House Transportation Committee Delays Vote on The IMPROVE Act Another Week

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State Rep David Alexander
State Rep David Alexander was all smiles at the hearing

State Rep. Courtney Rogers (R-Goodlettsville), Vice-Chair of the House Transportation Committee, acted as Chair when the committee convened on Tuesday in the absence of Chairman Barry Doss (R-Leoma), who was not present at the hearing.

Acting Chair Rogers reported to the committee members present that Chairman Doss had asked that HB 534, the “caption bill” for the IMPROVE Act, be “rolled” for one week.

The request, which constitutes the second delay in as many weeks of a vote on the bill, seemed an unexpected turn of events to the full-to-capacity meeting room that included media, camera crews, and several Tennessee Department of Transportation representatives.

State Rep Timothy Hill
State Rep Timothy Hill asks question that confirms HB 534 is Chairman Doss’ bill

As The Tennessee Star reported last week, the committee voted 9 to 8 when it met one week earlier on March 7 to “roll” the bill forward to this Tuesday’s meeting in order to allow the committee members to review the numerous amendments proposed to the bill.

A point of order raised at the March 7 meeting by State Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville)–whether it was in order for Chairman Doss, as sponsor of the bill, to preside over the hearing–was raised indirectly at Tuesday’s meeting.

Hill’s earlier point of order was resolved at the March 7 meeting when the Clerk advised the committee that House Majority Leader State Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) is the sponsor of the bill, with Doss and other members of the House acting as co-sponsors. Consequently, the Clerk reported that Doss’ co-sponsor status “does not prevent him from presiding over this.”

State Rep John Mark Windle
State Rep John Mark Windle did not make a sudden motion to adjourn as he did last month in the Transportation Subcommittee

But on Tuesday, State Rep. Hill appeared to successfully drive home the point that Doss is, in effect, the bill’s primary sponsor even if he is listed as one of its “prime-co-sponsors,” as opposed to its sponsor.

“This is Chairman Doss’ legislation that he chose to roll? That’s correct?” Hill asked of Acting Chair Rogers when she relayed Doss’ request to “roll” the bill another week.

“This is Chairman Doss’ bill that he is carrying, that he chose to roll. Is that correct, Madam Chair?” he asked again.

“Correct,” Acting Chairman Rogers responded.

“Last week, it was Casada’s bill, so Doss could preside over the hearing. This week, it’s Doss’ bill so he could roll it,” one source who was present at the hearing tells The Star.

State Rep Hawk
State Rep Hawk came prepared to discuss the Hawk Plan but the committee’s only action was to roll the IMPROVE Act

Subsequent to that exchange, State. Rep Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), who had presented the IMPROVE Act for consideration by the committee at its March 7 meeting, chose not to present the bill at this Tuesday’s meeting.

According to the Tennessee General Assembly website, the result of Tuesday’s committee hearing was “Action deferred in Transportation Committee to 3/21/17.”

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