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

Apr 30, 2021

District 31 Senator Brian Kelsey of Germantown has proposed several bills to give the State of Tennessee greater authority over cities and counties. Doing so would allow Republicans in Nashville to do what Republicans in Shelby County don't currently have the votes to accomplish.

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.