We bring this special edition of the Tennessee Government Update to let you know of possible changes in how bill filing may be viewed in the upcoming session of the Tennessee General Assembly.
This past summer, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, House Speaker Beth Harwell, and Governor Haslam indicated that an excessive number of bills were filed each year and that they would like to see fewer pieces of legislation in 2012. During a panel discussion last week at a retreat for the Tennessee Lobbyists Association, Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), Rep. Charlie Curtiss (D-Sparta), and Rep. Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland) announced that they will sponsor fewer bills in 2012 and that a discussion is currently under way in both houses to limit the number of bills that each representative and senator may file or have active at any given time during the legislative session. As an example, Sen. Ketron, who sponsored approximately 150 bills last year, said that he plans to introduce less than one-third that number in 2012. Rep. Curtiss indicated that he only plans to sponsor 25 bills. This position was countered by Sen. Joe Haynes (D-Goodlettsville), the sole dissenter on the panel. He indicated that he would not support any initiative to limit the number of bills filed by a legislator.
In light of leadership's position and the panel discussion last week, it is apparent to us that a movement is afoot to limit the number of bills that will be filed in 2012. Of course, the legislature is a place where good intentions find a final resting place rather than achieve maturity. Nevertheless, we would like to encourage you to let us know as soon as possible if you have legislation that will need to be filed in 2012. Also, please keep in mind that it may be more difficult than usual to secure sponsors for, and to pass, caption or placeholder bills.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, we are happy to discuss.