Democrats Highlight Republican Legislator Infighting

Democrats said Monday that the chaotic final days of the legislative session highlighted fractures among Republican lawmakers that sank many of the GOP’s biggest initiatives for the year, reports Chas Sisk..
As legislators sprinted to finish last week before a self-imposed deadline, they stumbled over bills that would have given the State Board of Education the authority to approve applications for school charters and a plan to redraw Tennessee’s legislative districts. They also couldn’t come together on a plan to offer school vouchers and a proposal to let charter schools contract with for-profit operators.
…Democrats have spent much of the session portraying Republicans as more radical than Tennesseans bargained for.
“It seemed to be tilted toward the wealthy,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville. “Public policy should be about what’s best for most people.”
The final days of the session let Democrats open a new line of attack — infighting.
As lawmakers neared their planned adjournment time Friday, the state House of Representatives resoundingly defeated a proposal pushed by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, to eliminate two judicial districts and redraw the boundaries of six districts. The Senate responded by sending charter authorizer legislation championed by Ramsey’s counterpart, House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, back to committee.
Democrats cheered the result of that dispute and used it to suggest Republicans had tripped themselves up.
“This legislation will be right back,” said state Rep. Brenda Gilmore, the Nashville Democrat who leads the legislature’s Davidson County caucus.
Republicans acknowledged some of the differences last week, though they said those should not distract Tennesseans from their achievements.
“If there’s not a little tension between the House and the administrative branch, then we’re probably not doing our jobs,” said House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga.
“We don’t always just fall in together and work off the same page. That’s just the way government works, and it ought to work that way.” he said
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