By Nathan Baker
Tennessee’s 108th General Assembly brings new faces, new committees and new assignments for Carter County’s delegation.
Legislators received their committee assignments Thursday in the Assembly’s opening week.
This year, the House changed the ordering of a handful of its standing committees, following a proposal by Speaker Beth Harwell to evenly spread the workload of bills.
The Judiciary Committee was split into the Civil and Criminal Justice committees, and the State and Local Government Committee was divided into two separate boards.
The Commerce Committee was also divided into the Business and Utilities Committee and the Insurance and Banking Committee.
To achieve balance, the Agriculture Committee was merged with the Conservation and Environment Committee to create the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and the Children and Family Affairs Committee was absorbed by the new Civil Justice Committee.
Fourth District Rep. Kent Williams, who was a member of the Commerce Committee last year and was assigned to the newly created Business and Utilities Committee this year, said the change in
makeup of the boards will give legislators more time to consider the bills before them.
“It’s a really good idea, because we were so overloaded with legislation in the last couple of years in that committee,” Williams said Friday. “This way we’re splitting up the workload so the busier committees will have some relief.”
Williams said he was granted a seat on each of the three appointments he requested.
In addition to the Business and Utilities Committee, Williams gained a seat on the State Government Committee and its subcommittee.
Last year, he said dividing his time among his four assignments did not afford him any time to work on legislation of his own.
“It was extremely difficult,” Williams said. “I think I was the only member on four. I’m glad that this year I’m only on three committees, so I can work more on constituent services and try to introduce some legislation of my own.”