WTVF-NASHVILLE — As the 113th Tennessee General Assembly charges deeper into March, the activity level continues to grow on Capitol Hill.
Of course, that means the debate and the controversy over a number of bills continues to grow as well. The person who presides over one of the legislative chambers, Tennessee State Senate, is Lt. Governor Randy McNally.
On Friday, NewsChannel 5's political analyst Pat Nolan spoke with the Lt. Governor to discuss the legislature as well as what's ahead in the upcoming session.
Along with that, they also discussed Lt. Governor McNally's health after he suffered heart irregularities and was hospitalized. More recently, there has been growing controversy with the Lt. Governor in regards to comments and emojis left on "racy" photos on Instagram.
"There are people who now think in light of your support for votes for several new laws that seem to be targeted, they think, to hurt the LGBTQ community, that your online comments and emojis are rather hypocritical because you've been such a strong supporter of those two bills," Nolan asked McNally.
McNally responded stating that he is not anti-gay and has "supported some bills and I have opposed some bills."
"There's certain things and certain parameters I think that the state needs to look at and enforce, but as far as people, I enjoy talking to people and meeting people and try to encourage people and support people," McNally added.
This controversy came to the spotlight in the wake of the passage of the House by two bills, one that basically bans gender-affirming surgery or health care for anyone under 18. Another bill that had a lot to do with banning in some circumstances drag shows, particularly those that are held in public and also held for those under 18 years old.
Nolan asked McNally why the legislature felt it was so important to pass this as almost the first piece of legislation.
"The one bill about surgery, I was not there. That was the day I had to leave and was not there for the vote on it," McNally said and added that he would have looked at the bill and paid a little more attention to it. For the bill regarding drag performances, he said he had some concerns, but the way it was actually amended, "it only affected the drag person".
This new drag bill legislation which is now law will take effect on April 1st, which is about the time that gay pride parades and other activities like that begin. Nolan asked if one of the reasons this was being done was to either stop or curtail a lot of these gay pride activities.
"I don't know if it was done in conjunction for that," McNally said. "I know that there were some activities in which there was some touching going on and that was by minors and I think that's what spurred the development of those two bills in particular."