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Redistricting Starts Session

Information is provided by 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley R-Hohenwald who represents Giles and five other counties in the State Legislature.

The Tennessee State Senate has voted in favor of new Senate and Congressional redistricting maps for Tennessee.

The votes followed a lengthy and transparent process of gathering and considering input from stakeholders throughout the state.

The new Senate map balances the federal mandate of “one person, one vote” with the state constitutional mandate not to split counties. There are just nine county splits, and a historically low deviation among districts of 6.1%.

Senate District 28 is significantly changed because of population shifts in the state.

Perry County moves into district 27, and Wayne and Lawrence Counties move into district 26. Marshall County and part of Williamson County move into district 28.

"This is a change I tried to prevent, but the shift in population required changes to the district, " Hensley said.

The changes will take place at the next election in November.

The new Congressional map has zero deviation among districts as prescribed in federal case law; all districts contain exactly 767,871 people, with the exception of the 4th District, which has 767,872 people.

The map splits just 10 counties among the nine districts and it honors the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee: The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd districts are wholly within East Tennessee, the 8th and ninth districts are wholly within West Tennessee, and growing Middle Tennessee gets four districts.

Population increases in and around Davidson County have made splitting the county a logical move to manage growth.

There is also precedence for doing so. The last two Democrat-drawn maps in 2002 and 1992 split Davidson County in two.

In the 1990s, Democratic Congressman Bart Gordon represented part of Davidson County, and in the 2000s, Republican Congressman Marsha Blackburn represented part of the county.

Democrats have also split both Shelby County and Knox County three ways at times.

“This map is legal, it is logical, and it is fair,” said Sen. Jack Johnson.

“It recognizes the regional differences among our three Grand Divisions, and it will give Tennesseans a strong voice in Washington.”

Gov. Lee to Deliver Fourth State of the State Address

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is set to deliver his fourth State of the State address to the General Assembly and fellow Tennesseans on Monday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. CT.

The joint session will take place in the House Chamber of the Tennessee State Capitol.

“I look forward to sharing my vision for Tennessee, including my budget and legislative priorities for the year,” Lee said.

“Tennessee shows the rest of the country that America hasn’t lost her way, and with the support of the General Assembly, we’ll continue to ensure Tennessee is a national leader for opportunity and freedom.”

Tennessee is in the best financial condition in recent history, having seen $1.2 billion in excess revenue from the 2020-2021 fiscal year, as well as $1.112 billion in revenue over budgeted estimates in the first four months of the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Tennessee has a proud tradition of being a fiscally conservative and well managed state with the lowest possible tax burden to residents.

The AAA-rated Volunteer State is among the five least indebted states in the nation per capita, ranks third for best-funded pension plans and is one of only five states without road debt.

The high ranking is also boosted by the state’s low unemployment, rising educational achievement, and robust job growth.

Expect the legislature to be very thoughtful in how state dollars are budgeted by possibly even taking a multi-year approach in spending to ensure Tennessee’s continued strong financial stability.

State’s unemployment hit pre-pandemic low — Tennessee’s unemployment rate is back to the pre-pandemic level of 4.0 percent according to Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Jeff McCord who appeared before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

He said the rate could dip even lower to the 3 percent range. This is the lowest unemployment has been since March 2020, which was the last month before COVID-19 business closures impacted Tennessee’s economy.

The rate, which fares better than the national average of 4.2 percent, is among the lowest in the Southeast.

McCord said that with unemployment rates back to record low levels, Tennessee needs to focus on the state’s workforce labor percentage to address the supply and demand issues. While Tennessee has the highest rate in the Southeast at over 60 percent, it is still too low to meet labor demands.

“If we are going to solve the supply/demand issue that we have, we are going to have more supply,” McCord said regarding workforce needs.

“One of the ways you turn that around is that you introduce work at an early age and the work-based learning programs in education and what they are doing to introduce 16 and 17 year-olds to work while we have them is part of an overall strategy to help with that.”

As a result of Tennessee’s falling unemployment, McCord said the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund is taking in more money than the state pays out in unemployment benefits. With over $1 billion, the trust fund is solvent. Keeping the Unemployment Trust Fund on solid financial ground, without raising taxes, will continue to be a priority.

Hensley may be reached at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville TN 37243, or by calling 615-741-3100 or toll free at 1-800-449-8366, Extension 1300.

His district address is 855 Summetown Highway, Hohenwald, Tenn.,, 38462. His telephone number is 931-796-2018, his cell phone number is 931-212-8823. His e-mail is sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

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