Blount County state legislators have received their committee assignments as the 107th General Assembly got underway earlier this month.
State Sen. Doug Overbey has been named secretary of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is a member of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee and the Senate General Welfare, Health and Human Resources Committee.
The Judiciary Committee is responsible for civil laws, criminal laws, judicial proceedings, apportionment of elected officials and governing bodies.
The Finance, Ways and Means Committee is responsible for all measures relating to taxes and the raising of revenue.
Senate General Welfare, Health and Human Resources Committee is responsible for public or private hospitals, health offices and their administration, institutions and services for the mentally retarded.
Representative Bob Ramsey has been named vice-chair of the House State and Local Government Committee for the 107th General Assembly. He will also serve on the Health and Human Resources and Ethics Committees.
The nature of the legislation referred to the House State and Local Government Committee addresses such matters as local and municipal affairs (forms of local government, powers to tax and raise revenue, local ordinances, local government employees, local government expenditures); cultural affairs; alcoholic beverage taxes and regulations of sale; election laws; holidays and celebrations; military parks and battlefields; museums; preservation of historical markers; private utility districts; public lands; state and public libraries; state government in general; Veteran’s affairs; annexation; and penal and correctional institutions often appear.
Most legislation referred to the Health and Human Resources Committee is relevant to three major topical areas: mental health, public health, and human services. They also have dealt with adoption procedures; hospitals (public and private),regulations, funding and financing; institutions related to health and welfare (geriatric, mental health, alcohol and drug abuse rehabilitation, mental retardation, nursing homes, tuberculosis sanitariums); health offices(administration and regulation); medical professions (licensing, regulations, training programs); public welfare in general and special assistance legislation dealing with the elderly, the handicapped and the homeless.
District 8 State Rep. Art Swann is a member of the Commerce Committee and the Conservation and Environment Committee. He is also the secretary of the General Subcommittee of Children and Family Services.
The House Commerce Committee considers legislation on topics such as insurance, state regulatory boards, taxes, corporations, banks and other financial institutions.
Other business of the legislature included:
Election of Rep. Beth Harwell as State Speaker of the House and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey elected to a third term as Speaker of the State Senate. Harwell is the first woman elected speaker of the State House of Representatives.
Overbey said with the election of Harwell, it marks the first time in state history that a Republican governor will have Republican speakers and majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives.