Tennesseans won’t know the full economic effects of the pandemic for a while but its impact on the state budget is becoming clearer.
The Tennessee General Assembly is facing one of its biggest budgetary challenges ever. Sales tax revenue is down dramatically meaning more reductions to the state’s spending plan. WPLN’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán has been talking to lawmakers to get a better sense of what’s likely to be cut.
After two months of recess, the Tennessee General Assembly is getting back to business this week. And there’s already disagreements and controversy. WPLN News political reporter Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is also going back to the Capitol. But, even in quarantine, he’s been keeping up with the latest legislative developments.
Nashville is on lockdown because of the coronavirus, but a week ago, state lawmakers were still trying to decide whether to continue this year’s legislative session. The decision to call a recess set off a flurry of last-minute debates.
The three-month paid family leave for state employees promised by Governor Bill Lee appears to be in limbo. Now it’s up to the Tennessee General Assembly to decide whether to move forward with it. And WPLN’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán says they’re not as excited about offering generous paid leave as the governor’s office is.
Democrats in the Tennessee legislature are a superminority. This means that most of their proposals will not become law. But that hasn’t stopped them from pushing Gov. Bill Lee on certain issues such as education.
The capitol bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest is, once again, at the center of controversy but the battle lines are a little different. This time, some Republicans are asking for it to be removed. WPLN’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán has been talking to lawmakers about their change of heart.
Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton has made clear what his priorities are for the current legislative session. Healthcare, education, and criminal justice reform are on top of that list.
A soon-to-be signed adoption law in Tennessee is stirring fears of an economic backlash. Companies and conventions have threatened to stop doing business with the state because of legislation that allows faith-based adoption agencies to refuse placements based on their religious beliefs.
It’s time to start all over again. After a couple of months recess the Tennessee General Assembly will reconvene this week. But WPLN’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán says lawmakers have been busy in the “offseason” and have already filed about 100 bills.