Local 24 Political Analyst and Commentator Otis Sanford gives his point of view on the end of the session for TN lawmakers.
Now that state lawmakers have ended their 2018 legislative session, it’s worth taking a look at the highs and lows from their three months of work in Nashville. For the most part, it was productive work on such issues as juvenile justice and school safety. But of course, some House members couldn’t resist a bit of pettiness. More on that later.
On the positive side, the legislature made important changes that will reduce the number of juveniles in state custody for minor offenses such a truancy. The reforms were a top priority for Governor Bill Haslam and they come with more than $4 million in funding for juvenile counseling services, mostly in rural areas.
Lawmakers also addressed the opioid crisis with bills limiting the prescription dosage for new patients and providing incentives for people locked up for opioid abuse to undergo treatment.
And they voted to put more armed off-duty law enforcement officers in schools to boost safety while wisely resisting attempts to armed teachers.
Still, some lawmakers could not leave the capital without showing support for the old confederacy, while at the same time thumbing their noses at Memphis. House Republicans added $250,000 dollars to the state budget for Memphis’ bicentennial, just so they could take it away as punishment for the city removing two confederate statues.
But despite that charade, lawmakers in 2018 seemed to do more good than harm.