NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Governor Bill Lee is expected to say Tuesday if he’ll call back lawmakers for a special session after an outcry from business interests over one measure not passed before legislative adjournment.
It comes after a bill limiting COVID-19 liability immunity divided the Republican majorities in the Tennessee House and Senate.
The two chambers did not have an agreement before they adjourned the session.
“The Tennessee state constitution Article One Section 20 specifically said there will be no retrospective (retroactive) laws,” said Rep. John Ragan during a debate on a potential compromise worked out in a conference committee between the House and Senate chambers.
The Senate thought it had a deal to make the business liability immunity retroactive to when COVID-19 came to Tennessee.
After the House balked at accepting the deal for the COVID-19 lawsuit bill, Lt. Governor Randy McNally called out House Majority Leader William Lamberth and House sponsor Michael Curcio on Twitter.
“@William Lamberth together with the bill’s sponsor, @StateRepCurcio, cobbled together a cabal of Democrats and attorneys to defeat the legislation and place our entire economy in danger. It was irresponsible and dangerous.” said the Lt. Gov. McNally in series of tweets. “The failure of the @TNHouseReps to pass legislation protecting our state’s businesses has created an opportunity for trial lawyers seeking a payday to disrupt our economy and put people out of work.”
House Speaker Cameron Sexton responded in a statement later Friday.
“”The House was and remains fully prepared to work to provide critical protections for our businesses and for Tennesseans during the challenges resulting from COVID-19. Finger pointing at members on social media because they expressed their opinions is not a productive way to arrive at an effective solution. Even after the inability of the Senate proposal to gain 50 votes in the House, the Senate turned down multiple opportunities to negotiate last night. I remain committed to working with them in the future for the benefit of the business community, as well as other institutions and the people of our state.”
Many questions loom if a special session is considered.
When would it be and would it be limited to just the COVID-19 liability bill?
Plus, lawmakers want to get back to their districts to campaign.
The entire House and half the Senate is up for re-election this fall.
House Republican Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison believed most of his members are against a special before August primaries they may face, but would supportive later in the summer.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.