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Tennessee House of Reps to consider 10-bill limit

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By PETER SAWYER

A rule change is being considered that may limit Tennessee representatives to filing only 10 bills each session.
“I think it’s a great idea,” state Rep. Dennis Powers said. “We’ve got plenty of laws. We’ve just got to enforce the ones we’ve got. We don’t need to keep making new laws and regulations.”
Powers recognizes the purpose behind every bill filed isn’t to create a new law or regulation. Some are actually intended to update existing laws.
“A lot of them (bills) are just updates to laws that are on the books,” Powers said. “Some of them are necessary for that reason.”
Powers still feels a limit is good and thinks filing 10 is enough for one legislator.
“We had a lot of legislators that were filing 40, 50, some even 100 bills,” Powers said.
There are 99 representatives. Powers estimated about 2,200 bills were filed last session. The rule change would limit the entire House of Representatives to filing only 990 bills each session.
However, Powers doesn’t believe every representative will even file 10 bills per session.
“I only filed seven last year,” he said. “A lot of people will never reach that limit anyway.”
The rule change is coming from speaker of the house Beth Harwell. It must go through the calendar and rules committee before the house votes on it.
The two exceptions are administration and local bills.
While this rule change only officially applies to the House of Representatives, it will effectively limit the Senate as well, Powers said. Senators must have sponsors from the house for each bill they file. Therefore, while no enforced limit will be imposed on senators, the House of Representatives’ rule change will limit how much legislation they can pass.
“It makes more effective, efficient government without clogging up the system with a lot of bills,” Powers said.