Sanderson reflects on successful session
Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2011 8:56 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter
By KEVIN BOWDEN
State Rep. Bill Sanderson of Kenton is settling into a routine that doesn’t involve daily committee meetings and hectic schedules on Capitol Hill.
The 107th General Assembly ended a week before Memorial Day, sending state legislators home for the summer.
During the recent legislative session, lawmakers approved a $30.8 billion state budget that included $7 million in funding for the Cates Landing project in Lake County.
Sanderson is back at work at his Kenton furniture and appliance store.
He said he has been kept “very busy” working as a state representative and although he described his work as “a lot of fun,” he said the detachment from his friends and family has been difficult.
While he was working in Nashville, the 7,000 grapevines in his rural Kenton vineyard were destroyed after being accidentally sprayed.
“That was devastating,” Sanderson said during a telephone interview earlier this week.
As far as life after his first legislative session, the Kenton Republican said he is still busy with a full agenda of speaking engagements around his district.
Looking back on the recently ended legislative session, Sanderson said the hits far outweighed the misses.
He said he didn’t agree with everything in the governor’s budget, but he was committed to supporting the spending plan. He praised House Speaker Beth Harwell for streamlining the legislative process during her first term as speaker, and said because the session ended so early, it saved the state thousands of dollars, and he was “very proud of that.”
He also praised the speaker for her bill to eliminate House oversight committees, another move that saved the state more than $800,000.
One of the highlights of this past session, according to Sanderson, was all the pro-business legislation that was passed.
Approval of tort reform legislation was a “job creator,” he said, “and that’s a great deal.”
Immigration reform, workers’ compensation legislation, voter ID reform, drug legislation and an abortion measure that will be voted on by Tennesseans on the 2014 presidential ballot were all cited as successes by Sanderson.
He said the abortion proposition will make it more difficult to get an abortion in Tennessee and that voters will have a chance to approve the measure during the statewide presidential election.
Legislative approval of a tracking system for the sales of pseudophedrine, a key ingredient in the manufacture of meth, and tougher punishments for “smurfers” represent key measures in the state’s fight against meth, according to Sanderson.
“Meth is a huge problem in Obion County, Lake County and Dyer County,” he said. “And we battled all year long against drug lobbyists to get this approved.”
Education reform was another success Sanderson brought up. He cited a recent study that ranked Tennessee 43rd in the nation in student achievement and said because of rankings like that “changes were needed.”
Union City’s two speed enforcement vehicles may soon become a thing of the past, according to Sanderson, who cited traffic camera reform legislation that will make it “virtually impossible” for cities to operate the mobile speed cameras.
Serving his first term in office was a “real learning opportunity for me,” Sanderson said. “The next session will be much easier.” He explained that he made key friends and allies in both parties while serving in Nashville and is looking forward to the next session.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 6.2.11