Tennessee Lawmakers Convene For 108th General Assembly - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Tennessee Lawmakers Convene For 108th General Assembly

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Lawmakers have convened for the 108th Tennessee General Assembly.

As required by the Tennessee Constitution, the session was called into order at noon Tuesday.

For this session, Republicans have added to their already substantial advantages in both the Senate and House, gaining supermajorities in both chambers after the November election.

House Speaker Beth Harwell was unanimously re-elected to the post. Ron Ramsey was also re-elected as Senate Speaker and Lieutenant Governor for his fourth two-year term.

"I want to thank you once again for placing your trust in me," Ramsey said after being re-elected.  "It has been the honor of my life to serve Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate."

Key legislation expected to come up this session includes a measure to allow wine in supermarkets and proposals allowing teachers to be armed at school.

In an attempt to limit bill filing, House Speaker Beth Harwell has proposed setting a cap on how many bills are filed each year.

Under the measure, each lawmaker would be limited to 10 bills.

Harwell's proposal would have to be approved by a special committee she will appoint when the session begins.

The so-called "guns in parking lots" bill will pit pro-gun lawmakers against pro-business lawmakers. With even more Republicans in the legislature, it remains to be seen if enough votes are out there to pass it.

The bill to allow wine in grocery stores is set to make a comeback as well. It has been popular with voters, but unpopular with the liquor store owners, who have lobbied against it every year.

This could also be the year that a voucher program for education passes, which has been on state Republicans' wish list for years. With a better than two thirds majority in both chambers, supporters said this is the best chance they've ever had of making school vouchers a reality.

State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver is proposing a bill to allow armed teachers with permits with the school's permission. The bill would also require special training. The gun would also have special bullets.

State Sen. Frank Niceley drafted a bill that would require districts to assign at least one resource officer to every school or to allow teachers to go armed.

State Sen. Stacey Campfield, also plans to introduce legislation proposing three options for schools: to have trained SRO's, allow armed teachers to take SRO traning,or require the school system to assume liability for its students.

State Sen.Jim Summerville has submitted another bill in anticipation of the upcoming session.

His latest legislation would prohibit directors of public school districts from giving preference for employment based on race, gender, or ethnicity.

Summerville has also already submitted legislation to phase out the Hall Income Tax, and a bill that would require anyone applying for a HOPE lottery scholarship to pass the English and civics naturalization tests.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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