108th General Assembly Contentious in Spite of GOP Supermajority

Apr 8, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The current session of the Tennessee legislature is moving into its final weeks.

With the Tennessee Republican Party holding a super majority in both chambers of the legislature, a fairly low-key session might have been expected. Instead, a number of contentious issues have roiled the 108th Tennessee General Assembly.

A case in point is Gov. Bill Haslam's decision last week to withdraw his limited school voucher proposal. The governor was unable to persuade a faction led by Sen. Brian Kelsey to refrain from trying to expand the bill to more families.

Middle Tennessee State political scientist Dr. Sekou Franklin says not only are Tennessee Republicans squabbling among themselves, but they also seem intent on picking fights with local government.

“Not only do you see a tussle between the most conservative members of the Republican Party and other Republicans, like Governor Haslam, but you see, really, a tug of war between state and local government.”

Dr. Franklin cites bills that would take control away from local governments on a range of issues; from voter ID to charter school applications to setting local wages.