MURFREESBORO, TN – The 111th General Assembly will convene on January 8th to begin an exciting year in our state’s capitol. Below are seven things that you can expect to see over the next four to five months.
- A joint convention of the General Assembly will convene on January 19th to inaugurate Tennessee’s 50th governor, Bill Lee. If you want information about tickets, go to https://www.believeintn.com/.
- The 2018 election brings forth the most dramatic changes in the makeup of the Tennessee General Assembly in many years. The 99-member House of Representatives has 28 new members, and the 33-member Senate has four new members (with two more to be elected this spring). Expect lots of new ideas and fresh energy from these new members.
- Passage of a conservative balanced budget that highlights education, job creation and public safety will be a high priority. The budget may be presented a little later this year because we have a new governor, but I feel strongly that lawmakers will work with him to continue to be proactive through the budgetary process to keep Tennessee a high growth, low tax state that is fiscally responsible and meets the needs of our most marginalized citizens.
- There will be an emphasis on the needs of rural Tennesseans in the upcoming session including a focus on economic development and agricultural advancements that will support jobs and propel progress in the state’s rural communities. (Also, be looking for efforts to expand broadband services to rural and under served communities).
- Criminal justice reform will be a key issue during the 2019 legislative session. A common goal will be to decrease recidivism, which currently stands at approximately 47% in Tennessee. Be looking for proposals that include comprehensive sentencing reform, alternatives to incarceration and maximizing the effectiveness of our drug courts and treatment/recovery facilities.
- Expect a strong focus on improving vocational, technical and agricultural education in public schools. There is currently a deficit of workers for “skilled trade” jobs so expect governor Lee’s agenda to include initiatives that prepare students for some of the most sought-after jobs in Tennessee’s employment market. (Speaking of education, there is also talk of taking a closer look at the BEP formula to accommodate faster growing school districts. The BEP has not changed since 2007).
- I am going to focus my legislative efforts on business and healthcare. (That is what I have done since 1994). Our healthcare system needs a healthy dose of consumerism and transparency where patients have access to pricing and quality metrics for acute and post-acute providers. I wrote a white paper on this called “Building A Great Healthcare System” that you can access at https://www.reevesfortn.com/ .