Family and Personal:
Rep. Russell is a retired state trooper.
He is a member of University of Tennessee Hospital Trauma Survivors Network, Madisonville Kiwanis Club, Fraternal Order of Police, American Association of State Troopers, National Rifle Association, and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Councils and Boards:
He holds a Senate Appointment with the Tennessee Post Commission and serves as Board Member of the Vonore Historical Society, Tennessee Helping Hearts, and LCpl Frankie Watson Memorial Scholarship Award Foundation.
Rep. Lowell Russell (R) came to the GA in 2019 He is the Vice Chair, Calendar and Rules Committee, Member, Criminal Justice Committee, Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Select Ethics Committee, Transportation Committee, and the Transportation Subcommittee. Vice-chairman Russell is one of our champions, supporting twenty-six of the TLRC positions on chosen bills with only one vote contrary to TLRC position on scored bills, earning him a 96% vote score (he did have three other dissenting actions, cited below).
He co-sponsored seven of our favored bills:
SB0230/HB0016 – Hensley/Cepicky – Teacher’s discipline freedom, creating a path for the removal of unruly student (passed).
SB0228/HB0003 – Hensley/Cepicky – Protects female athletes by prohibiting biological males from participating in women’s sports (passed).
SB318/HB18 – Hensley/Griffey – Real Constitutional Carry. This bill would be totally compliant with the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution (placed behind the budget in the house and deferred in the senate).
SB0623/HB0580 – Bell/Ragan – The teaching of Critical Race Theory is prohibited in TN public schools (passed).
SB0717/HB1047 – C. Sexton/McNally – No probation or parole for child sex abusers (passed).
SB0828/HB1181 – – Rudd / Bowling – Fetal remains must be disposed of by burial or cremation, making it prohibitive to harvest or sell fetal body parts (passed).
SB0843/HB0513 – Rose/Gant – Increased penalties for various lawless activities when protesting/rioting (deferred to Summer Study).
Russell earned an 8.5 out of 10 on constitutional fidelity. His four errant actions were supportive of the following bills which TLRC opposed:
SB0425/HB1379 – Kumar/Massey – Would require insurers to cover infertility treatments which would result in higher premiums for all. Dictating to private business is antithetical to the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions but some of our legislators only remember that when it serves them (sent to Summer Study).
SB0736/HB0141 – Johnson/Lamberth (a Governor’s bill with which we take issue) – Special tax exemption for the film and video industry which was supported by a large majority of the General Assembly (passed). TLRC does not support special carve-outs for cherry-picked industries. The government should not be picking winners and losers.
HJR0010 – Parkinson – A Resolution to declare racism as a public health issue (sent to Summer Study). The passing of this resolution would have labeled Tennessee as a self-identified systemically racist state; we are not! “Systemic racism” has been conscripted and construed into a bludgeon to divide Americans. We must resist the comfortable path of acceptance, which implies assent.
SB0783/HB1204 – Massey/Zachary – Authorizes a special sales and use tax allocation to finance Randy Boyd’s Baseball stadium in Knoxville at the expense of Tennessee taxpayers—Boyd is a mega-millionaire (passed).
Media stories on the subject:
Boyd Sports to Profit from Events Held at Taxpayer-Funded Stadium – Tennessee Star
Representative Russell sponsored eighteen bills, nine of which passed into law (some regard highway issues, as Russell is a former Tennessee Highway Patrolman):
HB0175 clarifies that the mounting or placement of a trailer hitch ball in front of a registration plate will not be considered when making a determination whether the registration plate is clearly visible.
HB0177 authorizes property managers to testify against tenants in the same manner as landlords or owners of rental property.
HB0234 clarifies that the existing requirement for drivers of motorcycles to wear a helmet applies to drivers of autocycles that are not fully enclosed.
HB0364 authorizes members of the general assembly to request, in writing, the department to provide a copy of a crash report concerning fatal accidents that occurred in the member’s district; specifies that a crash report that is subject to an ongoing investigation or court order requiring the information be kept confidential is not subject to release under this bill.
HB0386 transfers administration of construction service provider registration from the secretary of state to the bureau of workers’ compensation.
HB0697 broadens the definition of “governmental entity” under the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act to include certain 501(c)(4) nonprofit property owners associations that, among other requirements, own and operate a water or sewer distribution service.
HB0705 adds use of vapor products to the acts that are prohibited in enclosed public places under the Non-Smoker Protection Act; revises provision whereby a local government may prohibit smoking by a distance of up to 50 feet from a hospital’s entrance unless the application of a 50-foot limit would place hospital patients in a potentially unsafe condition to make the provision mandatory instead of discretionary and to also apply to the use of vapor products.
HB1126 redefines “seclusion” with regard to children in custody at juvenile detention facilities approved, certified, or licensed by the department of children’s services, including youth development centers; enacts other related provisions.
HB1615 – Loudon – Subject to local approval, creates staggered terms of office for members of the city council.
We do not need more laws; we need better laws, and enforcement of the better laws we have. The grassroots are looking for courage in our legislators: courage to stand up for constitutional principles over pressure from leadership and paid lobbyists. Lowell Russell could be that member but must think more independently. We are at a crisis point and now is the time to stand for the people instead of special interests, the wealthy, and well-connected, and against those who assume power through corruption and coercion. If we do not, we could very well lose our republic and our liberties.