Robinson calls for further action to ‘correct past injustices’

NASHVILLE — A medical marijuana bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 5–3 with one member not voting. Sen. Katrina Robinson, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, issued a statement marking the vote.

“Tennessee has fallen behind the nation on marijuana reform,” Sen. Robinson said. “For the first time, the Judiciary Committee has said cancer patients and people who are sick should have access to marijuana. This bill isn’t perfect and it doesn’t go far enough to correct past injustices, but it’s a step forward at a time we desperately need progress.”

Under Senate Bill 667, Tennesseans, who have a debilitating disease…


Sen. Kyle: Corporate special interests don’t need ‘double the influence’

Sen. Sara Kyle (D-Memphis) asked the bill sponsor to send the bill back to committee.

NASHVILLE — Republicans passed a bill Thursday in the Senate that would double the amount special interest PACs are allowed to give candidates running for state senate.

Sen. Sara Kyle (D-Memphis) voted against the measure, which passed 25–6 on a party line vote.

“The Tennessee Senate already works great for the wealthy and well connected,” Sen. Kyle says. “I assure you corporate special interests do not need double the influence.”

Under current law, candidates for state senate have contributions limits tied to a four-year election cycle in line with a senate term. Under Senate Bill 1120, as amended, contributions limits…


‘If the three Gs are ripped away from Shelby County Schools, the theft started in the Tennessee Senate’

Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis)

NASHVILLE — Around 4:30 p.m. April 7, the issue appeared settled. Legislation, designed to force Shelby County Schools to transfer ownership of three school buildings on 60 acres of land to the city of Germantown, was dead.

Senate Bill 898 failed in the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 5 noes to 4 ayes. Germantown elementary, middle and high schools were safe. Shelby County Schools officials worried about overcrowding and the 3,000 plus families zoned to the “three Gs” could breathe a sigh of relief.

But then, just two hours later, after members of the committee returned from a…


Research shows Tennessee State University underfunded by more than $150 million over decades

NASHVILLE — Research shows that state budgets have shortchanged Tennessee State University by at least $150.5 million since 1956.

Sen. Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) says the legislature and governor have a duty to restore funds that should have been allotted to Tennessee State University’s land grant programs.

“The research makes clear that Tennessee State University, its faculty and its students have been deprived of millions of dollars. I believe the General Assembly has a moral obligation to address this decades-long failure,” Sen. Gilmore said. …


Source: Brian Shields, WFTV

NASHVILLE — Nashville’s Democratic senators are urging Gov. Bill Lee’s office to move quickly with a disaster declaration in response to widespread flooding that devastated parts of Davidson and surrounding counties.

The statement was co-signed by Sens. Heidi Campbell, Brenda Gilmore and Jeff Yarbro, all of whom represent areas damaged by flooding.

“A great many of our citizens are hurting right now from the deadly flooding that hit Middle Tennessee. We are grateful to report that the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is working with local officials to assess the damage. As the waters recede and the hard work of recovery begins, we want to ensure people in these affected areas receive the care and support they need to restore their communities. Gov. Lee’s office is an important partner in this work and we appreciate his swift consideration of a disaster declaration.”


NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Senate approved Monday a measure sponsored by Sen. Raumesh Akbari to abolish slavery from the state constitution — under all circumstances.

“Today, we’re making clear, once and for all, that slavery is prohibited in all forms and under all circumstances,” Sen. Akbari said. “It’s important that we reckon with slavery allowances because constitutional flaws like this are what allowed mass incarceration to flourish for generations. More than a century later, we’re still trying undo the consequences of this injustice.”

Senate Joint Resolution 80 passed the Senate by a vote of 26–4.

Tennessee’s Constitution currently allows…


Sen. Sara Kyle says bill inches state closer to full repeal of sales tax on feminine hygiene products

NASHVILLE — Sen. Sara Kyle has long supported the notion of repealing the state sales tax on feminine hygiene products.

“I believe this is the fourth General Assembly I’ve proposed this measure in some form or fashion because these products are an essential necessity for women and they should not be taxed,” Kyle told the Senate Revenue Subcommittee this morning. “These products are required for human dignity.”

Despite the controlling party’s typical zeal for tax breaks, the full “tampon tax” repeal has failed to gain traction until today—albeit a more narrow version.

This morning, Sen. Kyle’s Senate Bill 24, which…


Sens. Gilmore, Akbari vow to support removal process until it’s over

Sen. Brenda Gilmore (left) and Sen. Raumesh Akbari (right)

NASHVILLE — Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus cheered a decision to relocate the bust of early KKK leader and enslaver Nathan Bedford Forrest.

The Tennessee Historical Commission voted 25–1 today in favor of a petition to move the Forrest statue to the Tennessee State Museum. Since 1978, the Forrest bust has occupied a perch on the second floor of the Capitol Building.

“Let this be the one of the last hurdles and an important step in a long line of actions we take in Tennessee to heal the divisions that have long separated Black and white people in this…


Legislation establishes Black history and culture curriculum with emphasis on fifth, eighth grades

NASHVILLE — A new bill in the state legislature would add Black history and culture into public school curriculum throughout the school year.

The Black History Act, Senate Bill 1101 sponsored by Sen. Katrina Robinson, would direct state education officials to establish year-long, age-appropriate Black history and culture curriculum primarily for students in fifth and eighth grades.

The measure will be introduced Wednesday, March 3 in the Senate Education Committee.


Affordable, accessible child care a family pocketbook issue, senator says

NASHVILLE — Legislation introduced by Sen. Sara Kyle to boost the number of child care providers across the state is moving onto a vote in the full Senate.

Affordable, accessible child care is a pocketbook issue for many families, Sen. Kyle says, but, collectively, the scarcity of child care services also hurts the state economy when parents have no option but to drop out of the workforce or put off plans for a new business.

“This legislation addresses a real problem that many of our young parents are facing every day — finding a safe, affordable, and loving environment place…

Tennessee Senate Democrats

Fighting for everyday people in the Tennessee General Assembly

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