NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee lawmakers tackled a controversial adoption bill as they began the second half of their legislative session followed by quick thumbs up from Governor Bill Lee.
It was also the first time new House Speaker Cameron Sexton gaveled in an opening day.
Speaker Sexton began with a bit of a pep talk at a caucus meeting in the morning for his fellow GOP colleagues who make up nearly three-quarters of the Tennessee House.
“Hey welcome back. Everyone is in a good mood. It’s like Tennessee won something,” quipped the speaker who may have been referring to either the state’s Titans NFL playoff wins or the UT football team’s recent bowl victory.
While the House action on this first day was limited, the Senate passed a controversial measure termed a religious liberty bill that would potentially limit adoptive parents.
The overwhelming Senate approval came after concerns raised on the floor Tuesday by Senate Speaker and Lt. Governor Randy McNally.
“We already have on the books legislation…which is the freedom of religion act,” said McNally, who indicated he was speaking as a senator and not Lt. Governor.
The controversial measure, which could allow faith-based adoption agencies to turn down LGBTQ people based on their religious beliefs, is headed to Republican Governor Bill Lee’s desk.
The governor said early Tuesday that he did not want to comment until he reads the bill when it gets to his desk, but late Tuesday his office said Lee would sign the bill.