Tag Archives: committees

Bill to Abolish Special Committees Advances

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to streamline the Tennessee General Assembly’s legislative process is advancing in the Senate.
The measure sponsored by Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville passed the Senate State and Local Government Committee 6-3 on Tuesday (on a party line vote). The companion bill is scheduled to be heard this week by the same committee in the House.
The proposal (SB725) seeks to avoid duplication by eliminating 11 joint oversight committees and shifting their responsibilities to standing committees in the House and Senate. Ramsey says the eliminations would save the state about $851,000.
An amendment to save oversight committees on corrections and children and youth failed. Sponsors say cutting those alone would save the state roughly $340,000.
Previous post HERE.
Ramsey’s news release on the bill is below.

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Harwell, Ramsey Move to Abolish Select Committees

In a move pitched as streamlining government, House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey have jointly proposed to abolish a dozen special committees – some decades old – created to oversee state functions ranging from prisons and TennCare to children’s issues and the lottery.
In the preamble to a 22-page bill sponsored by the two speakers, the current “select” committees are declared to be usurping the authority of regular committeess and in conflict with House and Senate rules.
“Such duplication and fragmentation of committee responsibilities and staff resources promote legislative inefficiencies and wasteful practices,” declares the bill (HB1097, SB725).
“Especially in these times of economic hardship and austerity, Tennessee taxpayers demand and deserve their departments of state government to be streamlined,
the bill says.
The three most prominent panels targeted for elimination:
-The Corrections Oversight Committee and assigned to review all legislation impacting state prisons before action by regular committees. It has two full-time staffers. The statue creating it in 1985 says it “shall continue only until the operations of the Department of Corrections have improved substantially so that such oversight is no longer required.”
–The TennCare Oversight Committee, created in 1994, which hold periodic sessions reviewing operations of the mammoth health care program for 1.2 million Tennesseans and reviews legislation impacting it. It also has two full-time staff members.
-The Select Committee on Children and Youth, created in 1987, which holds hearings on children’s issues and related legislation. The panel is allotted two staff positions under current law.

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