Heavy debate on a series of bills in the Tennessee House has delayed the conclusion of the General Assembly. The chamber recessed after 10:00 last night, but is scheduled to return at 8:00 this morning. Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell says the early start should give lawmakers every chance to conclude their business by the end of the day. The lower chamber had more than 45 bills remaining on its calendar, including a measure to require drug testing for welfare recipients and a proposed overhaul of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.
The National Rifle Association is at odds with Tennessee Republican leaders over proposed limitations to a bill requiring employers allow workers to store firearms in vehicles parked on company lots. The NRA's chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, has demanded in a letter to state lawmakers that the original bill be adopted without any changes. The measure is roundly opposed by business groups and the state's police chiefs on the basis that it would infringe on property rights and raise safety concerns.
Supporters of a Tennessee measure to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students have put off consideration of the bill after being told Governor Bill Haslam is concerned about the bill. The start of yesterday's House Education Committee meeting was delayed 15 minutes while Republicans huddled in Speaker Beth Harwell's office with an unidentified member of the Haslam administration. Republican Representative Joey Hensley later announced he was putting off the bill for a week.