Lawmakers wrap up 108th general assembly

Lawmakers wrap up 108th general assembly

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Lawmakers also passed a bill allowing cities and counties to hold referendums on whether or not grocery stores can sell wine. Lawmakers also passed a bill allowing cities and counties to hold referendums on whether or not grocery stores can sell wine.
"Meth is a huge scourge on our society," State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey (R-Knoxville) said. "There are smurfers that come in to buy the pseudoephedrine. Kids end up in burn units in the hospital. It's terrible and it's worse in east Tennessee." "Meth is a huge scourge on our society," State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey (R-Knoxville) said. "There are smurfers that come in to buy the pseudoephedrine. Kids end up in burn units in the hospital. It's terrible and it's worse in east Tennessee."
"What this is going to do is let students know earlier on they can go to at least a two year college and possibly four years and so I think that we might see students work harder at attempting to go to college knowing that's an actual possibility for them "What this is going to do is let students know earlier on they can go to at least a two year college and possibly four years and so I think that we might see students work harder at attempting to go to college knowing that's an actual possibility for them

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Local state lawmakers are back in East Tennessee after wrapping up the session in Nashville this week.

A lot of ideas came and went; a number of big ideas passed while others failed.

The only constitutional requirement for the General Assembly each session is to pass a balanced budget, which they accomplished, approving a $32.4 billion spending plan.

The centerpiece of the legislative session this year was Gov. Haslam's "Tennessee Promise" proposal – a plan that gives free community college tuition to high school graduates for the first two years.

"What this is going to do is let students know earlier on they can go to at least a two year college and possibly four years and so I think that we might see students work harder at attempting to go to college knowing that's an actual possibility for them," Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) said.

Lawmakers also passed a bill allowing cities and counties to hold referendums on whether or not grocery stores can sell wine.

If a referendum is passed, grocery stores could start selling wine by July of 2016.

"For the first time ever, we were able to bring all parties to the table and work out a compromise so we can give consumers a choice," Rep. Ryan Haynes (R-Knoxville) said.

A bill aimed at curbing meth production by reducing the cap on pseudoephedrine purchases goes into effect in July.

The bill lowers the maximum purchase to 5.76 grams of medicine containing pseudoephedrine in a 30-day period.

"Meth is a huge scourge on our society," State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey (R-Knoxville) said. "There are smurfers that come in to buy the pseudoephedrine. Kids end up in burn units in the hospital. It's terrible and it's worse in east Tennessee."

Two bills in honor of the slain Knoxville couple Channon Christian and Chris Newsom also passed this session.

One bill clarifies what evidence the defense can present about the victim and the other bill creates the presumption that the judge acts as the 13th juror.

"We were able to try and bring those families a little bit of closure in passing those bills in honor of those two individuals," Haynes said.

The General Assembly also passed a bill ending a law allowing cities to annex land without consent.

The change is something Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett has been fighting hard for, writing a letter to 94 county mayors throughout the state asking them to support the bill and help its passage.

"It's reminiscent of after the second World War when the Russians would take in these large areas and send everything back to mother Russia and the areas that had it they would not flourish at all and so it's sort of reminiscent of that and I think it's unconstitutional really," Burchett said.

There were a number of bills that failed this session as well including the proposed school voucher program, a bill allowing open carry of handguns without a permit and a bill ending daylight saving time.

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