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. 

City Fathers Need To Formally Recognize The Late Bob Elmore - And Response (3)

Our city fathers have a long overdue opportunity to correct an oversight.  If the late Bob Elmore had been an elected official or a man of great wealth, with his contributions to Chattanooga, there would be buildings, bridges, or streets named in his honor.  Please read just some of Mr. Elmore’s accomplishments and see for yourself that some formal recognition should be ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Great Thanksgiving

In order for you to best understand this, last Thursday was the first Thanksgiving I have ever spent alone.  Don’t misunderstand, I had a fistful of kind invitations but I am the only remaining member of my immediate family around here and I guess I started dwelling on that a little too much as the holiday neared. Making out my “thankful” list helped, and I ate enough with ... (click for more)

Larry Schumacher Named Chief Executive Officer Of CHI Memorial

T he board of directors of CHI Memorial and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) have chosen Larry Schumacher as the chief executive officer (CEO) of CHI Memorial effective Jan. 4, 2016 . Mr. Schumacher comes to CHI Memorial from Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) based in Springfield, Illinois where he served as system chief operating officer for the past eight years.  ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Under Flood Watch Through Wednesday

With a steady rain set to continue through Wednesday, Chattanooga is under a flood watch. Over four inches of rain are expected in some areas. Here is the advisory from the National Weather Service: ...LOCALIZED FLOODING POSSIBLE ACROSS EAST TENNESSEE AND SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING... .THE COMBINATION OF DEEP SUBTROPICAL MOISTURE AND A SLOW MOVING FRONTAL ... (click for more)

No 1 Connecticut Overwhelms Lady Mocs, 79-31

At least 6,104 basketball enthusiasts got to see what the best women’s college basketball team in the country looks like Monday night at McKenzie Arena. The three-time defending national champion Connecticut Huskies won for the fourth time this season and 41 st game in a row with an impressive 79-31 victory over the Chattanooga Lady Mocs before the seventh-largest crowd in ... (click for more)

Ryan Parker and Traneil Moore Are Mr Football Winners

Senior Ryan Parker of Baylor School and junior Traneil Moore of  East Ridge have been selected as Tennessee Titans Mr. Football winners for 2015. Parker is the D-II AA Lineman of the Year and Moore is the D-I 3A Back of the Year Ryan Parker - Baylor School ... senior linebacker/running back ... 2015 stats included 95 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, eight quarterback sacks, ... (click for more)