(The Center Square) – The Tennessee Legislature is close to finalizing a second special session this month, this one concerning COVID-19 matters, according to information state Rep. Gloria Johnson shared on Twitter.
Johnson, D-Knoxville, shared communication she received Wednesday, stating a second special session will be called by the “Speakers and [two-thirds] of each chamber” and will begin Oct. 27. The session is expected to meet through the following week.
“Members: As has been discussed, there will be two special sessions,” Johnson shared. “The Ford project session called by the Governor will begin Oct. 18 at 4:00 PM and could be finished on Oct. 20.”
The second session, which House Speaker Cameron Sexton has called for repeatedly, will relate to COVID-19 regulations.
“Lt. Governor (Randy) McNally has had continuing conversations with many Senate members over the last few months regarding various other issues to be included in a special session,” McNally spokesperson Adam Kleinheider said Wednesday. “While he has been reticent to support such a session in the past, he does not believe it is appropriate to call the membership back to Nashville for the megasite issue without attempting to address the concerns of Senate members and their constituents. That is why he has now agreed to work with Speaker Sexton on a call for the purpose of addressing issues where there is consensus among both chambers.”
Sexton did not comment Wednesday, but a spokesperson said that he would once the second special session is finalized.
“The Ford megasite deal is transformational for Tennessee, and we look forward to working with Gov. Lee to finalize this project as part of his special session call for Ford Motor Company,” a joint statement from McNally and Sexton said Friday. “At the same time, we have heard from many Tennesseans seeking relief from burdensome Covid-19 mandates being imposed upon them. We are working together per our state constitution to call an additional special session upon the completion of the megasite session to address issues surrounding Covid -19.”
Lee spokesperson Casey Black said, "The Governor stays in touch with the Speakers, but for now our focus is on the special session called for the Memphis Regional Megasite."
Each day the House and Senate meet costs $30,750 in per diem for lawmakers, while each round trip for all lawmakers costs taxpayers $15,474 in mileage, according to Connie Ridley, the director of Tennessee’s Office of Legislative Administration.