New House Speaker Cameron Sexton ready to tackle key state issues

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Sanctuary cities, a vaping ban, healthcare and a pushed up schedule for budget hearings were among the many topics covered Thursday in an interview with new Tennessee Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton.

“Its been fun its been fast its been a big learning experience,” Speaker Sexton said Thursday about the post he’s held since August 23rd.

He’s already made headlines saying Nashville defied the state’s sanctuary cities ban with an executive order from then Nashville Mayor David Briley that said city workers were not required to cooperate with immigration officials.

Sexton now plans to meet with Nashville’s new Mayor John Cooper who beat Briley last month in a mayoral election by a 70-30 percent margin.

“He’s indicated he will look at that executive order again and we are hopeful he will rescind it when he takes a look at it,” said the speaker about the new mayor.

More vaping deaths are a national concern, but what about a ban of the products in Tennessee?

“Before we jump ahead going down the road, let’s make sure we examine and make sure everything is factual and we know what is exactly causing the issue and not try and over-regulate something that’s not truly an issue,” said Speaker Sexton.

That’s a typical approach for the banker turned speaker, but Rep. Sexton wants to get a step ahead on the state budget with hearings for the first time before the legislative session begins in January.  

“We informed the governor that we would have our budget hearings in November and December this year,” said Rep. Sexton. “We are not going to wait until March or April.”

The speaker says the controversial funding change for the state’s Medicaid program TennCare will also be subject of a house hearing in a few weeks.

Sexton added that whatever happens to the TennCare funding with a proposed block grant that must be approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), lawmakers must approve the plan before it goes into effect.

Rep. Sexton succeeds Rep. Glen Casada who resigned as speaker August 2nd after admitting sending sexist texts amid other allegations.

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