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. 





Appreciation Given And More Transparency Needed

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Alabama Worked Overtime To Right The Ship

What a majority of the good citizens of Alabama taught the rest of our country last night is that if one waits long enough and suffers long enough being ridiculed, stepped on, abused, ignored, and hurt, the day of reckoning will come.  How that happens has become akin to what today is known as the political process.  I am an experienced FDR Democrat but a staunch supporter ... (click for more)

Man Barges Into Woman's Home In MLK Neighborhood; Tries To Rape Her; Photos Of Suspect Released; Thomas Carr, 28, Is Arrested

Chattanooga Police said a man barged into a woman's home in the MLK Neighborhood around noon on Tuesday and tried to rape the woman.   Thomas Lee Carr, 28, was taken into custody on Wednesday morning. Carr is charged with one count of attempted rape. Police said, "The victim was followed by the suspect into her residence where the victim was then ... (click for more)

Moccasin Bend Resident Asks City To Move Police Firing Range So He Can Open Bed And Breakfast Inn

A Moccasin Bend resident is asking the city to move a police firing range from off the historic Bend so he can open a bed and breakfast inn. Steve Holmes also said the move needs to take place because the new Moccasin Bend National Park is set to begin implementing its management plan early next year. He said the park should bring 250,000 visitors to Chattanooga each year with ... (click for more)

Hayes Surpasses 1,000 Points As Lady Canes Beat Walker Valley 54-43

East Hamilton sophomore Madison Hayes scored 17 points in a 54-43 victory at Walker County in Cleveland on Tuesday night and pushed her career scoring past the 1,000-point mark in the process. Hayes scored a team-high 19 points Friday in a 52-40 victory over Notre Dame in the East-West Classic, giving her 996 points in her career, including eighth-grade and freshman seasons ... (click for more)

McMinn County Slaps Soddy-Daisy With Two 5-3A Losses

McMinn County roared into Soddy-Daisy on Tuesday night and blasted the Trojans and Lady Trojans lop-sided victories in District 5-3A high school basketball action. The Cherokees (3-5, 3-0) blitzed the Trojans (3-5, 1-2) early to build a 26-14 halftime lead, built a 20-point lead and cruised to an impressive 58-30 victory. The earlier game was even more one-sided as the ... (click for more)