FILE - Tennessee state Capitol

The Tennessee state Capitol in Nashville, Tenn.

(The Center Square) – The Tennessee General Assembly begins its legislative session at noon Tuesday with two essential priorities: redistricting maps and a new K-12 public education funding model.

Proposed state Senate maps and Congressional maps are scheduled to be revealed by the Select Committee on Redistricting during its meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The new education funding formula is expected to be announced in the next week as well.

Tennessee state House map proposals were revealed in December.

The Senate Finance, Ways, and Means committee is scheduled to discuss at least two bills – Senate Bill 1128 and Senate Bill 432 – at its meeting Tuesday during the session's opening day.

Both bills were introduced in the 2021 legislative session and passed at least one committee before being deferred to this year.

SB 1128, from Sen. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro, allows county governments to provide retirement credits for anyone who worked for a government entity, left for military service and then returned to work for the county.

White said in April she still was working with the treasury on the bill and asked for it to be rolled to this year’s session. The fiscal note on the bill said the cost would fall on local governments and it was unclear how many eligible county employees exist in the state.

SB 432 "authorizes electronic transmission of the copy of a judgment of conviction of a person for committing certain offenses of abuse of an elderly or vulnerable adult that is required to be sent to the department of health."

Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, also has introduced a pair of bills – House Bill 1650 and House Bill 1662 – that have not been assigned to committees.

HB 1662 would require elections be conducted using hand-marked paper ballots instead of voting machines and authorizes pool watchers to record video at polling places.

“Improving election integrity was ranked the third most important issue among my constituents (just behind eliminating Covid mandates and preserving 2nd Amendment rights),” Griffey said. “Moreover, 66% of my constituents stated that they believe paper ballots would help improve election security. All electronic voting machines are subject to fraud, manipulation, outright hacking and computer errors.”

HB 1650, meanwhile, would reverse the gas tax increases in former Gov. Bill Haslam’s IMPROVE Act and replace the funding with sales tax dollars already set to be received by the state.

Staff Reporter

Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies.