By KEVIN BOWDEN
It was quite a climactic finish to the 108th General Assembly for state Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton.
The session ended about two weeks earlier than expected, according to Sanderson, who said the state Senate “was pushing us” to finish early.
One of the key issues that went down to the wire for the state House of Representatives was a judicial redistricting bill pushed by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. After talking with his constituents in northwest Tennessee, Sanderson told The Messenger today he decided to vigorously fight against the bill. He described his effort to kill the bill as a “David vs. Goliath” matchup.
“It was going to be very contentious,” he said.
He explained members of the state House of Representatives never had the chance to fully study the bill and its impact, and for Sanderson’s district the impact was going to be significant.
“We just felt like it was crammed down our throat,” he said.
In the final day of the legislative session, in large part due to Sanderson’s work against the bill, it was defeated on the House floor by a 66-28 vote.
“I’m telling you, it broke out in applause. It was crazy,” Sanderson said today.
He explained the defeat of the judicial redistricting bill was the first time in more than 20 years the lieutenant governor has lost a bill on the House floor.
News of the bill’s defeat spread quickly across the state and across the nation, according to Sanderson, who said news of the bill’s dramatic defeat reached as far away as San Francisco.
“And I did it,” Sanderson said.
Now that the 108th General Assembly has concluded, Sanderson took a few minutes to reminisce about his work at the Capitol during the past few months.
“This is one of our most successful sessions yet. We had some great accomplishments for the people of Tennessee,” Sanderson stated. “We did things differently this year, keeping our promise to reform government.”
Among the state Legislature’s most significant accomplishments, according to Sanderson, was its approval of a balanced state budget that cut taxes, streamlined government, dedicating more funding for business development and still “allocating roughly an additional $100 million to the rainy day fund.”
“We were able to reform our worker’s compensation laws and enact pension reform, making Tennessee one of the best fiscally managed states in the country,” Sanderson said. “We committed resources to seeing that more Tennesseans are able to get a college degree, to prepare them for 21st century jobs. All of these things together will ensure Tennessee’s stability going forward, will attract job-creators and inspire entrepreneurs and will put Tennesseans back to work.”
Sanderson said the state Legislature also made significant progress in such areas as education, law enforcement, the ban of a statewide income tax and work to curb waste, fraud and abuse in Tennessee.
Published in The Messenger 4.22.13