Governor Haslam will give his State of the State Address to a joint conference of the House and Senate of the Tennessee General Assembly at 6:00 p.m. Central Time on Monday, March 14. The address is expected to outline the governor's budget proposal. Governor Haslam may also describe his "jobs package" that appears likely to include some version of tort reform, the City Paper reports.
Already, a possible disagreement between the governor and the general assembly is emerging. With state revenue running slightly ahead of budget, the governor has suggested that the surplus be used to replenish the state's rainy day, or reserve, fund. The general assembly is more likely to want to use the surplus to fund ongoing government programs rather than cutting those programs as severely as would otherwise be necessary.
The governor and legislators also sparred gently this week about proposed bills directed at immigrants. Governor Haslam has said that he does not want to send a message that Tennessee does not welcome international business. The discussion arose after Governor Haslam asked Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron to postpone consideration of a bill requiring Tennessee drivers' license examinations to be given only in English. Tom Humphrey writes about the conversation in his blog, "Humphrey on the Hill."
The ongoing saga of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools concluded its legislative chapter, at least this legislative chapter, with party line votes in both houses to prohibit Memphis City Schools from dissolving itself for at least three years. Suburban Republicans prevailed over urban Democrats in party line votes in both houses.