Tennessee General Assembly Passes Bill Banning Critical Race Theory Tenets in K-12 Schools

Classroom of students.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill effectively banning critical race theory (CRT) from K-12 education. The legislature had to create a conference committee on Wednesday to resolve the legislature’s conflict on amending language effectively banning CRT in schools. That conference committee not only approved the ban – they added onto the ban. In addition to the original language of the bill outlining and banning 14 tenets of CRT, The Tennessee Star was informed by State Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) that the conference committee report added on three tenets. In effect, these tenets further defined the prohibited conclusions typically advanced by CRT.

“(12) The rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups; (13) All Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; or (14) Governments should deny to any person with the government’s jurisdiction the equal protection of the law[,]” read the added provisions.

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Tennessee General Assembly Passes Bill Effectively Blocking Nashville Metro Council’s Construction Regulation Efforts

State Senator Jeff Yarbro and Jack Johnson.

An amended bill would effectively block Metro Nashville City Council’s ongoing efforts to impose stricter regulations on the construction industry. The legislation limited local government from enforcing oversight measures like obtaining employee data, enforcing safety and health standards beyond federal and state requirements, gaining entry to worksites, and obtaining the information of suppliers for labor or materials.

The Senate last passed an amended version of the bill, 27 to 6. The amendments widened the bill’s scope to include remote in addition to prime contractors, and to include bids, proposals, and agreements within what governments couldn’t enforce as oversight tactics.

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Bill Proposes Sweeping Reforms on Incarceration Alternatives and Probation Stipulations

The General Assembly is considering sweeping criminal justice reforms, namely concerning incarceration alternatives and probation. The proposed legislative changes, filed on the same day by State Representative William Lamberth (R-Portland) and State Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin), are lengthy. 

In part, the bill would expand those who qualify for community-based incarceration alternatives addressing substance abuse or mental health rehabilitation. It would also provide new avenues for individuals who break probation to have their probation reinstated (2 years at most), receive incarceration alternatives, or be shielded from extensive sentencing. It also caps probation sentencing to 8 years for felony offenses.

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Bill Seeks to Grant Immunity to Drivers Who Hit Protestors from Charges and Heighten Charges for Protestors Blocking Roadways, Throwing Objects

Drivers who unintentionally hit protestors blocking roads illegally may receive immunity, and protestors may face more severe charges for violent and obstructive behavior. State Representative Ron Gant (R-Rossville) discussed this “anti-riot” legislation on Wednesday in a press release. 

The bill would raise the penalty level for obstructing roads to a Class E felony, with a mandatory fine of $3,000 and the loss of voting powers. Those that unintentionally kill or injure protestors or rioters blocking roads would be immune from criminal charges. Additionally, those who throw objects at others or intentionally intimidates or harasses others may receive nearly a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If someone throws an object and injures another, they may receive up to six years’ prison time. 

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Tennessee Republicans Voice Support for Amy Coney Barrett’s Nomination to Supreme Court

Tennessee’s Republican leaders are voicing their support for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Governor Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account Plan Will Offer School Choice to Less Than One Percent of Tennessee Students in 2020

Gov. Bill Lee is moving forward on his campaign pledge of school choice in the form of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) available in 2020, although only about one-half of one percent of the state’s students would qualify to participate in the program’s first year. The governor delivered his first State…

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Republican Senate Leaders Praise Gov. Lee’s ‘Conservative’ Budget in State of the State Address

Reactions poured in from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s first State of the State and budget address, which was delivered Monday night. The responses included statements by three Republican Senate leaders. Lt. Gov. and Sen. Randy McNally (R-TN-05) said: “In his first State of the State address, Bill Lee rightly pointed out…

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Jack Johnson Elected State Senate Majority Leader by GOP Caucus

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – At the State Senate Republican Caucus meeting held Monday afternoon in an eighth floor conference room of the Cordell Hull Building, there was no obvious drama in the selection of its six leaders for the upcoming 111th General Assembly. The elections held off until Governor-Elect Bill Lee,…

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