Lawmakers respond to governor's paid medical leave change of course

Posted at 5:30 PM, Feb 20, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is backpedaling on a promise to offer up to 12 weeks of annual paid family leave for state workers through an executive order.

Instead, the Republican said Wednesday he will pursue the idea through legislation in a skeptical GOP-dominated statehouse.

Lee originally announced the executive order in early January, saying that it would would apply to approximately 38,000 full-time executive branch employees who had at least a year of service.

However, lawmakers have remained tepid toward Lee's executive order despite support from family advocates.

"We have a fiscal responsibility as well and that's one of the things we've been discussing over the past few weeks," said Speaker Cameron Sexton. "We're getting closer to having the language and the fiscal note and we'll continue moving forward from there."

The legislation is being brought by State Rep. William Lamberth.