Tennessee Joins State Network Focused on Using Data for Governing

Monday, August 22, 2022 | 08:15am

NASHVILLE – Tennessee is joining a network of states to advance state use of evidence-based policymaking. The Office of Evidence and Impact in the Department of Finance and Administration will join the Governing for Results Network, a community of state executive and legislative branch leaders who exchange insights and best practices for greater efficiencies and improved services to citizens. State Senator Bo Watson of Hixson, Tennessee will also participate in the network.

“Gov. Bill Lee made it a priority to place a greater focus on ensuring that we invest in what works to best serve citizens across the state,” OEI Director Christin Lotz said. “We’re excited to join with peer states and collaborate with others who are using data to examine policy outcomes to find the best ways of serving Tennesseans.”

“It’s exciting to be part of a network of states using data for budget and policy decisions, and to compare practices among states so we can all learn from each other,” Watson said. “I’m proud that the state has made this a priority and look forward to the positive outcomes that will result for Tennesseans.”

The project is a collaboration of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the Policy Lab at Brown University. The trio of organizations bring leaders together to have candid conversations, share challenges and ideas, and learn from other states’ approaches. Legislators, legislative staff and executive branch leaders from ten other states—Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island and Utah—comprise the network.

OEI was launched in the spring of 2019, now working with agencies to classify state programs based on the level of available supporting evidence and to follow the principles of evidence-based budgeting.

In 2020 and 2021, the national group Results For America named Tennessee one of the top states in the nation for using data to make decisions. OEI’s Lotz was selected in 2020 to serve on the Federal Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building, which makes recommendations to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on how to improve data sharing and data linkage.

Sen. Watson was elected to the Senate in 2005, after first serving in the State House of Representatives. He is chairman of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Rules Committee.

For more information about evidence-based budgeting, the framework for evaluating state programs or to meet the Office of Evidence and Impact team, visit their website at  https://www.tn.gov/finance/oei.html.