The Tennessee General Assembly is getting to the do-or-die point for new legislation.
The end of committee meetings means lawmakers have to make important decisions regarding bills that could determine whether they’ll pass or they’ll fail. This also means, in some cases, it’s time for compromise.
In the House, the so-called “Heartbeat Bill” (HB 77/SB 1236) passed a few weeks ago. This measure would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
But in 2017, the measure was deemed constitutionally suspect by the Tennessee attorney general. And that’s the reason why the Tennessee Senate hasn’t moved the bill.
Senate Speaker Randy McNally says that he’d like the Senate to ignore the Heartbeat Bill for now, and focus on another abortion bill, the Human Life Protection Act (HB 1029/SB 1257). The measure says that if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortions would then be banned in the state.
But that bill seems like it’s not going anywhere either. Last week, a House subcommittee voted down the Human Life Protection Act, setting up a face-off between the House and the Senate over abortion.
Other legislation expected to be negotiated in the next couple of weeks are Gov. Bill Lee’s school voucher proposal (HB 939/SB 795) and proposals targeting the legalization of medical marijuana.
Our ongoing conversations about Tennessee politics are available in The Tri-Star State podcast. You can listen by visiting wpln.org/tristar or subscribe using your favorite podcasting app.