109th Tennessee General Assembly Begins

Category: State Issues

capitol angleState lawmakers convened on Tuesday for the first day of the 109th General Assembly.  The Oath of Office was administered to members and they officially elected leadership.

As anticipated, House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) was re-elected, as was Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville).

The first week of the legislature’s work is largely organizational:  They’ll elect the Constitutional Officers, the Fiscal Review Committee, undergo mandatory ethics training, and complete a community service project.

On Saturday, the first official “legislative” day,  legislators will meet in Joint Convention for the Inauguration of Governor Bill Haslam.  They will also adopt the official schedule for each House and appoint standing committees.

Lawmakers will then recess until Monday, February 2, when they return for a special session called by the Governor on his “Insure Tennessee” plan.

“Insure Tennessee” is a proposed two-year pilot program to provide health care coverage to Tennesseans who do not currently have access to health insurance or have limited options.  The plan would provide coverage to more than 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, valued at slightly over $16,000 a year for an individual and $27,000 for a family of three.

The plan does not create any new taxes nor adds any state cost to the budget.  The hospital industry has committed that it will cover any additional cost to the state, and the program will automatically terminate in the event that either federal funding or support from the hospitals is modified.

Check back soon for more information and to view the committee assignments for the 109th General Assembly.

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