GREENEVILLE, TN (WJHL)- A local representative is crafting a plan to give the Tennessee General Assembly another month to make laws.
Greene County State Representative David Hawk said in its January through April session the legislature leaves unresolved issues on the table, and it must wait eight months before taking any action.
He said he wants the legislature to start meeting in September.
“We want to get to Nashville, do our business, pass our budget and get home as quickly as possible, but in this fast paced world in which we live, there are lots of issues that come up outside the constraints of our regular session that really need to be addressed legislatively,” Hawk said.
Hawk said the four month window to make laws isn’t wide enough to shed light on much more than the budget.
“Sometimes those policy issues don’t get finished or there’s new policy issues that come up during the off times,” Hawk said. “It comes largely from frustration that I’m hearing from my constituents…they don’t want to wait until January of next year to take care of a pressing issue.”
So would an added session mean an added cost for taxpayers?
“Hoping that there wouldn’t be any cost because we budget in our legislative budget 90 days of session time for every two year session, and we only had 28 days in 2015,” Hawk said.
He said the majority of his colleagues are for the change.
But over in the Senate, Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey isn’t on board.
“To schedule a September session just to schedule it, I think would be a major mistake,” Ramsey said. “”We’ve now cut our session down to the end of April, we used to stay through June and I’ve not had one person tell me if only y’all stayed in Nashville longer things would be better.”
Ramsey said there would be a cost.
“We get a per diem while we’re there, and while we’re there it costs the tax payers money,” Ramsey said.
Hawk said if there’s not an issue that needs attention before the September session, they won’t meet.
“From January through April we are an equal 3rd branch of government…but my fear is that the other eight months out of the year we lose that equality as a branch of government. And we are to be the voice of the people,” Hawk said.
“I just think that’s setting a dangerous precedent to spend more time in Nashville than we’re spending now,” Ramsey said.
Hawk said he plans to introduce the bill calling for a September session in January.
He said the session would only be on odd numbered years and would start in 2017.
Hawk said he would like people to reach out to their local representatives and tell them what they think about another session.
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