Late-session bills await governor’s approval

Published 6:34 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2023

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A flurry of legislative action before Tennessee closed its session April 21 has left a stack of passed bills either on Gov. Bill Lee’s desk or headed there.

Once a bill is passed, it needs to be signed by both House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Senate Speaker Randy McNally before it heads to Lee’s desk. Then Lee has 10 days, not counting Sundays, to either sign or veto a bill or it will become law without his signature. Since the Legislature is not in session, bills are then sent to the Tennessee’s Secretary of State.

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Plenty of high-profile bills are currently in that process, with Lee signing his transportation bill involving toll lanes quickly, but bills such as a sales tax capture extension for both Memphis’ FedExForum and Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena that allows the facilities to keep sales tax at the arena through 2059 has yet to be signed and given to Lee. A similar Shelby County rental car tax to pay FedExForum bonds through 2059 was given to Lee on April 20 and will reach its deadline to be signed Wednesday.

A bill to expand Tennessee’s pilot educational savings account program to Hamilton County was sent to Lee on April 24 while a bill to block Metro Nashville’s supermajority requirement for demolition at the Nashville Fairgrounds was sent to Lee on April 28.

A bill to add funding and more programs to help students continue to advance under the state’s third-grade retention law was sent to Lee on April 24.

Lee has not yet received a bill to change the appointment power for the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, a bill lowering the state’s aviation fuel tax cap to $1 million per year per company, a bill to alter the way Tennessee taxes sportsbooks to make it a 1.85% tax on gross wagers and a bill to give teachers raises along with removing the option for Tennessee Education Association dues to be automatically withdrawn from paychecks.

Lee also has not yet received his proposed $412 million tax cut that includes a three-month grocery tax holiday from August through October.