Tennessee Government Update – August 23, 2019

August 23, 2019
Firm Publication

For the second time in the 111th General Assembly, House members elected a new Speaker today. Gathering 94 votes, Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) became the 83rd Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. The vote took place during a special session called by Governor Bill Lee to replace former Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) who resigned earlier in August after a text scandal resulted in a vote of no confidence by the House Republican Caucus. Casada was not present for the special session.

As part of today’s proceedings, the House deferred taking any action on the expulsion of Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro). Speaker-Select Sexton had requested an opinion from the Attorney General’s Office on whether the House could expel Byrd under the circumstances, but the AG had not responded before the start of the special session. Byrd did announce to the House Republican Caucus this morning that he would not seek re-election in 2020.

As expected, Speaker Sexton did announce immediate changes to the House committee  system. Please see leadership changes here.

Heading into the special session, the House Republican Caucus convened on Thursday evening to elect a new caucus chairman to fill the position once held by now Speaker Sexton.  In a four-way contest, Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), emerged as the winner.

The Government Advocacy team at Bass, Berry & Sims congratulates Speaker Sexton, Chairman Faison and the new committee leadership and looks forward to working with them when the legislature reconvenes on January 14, 2020. If you have any questions about this content, please contact one of the authors.