Tennessee Lawmakers Just Passed New Bills About Education, Policing & More

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Lawmakers in Tennessee wrapped up their 2022 legislative session on Monday (May 2), rolling out several new bills on education, policing, and more.

According to NBC News 5 Memphis, Shelby County Democrats and Republicans found the session to be a success, particularly on the matters of education and policing. State Rep. Antonio Parkinson says the Black Legislative Caucus' main focuses were on health, education, and getting resources to constituents.

"We got money in the budget for youth sports," Parkinson told the outlet. "We got money in the budget for projects that are happening here in our county. Money in the budget for microbusiness support. Money in the budget for HBCUs," the Memphis Democrat said.

Governor Bill Lee's $1 billion education bill was signed into law this week, putting $115 million into Shelby County schools. Lawmakers also signed bills creating penalties for schools that allow transgender girls to join girls' sports teams while passing another to create a Black history curriculum for the state.

Policing in Tennessee

Another issue lawmakers took up was the effort to hire more police in and around the state. A new law now removes the requirement that anyone looking to be a police officer has to live in the county where they work.

"It is divisive for us as elected officials both locally and at the state level for city council to make a decision and then the mayor come up to the state to have that decision overturned by the state legislature," Parkinson said.

"What we want is safe streets, " Rep. Mark White said. "We want law enforcement and we have been short about 400-500 police officers for many many years. The budget is there. It's not like we're putting any more money into the budget."

The session also saw the passage of another bill that requires someone convicted of certain crimes to serve a full sentence.

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