The Tennessee General Assembly members faced a busy October, and November proved to be no different. November began with budget presentations from the leadership of each department and agency to Governor Bill Lee, Chief Operating Officer Brandon Gibson, Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley, and Division of Budget Director David Thurman. Tennessee continues to shatter revenue expectations and receive an influx of federal funds, positioning the state to pass the largest budget in history during the 2022 legislative session.
House Finance Ways & Means Committee convened on November 15th and 16th for departments’ leadership teams to present how they have used or plan to use the influx of federal funding. Many of the additional federal funds have expanded programs such as the unemployment benefits program. However, several departments have leveraged the funding to establish new programs, such as the Department of Health’s establishment of a program to assist community and faith-based clinics to serve uninsured and underinsured Tennesseans.
The Government Operations Joint Subcommittee on Judiciary and Government heard responses to previously submitted questions by subcommittee members from the Board of Parole, Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council, Housing Development Agency, Local Government Planning Advisory Committee, TN Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction Board, and the TN Residence Commission. Later in the day, the full Joint Government Operations Committee met for their regularly scheduled rule review, where they adopted a consent calendar consisting of 3 rules and considered 6 other rules during the committee, 3 of which were emergency rules and 3 were permanent rules.
Members of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Data Privacy convened during November to hear testimony from stakeholders on what a Tennessee-specific data privacy bill could look like. Additional information about the hearing can be found in the “Data Privacy Review” section, below.
December is expected to be a relatively slow month around the Hill, as members prepare for the holiday season, in addition to the upcoming session.