Tag Archives: discovery

On Post-Session Discovery Syndrome

(Note: This is an unedited version of a column written for Sunday’s News Sentinel.)
An annual phenomenon in Tennessee – perhaps occurring this year more than most — is that many people only discover what the General Assembly has been doing after the deeds are done and the Legislature has gone home for the year.
This is somewhat understandable, since the volume of legislation is such that even active participants in the process don’t know what’s going on with more than a few dozen of the 2,500 or so bills in the works during session.
As Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey acknowledged, regarding a bill to prohibit social promotion of third graders (SB1776): “I don’t think it got the first ounce of media coverage…I didn’t know the bill existed until a week before it passed.”
Actually, it got several pounds of media coverage, but most came after it had already passed and had been signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam.
Haslam, incidentally, had a legislative package that was tiny by his predecessors’ standards, just 20 bills. He got dragged into some level of involvement in another couple of dozen or so, occasionally with some eagerness but mostly, it seemed, with some reluctance..
But, by gosh, he has signed every bill put in front of him. Unlike Phil Bredesen and Don Sundquist, he hasn’t even occasionally shown his disdain by refusing to sign a measure and letting it become law without his signature.

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