The Tennessee General Assembly wrapped up its session last week. There were some major state laws passed this year: an overhaul to the workers’ compensation program, a law that allows people to store guns in their cars while at work, and a nearly $33 billion budget. But many high-profile proposals ended up in the waste-bin as a result of intra-party squabbling.
If the governor does not veto a bill passed Monday, then the suburbs outside of Memphis will be able to restart a process to open municipal schools which they originally began in 2012. Last August, all six suburbs passed referendums to open their own municipal school districts, only to have those referendums voided by U.S. District Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays. The new legislation will allow each suburb to hold another referendum on whether or not they want to open municipal schools.
A provision of the Affordable Care Act requires that Medicare pay for obesity counseling by primary care physicians. The federal health insurance program for people 65 and older has long paid for costly treatments of some of the chronic diseases associated with obesity, such as diabetes and heart disease, but in what many viewed as a contradiction, Medicare refused to reimburse doctors for the work they did helping patients lose weight.
One of the last remaining skirmishes in the Tennessee General Assembly this year pits the interests of agriculture against animal rights activists. The proposal before the state Legislature requires people go to the police immediately if they take photos or video of animal abuse.
“Investigations and documentation—if that’s what was required—needs to be done by law enforcement, not by vigilantes,” State Senator Dolores Gresham, a Republican from Somerville, said on the Legislature floor Thursday.