Tenn. lawmakers waiting to hear specific policy proposal from Gov. Lee

Jan 22, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Gov. Bill Lee is settling into his new job this week on Capitol Hill after taking the oath of office on Saturday.

During his inaugural speech, Lee stressed many of the same policy priorities he campaigned on: Criminal justice reform, a new emphasis on vocational education, and building on the state’s strong economy.

Gov. Bill Lee
Credit tn.gov

But Lee noted that while the state as a whole may be prospering, many Tennesseans are struggling.

“We have 15 counties in poverty. All rural (and) all Tennesseans. We have some of the most distressed zip codes in the heart of our greatest cities. So when we consider our state we see how fortunate we are, but we also see how much we have to do.”

While the gov. is on the job this week, the Tennessee legislature is not. After convening briefly on Saturday for the governor’s swearing in, lawmakers adjourned until Monday.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson says the large class of freshmen lawmakers need time to get moved in, and new committee leaders need time to 

Senator Jack Johnson (R) Williamson County
Credit tn.gov

hire staff. The Williamson County lawmaker also says he’s waiting on specific proposals from Gov. Lee.

“And we very much look forward to working with him and getting more specifics about the proposals he plans to advance, so a lot of us are kind of in a wait and see mode, waiting on the governor’s agenda.”

Johnson says the late start, new session and new governor likely means the legislative session will run into May. In recent years lawmakers have pushed hard to complete their business in early April.