Special Session Recap
The special session began on Monday afternoon, as prescribed by Governor Bill Lee’s call. By Monday evening, the House had 114 bills, and the Senate had 109.
The Senate finished its legislative business within thirty minutes on Monday afternoon, but the House's session went over an hour due to robust conversation revolving around newly created rules. The rules, which banned signs in committee rooms and the House gallery, caused three members of the audience in a committee to be removed by state troopers on Tuesday, followed by the chairman removing all members of the audience shortly after. The ACLU filed a lawsuit citing a violation of the First Amendment, and Chancellor Anne Martin signed a temporary restraining order Wednesday blocking the new rules.
The Senate has dwindled its bill count to three bills eligible for passage, with most of the 109 original bills having not been debated or considered. The three bills still eligible for passage are:
- Exempts all sales of firearms safes and firearm safety devices from state and local sales and use tax.
- Requires the Department of Safety to provide free firearm locks to a Tennessee resident upon such resident’s request and instructions on its website for making such requests.
- Requires the DOS to collaborate with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and other state agencies to create a public safety campaign for safe firearm storage.
- Requires all DOS-approved firearm safety courses, including instruction on the safe storage of firearms.
- Changes from 30 days to 72 hours, the time frame within which a clerk of the circuit or general sessions court must notify the TBI of the final disposition of criminal proceedings against a person after final disposition of such proceedings.
- Requires TBI to submit a report on child and human trafficking crimes and trends in this state, based upon data available to the bureau, as well as current programs and activities of the TBI's human trafficking unit, to the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the speaker of the senate by December 1, 2023, and by each December 1 thereafter.
Although the House has a dozen or so bills that are still in contention in their chamber, successful legislation requires passage in both chambers of the legislature. Unless the Senate reconsiders their actions and takes up more pieces of legislation, only the three bills have a chance of passage.
Speculation amongst lobbyists and Cordell Hull Building staffers differs greatly about when special session will adjourn. Legislators were initially expected to adjourn today, but with tensions between the House and Senate continuing, special session will continue at least through Monday.