Gov. Lee declares victory in legislative session

Gov. Bill Lee speaks at a press conference on Tennessee’s coronavirus response in Nashville on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Lawmakers wrapped up their business for the year last night, and Gov. Bill Lee is lauding fellow Republicans who run the General Assembly for their accomplishments.

Here’s the release from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee marked the close of the 2021 legislative session, which includes the passage of his $42.6 billion budget and full agenda as outlined during his State of the State address in February.

“Lieutenant Governor McNally, Speaker Sexton and the members of the General Assembly have been key partners in reducing crime, supporting strong families and strengthening our economy, especially in rural Tennessee,” said Gov. Lee. “I commend the legislature for their work this session to pass measures that will benefit Tennesseans and continue our reputation for conservative fiscal management.”

“We were presented with many challenges this session and we met each and every one,” said Lt. Gov. McNally (R-Oak Ridge). “We invested in education and kept taxes and debt low. Most importantly, we ensured our state pension system remains fully funded for years to come. This protects our fiscal stability and our state credit rating. I am thankful to Gov. Lee, Speaker Sexton and every member of the General Assembly for their tremendous work on behalf of the people of Tennessee this session.”

“I greatly appreciate Gov. Lee, his administration, Lt. Gov. McNally, the House and the Senate for their continued partnership, which has led to a smooth and incredibly successful legislative session,” said Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville). “Solutions to improve childhood literacy, our debt-free balanced budget, permitless handgun carry, criminal justice and truth in sentencing reform and preserving our election integrity will continue to move this state forward in a conservative direction. I am proud of these and other achievements that will allow Tennessee to maintain its status as a national leader for all others to follow.”

Gov. Lee’s slate of budget and legislative priorities included initiatives to address criminal justice reform, invest in rural communities, enhance public safety, support families and build on the successes of the special session on education.

Highlights from Gov. Lee’s agenda include the following:

Investing in Rural Tennessee
• Investing a historic $100 million to provide underserved areas across the state with high-speed broadband, which is part of a public-private partnership to incentivize broadband providers to match public dollars
• Dedicating $100 million for local infrastructure grants

Strengthening Tennessee Families
• Providing higher education supports for youth aging out of the foster care system
• Extending coverage for adopted youth to retain TennCare eligibility up to age 18
• Expanding postpartum care for the TennCare population from 60 days to a full year
• Reforming the TANF program to promote economic mobility and improve outcomes for recipients

Supporting Tennessee Students
• Increasing transparency for any foreign investment activity on college campuses
• Expanding access and improving quality of apprenticeship programs
• Investing $250 million in the Mental Health Trust Fund
• Increasing the teacher salary component of the BEP by 4%

Enhancing Public Safety
• Protecting the Second Amendment by extending law-abiding Tennesseans’ constitutional right to carry a handgun
• Stiffening penalties for criminals who steal or illegally possess firearms

Prioritizing Conservative Criminal Justice Reform
• Improving outcomes for formerly incarcerated individuals by increasing transparency in the parole process
• Enhancing practices that support success post-release
• Expanding treatment services and community-based supervision for offenders as alternatives to incarceration

47 Responses to Gov. Lee declares victory in legislative session

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    #LeeTheTyrant and all the self serving politicians, I say you should have dismissed at least a month ago.
    Every day that the legislature is in session means, more government, more power for the state and less Liberty for the people.
    We should all pray for the Lord to find and have us appoint real statesmen to lead our state and legislature.

  • Avatar
    Cryan says:

    Dictator Lee gets what he wants. Forget checks and balances. The impotent Speaker of the House should be ashamed.

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    One great achievement of the General Assembly that our ever so gentle governor did not see fit to mention was the passage of a law that will deprive any school district in Tennessee of state funding if it teaches a kind of tribalism known as Critical Race Theory (“CRT”). The legislation HB580 lists 14 poisonous tenets that serves to divide our people, stigmatize Caucasians, and victimize minorities simply because of the color of their skin. Congratulations to Bobbie Patray and the great Tennessee Eagle Forum as well as other groups for turning up the heat so our Republican legislators didn’t leave town without passing this vital piece of legislation to make sure the neo-Nazi venom of CRT does not spread any further than it already has and disappears from Metro Nashville school system where it currently is taught and the Williamson County School System where the educrats may be just itching to bring impose it on our students.

    • Avatar
      LeeAnn C says:

      Indeed! Tennesseans owe much to Mrs. Patray, an ever present and wise monitor of all things “on the Hill”! I just read through those 14 points and recognize much improvement gained through the conference committee work. I haven’t found solid action by the general assembly to address the limitation of gubernatorial overreach through “emergency” powers. Still looking!

    • Avatar
      Eddie White says:

      No one agrees 100 percent with the legislature’s actions, but this bill represents one of a number of good bills passed. I was pleased with how the governor and legislature responded to the culture war being waged by the radical left.

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      I find that a lot of time is wasted listening to the “findings” of groups who are on the extreme right OR left.

      There should be a live feed from our Publicly Funded schools so that I can see for myself what is being taught in my local school. Reading an outline of the curriculum is not sufficient. The way the material is presented, the side bar opinions being offered, the ensuing discussions or answers to questions from students Matter a great deal in determining what is going on in the classrooms WE fund.

      If I can see what’s happening on the legislative floors of State Government why can’t I see what is going on in classrooms where I fund about $10K per student Per Year for 13 consecutive years?

  • Avatar
    Birchall Barnes says:

    Nothing achieved by The Great State of Tennessee…which legislated false narratives & peddled fear to its constituents about the historical foundation of the United States. Shameful & ignorant. Why do we want to keep our children stupid? Why withhold knowledge? American Indigenous peoples, European peoples & African peoples form part of the foundation of the FOUNDING of the United States of America. To “pick & choose” what history we “want” is censorship & promotes ignorance which perpetuates divisiveness, hate & prejudice. The history of the USA didn’t just begin on July 4, 1776.

    • Avatar
      LeeAnn C says:

      You should read Sections 51 and 52 of the bill. Your points are adequately addressed.

    • Avatar
      Cryan says:

      They want to keep children stupid to maintain a favorable electorate of mouth breathers who get their news from Facebook memes about QAnon.

    • Avatar
      Active Nana says:

      Thank you for your words. A number of the actions of this session of the 112th General Assembly and the Governor of this state have been especially egregious. The Tennessee far right doesn’t understand the term “systemic racism” because they are and seek to preserve “systemic racism.”

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Oh no Active Nana you’ve got that all wrong. We Caucasians and now even East Asians know “systemic racism” all too well. The only totally “at will” employees who have no recourse to the courts are Caucasian males below the age of 40. We turn on the TV and see Caucasian males under represented in ads and when they are represented they are so often done so in a demeaning way that shows them as dependent on the all knowing female or minority group member to show them the way. Caucasians are increasingly being excluded from employment opportunities because of the color of their skin and government and even corporate set asides for minority/female owned businesses further excludes Caucasians, especially males. Now East
        Asians find themselves excluded from places in our top universities because of their ethnicity.

        No Active Nana few would deny that “systemic racism” is alive and thriving in the USA because the Democratic Party continues to rely on race baiting as it has done all through its history. The left in this country thrives on keeping America divided into racial and ethnic groups at each other’s throats. I am so glad you have called our attention to this AN and hope you join conservatives who want to put a stop to this “systemic racism” that is driving America to be ever more tribal making this country a less and less pleasant place to work and play.

        • Avatar
          Taxpayer #314 says:

          Look no further than our CONGRESS to see the “systemic racism” of the past. That tells the story pretty clear. Stuart spews out the lie about which party is furthering the problem, then just casually moves on, hoping no one will notice the lie. Maybe if you repeat it enough, somebody else will believe it too.

    • Avatar
      Taxpayer #314 says:

      Conservatives have never supported Public Schools because they want to protect their base. Keeping kids dumb and confused makes it that much easier for Republicans to control the group in the long run and get away with all their lies.

  • Avatar
    Jason Wallflower says:

    McNally & Sexton declare victory. Lee didn’t do anything. Same ole story. Do-nothing Bill Lee taking credit for legislative achievements he had nothing to do with.

    • Avatar
      Judy R says:

      You need to go back and look at the proposed legislation the Governor’s office brought to the Legislature for passage, most of which was enacted.

      • Avatar
        Taxpayer #314 says:

        And they did such a good job (?) this session, they topped it off with a nice little raise for them and a repeating raise every year from now on. And Stuart is blasting off about the Dems spending on infrastructure and unemployment for the working class.

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    MARLE says:

    Your description, Stuart, of how males are depicted in advertising sounds very much like how Women were depicted for about 5+ decades of my 72 years of life. Doesn’t sit too well, does it? Sits even less well for the women who know they were more capable than the majority of those painted as “all knowing”.

    Maybe this is an effort to create some balance. When the pendulum swings in one direction too far and for too long, it often swings the other way before it gets to equilibrium.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      We’ve been trying for “equilibrium” since about 1865 and we still haven’t got it right? Did the Hatfields and the McCoys ever achieve “equilibrium” and if so at what cost? No MARLE, constantly looking back and seeking reparations from the present generation for sins of the past is never just and rarely leads to “equilibrium.”

      This country needs to set itself on the path to becoming a meritocracy by the American people rejecting the race baiting of the Democratic Party at the ballot box. Until we do that there will be “No Justice, No Peace.”

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        Of course. You never want to create equilibrium if you were on the long end of the stick. It’s like the starter gun goes off and one person is held back by the shirt tail and then release half way through the race. The winner, with the sizeable head start, sees no problem in getting the winner’s trophy.

      • Avatar
        Taxpayer #314 says:

        It ain’t the Democrats that are out there using clubs to beat up old Asian ladies in our cities, Stuart. The conservatives are the ones that the voters should be rejecting with all their hated of others and attempts to refuse service and even the right to vote for so many people.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Taxpayer, since almost all the Orientals who are victims of violence that is perpetrated by members of other minorities and these other minorities vote Democratic in overwhelming numbers I would bet they are Democrats. I think it’s laughable to think these thugs are Republicans, but that’s OK I need a laugh and, as you do so often Taxpayer, you come through.

          Of course, the rest of that nonsensical post seems to refer to southern segregationists, who were, of course, Democrats and mostly New Deal Democrats at that. New Deal Democrats were hardly conservatives. At the time, what we refer to as “conservatives” today were Taft Republicans.

          It’s alright Taxpayer, you’re a leftist because you don’t know much history and what you do know you don’t fully understand. This is all part of your learning experience at the end of which you will be a conservative with libertarian seasoning just like me

          • Avatar
            Taxpayer #314 says:

            Gosh, I just wish that I was anywhere near as smart as you Stuart. The way that you just reel off all these helpful facts and figures that no one else knows is just amazing. I stand by my post and wonder how you can keep posting your “facts” with a clear conscience.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        Trying for equilibrium since 1865? Not trying hard enough since it took half a century for a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Huh, “a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote” was contained in the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution ratified on Feb. 3, 1870. No matter, let’s try harder by for the first time have a meritocracy.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            A meritocracy is great. A foot race is an example of a meritocracy dynamic at work. But it is meaningless when one participant in the race was held by his shirttail and then release at the half way mark.

            The winner, if he is smug and out of touch with reality thinks the race was anything like the result of a meritocracy.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            That causes me to take a trip down memory lane when an articulate and historically sensitive lady on this forum pointed out some time ago how many years its been since the “Civil Rights” legislation of the Lyndon Johnson administration was passed and the various devices that discriminate against Caucasians in order to help Negroes were adopted. How many generations of minorities have been able to take advantage of these laws and yet the discrimination against Caucasian males continues and indeed there are calls among the Cultural Marxists for it to increase.

            Active Nana is sick of “systemic racism” and so am I. Time we adopt a policy of strict meritocracy, outcomes be damned, forbidding ALL discrimination on the basis of race, sex or ethnicity and other immutable characteristics irrelevant to the subject matter so we can at least attempt to get a “multi” society right. And no, I don’t celebrate diversity anywhere!

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            There are so many points like the one that brilliant person made regarding the affirmative action that’s been going on for decades.

            Do you ever hear anyone ask the question “so how many generations should it take before we stop hearing ONLY about the effects of slavery and Jim Crowe.

            Is there any other country on earth where the Riches woman is Black (that would be Oprah but probably soon to be the divorcees Bezos and Gates) and the last 2-Term President was Black.

            Has the UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany or ANY OTHER country where Caucasians are the majority demographic ever had a Black President?

          • Avatar
            Taxpayer #314 says:

            TX, FL, GA, TN, AZ and many more (R) run states are passing “voter restriction” laws as fast as they can under the flimsy guise of “voter security.” The Democrats are the ones that are out there asking the courts to rule on these illegal tactics. We will see what the courts say but the Republicans can in NO way say they are on the right side of this fight.

  • Avatar
    Charles says:

    “No man’s life, liberty or
    property is safe while the
    legislature is in session.”
    MARK TWAIN

  • Avatar
    MARLE says:

    Trying for equilibrium since 1865? Not trying hard enough since it took half a century for a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Uh, no, “. . .a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote ” has been on the books since the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment to the constitution was ratified in February of 1870.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        UH…..yes. The 15th amendment guaranteed that RACE would not be a barrier. Black MEN got the right to vote guaranteed before women in the constitution. Where did you go to school?

        • Avatar
          Cryan says:

          I believe it was a catholic school in a northern “liberal ghetto”. The poor thing was so traumatized by the schoolmarm he thinks any center-right policy is an Obamanation.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Well, MARLE you make a general statement that on its face is wrong, then you divulge what you were thinking when you made the incorrect statement and criticize the reader for not knowing what you were thinking. It’s a fun “gotcha” game you are playing, I guess, but it’s rather silly don’t you think?

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          The entire exchange concerned my response to Active Nana that “institutional racism” is alive and well today, and its victims were Caucasian men. That was the “main-line” of the discussion. One of the examples I cited was the absence or demeaning of Caucasian men in advertising. As a MARLE siding you cited the same treatment of women decades ago in advertising. Still on the main-line I observed the need for equilibrium in getting our race relations right when you made a GENERAL statement about voting rights. It would take a mind reader to know that rather than travel along the mainline of “institutional racism” you were traveling on the MARLE siding of historic ill treatment of woman.

          Expecting a reader to know that you have thrown the switch in order to cause the conversation to veer off the mainline onto the MARLE siding is unreasonable. To then be graceless about the inevitable misunderstanding to follow is a shame. Last word to you MARLE. I’m done.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        Women did not have a constitutionally protected right to vote until 50 years after the date you cited. I was responding you recall to your assertion that men were not being targeted as Stupid in advertising make women look like the “know it alls”. My comment was DIRECT and about men, advertising, and the female Know it Alls.

        I told you that for decades it had been the other way around and said “doesn’t feel good, does it?”

        So my comments, ALL OF THEM had to do with women, not Blacks, and so your response to me Should have been, apply LOGIC, to the points I made.

        NO….the 15 amendment did not address the Unequal treatment of women since 1870. Reading comprehension was a hallmark of Catholic schooling so I knew you could not possibly have been educated in a Catholic school. I just wanted you to tell us it was Public Education. Yet another example of their failure.

  • Avatar
    David Collins says:

    I am waiting to see who wants to take credit for the ill-advised law that allows for the carrying of firearms, concealed or open, by virtually anyone with a pulse after the bodies start piling up because the requirement of mandatory/provable gun safety training and proper use has been dispensed with. That was one of the major reasons every police department, sheriff’s department and the TBI opposed the bill. Tennessee State government has just increased the risk of loss of life to everyone in the state, especially those who carry a badge. This was done so Lee and the bill’s supporters in the legislature can hit the campaign trial beating their chests about what a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment they are. It will be interesting to see their faces if one of their family or loved ones get killed by a gun because the owner of the gun didn’t know what the hell they were doing with the firearm. These same people who claim to be such big supporters of law enforcement officials turned a deaf ear to those whose jobs already put them in harms way every day and by passing this law they just increased these folks risk. Such an attitude evidences gross ignorance or gross hypocrisy. They should be ashamed.

    • Avatar
      Beatrice Shaw says:

      youre right. assault guns with no training all over the streets and we will be like Russia. This Governor LOVES gambling, marijuana and guns. Republicans are absolutely crazy and drunk with power while looting the country of wealth….denying us health care, free education and food at the expense of OUR safety.

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      Do we have more or fewer gun incidents especially in jurisdictions where the toughest gun regulations exist (think Chicago, DC, Detroit) than we did 50 years ago when gun laws were more lax?

      Gun laws only limit those who pay attention to laws. In the 1960’s young men drove to school parking lots with gun racks in the back window of their pick up trucks. But did you have mass shootings at school back then? This is about a Break Down in society and its attitudes and not about gun ownership by law abiding citizens.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Then again MARLE you are talking to leftists who want to fight crime by increasing the number of social workers, defunding the police, and doing what they can to disarm the law abiding. They’re mad, but a minority. The trick is to have the less informed majority not vote for their reasonable facsimiles come election time.

        • Avatar
          Cryan says:

          Voter suppression. You hate that women can vote, don’t you, gay divorcee?

          What are your thoughts on Lindsey “Lady G” Graham?

        • Avatar
          Taxpayer #314 says:

          Yes, Stuart all your Republican friends are going to isolate Liz Chaney and remove her from office – that action alone will take away another large number of Republican voters as they will go with Chaney. First the Republicans, under Trump, split the country into two separate camps. They are now dividing their numbers again by splitting the GOP into several fighting camps. Trump, the great healer! OH Yeah! The Republicans all say they want Liz Chaney to stop talking about “the past” and yet that is all that Trump ever talks about.

        • Avatar
          Taxpayer #314 says:

          If there is a “trick” involved with any Republican issue, you can bet it will be a “Dirty Trick.”

  • Avatar
    MARLE says:

    Votes are supposed to be cast in secrecy. The point of that is that the voter is Not influenced at the time of his vote by anyone. That is why you have Only ONE person at that machine. You can’t have your cousin, your mother or anyone else stand with you at that machine. Your vote is not supposed to be coerced by anyone who may exact a consequence on you (personal, professional, financial) for your Secret Ballot.

    Mail in votes, drive in votes, vote harvesting etc all are compromises to the premise that you have a secret ballot and therefore a vote unforced by any other person.

    We really should get back to that.

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    The more guns on the street, the more crime there will be and the more people that will be shot and killed. Stuart has no clue what he is talking about when he complains about “defunding the police.” It is all about shifting funds to mental health support and other non-violent responses. Twisting the truth is what the conservative word is all about.

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Gov. Lee declares victory for the legislative session even as the FBI troops are mingling in the offices and hallways of the government building questioning the various crooks before they disperse back into hiding. What a victory, nobody got arrested before they left!! That is what counts for a “Republican Victory” these days. Tennessee deserves better.

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