The 2014 session of the 108th General Assembly began on Tuesday, January 14, in Nashville. Key issues this year include education, jobs, public safety, the courts, drug abuse and healthcare.
The assembly will prioritize a conservative, balanced budget in the face of fiscal challenges. Year-to-date collections totaled $123.2 million less than the budgeted estimate for the current fiscal year’s first four months. Fortunately, Tennessee has worked hard and continues to responsibly manage state finances. An additional $100 million was allocated to the state’s Rainy Day Fund last year. The assembly plans to maintain its progress for economic security in the event of a prolonged recession or other economic hardship. In addition, Governor Haslam’s 2014 budget proposal will bring tax reduction efforts before the legislature.
The legislative and executive branches will strive to make Tennessee the country’s fastest improving state in education and high-quality job growth. On the public safety issue, discussion will be held to lower the states high rankings for meth labs. This could include regulating over-the-counter medications containing pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in methamphetamine, through prescriptions or limited sales. Further steps will be taken to reduce drug exposure to children. With preliminary work already in place on many issues this year, expect lawmakers to quickly begin working towards results in what is predicted to be a short but busy legislative session.
Please contact me with questions or concerns on General Assembly matters. Information about the assembly, including text of bills and floor and committee calendars is available at capitol.tn.gov.
Sen. Doug Overbey