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Tennessee Senate

Coordinates: 36°09′57″N 86°47′03″W / 36.1658°N 86.7843°W / 36.1658; -86.7843
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Senate of Tennessee
Tennessee General Assembly
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
New session started
January 10, 2023
Randy McNally (R)
since January 10, 2017
Speaker pro tempore
Ferrell Haile (R)
since January 19, 2018
Majority Leader
Jack Johnson (R)
since January 8, 2019
Minority Leader
Raumesh Akbari (D)
since January 10, 2023
Composition of the Tennessee Senate
Political groups
Majority party
  •   Republican (27)

Minority party

Length of term
4 years
AuthorityArticle III, Tennessee Constitution
Salary$24,316/year + per diem, employee benefits, travel reimbursement[1]
Last election
November 8, 2022
(17 seats)
Next election
November 5, 2024
(16 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative Control
Meeting place
State Senate Chamber
Tennessee State Capitol
Nashville, Tennessee

The Tennessee Senate is the upper house of the U.S. state of Tennessee's state legislature, which is known formally as the Tennessee General Assembly.

The Tennessee Senate has the power to pass resolutions concerning essentially any issue regarding the state, country, or world. The Senate also has the power to create and enforce its own rules and qualifications for its members. The Senate shares these powers with the Tennessee House of Representatives. The Senate alone has the power to host impeachment proceeding and remove impeached members of office with a 2/3 majority. The Tennessee Senate, according to the state constitution of 1870, is composed of 33 members, one-third the size of the Tennessee House of Representatives. Senators are to be elected from districts of substantially equal population. According to the Tennessee constitution, a county is not to be joined to a portion of another county for purposes of creating a district; this provision has been overridden by the rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States in Baker v. Carr (369 U.S. 182, 1962) and Reynolds v. Sims (337 U.S. 356, 1964). The Tennessee constitution has been amended to allow that if these rulings are ever changed or reversed, a referendum may be held to allow the senate districts to be drawn on a basis other than substantially equal population.

Until 1966, Tennessee state senators served two-year terms. That year the system was changed, by constitutional amendment, to allow four-year terms. In that year, senators in even-numbered districts were elected to two-year terms and those in odd-numbered districts were elected to four-year terms. This created a staggered system in which only half of the senate is up for election at any one time. Senators from even-numbered districts are elected in the same years as presidential elections, and senators from odd-numbered districts are elected in the same years as mid-term elections. Districts are to be sequentially and consecutively numbered; the scheme basically runs from east to west and north to south.[citation needed]

Republicans attained an elected majority in the Senate in the 104th General Assembly (2005–07) for the first time since Reconstruction; a brief majority in the 1990s was the result of two outgoing senators switching parties. Following the 2018 elections, there were no Democratic senators from East Tennessee. There were three Democrats from Memphis in West Tennessee, and three from Middle Tennessee, two from Nashville and one from the Nashville suburb of Goodlettsville.

Senate Speaker[edit]

According to Article III, Section 12 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, the Speaker of the Senate assumes Office of Governor in the event of a Vacancy. The Senate elects one of its own members as Speaker and the Speaker automatically becomes Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee. The Speaker appoints a Speaker Pro Tempore who presides over the Senate in the absence of the Speaker as well as a Deputy speaker to assist the Speaker in his or her duties. The current Speaker of the Senate and Lieutenant Governor is Randy McNally, who was elected to the position in 2017. One of the main duties of the Speaker is to preside over the Senate and make Senate committee appointments based upon ability and preference of members, seniority, and party representation. The Speaker also maintains the power to remove members from Committee appointments. The Speaker, in cohort with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, chairs the Joint Legislative Services Committee which provides assistance to the General Assembly. The Speaker also controls staffing and office space with Senate staff. The Speaker serves as an ex-officio member of all standing committees.[2]

Oath and qualifications of office[edit]

Oath of office[edit]

"I [name of official] do solemnly swear that, as a member of this, the [number, ex. One Hundred Eleventh] General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, I will faithfully support the Constitution of this State and of the United States, and I do solemnly affirm that as a member of this General Assembly, I will, in all appointments, vote without favor, affection, partiality, or prejudice; and that I will not propose or assent to any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to me injurious to the people, or consent to any act or thing, whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this state."[2]

Qualifications for office[edit]

"No person shall be a senator unless he shall be a citizen of the United States, of the age of thirty years, and shall have resided three years in this state, and one year in the county or district, immediately preceding the election."[2]

Composition of the 113th General Assembly (2023-2025)[edit]

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democratic Vacant
End of previous legislature 27 6 33 0
Beginning of 113th GA 27 6 33 0
Latest voting share 81.8% 18.18%

Senate Leadership and Members[edit]

Senate Leaders[3]

Majority Party (R) Leadership Position Minority Party (D)
Jack Johnson Leader Raumesh Akbari
Ken Yager Caucus Chairperson London Lamar


District Name Party First elected Residence Counties represented
1 J. Adam Lowe Rep 2022 Calhoun Meigs, McMinn, Rhea, and part of Bradley
2 Art Swann Rep 2016 Alcoa Blount, Monroe, Polk, and part of Bradley
3 Rusty Crowe Rep 1990 Johnson City Carter, Johnson, and Washington
4 Jon Lundberg Rep 2016 Bristol Hawkins, Sullivan
5 Randy McNally Rep 1986 Oak Ridge Anderson, Loudon, and part of Knox
6 Becky Duncan Massey Rep 2011* Knoxville Part of Knox
7 Richard Briggs Rep 2014 Knoxville Part of Knox
8 Frank S. Niceley Rep 2012 Strawberry Plains Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Jefferson, Union, and part of Sevier
9 Steve Southerland Rep 2002 Morristown Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Unicoi, and part of Sevier
10 Todd Gardenhire Rep 2012 Chattanooga Bledsoe, Marion, Sequatchie, and part of Hamilton
11 Bo Watson Rep 2006 Hixson Part of Hamilton
12 Ken Yager Rep 2008 Kingston Campbell, Clay, Fentress, Macon, Morgan, Overton, Pickett, Roane, and Scott
13 Dawn White Rep 2018 Murfreesboro Part of Rutherford
14 Shane Reeves Rep 2017* Murfreesboro Bedford, Cannon, Moore, and part of Rutherford
15 Paul Bailey Rep 2014 Sparta Cumberland, Jackson, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, and White
16 Janice Bowling Rep 2012 Tullahoma Coffee, DeKalb, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, and Warren
17 Mark Pody Rep 2017* Lebanon Wilson and part of Davidson
18 Ferrell Haile Rep 2012 Gallatin Sumner, and Trousdale
19 Charlane Oliver Dem 2022 Nashville Part of Davidson
20 Heidi Campbell Dem 2020 Nashville Part of Davidson
21 Jeff Yarbro Dem 2014 Nashville Part of Davidson
22 Bill Powers Rep 2019* Clarksville Part of Montgomery
23 Kerry Roberts Rep 2014 (2011*) Springfield Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys, Robertson, and part of Montgomery
24 John Stevens Rep 2012 Huntingdon Benton, Carroll, Gibson, Henry, Houston, Obion, Stewart, and Weakley
25 Ed Jackson Rep 2014 Jackson Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Henderson, and Lake, Madison, and Perry
26 Page Walley Rep 2020 Bolivar Chester, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Lawrence, McNairy, and Wayne
27 Jack Johnson Rep 2006 Franklin Part of Williamson
28 Joey Hensley Rep 2012 Hohenwald Giles, Lewis, Marshall, Maury, and part of Williamson
29 Raumesh Akbari Dem 2018 Memphis Part of Shelby
30 Sara Kyle Dem 2014 Memphis Part of Shelby
31 Brent Taylor Rep 2022 Memphis Part of Shelby
32 Paul Rose Rep 2019* Covington Lauderdale, Tipton and part of Shelby
33 London Lamar Dem 2022* Memphis Part of Shelby
*Senator was originally elected in a special election or appointed

Senate Committees[edit]

The Tennessee State Senate has 12 committees in total: 9 standing committees and 3 select committees. Committee assignments for the 112th General Assembly were announced in the January 12, 2021 organizational session:[4]

Standing Committees[5]
Committee Name Chair Vice-chair
Commerce and Labor Sen. Paul Bailey (R) 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Art Swann (R)

2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Frank Nicely (R)

Education Sen. Jon Lundberg (R) 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D)
Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Sen. Steve Southerland (R) 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Frank Niceley (R)

2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Mark Pody (R)

Finance, Ways, and Means Sen. Bo Watson (R) 1st Vice Chair: Sen. John Stevens (R)

2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Joey Hensley (R)

Government Operations Sen. Kerry Roberts (R) 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Ed Jackson (R)

2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Janice Bowling (R)

Health and Welfare Sen. Rusty Crowe (R) 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Ferrell Haile (R)

2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Shane Reeves (R)

Judiciary Vacant 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Dawn White (R)

2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Paul Rose (R)

State and Local Government Sen. Richard Briggs (R) 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R)

2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Page Walley (R)

Transportation and Safety Sen. Becky Duncan Massey (R) 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Bill Powers (R)

2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Mark Pody (R)

Select Committees
Committee Name Chair Vice-chair
Calendar Sen. Ed Jackson (R) 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Jack Johnson (R)

2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D)

Ethics Sen. Ferrell Haile (R) 1st Vice Chair: Sen. John Stevens (R)
Rules Sen. Bo Watson (R) 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Richard Briggs (R)

Past composition of the Senate[edit]

In 1921, Anna Lee Keys Worley became the first woman to serve in the Tennessee Senate.[6]


  1. ^ "2022 Legislator Compensation". www.ncsl.org.
  2. ^ a b c Tennessee Blue Book.
  3. ^ "Senate Leadership". capitol.tn.gov. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  4. ^ Kleinheider, Adam (January 13, 2021). "New 112th TGA @tnsenate committee assignments made this morning by @ltgovmcnally. @BrianKelsey will chair Education. @SenatorBriggs moves to State & Local. @HaileforSenate is new Ethics chair". Twitter.
  5. ^ "Legislative Senate Committees - Tennessee General Assembly". www.capitol.tn.gov. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  6. ^ "Anna Lee Keys Worley". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved August 5, 2018.

External links[edit]

36°09′57″N 86°47′03″W / 36.1658°N 86.7843°W / 36.1658; -86.7843