Lee administration to do away with ‘flag letters’

Bill Lee takes the oath of office as Tennessee’s 50th governor in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s administration is doing away with “flag letters” traditionally issued by executive branch agencies over concerns about pending legislation.

Here’s a letter Legislative Director Brent Easley sent to all the members of the General Assembly on Friday.

Members,

I am alerting you to a change in policy that will take place over the next week regarding legislative priorities.

In the past, you have received “flag letters” from the Governor’s Office or departments when they have noted an issue, concern or opposition to legislation that has been filed. This transparency is critical, but we believe there is a more effective way to communicate these positions.

Moving forward, we will begin implementing the following system for positioning around legislative proposals.

  • When the Governor’s Office, or a state department/agency, notes opposition or concern about a legislative proposal, someone from that team will see you personally.
  • If a member of the liaison corps is not able to reach you in person, you will receive a phone call from them, followed by an email letting you know they are reaching out about a legislative item.
  • We will also share a weekly list of bills that have been “flagged” for various reasons with legislative leadership to provide an additional layer of transparency about our positioning. This document will be available in their respective offices for your review.

From personal experience, I know that connecting one on one is a best practice and can help us all move forward more effectively. With this change, we appreciate your patience and welcome your feedback.

Best,

Brent Easley

Legislative Director

Office of the Governor

6 Responses to Lee administration to do away with ‘flag letters’

  • James White says:

    Will the public have access to : “We will also share a weekly list of bills that have been “flagged” for various reasons with legislative leadership to provide an additional layer of transparency about our positioning. This document will be available in their respective offices for your review.” ?

  • Donna Locke says:

    Ha, ha.

  • Bob Miles says:

    Director Easley, any bill that the governor’s office or state dept. agency has a problem with, you need to make that public so the people will know the reason for the opposition. We want transparency all around.

  • Eddie White says:

    Sounds like a reasonable request.

  • Susan E Gingrich says:

    The governor better have knowledgeable, capable staff assigned to review proposed state and federal legislation, analyzing it in detail, accessing any potential financial impact to TN and taxpayers. After it is passed, is too late! As a bureaucrat in PA, I and others had this responsibility, including helping legislative relations respond to concerned state legislators, as well as directly to the governor’s office and his cabinet. I’m not looking for a job, just better TN government and transparency! #Patriots Reborn

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