Legislative Session Review: Tennessee

By John Lunde | May 9, 2018

Tennessee - Adjournment Graphic (Correct One)

The Tennessee legislature adjourned sine die on April 25, 2018, and Governor Bill Haslam (R) finished acting on bills on May 7. The Tennessee legislature wrestled to address many statewide issues this session, including the opioid crisis, education standards, and a pressing budget deal.

Legislative Highlights

  • The General Assembly passed a $37.7 billion budget deal for fiscal year 2018-19 that appropriates $119 million to higher education initiatives, $247 million in new K-12 education funding, $124 million toward job growth programs, and increases the state’s rainy day fund to $861 million.
  • The legislature passed two key pieces of legislation aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic. The legislation installs limitations on opioid prescriptions and offers rehabilitation incentives for people who are incarcerated.
  • Lawmakers agreed to exempt both students and teachers from the state’s standardized testing program for the 2017-18 school year. The state’s testing program, TNReady, experienced widespread technical difficulties in early April.

Election Preview

This November, Tennesseans will vote for a new governor, all 99 State House of Representatives seats, and 18 of the 33 State Senate seats. Because Governor Bill Haslam (R) is term-limited, there are currently six Republican primary contestants and three Democratic primary contestants running for the position. Both parties’ primary day will be August 2, followed by the general election scheduled to take place on November 6, 2018.

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