NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — This legislative session, lawmakers will consider several bills that detail official state symbols.
The state of Tennessee has multiple official symbols, from a state beverage, three different state flowers, a state dog and more. Bills introduced in the General Assembly would add a second state motto, more official state songs and call for redesign of the official state seal, among others. Here are the bills that have been filed.
HB0047/SB0810: Establishes the phrase “Send Me.” as an additional state motto.
The official motto of Tennessee is “Agriculture and Commerce.” The words appear on the official state seal, underneath pictorial representations of both. Agriculture is represented on the seal by a plow, a cotton plant and a bundle of wheat. Commerce is represented by a riverboat. Rep. Clay Doggett (R—Pulaski) and Sen. Page Walley (R—Savannah)’s bill would add the phrase “Send Me.” as an additional motto.
HB0622/SB0511: Designates “The Tennessee in Me” by Debbie Mathis Watts as an official state song.
Tennessee currently has 10 different state songs. The earliest adoption of a state song was in 1925, according to the official state government website. That song is “My Homeland, Tennessee,” with lyrics by Nell Grayson Taylor and music by Roy Lamont Smith. Other official state songs include “Tennessee Waltz,” “Smoky Mountain Rain” and “Rocky Top.” The bill is carried by Rep. Johnny Garrett (R—Goodlettsville) and Sen. Ferrell Haile (R—Gallatin).
HB0771/SB0420: Requests the governor to submit a new design of the great seal of the state of Tennessee by July 1, 2025, that incorporates the language “In God We Trust.”
The seal of Tennessee was provided for in the state Constitution upon the state’s founding in 1796, but no design was fully adopted until six years later in 1802, according to the Secretary of State’s office. To date there have been either three or four different iterations of the seal, with one version of it having no record of authorization, according to the Secretary of State. The current seal was adopted by the 95th General Assembly in 1987.
Lawmakers have ordered the phrase “In God We Trust” be added to more official documents and facilities, including on the state license plate and in public schools.
The bill is carried by Rep. John Holsclaw (R—Elizabethton) and Sen. Rusty Crowe (R—Johnson City).
HB1437/SB1521: Designates “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle as an official state song.
If passed along with HB0622/SB0511, “Copperhead Road” would make the 12th song to be designated as an official state song. The bill is carried by Rep. Bo Mitchell (D—Nashville) and Sen. Heidi Campbell (D—Nashville).
HB0503/SB0565: Expresses the intent of the general assembly that the state museum, as much as is practicable, collect and display an example or representation of each official state symbol.
This bill, introduced by Rep. Tim Rudd (R—Murfreesboro) and Sen. Jon Lundberg (R—Bristol) would add a new sentence into current state law regarding the official state symbols resolving to see the state symbols held in the state museum.
HJR0023: Designates Pumpkin Pie as a symbol of Tennessee.
Introduced by Rep. Lowell Russell (R—Vonore), this bill would add pumpkin pie as an official symbol of Tennessee, though what kind of symbol is not outlined in the bill.
Hundreds of bills will be up for debate during the 113th General Assembly. Tennessee lawmakers shared their thoughts on some of the major issues up for discussion at this year’s legislative session.
What lawmakers had to say about: Abortion Ban Clarification | Marijuana Reform | Transgender Therapy and LGBTQ+ Rights | Dept. of Children’s Services | Education | Crime/Public Safety | More
You can also find daily coverage from the session here.