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Tennessee Senate
Type Upper house
Speaker of the Senate Ron Ramsey, (R)
since January 2007
Majority Leader Mark Norris, (R)
since January 2007
Minority Leader Jim Kyle, (D)
since January 2007
Members 33
Political groups Republican Party
Democratic Party
Last election November 4, 2008
Meeting place
Senate Chamber,
Tennessee State Capitol, Nashville, TN, U.S.

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

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 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 US 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. Districts are to be sequentially and consecutively numbered; the scheme basically runs from east to west and north to south.

Republicans attained an elected majority in the Senate in the 104th General Assembly (2005–2006) for the first time since Reconstruction; a brief majority in the 1990s was the result of two outgoing senators switching parties.


Senate Speaker Duties

The senate elects one of its own members as Speaker; the Speaker automatically becomes Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee. The current Speaker of the Senate and Lieutenant Governor is Ron Ramsey, who was elected to the position in 2007. One of the main duties of the speaker is to preside over the senate and make senate committee appointments. The speaker also controls staffing and office space with senate staff. Speaker serves as an ex-officio member of all standing committees.

Make up of Tennessee Senate, 106th General Assembly (2009-2010)

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democratic Independent Vacant
End of previous legislature 16 16 1 33 0
Begin 19 14 0 33 0
August 10, 2009[1] 18 32 1
December 1, 2009[2] 19 33 0
Latest voting share 57.6% 42.4%

Senate Leadership and Members

Senate Leaders

Majority Leadership (R)

Minority Leadership (D)

Senate Members

District Name Party Counties Represented
1 Steve Southerland Rep Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, and Unicoi
2 Ron Ramsey Rep Johnson and Sullivan
3 Rusty Crowe Rep Washington and Carter
4 Mike Faulk Rep Clairborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, and Union
5 Randy McNally Rep Anderson, Loudon, Monroe, and part of Knox
6 Jamie Woodson Rep Part of Knox
7 Tim Burchett Rep Part of Knox
8 Doug Overbey Rep Blount and Sevier
9 Dewayne Bunch Rep Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, and Polk
10 Andy Berke Dem Part of Hamilton, Marion
11 Bo Watson Rep Part of Hamilton
12 Ken Yager Rep Campbell, Fentress, Morgan, Rhea, Roane, and Scott
13 Bill Ketron Rep Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, and part of Rutherford
14 Eric Stewart Dem Franklin, Bledsoe, Coffee, Grundy, Sequatchie, Van Buren, and Warren
15 Charlotte Burks Dem Cumberland, Jackson, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White
16 Jim Tracy Rep Bedford, Moore, and part of Rutherford
17 Mae Beavers Rep Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, part of Sumner, Trousdale, and Wilson
18 Diane Black Rep Sumner and Robertson
19 Thelma Harper Dem Part of Davidson
20 Joe M. Haynes Dem Part of Davidson
21 Douglas Henry Dem part of Davisdon
22 Tim Barnes Dem Montgomery, Houston, Cheatam
23 Jack Johnson Rep Williamson and part of Davidson
24 Roy Herron Dem Benton, Decatur, Henry, Henderson, Lake, Obion, Perry, Stewart, and Weakley
25 Doug Jackson Dem Dickson, Giles, Hickman, Humphreys, Lawrence, and Lewis
26 Dolores Gresham Rep Chester, Crockett, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, McNairy, and Wayne
27 Lowe Finney Dem Carroll, Madison, Gibson
28 Jim Kyle Dem part of Shelby
29 Ophelia Ford Dem part of Shelby
30 Beverly Marrero Dem part of Shelby
31 Brian Kelsey Rep part of Shelby
32 Mark Norris Rep Dyer, Lauderdale, Tipton, and part of Shelby
33 Reginald Tate Dem part of Shelby

Senate Standing Committee Chairs

  • Commerce, Labor & Agriculture: Vacant
  • Education: Dolores Gresham
  • Environment, Conservation & Tourism: Steve Southerland
  • Finance, Ways and Means: Randy McNally
  • Transportation: Jim Tracy
  • General Welfare, Health & Human Resources: Rusty Crowe
  • Government Operations: Jack Johnson
  • Judiciary: Mae Beavers
  • State and Local Government: Bill Ketron


External links



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