Tennessee residents in Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties no longer will have to complete emissions tests on their vehicles, starting Jan. 14. The emissions change came after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved changes to Tennessee’s air quality plan. The news led several Republican state leaders to applaud the move, which they said will help taxpayers avoid unnecessary costs.
Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton on Thursday announced the first bipartisan House Select Committee on Redistricting. The announcement comes after a prolonged delay by the U.S. Census Bureau in releasing state-level redistricting data. The bipartisan committee consists of 16 House members, including four Democratic members. Deputy Speaker Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) will chair the committee, and Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Marsh (R-Shelbyville) is the committee’s vice-chair.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton has picked a new chief of staff, hiring Sammie Arnold from the executive branch as his new adviser in the legislature. Arnold is currently an assistant commissioner in Gov. Bill Lee’s Department of Economic and Community Development, where he focuses on rural development. Prior to that, Arnold worked as a legislative liaison and campaign staff member for former Gov. Bill Haslam.
Legislation combatting human trafficking and strengthening protections for victims of rape and domestic violence are among 203 new laws that became effective on July 1. According to Senate Judiciary Committee Vice-Chairman Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro), enactment of the new laws continues the General Assembly’s ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking and domestic violence in Tennessee, and provides greater protections for crime victims.