The Tennessee House has voted to cap the number of bills members can introduce, a move GOP leaders think will help streamline business in the chamber.
The Tennessean reports the House passed a 15-bill limit for each member. House Speaker Beth Harwell initially wanted a ten-bill per member limit.
Supporters say the limit on legislation will lead to an increase in the overall quality of bills brought up in the chamber. But opponents describe the move as an effort to muzzle them. Representative Joe Towns of Memphis denounced the limit, saying “this is not the chamber of a communist country.”
The Tennessee Senate, meanwhile, finished their weekly business without deciding whether to bind the chamber to the state’s Open Meetings Act.
Republican U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander is proposing a "grand swap" in which the federal government would take over all responsibility for Medicaid and the states would gain all control over education.
The senator said in an address to a joint session of the Tennessee General Assembly on Wednesday that the proposal mirrors one he made to President Ronald Reagan three decades ago while Alexander was Tennessee governor. Alexander said Reagan embraced the idea, but it did not gain any traction in Congress.
Alexander told reporters after the speech that he see similar barriers to his proposal amid Democratic control of the Senate and the presidency, but said the change would remove the concerns and political challenges facing the states on expanding Medicaid or creating state insurance exchanges.
As some states move toward greater transparency when children under state supervision die, Tennessee is holding fast to its policy of blocking public access to case files.
A coalition of news organizations led by The Tennessean newspaper and including The Associated Press has sued to force Tennessee to release case records of children who died after the Department of Children's Services investigated reports of abuse or neglect.
The lawsuit uses Tennessee's public records law and argues it's in the public interest to know what steps the agency took to protect the children.