Bill to end oversight committees advances in state legislature

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 4:04pm

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey’s proposal to eliminate 11 oversight committees and save $850,000 advanced Tuesday in the legislature.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee voted 6-3 along party lines, with Democrats in opposition. They argued the committees perform an important role as state government watchdogs.

Committees overseeing prisons and TennCare are among those that Ramsey would abolish. The savings would come from laying off the committees’ staff.

Ramsey insisted existing committees could absorb the duties of the oversight committees.

“Private businesses all across the State of Tennessee are being forced to maximize efficiency in the face of limited resources,” he said. “It is only appropriate that we in government do the same. This bill saves tax dollars and streamlines the way we do business at the legislature.”

Sens. Thelma Harper and Joe Haynes of Nashville led the Democratic opposition.

“Boy, that’s being penny wise and pound foolish,” Haynes said.

Harper described it as a “horrible bill.”

“In order for us to make a difference, some things are going to cost,” she said. “I see this as a real hit on our ability to know what’s going on in the State of Tennessee.”

Here are the committees the bill would eliminate: Select Oversight Committee on Corrections; Select Committee on Children and Youth; Select Oversight Committee on Education; Health Equity Commission; Select Oversight Committee on TennCare; Joint Select Committee on Business Taxes; Joint Committee on Children’s Services; Charitable Gaming Oversight Committee; Select Committee on the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp.; Special Joint Committee on Workers’ Compensation Issues; and the Select Oversight Committee on Long-Term Care.

6 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 3/15/11 at 3:41

The GOP are out to bring the people of TN down with no one watching. We are in for a long four years. The businesses can do what they please with no oversight.

By: treehugger7 on 3/16/11 at 6:39

pswindle, I agree. However, I have hope for the midterms-hopefully we can get rid of some of the dolts. But with the R's controlling redistricting and refusing to implement verifiable election machines/results. I have little hope. However, I figure after a year or so, the state economy will be in the toilet, and we'll get past the religo-right domination. And kudos to those fighting the fight on the front lines, like yesterday!

By: EDUNITED on 3/16/11 at 6:45

The Legislature and its members have plenty of time to perform any oversight that must be done. Look at how little these "oversight" committees have done to date. It's going to be a long four years listening to the rants of Dems.
Ed vanVoorhees

By: Community-carl-... on 3/16/11 at 7:15

A prime example of mean spirited partisan politics. As usual, if the Republicans are for it, the Democrats are against it. The last major election affirmed that the general voting public is fed up with the Dem's tax and spend strategy that has only resulted in oversized, inefficient government with many redundant and overlapping areas of responsibility and function. Citizens overwhelmingly want the US to get its financial house in order......and a big part of that process is the need to downsize the government at all levels. Like an ordinary citizen's household, the US government cannot continue spending more money than it takes in. If responsible action is not taken to reduce the national deficit, this country is headed toward financial collapse.

By: gdiafante on 3/16/11 at 10:19

We need to increase know...create more jobs...

Oh, sorry, didn't mean to say the "J" word...

Nevermind, continue your mundane partisan rhetoric...

By: Antisocialite on 3/16/11 at 3:43

This amounts to 0.00283% of the State's budget, and the benefit in time saved by the general assembly is easily worth the pittance it costs. To claim that this helps out our deficits or debts is beyond disingenuous. This is analogous to a person making 50,000 per year thinking setting aside ten dollars a month will put a dent on that 20,000 car loan.