Of Criminal Justice
Comm.; Hawk On
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
State House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, has announced committee and subcommittee appointments for the 108th General Assembly that "shake up" the way committees have been organized in recent years.
Locally, state Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, will serve on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, the Finance Committee and the Finance Subcommittee.
State Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-11th, of Cosby, will serve as vice-chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, as well as serving on the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and Local Government Committee.
According to a news release from Harwell's office, the Speaker chose to change the standing committees in an effort to make the process more efficient and save taxpayer money.
"When I was elected speaker, I made clear that a limited and efficient government was my priority," Harwell said in the release.
"Reaching those goals will always be a work in progress, and to that end I proposed changes to the committee system to balance the workload of each committee.
"When appointing committees, I consider each member's area of expertise, experience, previous service, and their interests," she added.
"I'm confident I struck that balance, and I'm looking forward to working with each of the members over the next two years as they serve in these roles."
Rep. Hawk has previously served on the Finance, Ways & Means Committee, the Calendar and Rules Committee, the Conservation and Environment Committee, and the Joint Education Oversight Committee.
Hawk relinquished his chairmanship of the Conservation and Environment Committee last March, shortly following a weekend altercation with his wife, Crystal Goan Hawk, at the couple's home.
In November, Hawk waived his arraignment in Greene County Criminal Court to a felony count of reckless endangerment related to that incident.
Hawk had been indicted on the count by a Greene County Grand Jury, which also issued a no-true-bill on a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault.
Judge John F. Dugger Jr. set a return court date for Hawk of May 29.
While Hawk will not be serving in a chair or vice-chair capacity this year, he will continue to serve on committees similar to those on which he has served in the past.
"Personally I'm very pleased with the committees that I have received," Hawk said in a telephone interview with The Greeneville Sun on Thursday.
He said that Harwell merged the Conservation and Environment Committee with the Agriculture Committee to form the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on which he now serves.
This committee will address legislation impacting land, water, air, wildlife, land use and agricultural property rights, among other issues, he said.
"Any time you see change, it's always interesting," he added, noting that previously some committees had been overwhelmed with hundreds of bills while others only handled a few dozen.
""In order to more equally distribute the work amongst committees, Harwell has done a good job leveling the playing field, trying to make sure that each committee is equally carrying its weight in the legislative process," he said.
FINANCE COMMITTEE ROLE
Hawk noted that the Finance Committee, renamed from the Finance, Ways and Means Committee, will deal most importantly with the state budget.
"The great honor is serving on the subcommittee for Finance," he added. "That's historically one of the more prestigious subcommittees in the House today.
"Just about any bill of any consequence will eventually make it to the Subcommittee on Finance."
Rep. Faison, who represents a small portion of Greene County along the Cocke County line, also expressed his satisfaction with his committee placements.
"It's very exciting to be able to be the vice-chair of the [Criminal Justice Committee]," he said in a telephone interview.
As for the Local Government Committee, Faison described it as a "good fit."
"We're doing everything we can to keep government out of the way of our local government so freedom can reign and jobs can be created," he said.
"I'm excited about being on both of them and look forward to this session."