Right-to-work laws, unemployment trust fund priorities for General Assembly

By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor

NASHVILLE – Taking steps to remain business friendly is a priority of the upcoming 112th General Assembly according to Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton. Key topics will include right-to-work laws, unemployment trust fund, reducing regulations and keeping taxes low.

Last November, Sen. Brian Kelsey filed legislation that would add Tennessee’s right-to-work law to the state constitution. 

By law, any amendment to the state constitution must be approved twice by the Legislature; once by simple majority and again by two-thirds majority after an election. The amendment then would go on the ballot for voter approval during a gubernatorial election. It must pass by a simple majority.

The amendment was first approved by the Legislature during its spring 2020 session. It must now be approved by the two-thirds majority before it could be placed on the ballot alongside the 2022 governor’s race.

Another priority of the Legislature is continuing to make sure that the unemployment trust fund doesn’t go below a certain level which would raise business’ fees.

Reducing business regulations and keeping taxes low are expected to be other hot topics this session. 

“We are one of the lowest taxed states in America,” said Sexton. “It’s (Tennessee) a good state to do business in, and I think that’s why you see a lot of businesses relocating into the U.C. area, especially into the Cookeville area, as well as all across the state. I think we have an excellent business climate during the pandemic when other states are having to raise taxes to balance their budget, we’re actually able to cut taxes.”

Sexton encouraged constituents to become involved in state government and learn what legislation is being discussed.

“The Tennessee General Assembly live streams everything,” Sexton said. “Interested parties can log onto the Tennessee General Assembly website and watch anything current or past. A list of bills will be available on the website once the filing deadline passes, and any of the bills that are important to an individual can be tracked as they move through the Legislature.”

Sexton also encouraged business leaders others interested to learn who your legislators are and to contact them with any concerns.

“The website lists all contact information on each legislator and provides a means to determine who represents any certain area,” Sexton said. “Make sure you use your local representative or State Senator as a resource. We’re there to serve, and we always look forward to hearing from our constituents, whether it’s about policy, how we can help in a situation or just to reach out.” 

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