Senator Mark Norris
9A Legislative Plaza,
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0232
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©2016 Mark Norris
Norris in the Senate
He is working for you…
Elected in the first year of the new millennium, Mark Norris brought new energy to the State Senate in 2000.
7 years later, he took charge as the first Republican Senate Majority Leader from West of the Tennessee River in more than a decade.
In the ensuing years, was instrumental in growing the Republican Majority from 17 out of 33 members in 2007 to 28 out of 33 members today.
Recognized by the National Federation of Independent Business in 2008 and 2013 as a Guardian of Small Business, he has championed economic growth. Tennessee is now one of the top states in the nation for business with the number one growth in personal income in the Southeast and the lowest debt per capita nationwide.
Norris received the American Conservative Union’s Award for Conservative Excellence in 2016.
Through tax cuts which he sponsored, (including repeal of the gift tax and the death tax), reductions in the size of state government, and innovative reforms like LEAP (Labor Education Alignment Program) and the VETS (Veterans Education Transition) Support Act, he is known for his innovation.
Norris was responsible for initiating the referendum to amend the Tennessee Constitution to provide property tax relief for senior citizens. Once on the ballot, the referendum passed in 2006 with nearly 1.4 million votes constituting over 80% of the vote. Norris subsequently sponsored and passed the Property Tax Freeze Act of 2007. Today, more than 47,000 Tennesseans in 23 counties and 29 municipalities are beneficiaries of the Norris property tax relief program.
In 2014, he was named Legislator of the Year 3 times: by the Tennessee PTA for his focus on education, children and families in restoring parental choice and neighborhood schools; the AMVETS awarded him their coveted Silver Bayonet Award for his relentless focus on veterans needs — from college degrees and jobs to a new state veterans home; and the Tennessee Association for Justice recognized him for reforming the state’s medical liability and workers’ comp laws while preserving access to justice and protecting the rights of individuals.
More recently, Leader Norris received the Tennessee Chamber’s “Champion of Commerce” Award, in part, as a result of his relentless pursuit of opportunities for Tennessee students at all levels — traditional and non-traditional — to receive a relevant education and gainful employment.
In 2015, Norris received the Distinguished Service to the States Medal following his chairmanship of the Council of State Governments. His “Pathways to Prosperity” initiative was recognized nationwide
for charting a course to economic recovery through relevant education, entrepreneurship and investment in initiatives like Tennessee Promise and the Drive to 55.
Through it all, Mark has remained true to his faith, his family and his farm in the Wolf River bottoms of Shelby County where he and his wife, Chris, enjoy living with four generations of family including their two grandchildren.
Working together for Tennessee
When Mark first took office, Tennessee was in disarray and decline. Calls for the imposition of an unconstitutional income tax divided the General Assembly. Important work was put on the back burner while tax battles overshadowed other needs. Mark introduced his “3R’s”—a program to reduce, reallocate and reform government spending. He achieved over $100 million in spending cuts in his first two years. He continued to work for across the board reductions in all departments, and they were finally adopted. He worked to balance the budget without raising taxes. He worked to increase funding for teachers, tackled TennCare, toughened penalties against illicit drugs and sex offenders, and increased funding for law enforcement. He succeeded in helping the legislature work together again.
Health, wealth and homesteads…
Mark focuses his efforts on issues of fundamental importance to real people. He helped to explain that TennCare could not be sustained as originally implemented, and he passed the laws necessary to replace it with responsible alternatives. He led the fight for tort and medical liability reform in order to guard against frivolous law suits and protect access to affordable health care.
He championed the cause for workers’ comp reform resulting in reduced premiums and dramatic cost savings for Tennessee business. He passed the Right to Farm Act. And he scored 100% on small business votes according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
He helped lead the fight against the income tax in Tennessee. Norris was the prime sponsor of property tax relief for senior citizens passing the Resolution for a Constitutional amendment to allow a homestead tax exemption in 2006.
Faith, family and freedom…
Mark helped sponsor the Resolution giving Tennesseans the right to vote for the right to life. He cosponsored the Resolution supporting a constitutional amendment in defense of marriage between one man and one woman, and he authored and passed into law anti-obscenity measures which gained national attention. He opposed the State’s attempt to restrict religious instruction in community based programs. He sponsored and passed legislation strengthening our Second Amendment rights. The son of a World War II veteran of the Army Air Corps, Mark sponsored the creation of The Purple Heart Highway from Millington to Dyersburg. He cosponsored the Resolution acknowledging the importance of God in our government, and he made certain that the Pledge of Allegiance is recited by our children in school every day by helping to sponsor and pass the law which requires it.