House Government Operations Committee Chairman Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, is emailing out a suggested op-ed piece to media today proposing a joint meeting between the state House and Senate and members of the Tennessee delegation to Congress.
Here it is:
In today’s extraordinary Washington DC gridlock, what is the answer? What can Tennesseans do to help break the log jam and set a leadership example for the nation?
Do we need better communication between the state and federal systems of government? Will better communication lead to a more responsive system that will lead to more accountability and protection of our besieged rights? I believe the answer is a resounding yes! Better communication and accountability always lead to positive conclusions. Along this line of thought I would like to float an idea to my fellow citizens of Tennessee, regardless of party affiliation.
How would you feel about Tennessee hosting a Bilateral Session of Congress? The concept is simple. Our Tennessee House and Senate members meet with our nine U.S. Representatives and two U.S. Senators in a public meeting to discuss the relevant issues facing us all. This dialogue will leave both levels of government with a clear understanding of each other’s needs and actions while rebuilding public confidence.
The issues we discuss could include everything from education, environment, healthcare, transportation, homeland security and probably the most critical of our time-state’s rights and the liberties of individual citizens. As you are painfully aware, our freedoms and sovereign powers are consistently infringed upon and threatened by massive overspending, voluminous Executive Orders and the whims of unelected boards and commissions. Add to that the flagrant Constitutional violations of runaway federal agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of Justice to name just two.
I am not proposing we convene a half-hearted meeting with mediocre attendance or a private event just for the politically elite. I believe we need one that is clearly deliberate and mandated by Tennessee’s government leaders and citizens.
The Bilateral Session would be professional, bound by civilized rules and intended from the outset to be a productive relationship builder. We would let those involved directly and indirectly know that we take the participation in such a meeting very seriously.
According to the Tennessee State Archives, there has never been such a meeting in our 227 years. Although our Republic’s problems face many obstacles, one can’t help but imagine what possibilities are out there if our state and federal levels begin overtly working in unison.
Tennesseans have the power, need, time and resources to easily accomplish a Bilateral Session in the very near future and make it an annual exercise in good government. As a State of Tennessee legislator myself, I would reap great benefits from a comprehensive meeting such as this. Let your state and federal legislators know what your thoughts are on this idea. If enough of us want to see this happen, then it will. Every day we let pass is critical, as no one is going to reverse the trajectory of this country except the collective voices of the citizenry to its State, then the collective voices of the states to the federal government.