Tennessee Legislative Update

January 14, 2021

Tuesday, Jan. 12 was the first day of the 112th Tennessee General Assembly. That afternoon, 12 new state legislators were sworn in and the speakers of both chambers were formally elected.

Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate Randy McNally and Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton were both reelected to lead their chambers. Republican nominee Pat Marsh of Bedford County was elected to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House. In their remarks, each speaker reflected on the difficult events of the past year and challenged Tennessee to lead the nation in good governance and civility. The opening day of the 2021 session was noticeably quiet as COVID-19 restrictions led to fewer legislative guests and onlookers present in the Capitol.

The legislature will also elect the three constitutional officers this week - Comptroller of the Treasury, Secretary of State and Treasurer. Jason Mumpower, who is currently the Deputy Comptroller, is widely believed to be the frontrunner to succeed retiring Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Treasurer David Lillard are likely to remain at their posts. Legislative committees, their membership and their chairmen will also be announced this week. While there are likely to be some changes to every legislative committee due to retirements, all eyes are on the House as Speaker Sexton is rumored to announce more significant restructuring of the House committees.

Next week, the Tennessee General Assembly will meet for a special session called by Governor Lee to pass K-12 education legislation. Hot topics for this special session are likely to include: COVID-19 related learning loss, school funding, literacy and teacher evaluations.