TN House begins first out-of-session budget hearings Monday

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee House members hope to get a head start Monday on next year’s state budget.

For the first time, they are holding state budget hearings before their January legislative session begins.

“The three weeks we do it during session bogs down the House,” says Speaker Cameron Sexton who was elected by fellow members to the office in August. “Moving it to the fall is more efficient and allows us more time to look at the budget and more opportunity to fully understand it and ask questions.”

First up Monday for the House is the k-12 education.

Its commissioner will likely repeat a plea for higher compensation as part of a goal from the Lee Administration to make Tennessee the best place to come and stay as a teacher.

“We know that depending on which process you look at, right now it is not as competitive in terms of teacher compensation, and we have got to have more strategic compensation in hard to staff areas,” said K-12 Commissioner Penny Schwinn during Governor Bill Lee’s budget hearings last week.

On Tuesday the House members will turn to TennCare–the state’s Medicaid program serving 1.4 million lower-income Tennesseans.

The hearing comes one day before TennCare submits a controversial block grant waiver request to the federal government to dramatically change how the Medicaid program is funded.

Monday will be just the first round of House budget hearings.

The second round is scheduled for mid-December that includes large agencies like the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

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