Latest From the Legislature

Latest From the Legislature: March 22, 2021

The Tennessee General Assembly is in session and legislators are hard at work. Here are a few education-related items we are keeping an eye on for the work week of March 22-26, 2021.

Last week, the Senate announced the Senate Education Committee will consider its last calendar on April 7, while the House education subcommittees would notice bills for the last calendar on March 30. That said, the committee calendars for the next several weeks will be extensive, with the amendment list growing even longer.

Today, the House Government Operations Committee will vote on HB973 (Rep. Dixie), known as the SEM Advancement Act. This is the last stop for the bill before the House floor. The Senate companion, SB414 (Sen. Yarbro), passed the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 9 to 0 but has not been scheduled yet for a vote on the Senate floor.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey’s 3rd grade retention bill, SB1156, is on the Senate consent calendar this afternoon. TSS is tracking the bill due to its overbroad bill caption, which opens up public chapters passed in the special session earlier this year. TSS will oppose any amendments intended to open up the passed legislation.

On Tuesday, the House Education Instruction Subcommittee will take up several bills worth noting, including HB74 (Rep. Lamberth), which is an administration caption bill regarding Achievement School Districts (ASD). TSS will take a position accordingly after reviewing the most recent draft language. The subcommittee will also hear HB535 (Rep. Hawk), filed as a caption. The bill will be amended with for-profit charter language. The Senate companion bill passed out of Senate Education Committee last week by a vote of 6 to 3. Finally, the subcommittee will also hear TSS-supported HB745 (Rep. Haston), which creates the “Tennessee Work Ready Opportunity Program,” to assess and certify individuals’ career readiness using nationally recognized assessments.

Finally, on the House side, the K-12 Subcommittee will take up a lengthy calendar, which includes HB1228 (Rep. Sharrell), which allows county and city school districts to reestablish the office of the elected school superintendent. TSS will oppose this bill. The committee will also hear testimony on the administration’s HB777 (Rep. Lamberth), otherwise known as the BEP hold harmless bill for the 2021-2022 school year. Finally, TSS is closely watch HB1407 (Rep. Haston), which will likely be amended to reconstitute the teacher evaluation advisory committee.

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