NASHVILLE - Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has named state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, the new chairman of the Senate's Government Operations Committee and has appointed Sen. Jack Johnson, R-College Grove, to head the Senate Commerce, Labor & Agriculture Committee.
Lt. Gov. Ramsey, R-Blountville, announced the changes in an address today to the Associated General Contractors of Tennessee, the AGC's executive vice president, Bill Young, confirmed.
The shuffling of chairmanships came about as a result of the recent resignation of Sen. Paul Stanley, R-Germantown, after his affair with a 22-year-old intern came into public view after her boyfriend allegedly tried to blackmail Mr. Stanley over the matter. Mr. Stanley was chairman of the Commerce Committee, and his departure left the position vacant.
Also considered for the Commerce post was Sen. Dewayne Bunch, R-Cleveland, the current Commerce vice chairman.
In shifting Sen. Johnson to head Commerce, Lt. Gov. Ramsey created another vacancy at the Government Operations Committee, where Sen. Johnson had been serving as chairman.
Ramsey Chief of Staff Matt King later confirmed the Watson and Johnson appointments.
The Government Operations Committee handles legislation creating new departments, commissions, boards, agencies or councils of state government. It has the responsibility to reauthorize existing departments, commissions, boards, agencies or councils of state government. The panel also reviews regulations from Tennessee departments, commissions, boards or agencies.
The Commerce Committee is responsible for legislation on commerce, insurance and agriculture.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.