a move toward a paperless House, by requiring less documents to be printed if they can be found easily online.

House Republican leaders maintain the changes will, in the long run, increase efficiency, save money, streamline operations, make the process easier for the public to understand, and limit government—all solid conservative principles.

Joint Convention elects constitutional officers
Hargett, Lillard, and Wilson re-elected

In a joint session of the Tennessee Senate and the Tennessee House of Representatives this week members unanimously re-elected Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. and Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. Secretary Hargett will serve his second four-year term, while Treasurer Lillard and Comptroller Wilson will each serve two-year terms. All three were originally elected to their posts by the General Assembly in January, 2009. Treasurer Lillard and Comptroller Wilson were re-elected to their second two-year terms in January, 2011.

Republican leaders praised the three constitutional officers for having spent the last four years streamlining their operations and ensuring that the offices were more efficient, effective, and accessible by providing more services than ever before online.

The three constitutional officers count several functions of state government among their responsibilities; including, but not limited to, the state’s investments, a financially sound retirement system, that taxpayer money isn’t wasted, stolen or misused at the local or state levels of government, that local governments receive the assistance they need to be successful in various levels of their operations, that state elections run smoothly, and that public libraries have the support they need to provide excellent service to Tennesseans. 




Help The Signal Mountain Robertson Police And Fire Christmas Fund

Over the last year and a half, there have been terrorist attacks on two Chattanooga military facilities, multiple shootings, a horrific bus accident, and out of control wildfires. During these moments, police, fire, and emergency personnel, typically the first responders, courageously run towards these tragedies to save, protect, and defend the people impacted. In the last year, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why Our Schools Stink

Cheryl Roddy has spent her lifetime, for the biggest part, as a teacher for the Hamilton County Department of Education and, more specifically, at East Ridge High School. She has loved teaching there for nearly 40 years and is hardly “average;” she has her master's degree in education, was twice East Ridge’s teacher of the year, was the first teacher at East Ridge to reach the first ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Council Looking Into Taking Over Schools

A new group of Signal Mountain Town Council members is looking into taking over county schools within the town boundaries.   Two newly elected board members, Amy Speek and Dan Landrum, joined the council Friday afternoon at the first work session after the election. The election of mayor and vice mayor for the next two years came first on the agenda. Dick Gee, mayor ... (click for more)

East Ridge Meth Dealer Gets 168 Months In Federal Prison

A man that agents said was dealing large quantities of meth from his East Ridge residence has been sentenced to serve 168 months in federal prison. Kenneth Lemons appeared before Judge Curtis Collier. Agents said they made several controlled drugs buys from Lemons at his residence in 2015. On Oct. 27, 2015, he drove up to a residence where DEA agents were making a controlled ... (click for more)

Bradley Totally Dominates Ooltewah Invitational

We’re just now through the second week of the high school wrestling season, but the Bradley Bears appear to already be in mid-season form. The Bears, defending state champs for the duals and the traditional tournament, won the Heritage Duals last weekend and they added the Ooltewah Invitational this week as they claimed 10 champions and won going away with 268.5 points. The ... (click for more)

UTC Wrestling: Mocs, Bryce Carr Host Virginia Today

Former Minnesota All-American wrestler Gerald Carr has stood on the podium His son, UTC junior Bryce Carr has a goal of standing on that same podium. “Bryce can be an All-American this year and stand on that podium,” said Gerald who was sixth in 1996 for the Golden Gophers. “He just needs to maintain that killer instinct and continue to dictate the pace of the matches.” ... (click for more)