2019 Legislative Session

The 2019 Legislative session convened on January 8th, 2019. The 111th General Assembly is the start of a new administration for Governor Bill Lee and several new legislators. As always, there will be a number of bills that SOCM members will have an interesting following and maybe contacting legislators about. The Tennessee State General Assembly has a searchable website (www.capitol.tn.gov) where you can look up legislation, get bill summaries, find your legislator, and see the legislative calendar and committee schedules.

Some proposed legislation may come in the form of a “Caption Bill”. Caption Bills are sneaky, you really don’t know what may be the final bill language until late in the session. Columnist Tom Humphrey wrote a great piece on Caption Bills that appeared in the Knoxville News-Sentinel back in 2009. It was titled “Caption Bills 101:when titles matter.”

Here are two short excerpts from that article;

“Late in most every session of the Tennessee General Assembly, fresh new ideas are brought onto the legislative scene through caption bills, a part of the lawmaking art that may be seen as institutionalized sneakiness.”….“Our state Constitution requires that every bill filed in the Legislature declare in its caption, or short title at the outset, a general description of its purpose. If a bill is amended to do something “outside the caption,” it can be struck down as invalid in court -and this, historically, has happened many times.”

Tom Humphry, “Caption Bills 101: when titles matter”. Knoxville News-Sentinel

Whether it is a voucher bill trying to divert funds away from public schools to unneeded charter schools,or a bill that prohibits construction of a landfill within five miles of a residence, or a bill that revises the definition of wild ginseng, or a caption bill, SOCM members plan on keeping a close eye on legislation this session to engage in citizen lobbying to help influence any legislation that impacts our members and our mission.

You can find a list of committees, and their members, at capitol.tn.gov.

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