From REPRESENTATIVE VANCE DENNIS
TN District 71
The Tennessee State Legislature reconvened on Monday, February 9, 2009, to begin the 2009 regular session. There are a number of important issues facing our state in the coming months.STATE BUDGET SHORTFALLAccording to the most recent figures provided by the Tennessee Department of Revenue, January revenues were down $114 million, with Sales tax revenues, including those from Christmas, down $68 million. Because 62 percent of Tennessee's overall revenues come from the sales tax, this accounts for a large part of the budget hole. The total tax collection is $522 million below the budgeted estimate for the fiscal year, and Tennessee could very well be on path to having over a one billion dollar loss in year over year revenues. The next largest source of revenue, franchise and excise taxes, were down about 24 percent and are proving to be more volatile than ever before.The recently passed Federal stimulus bill is anticipated to help our state through this budget crisis, but significant reductions in state government spending are still going to be required. I will be working diligently in the coming months to make sure that any negative impacts on our community and our State as a result of these reductions are kept to a minimum.
PENDING LEGISLATIONAlmost two thousand bills have been filed for consideration so far this year. Most of these bills propose the creation of new laws or the modification or elimination of existing laws. A copy of each bill is filed in both the State House and the State Senate. Each bill is first assigned to a committee of legislators that reviews bills dealing with certain subject matter. The committee reviews each bill assigned to it and votes on whether or not the bill should become law. Bills often have to be approved by two or more different committees because they can affect different areas of the law. If a bill is approved by all of the necessary committees, it is presented to the entire House and the entire Senate. If it gets a majority vote in both the House and the Senate, it is then sent to the Governor for his approval. If the Governor approves the bill (or if the governor rejects the bill and the legislature then votes to override his rejection), it finally becomes law.I will be serving on the Judiciary Committee, the Health and Human Resources Committee, the Civil Practice Subcommittee, and the Public Health Subcommittee for the next two years. However, I am always available to address your concerns about any topic facing our community or our state. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 615-741-2190.The Tennessee Legislature has created a new website, http://www.capitol.tn.gov/, that provides a wealth of information about our legislative branch of government, including easy access to all pending legislation, contact information for all legislators, and live video of all committee and floor sessions. Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts and suggestions about any pending legislation of interest to you.Nashville Address105 War Memorial Bldg.Nashville TN 37243Phone: (615) 741-2190Fax: (615) 253-0377