The Legislative Session started back at noon, Tuesday the 11th. This is the second year of the 112th General Assembly and we’ll probably adjourn around the 1st of May.
The 2 biggest issues we’ll tackle this Session are:
- Redistricting- drawing new lines for the State House of Representatives, the State Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives (Congress)
- Basic Education Plan (BEP)- coming up with a new funding plan for public K-12 schools in Tennessee
I’m carrying the redistricting bills for our state representatives and for the congressional districts. These bills, along with the bill for the state senate, will be of top priority since we have elections later this year and new and existing candidates for the offices will need to know what the districts will look like. Here are some interesting facts based on the latest census information that factored into the new maps:
Key Redistricting Plan highlights:
- U.S. growth was 7.4 percent
- Tennessee’s population grew 8.9 percent, growing from 6,346,105 in 2010 to 6,910,840 in 2020.
- Ideal district size increased from 64,102 to 69,806
- 17 counties grew by more than 10 percent. Middle Tennessee had the highest growth
- 30 counties experienced negative growth compared to only eight in 2010 –Rural west Tennessee, the Upper Cumberland region, and Northeast Tennessee had the lowest growth
- This caused a three-seat shift in representation to Middle Tennessee from other parts of the state
My proposed new legislative district after the new redistricting lines are drawn would basically keep me in the same areas of Lincoln and all of Bedford, but it also adds all of Moore County. I’m excited about learning more about Lynchburg and Moore County. I look forward to getting to meet and know the local elected officials. One of my sons works in Moore County and it’s between the 2 counties I already serve, so I’m already frequently in the area.
The BEP that currently funds all of our school districts is 30 years old and very complicated. In addition, some people consider the formula to be unfair to many school districts. The Governor has made this one of his top priorities and is pushing hard for all involved to come up with a plan that is equitable, easy to understand, and is based on students’ success.
Governor Lee released a draft plan this week. It is based on feedback from thousands of Tennesseans through the department’s 18 subcommittees, town halls, and public comment submission. To review the draft overview plan, visit www.tn.gov/education/tnedufunding.
Claire Root, from Fayetteville, came back for a visit with several others to talk about the Convention of States action. They are the group that is working to get 34 state legislatures to pass their legislation. If and when that happens, their proposal would require our federal government have a balanced budget, impose term limits on federal legislators, and in general take away a lot of power from our federal government.
We had our big opening day reception Tuesday night at the TN State Museum. It was hosted by several chamber groups and businesses in our state. The Governor, his cabinet members, and the state senators and representatives were in attendance. Governor Lee addressed the crowd and updated us on all the great things that are happening in Tennessee.
I was very pleased to find out that my cousin, John Robert Bagley of Fayetteville, was enrolled in the intern program at the Legislature. John Robert is a student at the University of TN Knoxville and is interested in learning more about how our state government works. He is going through orientation this week and will be assigned to an office starting next week. It will be a very valuable experience that he will probably never forget.
The Cordell Hull Building where our offices are located and the Capitol are open to the public, so I would enjoy visiting with you if you are ever in Nashville. My office is on the 6th Floor- Suite 610. You may also reach out to me by phone at 615-741-6824 or by email at [email protected]. I’m truly honored that you have trusted me to serve as your state representative and I hope to do you proud. Please let me know if there is ever anything we can do for you and your family.