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‘Repealer’ Legislation in Limbo

A General Assembly effort to create a specific government post responsible for detecting and trimming unnecessary or redundant government functions and regulations is bogged down and may be headed to a legislative conference committee.

Early in the day Wednesday Senate Bill 595 sponsor Sen. Jack Johnson made a motion to non-concur with an amendment that rewrote House Bill 500. The motion passed on a voice vote.

Later, Rep. Glen Casada’s made a motion in the House to “refuse to recede from our action,” sending the bill back to the Senate on Thursday. No vote was taken; it was simply accepted by Speaker of the House Beth Harwell.

The so-called “Repealer” would be to go through Tennessee code and make recommendations to the Legislature on laws, rules and regulations that need to be scrubbed or modified because they are no longer relevant, overly burdensome or outdated.

The conflict between the two versions occurred when the Senate passed the original bill drafted by Casada, a Republican from Franklin, in March. That legislation that would have placed the Office of the Repealer in the Secretary of State’s office and for a period of only four years.

Meanwhile, over on the House side, Casada drafted an amendment that changed the bill, making it a permanent position in the Office of Legal Services, with Director Joe Barnes overseeing the work using existing staff in the summer and fall when the General Assembly is not in session.

“In speaking to the Speaker of the House and seeking the opinion of several in the House, the House just wanted to keep it totally under legislative purview,” said the representative from Franklin following Monday’s session.

Casada also explained that Johnson, also a Republican from Franklin, had moved the bill through the Senate before he had a chance to talk to him about the changes.

Following Wednesday’s sessions, Casada told that the next step is for House Bill 500, as amended, to go back to the Senate. If the upper chamber votes to non-concur again, the bill will return to the House where Casada will ask for a conference committee to be formed in an attempt to try and work out the differences between the two bodies.

Amelia Morrison Hipps may be reached at, on Twitter @DwnHomePolitics or at 615-442-8667.

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