Bill banning teacher politicking at work gets final legislative approval

(Charlie Daniel cartoon)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Legislation to prohibit Tennessee teachers from engaging in political campaigning during work hours is headed to the governor.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Joey Hensley, of Hohenwald, was approved 27-6 in the Senate on Wednesday. The companion bill (HB158) passed the House 68-27 earlier this month.

Currently, public school teachers and other school employees are excluded from the Little Hatch Act, which applies to most state employees. The proposal would add teachers to the employees prohibited from campaigning at work. Teachers could still campaign on their own time.

Republican Sen. Doug Overbey of Maryville voted against the measure because he doesn’t think it’s necessary. He said most school districts already have policies to prevent campaigning.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam will review the legislation when it reaches his desk.

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