Tag Archives: session

Haslam’s Handout on End of the Session

News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Significant reforms of how the state operates and a responsible budget that includes strategic investments, reductions and savings for the future highlighted Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s second legislative session as the state’s chief executive.
Haslam introduced his comprehensive 2012 agenda on January 10, the first day of this year’s legislative session. His legislative priorities included a limited number of significant changes, which built upon his efforts in 2011 to reform teacher tenure and tort laws.
“This administration heard the Lt. Gov. and House Speaker’s call for an efficient and effective legislative session this year, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished in working together,” Haslam said. “Our focus continues to be on making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs, which goes hand in hand with an ongoing emphasis on improving education. I’m also committed to making sure state government does its job of providing services to Tennessee taxpayers at the lowest cost in the most customer-focused, efficient and effective way possible.”

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AP’s Last Day of the Legislature Story

By Lucas Johnson & Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 107th Tennessee General Assembly adjourned Tuesday without a final showdown over a contentious gun issue and the governor said he may decide in the next couple of days whether he will veto another controversial bill headed to his desk.
Democratic Rep. Eddie Bass of Prospect refused to say until the end whether he would try to pull the measure backed by the National Rifle Association directly to the floor. In the end he didn’t.
(Note: But he did make a joke about it, rising on the floor to begin reading a motion as if to force a vote — then stopping with a “never mind.” It got a big laugh.)
The bill seeking to overrule businesses’ objections to allowing employees to store weapons in vehicles parked on company lots was opposed by Gov. Bill Haslam and the Republican speakers of the House and Senate.
Lawmakers passed a more than $31 billion spending plan that begins phasing out Tennessee’s inheritance tax and cutting the state’s sales tax on groceries.

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Rare Sunday Session Launches Legislature’s Last Week

God rested on the seventh day, observes Action Andy, but state House members won’t be resting this evening as they race to finish their annual legislative session on Monday.
The House is meeting in a rare Sunday session to advance a proposed amendment to the Tennessee Constitution. It adds veterans’ groups to the list of nonprofits able to conduct raffles.
Under the state’s constitutional amendment process, Senate Joint Resolution 222 has to be read three times on the floor and then receive majority approval after the third reading.
Only then can it advance to the next 108th General Assembly meeting in 2013-14 where lawmakers will have to decide by a two-thirds majority to put it on the 2014 ballot for voters to consider.
The resolution, which already has passed the Senate, was only read for the first time on the floor Friday.
“I think we wanted to get three days of readings in on that,” said House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga. “In order to do that, we need to meet Sunday night and Monday. Then we would not have to come in Tuesday.”
He said the House and Senate are “hoping to get finished Monday night” and go home for the year.
The House had considered staying in town Saturday to deal with the amendment, but a rush on hotel rooms as a result of the Music City Marathon made finding places to stay difficult.

AP’s Story on Legislature’s Upcoming Last Week

By Erik Schelzig, Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers are preparing for what they hope is the last week of the 107th General Assembly, though issues that still need to be worked out include the state’s annual spending plan, proposals to change the way the state selects Supreme Court justices and a resilient effort to ban teaching about gay issues in schools.
Also still pending is a dispute between business groups and gun advocates over a bill seeking to guarantee that employees have a right to store firearms their cars while at work.
Republican leaders nevertheless express confidence that the session can draw to a close by the end of the week.
“There are about 60 or 70 bills that are still there,” said Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville. “I think we’re right on course to adjourn.”

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Governor, Speakers Still Eyeing Health Exchange Special Session

In Tennessee, House Speaker Beth Harwell told Governing (Magizine) that she has had preliminary discussions with Gov. Bill Haslam about holding a special session if the law stands.
An ad hoc committee for the exchange has been established, the governor’s office has continued to explore its feasibility and Harwell said the legislature could easily be recalled.
“It’s on the table,” she said.
Alexia Poe, Haslam’s director of communications, said there is a belief among the governor’s staff that the executive branch can do enough preparation before the next official legislative session to gain conditional approval from the federal government in January without a special session, but confirmed the possibility had been raised.
And while many state officials remain skeptical about the ACA’s long-term viability, Poe said Haslam believes Tennessee should take charge of its own exchange if necessary.
The governor “is less than thrilled with Obamacare and hopes it isn’t implemented,” she said. “But he also feels that it is our responsibility to be prepared in the event that it is implemented, and that the state running the exchange is the better thing for Tennessee to do.

A Don’t-Rock-the-Republican Boat Session Coming?

Jeff Woods has the first here-comes-the-legislature story of the new year. It begins like this:
State lawmakers return to Nashville in the new year for what’s shaping up as a play-it-safe session, with Republican leaders hoping to protect their large majority by coming and going quickly without offending fence-sitting voters before the 2012 elections.

Gov Has Misgivings About Ramsey’s Health Insurance Delay

Gov. Bill Haslam says that, if Tennessee puts off setting up a health insurance exchange, it could miss a chance for federal money to pay for it.
From WPLN’s report on the matter:
The exchange would be a hub where people and businesses shop for coverage, as required by last year’s healthcare overhaul. Last week state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey floated the idea of delaying a decision until the end of next year, and maybe holding a special session then.
That would let lawmakers put off a vote until after the Supreme Court has weighed in on the healthcare overhaul, and after next year’s election. Such a vote would also miss a federal deadline for grants to cover state costs for setting up an exchange. That makes Governor Haslam skeptical of a potential delay.
“My concern is, if you do that, the federal grants that are available might be gone by that point in time. I’m not certain it’s responsible for us as a state to push off the whole decision on whether or not we do it that far.”

Ramsey Suggests Special Session on Health Care Exchanges (after next year’s elections)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey on Thursday floated the idea of holding a special legislative session next winter if it’s still necessary for Tennessee to come into line with requirements set by President Barack Obama’s health care law.
The Blountville Republican said in a speech at the Nashville Chamber of Commerce that waiting to hold a special session in December 2012 would allow time for a Supreme Court challenge or the presidential elections to reverse the tide on the health care law.
“Personally, I hope Supreme Court overturns it sometime this summer and says you can’t have these individual mandates that I think are blatantly unconstitutional,” Ramsey said.
“But we can’t assume that’s going to happen,” he said. “We’re in kind of a catch-22 situation.”

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Mike McWherter: Haslam Should Call Special Session on Jobs

In an op-ed piece appearing in some newspapes, former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike McWherter is urging a special legislative session on job creation.
While Congress trudges through the quagmire of partisan rancor, elected officials in Tennessee should seize the opportunity to do what’s best for our state and pass a bi-partisan jobs plan. Gov. Bill Haslam has the constitutional authority to call a special session of the General Assembly, a step taken by many of his predecessors — Democrats and Republicans alike.
Full article HERE.

Another Ramsey ‘Open Letter’ Declaring GOP Legislators Did Great Things

Worried that the media “mischaracterizes” deeds of the Legislature’s Republican majority, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has issued another “open letter” to Tennesseans hailing GOP accomplishments.
An excerpt:
Whether it is Democrat Party rule or just the intestinal weakness of those in our own ranks, often times Republicans never seem to get their principles carried out in action.
But in Tennessee, with Speaker Beth Harwell and Governor Bill Haslam by my side, we were able to raise the exemption on the Hall Income Tax on retirement savings, which effectively gave thousands of Tennessee seniors a tax cut. At the same time, we cut 11 government oversight committees which were redundant and unnecessary.
For someone like me, who has been fighting for this Republican Majority for twenty years, it is tremendously satisfying to see the fruits of my labor and the labor of my fellow Republicans.

The full letter is available HERE
The first Ramsy post session letter is HERE.