Legislature to Recess, Capitol Closed to Public Due to COVID-19

Mar 20, 2020

The Tennessee Capitol
After Governor Bill Lee announced a state of emergency last Thursday in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton issued a joint statement on the Tennessee General Assembly website limiting access to the Capitol by the public but assuring that “the citizens of Tennessee will still be able to access the work they have elected us to do through the livestreaming services available on our website.”

On Friday, Gov. Lee announced the closure of the Capitol to the public for tours and visitation, but explained that the Capitol would remain open for regular legislative business.

Then on Monday, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton issued another joint statement, which said, “In the best interests of public health, we have jointly decided to limit all remaining legislative business to fulfilling our constitutional requirement of passing a balanced budget, and any associated actions that will ensure Tennessee can keep its doors open. . . Passing an amended budget now and recessing will allow the General Assembly to focus on an immediate plan of action, while still determining needs down the road.”

The Tennessee Legislature adopted a $39.8 billion budget Thursday night and then recessed with the intention of reconvening June 1.

This means that the bills we were actively lobbying this legislative session, including the Rule of Law Life Act, which was scheduled for the House Public Health Subcommittee on Tuesday, are effectively on hold until June.

News Sources

General Assembly votes on budget, leaves Nashville
Daily Memphian

Tuesday Capitol updates: Lawmakers will return to Capitol June 1 to resume business

Joint Statement from Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Governor Randy McNally and Speaker Cameron Sexton

Tennessee General Assembly

Gov. Bill Lee Issues Executive Order Declaring State of Emergency in Response to COVID-19

State of Tennessee Executive Order
TN Secretary of State PDF

Gov. Lee closes Capitol to visitors, tours
Nashville Business Journal

Decision to close Capitol, legislative office building to the public amid coronavirus outbreak faces criticism

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