Tennessee lawmakers are returning for a legislative session colored by upcoming elections, House Speaker Beth Harwell's bid for governor and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's final lap before he hits his term limits.
In the session starting Tuesday at noon, the Republican-led General Assembly doesn't face a weighty choice that will drive the debate for months, like last year's Haslam-backed roads-funding law.
Legislative leaders and Haslam say a main focus will be opioid abuse, a less divisive topic before state elections for governor, all 99 House seats and 17 of 33 Senate seats.
Lawmakers can't fundraise during the session, so they have incentive to finish quickly. The candidate filing deadline is April 5 and the primary is Aug. 2.
Harwell is one of five leading Republicans, alongside two Democrats, running for governor.