Sanderson, who was re-elected to the position in 2012, will serve his second term as state representative for Dyer, Lake, and a portion of Obion County. A sophomore legislator, Sanderson said 60 percent of the lower chamber of the Legislature has four years or less in experience and many senior legislators would not be returning after the previous elections. He said he is looking forward to the challenge and assisting many of the new members in acclimating in their new positions.
One of the first items of business on Tuesday was when a House committee recommended the passage of a 15-bill limit for legislators, rather than the 10-bill limit that House Speaker Beth Harwell had originally proposed. If it passes, the measure would only allow lawmakers to file 15 bills per year that have state significance, but does not affect bills of local application. Sanderson said he was for bill limitations because it would cut down on waste and make the Legislature more efficient.
"We believe government is too big and Speaker Harwell is trying to limit us to the amount of bills we carry, said Sanderson. "This is a move in the right direction and will make us much more efficient."
In measure that will make government more streamlined, Sanderson said Harwell also plans on introducing legislation to do away with out-of-date legislation that is antiquated, but still on the books.
Two other hot topics that many will be watching to see what legislators do with are health care and guns.
The federal health reform law requires Tennessee and every state to have an insurance exchange. This is an organized marketplace where individuals can search for and purchase health insurance for themselves and their family members. While the law requires each state to have an insurance exchange, states have the option of running their own exchange or handing that authority over to the federal government.
"Universal health care is a major concern and legislators are working on how to come up with $1.5 billion and everybody thinks they can do it," said Sanderson.
He also said legislators will address the issue of gun control.
"Guns in schools is something we will definitely look at," said Sanderson. "But, this is not something that will be done hastily. It will be debated and we aren't going to let any outside organizations dictate what we do."
Sanderson pointed out some general assemblies in other states don't meet every year, but said he's glad Tennessee does because some issues must be addressed in a timely manner.
"Things like workers' compensation has got to be addressed, education reform has to be tweaked," said Sanderson. "We need to come together every year so things like this can be discussed and worked out."
The Legislature will adjourn after Friday for two weeks to allow for legislative offices to be set up and painted. But, once they reconvene Sanderson said they are going to hit the ground running.
"It will be a nose to the grindstone for the next three months," said Sanderson. "We are going to have a lot of well thought-through legislation."
Sanderson had several local residents accompany him and his wife Marjie during Tuesday's opening session including, John Hamilton, Dyersburg Mayor John Holden, and Donald Ray Pennington.