|Sanderson sets sights on helping region
|Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 9:14 pm
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Kenton businessman Bill Sanderson begins his second term in office today and said he is looking forward to tackling a wide range of issues over the course of the next few months.
Sanderson was scheduled to be sworn in at noon to represent the 77th District in the state House of Representatives. He told The Messenger Monday he will devote his schedule to working on issues relevant to the state and, more specifically, northwest Tennessee.
When the 108th legislative session convenes today there will be a significantly younger membership in the state House of Representatives. Sanderson said 60 percent of the membership in the lower chamber will have less than four years of experience and many of the veteran House members will not be returning to the Capitol. Some key lawmakers retired and others were defeated in this past fall’s elections.
Sanderson said he is excited about the large number of freshman and sophomore lawmakers with whom he will be working this session.
“It’s good. We’ve got more business people than we’ve had in a generation,” he said.
This legislative session is expected to run into early May, Sanderson said.
State Rep. Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, is expected to be re-elected Speaker of the House today and state Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville, is expected to be named Speaker Pro Tem, according to Sanderson.
Once legislators are sworn in by a member of the state Supreme Court, they will elect the House leadership and will then take care of a few housekeeping measures. The state Legislature will remain in session through this week before adjourning for a couple of weeks, to allow time for legislative offices to be set up.
Sanderson said the speaker is expected to announce committee assignments this week and he has asked to be appointed to the House Transportation Committee and State Government Committee.
“I’ve requested to be appointed to the House Transportation Committee because of all the projects in my district,” Sanderson said.
He said he is hoping for a leadership position on that committee, considering the number of road projects under way in northwest Tennessee.
“There is a limited amount of (federal) money coming to Tennessee,” Sanderson said.
He explained the state is projected to receive between $600 million and $650 million for transportation projects, with the money coming from gas taxes. Sanderson said that doesn’t come close to covering the costs for the state’s road projects.
Sanderson said state transportation commissioner John Schroer is working on trying to come up with the funding to complete the I-69 bypass around Union City. Other road projects in Sanderson’s legislative district include work on Highway 22, Highway 45 and Highway 412.
One significant change being implemented during this legislative session is lawmakers will be limited to 10 bills apiece. The limit does not apply to local bills, Sanderson said, “but what it will do is streamline the legislative process, distribute the workload among committees and there will be less redundancy.”
Looking ahead to the 108th session, Sanderson outlined a few of the pressing issues facing legislators.
“As soon as we get up there, we’re going to have to tackle universal health care; that’s a priority this year,” he said.
Another key issue facing lawmakers is the need to revamp the state’s workers’ compensation plan.
Sanderson said the current plan places an “unfair burden” on industries and small business.
Also on the agenda for this session will be gun control, which Sanderson said will be dealt with early on in the session, and school vouchers for at-risk schools in the state.
“We’re going to experiment with it further,” Sanderson said about the school voucher system.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.8.13