Tennessee Legislature adjourns. What did lawmakers pass this year?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers have adjourned for the year after spending their final moments slashing how long the unemployed can receive benefits, and banning certain concepts on race and racism from being taught in schools.
The GOP-controlled General Assembly had been meeting since January, with members often bucking public health guidance to wear masks and social distance amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As required by the state Constitution, lawmakers finalized a $42.6 billion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget includes a one-week sales tax holiday on restaurants, bars and groceries, an infusion of cash into capital maintenance and improvements, and a large contribution into the state’s retirement system.
However, more contentious issues dominated the legislative session, ranging from targeting transgender students to abortion to guns.
One bill would require transgender students to play sports based on the gender listed on their birth certificates.
Lawmakers also passed legislation that severely limits what Tennessee schools can teach regarding racism.
On the last day of the session, the legislature approved a dramatic cut to unemployment benefits. Laid off Tennesseans can now expect as little as 12 weeks of jobless aid, down from the previous 26 weeks of benefits.