Tennessee State Legislature

The Tennessee State Legislature reviews and often passes legislation pertinent to our environment, and specifically our water quality. From January to May of each year legislators meet in committees, on the floor of their respective houses, and with a variety of lobbyists to discuss legislation. Each General Assembly session takes two years. During this time all legislation which has been introduced is still in play, but at the end of each session any current business ceases. Learn more about Tennessee’s General Assembly.

The 109th Tennessee General Assembly ended its two-year session in May. The following were some of the bills TCWN will tracked this session:

HB833 (Powers) / SB842 (Yager): The intent of this bill was to return delegated authority to the state for managment of surface mining permits. TCWN opposes this idea. The program would be a burden to the state and a huge expense to taxpayers. Learn more.

HB442 (McDaniel) / SB390 (Nicely): This bill establishes a gold prospecting program in Tennessee, despite TDEC already creating a general permit for such activities. This bill would result in a weaker program that threatens not only our water qualitly, but natural trout streams within the Cherokee National Forest.

HB406 (Faison)/ SB468 (Bell): This bill would authorize agencies to amend rules upon the request of the Government Operations Committee without going through the rulemaking process, including public hearings even if the rules are completely rewritten.

HB315 (McDaniel) / SB328 (Tracy): This would allow fees to be charged just to access public records, inhibiting some members of the public from being able to review public documents.

HB1892 (Halford) / SB1830 (Southerland): Requires general permits issued under the Water Quality Control Act be no more restrictive than federal requirements for management of post-construction stormwater and also requires that provisions of certain general permits be promulgated in rule form prior to implementation. This bill would weaken our general permit conditions resulting in less water protection.

The committees most frequently involved in water quality legislation are the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Energy, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Committee. It is the role of these committees to review all legislation impacting the condition of our streams, changing water quality regulations, and all matters pertaining to water quality pollution.