Governor signs Hawkins-Wilson Act sponsored by McNally to ensure state’s financial integrity

Senator McNally, Governor Bill Haslam, Comptroller Wilson and the portrait of Governor Alvin Hawkins

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) – Legislation enacted by the General Assembly this year ensuring Tennessee’s financial integrity was recognized recently at a ceremonial signing event in Nashville. The bill, sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), is named the Hawkins-Wilson Act, in recognition of Tennessee’s 22nd Governor, the late Alvin Hawkins, and Justin Wilson, who is currently serving his third term as the state’s Comptroller.

Hawkins served as Governor from 1881 to 1883. He favored full repayment of the state debt which was in default after the Reconstruction Era building of roads and bridges.

“The Hawkins-Wilson law reforms, clarifies and modifies Tennessee’s bond authorization statute to ensure the financial integrity of the state of Tennessee into the next century,” said Chairman McNally. “It also says the state’s annual debt service shall not exceed 10 percent of the total state revenue allocated to the general fund and the highway fund, setting out a clear, explainable debt service limitation to keep us on the right financial course.”

The new law is a rewrite of the state’s 1937 statute dealing with bond authorization. It also deals with changes in accounting practices to bring state law up to date. The bill was written utilizing best standards and practices nationwide.

“This new law is based on gold standard practices from various AAA states, including Virginia, Maryland and Utah,” added McNally. “It brings us into the 21st century with a renewed commitment to fiscal conservatism that has helped Tennessee become one of the most financially stable states in the nation. I am very pleased this new law has been enacted and that it will carry the names of two of our state’s most influential leaders in sound financial practices.”

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