Jackson State Students Make Their Mark on TISL General Assembly

Jackson, Tenn. – Students from Jackson State Community College recently participated in the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) 39th General Assembly in Nashville. Two bills introduced by Jackson State were recommended to the state Legislature.

Bill Mathews, president of JSCC’s Student Government Association (SGA), Jessica Transou, SGA sophomore commissioner, Eric Henson, SGA freshman commissioner, and Andrew McArthur, vice president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, joined more than 200 delegates from 30 other accredited Tennessee colleges and universities at the Capitol for the four-day session.

‘To sum up everything in one sentence, I have a whole new respect for the political process,’ said McArthur. ‘As a result of TISL, I am far more capable of making a decision about pursuing politics as a career. There were lessons learned that no typical class could teach. Not even witnessing the real house and senate in session could come close to the experience of actually being on the floor.’

Prior to the session, each delegate was required to submit at least one bill to be heard by the house and senate. The student General Assembly votes and recommends no more than 20 of those bills to send to the state Legislature for review for law each November. This year, only 15 bills were recommended and two of those were written by Mathews. The topics of Mathews’ bills were campus vending services and definition of ‘vicious or dangerous dog’ in Tennessee state law.

Jackson State was recognized as one of only two colleges out of 30 to receive the ‘Best Delegation’ award. Mathews was one of only 10 students to receive the Carlisle Award, which is TISL’s oldest award named in honor of University of Tennessee Professor Douglas Carlisle who helped found TISL. Henson was named vice chair of next year’s Small School Caucus for the 40th TISL General Assembly.

‘I really enjoyed participating in TISL,’ said Transou. ‘I think that it is great to have the chance to experience first hand what it is like to sit in the legislature. The process is long and can be strenuous at times, however I feel that the rewards are far greater than any stress of deadlines or debates could ever be.’

TISL’s purpose is to promote interest in both state and federal government, strive for a more perfect knowledge and experience of judicial and legislative processes, provide leadership training in an environment that permits the expression and examination of a wide range of ideas, and promote cooperation in solving problems of general interest to the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature.