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Politics

Did Tennessee lawmakers waste time on "God, guns and gays?"

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Tennessee General Assembly
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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A mid-state political analyst is bemoaning the time Tennessee lawmakers spent on what he refers to as “God, guns and gays” during the legislative session just concluded.

Kent Syler teaches political science at Middle Tennessee State University. Syler says he considers Gov. Bill Haslam’s education initiatives to be the best legislation to come out of the two sessions of the 109th Tennessee General Assembly. He says Haslam’s TNPromise program providing a free two year college education to high school grads is proving successful.

“The numbers are good…over 80 percent retention. So this is the kind of legislation that is really working to change lives.”

Syler says he finds it unfortunate that legislators spent so much time debating transgender bathroom bills and making the Bible the State Book. But he says such legislation is to be expected in an election year.

“(Republicans are) worried about someone running against them from the right saying they’re not conservative enough. Democrats in somewhat liberal districts worried about being primaried from the left. So we have an absence of a middle and that ends up giving us more extreme legislation.”

Syler laments that key issues such as jobs, healthcare, education and roads got less attention than they deserved as a result.