Controversial issues linger as Tennessee lawmakers aim for May adjournment


Many of the controversial measures and actions that marked this week on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill will be lingering issues as state lawmakers aim to wrap their session by early May. 

Governor Bill Lee’s $25 million education savings accounts or voucher plan faces a critical vote soon on the Tennessee House floor.  

Democrats and some rural Republican lawmakers fear the program will siphon money away from public schools, while the Governor maintains all students will benefit with the choice of using voucher money for things like private schools. 

Next Tuesday, there could be another try at hearing a new amendment for the controversial measure that would ban abortion when a “fetal heartbeat” is detected.  

A hearing on the bill was postponed after Sen. Mark Pody filed an amendment that he hopes will withstand a likely court challenge if it passes. 

Sen. Mark Pody says his amendment relies on a doctor’s interpretation of when a woman is pregnant and the fetal heartbeat as confirmation. 

This past Wednesday brought the first committee hearing this year on efforts to make medical cannabis legal in Tennessee, but Senate Health Committee members said they wanted to hear more before they might take a vote next week. 

The bill allows for non-smokable oil-based cannabis for people with a wide range of disease from cancer to Parkinson’s as long as they have a doctor’s recommendation.   

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