house chamber

Effort falls short to designate site of State of State as House chamber for a night (UPDATED)

Gov. Bill Lee delivers his first State of the State address in Nashville on March 4, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Senate passed a resolution seeking to remedy legal questions raised by The Tennessee Journal about holding the annual State of the State address outside the state Capitol, but the House didn’t take the measure up before the speech took place.

Under a 1970s-era law, the governor’s annual budget address must be given to a joint convention of the General Assembly in the House chamber. But Gov. Bill Lee gave his speech within the nearby War Memorial Auditorium on Monday evening.

While the War Memorial Auditorium is part of the Capitol complex and offers more space for social distancing, it does not meet the description of the House chamber. The Senate passed SJR100, which would have declared that “that for the sole purpose of hearing the state of the state address by the governor on February 8, 2021, the War Memorial Auditorium shall serve as ‘the chamber of the house of representatives.'”

But the House didn’t take up the measure before heading across the street to hear from the governor.