NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — One of the sponsors of a bill to add a new state motto believes the legislation will help recognize the Volunteer spirit that makes up the people of the state.
Sen. Page Walley, who is carrying the senate companion bill for HB0047 by Rep. Clay Doggett, told News 2 the inspiration for the bill comes from both representatives’ district. A teacher in Lawrence County had her class do some research about Tennessee and focused on the volunteerism efforts from the War of 1812, which famously saw thousands of Tennesseans volunteer to enter the war. By the time it was over, an estimated 28,000 Tennessee men had answered the call to serve their country, earning the state its nickname as “The Volunteer State.”
But the state motto “Agriculture and Commerce” bears no reference to such an iconic point in Tennessee’s history, which Doggett and Walley wanted to rectify.
The bill, introduced in the legislature in January, would add “Send Me.” as a second official state motto.
“We are disproportionately responsive to help,” Walley told News 2. “That phrase, ‘Send Me,’ is a way that we can say if there’s a need, if our neighbors have a need, we can send help.”
The new motto would “more fully capture who we are as Tennesseans,” he said.
“Tennesseans have always answered the call when there was a need for volunteers – in times of war or natural disasters, both in other states and at home.” Doggett told News 2. “I think adding an additional state motto will embody that willingness to serve, without taking away from the legacy that is already encompassed in the current state motto.”
Walley and Doggett’s bills would not eliminate “Agriculture and Commerce” as a state motto. The phrase remains an official motto and is represented on the state seal.
Walley said he hopes the legislature will “embrace” the bill.
“I think it adds to the foundation of the spirit of our people,” he told News 2.
The bill has been assigned to the Public Service subcommittee in the House but does not appear to be up for discussion for that subcommittee’s next meeting on Feb. 7.
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.