Pressure mounts as lawmakers push to finish legislative session early

Feb 22, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  State lawmakers are pushing hard to finish the current session of the Tennessee General Assembly early.

Half the State Senate and the entire Tennessee House are up for reelection and incumbents can’t legally raise campaign funds while the Assembly is in session. That can make lawmakers a bit testy at times.


On Wednesday, representatives from Gov. Bill Haslam’s Administration appeared before a House committee asking for changes to opioid legislation. Republican Rep. Matthew Hill was not pleased.

“And as to the comment that was made about starting a conversation, with all due respect that time is past. The Legislature will be out of here in just a few weeks. No one from your department has come to see me to, as you put it, start a conversation.”

The committee went on to pass the opioid bill without making any additional changes.

The pressure to move quickly also means some bills are quicikly dismissed with little discussion.

Livingston Democrat John Mark Windle on Wednesday proposed Tennessee be required to pay state workers a living wage. Rep. Windle noted that some 2500 state employees are living below the poverty line and so eligible for food stamps.

“We should raise their pay to a level where they should not be able to receive federal assistance because we ought to pay them a livable wage.”

Windle received a single question about his bill before committee chair Bill Sanderson called for a vote.

“I do feel like we’re headed in the right direction. For that reason, representative, I can’t support your bill but I do get what you’re trying to do.”

That measure was defeated along a strict party line.