Legislators are considering whether the General Assembly should have the final say on agencies created by governor executive order.
A proposed bill would empower lawmakers to review any executive agencies created through the governor’s emergency powers. Specifically, the Joint Committee on Government Operations would decide within 60 days whether the executive agency should be allowed to exist, and notify the General Assembly within 5 days of the completion of the review.
State Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) and State Representative Michael Curcio (R-Dickson) are the sponsors on the legislation.
Curcio explained on Monday that the bill would allow for oversight that currently exists for other governmental entities.
“[It is] providing that same level of oversight by the people of Tennessee that we have now with other agencies. When we talk about sunset hearings and things of that nature, we are all very well-versed in, it’s just providing that oversight when the governor is using his or her emergency powers,” stated Curcio.
The House Government Operations Committee approved the bill without discussion on Monday. The bill passed along with similar ease in the Senate Government Operations Committee.
During a hearing before the House State Government Committee, the legislative liaison from the governor’s office, Valerie Yancey, spoke in opposition to the bill. Yancey said the bill’s proposed review timeline would hinder decisions that needed to be made on an expedient basis.
An approved amendment modified the bill to allow for future flexibility of the General Assembly with name changes to the joint committee without impacting their ability to review the executive agencies under the bill.
The estimated fiscal impact for the joint committee to take on an additional review process came out to nearly $5,000 per meeting. Potential costs would include per diem pay and travel expense reimbursements.
The bill is making its way through committee in both the House and Senate.
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