Students travel to state capitol to learn law-making process

Southwest’s 2019 Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature student delegation

Southwest’s 2019 Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature student delegation.

The Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) is a four-day mock legislative session for college students across the state.  Each student serving in the mock legislature is required to write a piece of legislation that will be debated and voted on at the state capitol in Nashville, just like Tennessee’s real General Assembly. Southwest students chosen to participate see and learn how the state legislature works. They also develop leadership skills and network with other students from across the state who share their interest in government and the political process.

TISL advisors Dr. Eddie Baker and Ms. Tamera Boyland say TISL preparation is intense, requiring hard work and a commitment to learning about the legislative process, bills, and other elements essential to team success.  “TISL is a wonderful opportunity for students who are interested in government because it gives them the first-hand experience of the legislative process,” Dr. Baker said.

The 2019 TISL session was held Nov. 21-24.  Southwest sent a 12-student delegation that included two students serving in the Senate, seven in the House of Representatives, two as lobbyists and one as a media representative. 

The Southwest delegation were:

  • Celena Celej - Lobbyist CEO/Head Delegate
  • Olajide Ibitoye - Lobbyist
  • Dana Warwick - Senator
  • Mitchell Grimm - Alternate Senator
  • Josephine Owens - Representative
  • Carl Slappy, Jr. - Representative
  • Josue Flores - Representative
  • Anya Parker - Representative
  • Stephanie Harrington - Representative
  • Ryan Parkhurst- Representative
  • Reagan Warwick – Media

Throughout the mock session, students were challenged to draft and present legislation, as well as serve in numerous other capacities.  The Southwest TISL Team drafted the following 11 bills, eight of which passed through the house and senate:

Carl Slappy, Jr. (at left) reviews the media bill with staff from Representative John B. Holsclaw’s office.

Carl Slappy, Jr. (at left) reviews the media bill with staff from Representative John B. Holsclaw’s office.

1) Protecting the independence of campus media at public post-secondary educational institutions;
2)  Providing day care for teen mothers while in high school;
3) Requiring life skills course for high school students;
4) Requiring K-12 teachers to obtain emergency bleeding control certification;
5) Requiring mental health counselors in all public primary and secondary schools;
6)  Prohibiting workforce discrimination due to natural hair texture and protective hairstyles;
7)  Providing 24-hour access to on-campus libraries and study areas of post-secondary institutions; and,
8) Requiring creative activity courses in Tennessee public high schools.

Carl Slappy, Jr. is working toward earning two associate degrees at Southwest in accounting and business administration. He says the experience was eye-opening. “Attending the mock session is not for the faint of heart—there is a lot of work and preparation involved, but it’s definitely worth going,” he said.  Slappy helped edit the bill calling for the independence of campus media. “It was fascinating and challenging to learn the proper procedures and framework of how bills are pushed through the house and senate.”

Students interested in participating in the 2020 TISL experience should contact the Office of Student Development at 901-333-5380 or