State Senators approve key bills in preparation to adjourn 2019 legislative session
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), April 25, 2019 – As the Tennessee General Assembly prepared to enter the final stretch of the 2019 legislative session, state senators acted on a wide variety of important bills this week. These include the state budget, several bills aiding healthcare consumers, and legislation to protect the life of unborn children.
State Budget — The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee adopted a schedule to the appropriations bill on Thursday, outlining a plan which calls for fiscal restraint and continued tax relief, while providing expanded TennCare coverage for in-home care for children with severe and medically complex disabilities. The plan continues the Senate’s efforts to cut taxes, take care of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, ensure public safety, keep promises made to state employees, and maintain fiscal discipline. The legislation is also aimed at preserving the fiscally conservative practices that has earned Tennessee recognition as the best managed state in the nation.
Key points of the Senate plan include:
- Cutting Tennessee’s professional privilege tax by $100 to provide relief and encourage economic growth using the online tax windfall to fund it as promised;
- Providing a Katie Beckett waiver to expand Part A TennCare coverage for in-home care for children with severe and medically complex disabilities by utilizing a stable source of revenue to sustain the program long-term;
- Raising salaries of correctional officers and counselors employed by the Tennessee Department of Corrections to address the growing number of vacancies in positions that are critical to public safety and state prison operations;
- Keeping promises to state employees by paying the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) debt obligation, in keeping with the state’s sound financial practices; and
- Recognizing fiscal restraint in state government operations by returning $6 million reserved in the governor’s budget to increase the General Assembly’s operating fund.
State Senators are asking for TennCare to evaluate cost for Part B of the Katie Beckett waiver so lawmakers can continue with a measured approach to provide funds for the needed program.
The budget is one of the last measures passed by the legislature before adjournment.