(The Center Square) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee didn’t waste time signing a new public school funding formula bill just four days after it was passed on the floor of the Tennessee Legislature.
But the process for other bills passed in the waning days of session has taken longer. Several key late-session bills have not been sent to Lee yet for his signature.
After bills are passed by the Legislature, they are enrolled and then signed by the speakers of the House and Senate before heading to the governor’s desk. Lee can then sign the bill, allow it to pass without signing or veto the bill. He also can reduce or veto an appropriation in a bill, but vetoes can be overridden by a majority vote in the Legislature.
Lee has 10 days to act on a bill after receiving it, not counting Sundays.
Doug Kufner, spokesperson for House Speaker Cameron Sexton, explained that the clerk’s office gets the passed bills to the speakers as soon as possible after the bill is passed, then the speakers look to sign them and get them to the governor.
Bills from late in the session that have not been signed by both speakers and sent to the governor include permission for a Davidson County hotel/motel tax increase for a new Tennessee Titans stadium, a sales tax deal for a new Chattanooga Lookouts stadium and a bill allowing for a one-year break on state registration fees for personal vehicles and motorcycles.
It also includes a bill to add to the state’s HOPE scholarship, a campaign finance reporting bill, a bill requiring restitution for DUI offenders who kill the parent of minor children and a bill requiring contract transparency for construction contractors at the west Tennessee megasite including Ford’s Blue Oval City.
Last week, Lee allowed a truth in sentencing bill to become law without his signature, sending a letter explaining his action to both speakers and leading to further response to each.
This bill declares eight categories of crime that will require those convicted to serve 100% of their sentences.
Lee also signed a bill blocking large-scale waivers of a work requirement to receive SNAP benefits and a pair of bills that would prevent athletes who were declared male on their birth certificate from competing in female athletics.
He also signed the Tennessee Textbook Transparency Act, which changes the review and requirement process for textbooks used in public schools throughout the state. The bill requires textbooks to be available for public review online.