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Tennessee Legislative Session is Underway!

It's been a busy month for state lawmakers. The 2019 legislative session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly kicked off January 8 and our new Governor, Bill Lee, was sworn in as the 50th Governor of Tennessee on January 19.

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Top Leadership Sworn In

Below are a few elected officials who have been sworn into leadership positions. 

Tennessee State Senate

Speaker of the Senate: Lt. Governor Randy McNally
Speaker Pro Tempore Ferrell Haile
Deputy Speaker Janice Bowling
Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson
Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ken Yager
Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro
Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Raumesh Akbari

Tennessee House of Representatives

Speaker of the House of Representatives Glen Casada
Speaker Pro Tempore Bill Dunn
House Majority Leader William Lamberth
Republican Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton
House Minority Leader Karen Camper
Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart

Breakdown of the State Legislature

The Tennessee State Legislature is currently composed of what is commonly called or known as a “supermajority” of Republican members.

As a quick overview, the Legislature consists of 132 members with 99 members in the House and 33 in the Senate. On the House side, 73 members are Republican and 26 are Democrat; 28 are incoming freshmen members.

In the Senate, 26 members are Republicans, five are Democrats, and one is Independent; the seat for State Senate District 32* is vacant. Five Senators are incoming freshmen members.

American Heart Association's 2019 Legislative Agenda

During this legislative session, the American Heart Association expects to work on the following issues approved by our Tennessee Advocacy Committee: 

  • Tobacco Control Program Funding: Secure funding for state tobacco prevention and cessation programs at levels at or above centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations.
  • Tobacco Preemption Repeal: Promote and support statewide legislation that removes barriers for local governments to increase smoke-free environments.
  • Tobacco 21: Raise the minimum legal sale age (MLSA) for all tobacco products to 21 years. “Tobacco Products” means all tobacco products including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, loose chewing tobacco, snuff, bidis, hookah, and e-cigarettes.
  • Healthy Food Financing Initiative: Work to secure public funding to create or expand healthy food financing initiatives in order to increase the number of healthy food retail outlets in underserved areas. *Please Note: The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) recently weighed in on this issue. Based on their findings and research conducted, TACIR did not recommend state funding be appropriated to the initiative, but their findings will be open for public comment.

Stay tuned for future You're the Cure alerts for the latest news and how you can help. Together, we can be a relentless force for longer, healthier lives. 

* There will be a special primary election held Jan. 24, 2019, and a special general election held on March 12, 2019.

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