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TN Politics: New Budget, New Bills Show State's Republican Priorities

The Tennessee General Assembly passed its FY2022 budget this week, offering a look at Republican priorities  in the coming year. One of Gov. Bill Lee's signature issues -- bringing broadband internet access to rural communities -- received only half as much funding as the governor requested. Additional millions were added to a rainy day fund that has already ballooned to more than a billion dollars. 

As the session comes to an end, Republicans are again getting behind controversial and racist legislation, such as offering legal immunity to people who run over protesters in the street, a terror tactic of white supremacists.

Political analyst Otis Sanford says this "outlandish" law would likely get little enforcement in urban areas such as Memphis.

Facing dissent from urban areas, Republicans such as Germantown Senator Brian Kelsey have been working to thwart challenges by proposing new measures designed to remove legal options for cities and counties. Sanford says this undermines the government's system of checks and balances. 

Reporting from the gates of Graceland to the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Christopher has covered Memphis news, arts, culture and politics for more than 20 years in print and on the radio. He is currently WKNO's News Director and Senior Producer at the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting. Join his conversations about the Memphis arts scene on the WKNO Culture Desk Facebook page.