NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – He called the special session and put forward legislation, but Gov. Bill Lee hasn’t been seen publicly this week.
According to TN House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville), part of the reason is the Senate.
“We were trying to have a meeting with the House and Senate and the governor, and the Senate refused to want to have the governor in the room,” Sexton said.
Although Sexton claims he’s been talking to the governor, Democrats have been putting photos out on social media, asking, “Where in the world is Governor Lee?”
A spokesperson for Lee released a statement Friday saying, “The Governor has been at the Capitol all week, talking with legislators from both chambers and following the progress closely, as the General Assembly continues to work toward solutions to strengthen public safety. As you’ll recall, Gov. Lee called this special session and has been working with legislators and engaging with stakeholders all summer long. He brought forward an administration package, and several bills are moving forward in both chambers.”
However, the statement did not say specifically what the governor has been doing this week to promote public safety, and with the session set to continue into next week, the tab is running up at $58,000 a day.
The session has cost taxpayers $232,000.
“We are not accomplishing anything for Tennessee families, but we are billing them and that tab is going to continue to run as long as we are up here playing this game,” Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) said.
Mothers of children who attend The Covenant School have spent hours at the Capitol this week and said some of the costs of unproductivity can’t be measured.
“Last week was my son’s first full week of kindergarten. He didn’t get to have her pick him up, have me pick him up. He didn’t have me at bedtime most nights because I was here,” Covenant mom Sarah Shoop Neumann said.
Neumann also said they will keep making those sacrifices until the last gavel.