Tennessee House Republicans spar over 10-bill legislation limit as session opens

Tennessee House Republicans spar over 10-bill legislation limit as session opens

January 8th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

The Tennessee Capitol in Nashville, Tenn.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Tennessee House Republican Speaker Beth Harwell's proposal to limit members to filing no more than 10 bills per year came under criticism this morning from some GOP Caucus members.

Some members objected to having a cap at all, while others wanted a higher cap.

"My firm conviction is this is absolutely the wrong direction," Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, said.

He said the cap would cede more power to the governor, and that rural legislators might need to introduce a larger number of bills to serve their constituents.

Harwell argued that Republicans since 2006 have campaigned on a philosophy of less government and that her bill-cap plan would help demonstrate that.

This is the first day of the General Assembly session, which began at noon and was preceded by the Republican Caucus meeting.

New members in both chambers were sworn in Tuesday, as were the Senate and House speakers. Sen. Ron Ramsey of Blountville was re-elected on a 29-4 vote, and Rep. Beth Harwell was unopposed for a second term and re-elected unanimously.

The new members from the Chattanooga area are Sen. Todd Gardenhr, R-Chattanooga; Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah; and Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton.

For this session, Republicans have added to their already substantial advantages in both the Senate and House, gaining supermajorities in both chambers after the November election.

In a straw vote, 23 members of the 70-member caucus said they favored a 15-bill limit this year and a 10-bill limit next year. Another 30 lawmakers favored 10-bill limits in both years.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.