Newspaper finds little evidence of early action at General Assembly

Senators attend a hearing on open records exemptions in Nashville on Jan. 30, 2018. From left are Republican Sens. Ed Jackson of Jackson, Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, and Paul Bailey of Sparta. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Senators attend a hearing on open records exemptions in Nashville on Jan. 30, 2018. From left are Republican Sens. Ed Jackson of Jackson, Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, and Paul Bailey of Sparta. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

So what has the Tennessee General Assembly achieved since this year’s legislative session began? Not much, the Tennessean finds.

Here is reporter Joel Ebert’s tally:

229 – dollars each lawmaker receive in per diem for each day during session

112 – total number of resolutions approved on the floor of the House and Senate

91 – number of bills on committee agendas, excluding resolutions

71 – number of committee meetings held as of Jan. 25

20 – number of bills to be approved in committee

6 – total number of floor sessions, eight in each chamber

1 – number of bills approved on the Senate floor

0 – number of bills approved on the House floor

Lawmakers point to the usual lull between the start of the session and when the governor presents his budget proposal, as well as to the challenges involved of getting accustomed to the new digs at the Cordell Hull legislative office building. And some will recall the old joke that lawmakers generally don’t choose to do much of anything  until the Tennessean writes its annual account of lack of action in the hallways of power.

But with lawmakers eyeing an early end to the session so they can get about campaigning for reelection (or, in many cases, retiring from the General Assembly), the lack of pace has been a concern.

“At this rate, we’ll be out sometime in early 2019,” the Tennessean quoted House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Franklin). “So I urge you strongly to put your bills on notice. Let’s do the people’s business and then let’s get out of here.”

 

 

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