A two-week adjournment plan? Lawmakers plot quick end to closed-door session

House Republican leaders are meeting Sunday to discuss their exit plan for the legislative session. The meeting follows a decision on Friday to close off access to the Capitol complex to all but members, staff, and the media.

House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison tells the Daily Memphian that he’s been inundated with calls from colleagues worried about the spread of the virus and whether they will get a fair hearing on their bills if the legislature adjourns earlier than planned.

Those concerns come as speculation has spread about a potential effort to pass the budget and adjourn by as early as Friday. Faison said that time table would be moving too fast.

“There are a lot of discussions going on right now and looking at it from every angle,” Faison told the Daily Memphian. “I think the most important thing we do is make sure our members are safe and the people of Tennessee are safe. So leadership is meeting tonight, and I think we’ll devise a plan moving forward.”

Senate Speaker Randy McNally said it would likely take two to three weeks to finish up business even in a hurry-up mode.

“I think the House would like to do it in two (weeks). But if we say two, it ends up being three. That’s not too far ahead of our schedule,” he said. “The main thing is getting the governor’s amendment to the appropriations bill.”

McNally said the Senate has been consulting with state Attorney General Herbert Slatery on the legality of closing public access to the General Assembly. The 2001 Mayhew v. Wilder case resulted in a state appeals court decision that said lawmakers can hold secret meetings to discuss budget plans.

 

6 Responses to A two-week adjournment plan? Lawmakers plot quick end to closed-door session

  • Jonathan Swift says:

    Why don’t our esteemed legislators work from home like the rest of us are being encouraged to do? They could get all their business done in the normal amount of time, instead of just passing a budget and leaving everything else for next year. They are cutting out the public anyway by restricting access to state buildings, so working from home would be as transparent as their current plans.

    Seriously, I believe the answer to my question is that many legislators (and the Governor) in rural areas lack good enough internet service at their homes to support even the simplest collaboration applications, just like many of their constituents. Maybe if they pumped a big part of that budget surplus into internet infrastructure, especially in underserved areas, we could better withstand current and future significant events.

  • Kathy White says:

    NO ‘secret’ meetings – the MEDIA is invited and ALL proceedings are livestreamed!! Seems to me the ‘closure’ is in the BEST interest of the PUBLIC as well as our State elected offivials and office staffs!

  • Kathy White says:

    I would suggest that the Author of this Article review the definition of ‘PLOT’, as used in the Headline!! There is NO ‘sinister’ or covert ‘behind the scenes’ intention – SIMPLY trying, like the rest of our country, to determine how to continue to conduct business in the midst of this health crisis!!

  • MARLE says:

    All legislators, state and Federal, should work from home. Putting this into practice at the federal level it would return Senators and Congressmen to the hometowns from which they hail or districts they represent

    It would make lobbyist job of walking down the street to arm twist and/or bribe at lot less easy to accomplish as they would have to fan out across the fruited plain. And that lobbyist entertainment budget could bolster the economies of the Congressmen’s states instead of the DC area.

    All the staff and office budgets would be spent right in the communities they serve.

    We could turn the Capitol Building into just another destination for tourists~ hotel rooms, dining, maybe Pocahontas could stay behind and run a casino in statuary hall.

    Just another meltdown………

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