MTSU graduate passes bill through Tennessee General Assembly as intern

MTSU spring graduate Dalton Slatton, center, of Whitwell, Tenn., is shown earlier this spring inside the offices of state Sen. Jeff Yarbro, for whom Slatton interned during the most recent legislative session in Nashville. Pictured, from left, are Lauren Agee, Yarbro’s senior policy adviser; David Aguilera, research analyst; Slatton; Yarbro, and Diane Irwin, executive assistant.

Photo courtesy of MTSU News

A recent MTSU graduate added his name to the short list of interns to ever create a bill that passed through both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly.

Dalton Slatton, a political science major with a concentration in pre-law who graduated from MTSU in May 2019, was an intern under Sen. Jeff Yarbro during the latest session of the General Assembly in Nashville. During this time, Yarbro encouraged Slatton to create his own legislation.

The bill, sponsored by Yarbro in the Senate and Rep. Iris Rudder in the House, amends a state law and raises the number of dual enrollment classes a high school student in Tennessee can take from eight to 10. The bill passed unanimously through both houses.

Yarbro said that he wanted to do something different with his intern and thanks to Slatton, students across the state will benefit.

“This year I tried something different with my intern,” Yarbro said, “I asked him to come up with an idea for a bill, tasked him to get it drafted, find co-sponsors, and work on getting it passed. Dalton took my task to heart, and now because of his efforts, students will have more opportunities to expand their education through the dual enrollment field than ever before.”

When looking for inspiration for this bill, Slatton thought back to his high school years taking dual enrollment classes. At the time, Tennessee law capped the number of dual enrollment classes a student could take at 8 classes. Because of this, the maximum number of hours a high school student could get before entering university was 24 hours.

Slatton took full advantage of this and completed the full amount of dual enrollment classes he was able to. However, this put him just shy of a full year completed when entering into his enrollment at MTSU. Because of this, in his first year, he had to take two 18 hour semesters which Slatton says ended up with him having to sacrifice his 4.0 GPA to keep up with the workload. However, if he was able to take 30 dual enrollment hours, he would’ve been able to take the typical 15 hour semesters and graduate at the same time.

It was this experience that inspired him to create his bill.

Slatton is now the among the few interns, and possibly the first, tohave created a bill that passed into law in Tennessee. A feat that Yarbro says is something to be proud of.

“I am proud of the bipartisan work Dalton put forward to expand our dual enrollment program and I truly think the legislation we passed will benefit future students, just like Dalton, who put in the extra time and hard work to go further in life.”

Slatton says this experience has shown him an appreciation and renewed love of public service.

“But this internship did show me that I do have a love for public service. I’d kind of known that growing up — I did a lot of community service and tried to help where I could. It’s different walking away from this internship, there’s something different about how I look at elected officials and serving in that capacity,” he said.

Slatton looks to start law school in the fall of 2019 at the College of William and Mary, and his bill, now a law, will go into effect July 2020.

To contact News Editor Savannah Meade, email

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