110th General Assembly adjourns after a round of House-Senate hostility, more TNReady turmoil

The Tennessee General Assembly’s traditional end-of-session jockeying over last-minute bills boiled over into dramatic brinkmanship Wednesday with a focus on the latest TNReady student testing fiasco, reports the Times Free Press. The 110th General Assembly was finally adjourned late Wednesday night, about 10 days later that legislative leaders had optimistically predicted at the January outset.

The House seized the state’s recently passed $37.5 billion budget as hostage, demanding senators and Gov. Bill Haslam agree to guarantee teachers’ evaluations won’t be at risk after the latest problems.

The House then quickly amended and passed a bill on an 89-0 vote to hold teachers harmless and prevent the state from using scores from the latest botched rollout of student TNReady assessments from applying to educators this school year unless teachers want them used.

The move threw proceedings into turmoil at the Capitol for hours, with Senate leaders saying the problem had already been fixed with legislation rushed through last week. (Previous post HERE.) Other bills became embroiled, and a full-fledged fight was on.

But Wednesday night an agreement was struck. A new bill (HB75, as amended) was whisked through the Senate on a 32-0 vote — as senators continued to gripe it was much ado about nothing.

(Asked on the Senate floor the difference between the bill passed last week and the new version, sponsor Sen. Delores Gresham (R-Somerville), replied, “Substantively, nothing.”)

In the House, the bill was eventually passed 84-0, although some members remained suspicious their teachers were adequately being protected with one member charging the House had “blinked.”

Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, stood with majority Republicans in the well of the House and said “we did not blink.”

“This body made it abundantly clear that no adverse action can happen,” Fitzhugh said. “It’s that simple.”

The language of the bill says: “Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, no adverse action may be taken against any student, teacher, school, or LEA based, in whole or in part, on student achievement data generated from the 2017-2018 TNReady assessments.”

Lawmakers then turned to other legislation as they began a rush to wrap up business and adjourn their annual session.

Note: Adjournment came at about 10:45 p.m.

7 Responses to 110th General Assembly adjourns after a round of House-Senate hostility, more TNReady turmoil

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    James White says:

    Finally Sine Die. “When the Legislature is in session, no man’s Life, Liberty, or Property is safe.”

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      Cannoneer2 says:

      Very true.

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      Misty Pardner says:

      If you can do any better get you ass up there. Otherwise, shut the hell up.

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      Kay White says:

      This is why voters need to realize the impact a Governor makes on a state. Governor Haslam has been the worst educational Governor that Tennessee has ever had! Randy Boyd and Beth Harwell agree completely with him in their speeches and recently we are hearing the same from Bill Lee who boast about an appointment from Gov. Haslam. Lee Company is part of his family heritage and this is the company who is replacing the HVAC system in the Capitol. He is a good christian man it seems but it appears that his Campaign Chairman, Chris DeVaney was also Haslam’s! Also DeVaney is said to have supported Senator Lamar Alexander (proclaimed by Obama to be the best Republican Senator – (wonder why?) and he drove a pick up truck across TN wearing a plaid shirt to make the people feel he supported the rural areas – well, folks, what has he done for anyone in TN? Power is the name of the game with thiese “Big Business” players! We need to wise up and elect a small business woman who is a Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother who cares bout our children’s future! Kay White for Governot who has absolutely no connections with Gov Haslam and NEVER voted for him – I could see through him from the beginning.

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    Steve L. says:

    Agreed. ???

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    Tommy Ray McAnally says:

    The STATE Legislatures should be EMBARRASSED THE WAY THEY SCREWED THE TEACHERS AND STUDENTS AND THE TAXPAYERS BUT if you don’t have a conscience this is what can happen, look that way to me.. Folks when are you going to get it in your head the entire Legislation needs to sent home FOREVER THESE people I told you are messengers they have to wait till they are told what to do, this is what it looks like to me. Remember this ain’t PHYSICS.

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    Kay White says:

    More BS from the Governor’s office. This is the only chance that the teachers will have to really get a voice in Nashville to support them and get our education system back where it should be. Forget the “National Scoring” – lets turn out good students who make good citizens. We need more trade schools in our schools and we need a governor like I would be to support our teachers. Think about it, who brought Common Core to our schools? Governor Haslam, Speaker of the House agreed with him and Randy Boyd, sings his praises at every dinner I attend! Bill Lee is a good person but being guided by Chris DeVanney who was Haslam’s Campaign Chairman also and worked with Lamar Alexander. Good speeches filled with more of the same does not get it with me! I am speaking up and asking all teachers to stand with me against this vile corrupt administration who has done nothing to promote our children. They are frustrated and the teachers and parents as well! STOP NOW. Just because someone is Governor does not mean you have to agree. You were elected to represent the people!

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