Jake Lowary , USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
With the excitement of presidential visit behind them, state lawmakers are looking at a busy week with some unique moves to hammer out the details of the biggest piece of legislation this year.
Other topics of interest will come up this week, but few have the level of interest as the gas tax.
Gas tax special
After delaying discussion on Gov. Bill Haslam’s top initiative for a week because the House Transportation Committee Chair Rep. Barry Doss couldn’t attend last week’s meeting, the committee has set aside a special meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Monday to discuss the legislation.
The committee isn’t expected to take any action until its regular Tuesday meeting, but the meeting and discussion are a sign that pressure is mounting on lawmakers to take action on the bill, which has been amended several times by both chambers.
Once passed by the Transportation Committee, it will need to go through at least two more committees before going to the floor for a full vote.
Gun bills galore
The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up a host of gun-related bills over two days, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Among them include allowing private dealers to sell guns from their own collections without background checks, expanding the “Guns in Trunks” law to include boats (which passed the House last week), and allowing handgun carry permit holders to carry anywhere, including schools, as long as they have permission of the principal.
‘In God We Trust’ license plates
A bill that’s controversial and drew response when it was introduced will be discussed Monday at 12:30 p.m. in the Senate Transportation Committee.
The bill would place the phrase “In God We Trust” on the existing inventory of state license plates, and is sponsored by Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, and chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton.
Sanderson previously told the Tennessean the measure was inspired by encouragement of some of his constituents. Indiana is the only state that currently includes that language on its standard state-issued license plates.
Election finance penalties
A bill that would disclose to the general assembly the total number of penalties for election finance violations is scheduled to come up in a House subcommittee on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
The House bill is sponsored by Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis, who has been fined $65,000 since 1996 for at least 25 violations for a variety of infractions.
Chattanooga bus crash legislation
The bills range from raising the minimum eligible age to drive a school bus or any bus purchased after July 1, 2018 must have seat restraints equipped.