About the Office
The Tennessee Constitution mandates that the members of the State Senate shall choose a Speaker. Article 3, Section 12 of the Constitution also provides that the Speaker of the Senate, in the event of a vacancy in the office of the governor, shall assume that office. Additionally, by statute, the Speaker of the Senate holds the office of Lieutenant Governor of the State of Tennessee.
As Speaker of the Senate, various responsibilities include the maintaining of order in the Senate chamber and the direct supervision of the chief sergeant-at-arms of the Senate. The Lt. Governor also has the power of appointment of all officers and members of Senate committees, unless otherwise directed by the Senate. In making appointments the Lt. Governor is to consider the abilities, preferences, and seniority of members and the political party representation in the Senate. Likewise, the Lt. Governor possesses the power of removal from committee posts or memberships and serves as a member of all Senate standing committees. The Lt. Governor also has the power to appoint members of various boards and commissions throughout state government.
The Speaker serves as co-chairman of the Joint Legislative Services Committee which oversees offices that provide services to the General Assembly, and is an ex-oficio member of several boards and committees including the Fiscal Review Committee, the Tennessee Mental Health Board, and the Council on Pensions and Insurance. He also currently serves as chairman of the State Building Commission.