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Tennessee Speaker of the House replaces most subcommittees

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January 14, 2011

Speaker Beth Harwell (R) revised the committee structure in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell replaced the majority of specialized subcommittees of the Tennessee House of Representatives with smaller groups.[1] There will now be only one subcommittee for each of the 14 committees of the Tennessee House. This change replaces over two dozen subcommittees.

Harwell was elected to the position of Speaker of the House on January 11, 2011, making history as the highest-ranking woman to date that has served in the Tennessee Government.[2] She states that her goal in making this change is to "streamline the process." She added, "I think in this system, subcommittees are going to be even more important because the bills assigned to them will be bills that are either controversial or complex in nature."[1]

In addition to the revamping of the committee system, Harwell made a Republican the leader of each of the 14 standing committees.

Republicans gained 13 seats last November, yielding an increase from a weak majority to nearly a two-thirds majority in the House. This, coupled with the recent change in the committee workings, could lead to Republicans passing legislation more easily in the coming legislative session.

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