Slowing Going For Lawmakers On Tennessee's Capitol Hill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - There's a prediction from a top state lawmaker that this year's session will be done by mid-April, but you would never know it by the current pace.

Tennessee lawmakers have been in session for exactly a month, and many say they have little to show for it.

“I want TN to lead the nation in jobs, education and government efficiency,” said Governor Bill Haslam during his State of the State.

The Governor has proposed a state budget, a plan to fight opioids abuse, and reforms for a broken juvenile justice system, but those major pieces of legislation are among about 1500 bills filed.

Getting to the big items takes a while as all those other bills wind their way through a committee system.

When asked if the pace of the session going to pick up, House Republican Leader Rep. Glen Casada said, “We are picking up. We have about 60 bills on notice.”

Despite some signs of movement this week, the slower than usual pace on Tennessee's Capitol Hill over the last month has caught the eye of everyone there from lawmakers to lobbyists and those who cover them.

Minority democrats are quick to seize on inaction.

“What we are doing in TN right now is we are sitting around up in the Legislature and basically doing nothing about the really important problems facing our state,” said House Democrat Caucus Chair Rep. Mike Stewart.

The Republicans who control things are not so worried about the pace for now. They would point out their sessions are much shorter than ones controlled for decades by Democrats.

There is even a prediction from the House Republican leader.

“We are going to be out of here, dare I say a date, mid-April (smile),” said Rep. Casada. The mid-April prediction would mean one of the shortest legislative sessions in recent years.

That's just a little over two months from now. Of course, the pace up here will eventually pick up. This is an election year for three-quarters of the state lawmakers, and they want to get out of here as quick as they can.

 


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