Lee declines to sign teacher training bill over cost dispute

Gov. Bill Lee speaks to reporters after a bill signing ceremony in Nashville on May 24, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee has declined to sign a bill sponsored by Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) and Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) allowing school districts to establish their own teacher training programs.

The governor’s objections had less to do with the bill’s substance than concerns that the fiscal note was revised from $470,000 to “not significant,” despite his administration presenting evidence to the contrary. The lack of funding for the program is “something that will need to be addressed” in the upcoming budget year, Lee wrote.

Lee has not vetoed any bill since coming into office in 2019 and he’s now only allowed three to become law without his signature. In 2019, he didn’t sign the bill creating Tennessee’s online sports gambling program. In 2020, he declined to sign a resolution ratifying the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board’s increase in the 911 surcharge from $1.16 to $1.50. The latter was also sponsored by Bowling.

Here’s a copy of the letter Lee sent to House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and his Senate counterpart, Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge):

Dear Speaker Sexton and Lieutenant Governor McNally:

I am writing to inform you that I am returning HB1534/SB653 to become law without my signature. As our state faces a teacher shortage, we support alternative pathways to teacher licensure. These efforts cut back red tape and ensure more qualified professionals can teach our students. I am not signing the bill solely because of a cost discrepancy.

Unfortunately, this legislation incurs a cost that was not accounted for by Fiscal Review during the legislative process. Fiscal Review adjusted the fiscal note downward from several hundred thousand dollars to “not significant.” At the end of the legislative session, our team provided Fiscal Review with evidence of the costs associated with implementation and asked for correction.

The requested correction was not made, and the lack of adequate funding to support this legislation is something that will need to be addressed in the budget process in the year ahead in order to ensure proper implementation.

With your continued partnership, we have once again created and enacted a balanced budget that maintains Tennessee’s position as a leader in fiscal responsibility. We must be vigilant about thoroughly accounting for costs in the fiscal review process to ensure we maintain that fiscal prudence.

Our team at the Department of Education is available to discuss the cost assumptions on this matter at your convenience. We will also communicate our concerns with the bill sponsors and relevant committee chairs.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this fiscal matter and I look forward to supporting more qualified teachers in our state.



Bill Lee

8 Responses to Lee declines to sign teacher training bill over cost dispute

  • Avatar
    Beatrice Shaw says:

    This man is feckless when it comes to supporting teachers. Maybe he has something against the Bowling person? Wasn’t the Weaver lady at the Capitol insurrection? Were both ladies there? If that’s the reason then I understand and other politicians should carry teacher legislation to make sure they pass. Remember January 6th!! SAY THEIR NAMES!!

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      For your information Beatrice, both Janice Bowling (ACU-86%) and Terri Lynn Weaver (ACU-89%) have been recipients of grants from the SIAECPCF and they have done their part to make Tennessee the wonderful state that it is today. There were thousands of people at Trump’s rally and only a handful at the unfortunate incident at the Capitol. Whether they were at the rally exercising their First Amendment rights or not is irrelevant to anything. Whatsamatter Beatrice, are you some sort of subversive against the First Amendment? Should we SAY YOUR NAME – BEATRICE SHAW! BEATRICE SHAW!

      • Avatar
        Cryan says:

        Freedom of Speech doesn’t allow the murder of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

        You occasionally slip up here and mock Evangelicals and “Trumpidans” even though you’re electorally irrelevant without them. But I had no idea you were capable of this level of flip-flopping. I thought you said Trump was a “narcissistic son of a bitch” when he elevated Stefanik and ended Chip Roy’s career.

        Terri Lynch Weaver was part of a cop killing mob of Trumpidans and GQP MAGAts. You can go to hell saying cop killers were practicing free speech. What kind of free speech is it to defy Secret Service restricted space to attempt to kidnap the Vice President and hang him in the gallows set up on the grounds of the Capitol? Go suck on Trump’s tiny hands (Stormy Daniels eyewitness account).


  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    The state of Tennessee has never been very big on funding public schools so no surprise here.

    • Avatar
      Cannoneer2 says:

      It’s possible that teachers can have this training for almost the same thing that two washed up Republican politician-bureaucrats would cost. Think of it that way.

  • Avatar
    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    The 2022 campaign cycle has now officially begun because the SIAECPCF is about to send its first candidate contribution of the cycle to Joe Carr in his race for Rutherford County Mayor. It’s a small “keep the lights on” contribution because I don’t care about who leads Rutherford County but Joe is such a great conservative that I feel conservatives should support him whenever he runs.

    • Avatar
      Cryan says:

      You’ve been proven wrong so many times on this blog that you’ve finally learned the Art of the Politician: Straddle the Fence.

      If Joe Carr wins you can claim victory because you donated to him. If he loses, then you can say you never cared about who leads Rutherford County.

      Drain the Swamp of RINOs like Stuart.

      • Avatar
        Cryan says:

        Your small “keep the lights on donation” could have been a lot better if you had bought $AMC.

        🦍 🚀 🦍 🚀 🦍 🚀 🌛 🥳 💰 🤑

        This is not financial advice. I like the stock.

        Good luck with your CoreCivic and Sears Roebuck shares.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *