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Stalemate Turns Checkmate: Special Session Concludes

Stalemate Turns Checkmate: Special Session Concludes

In unsurprising news, Justin Jones (D-Nashville) was silenced by Speaker Sexton during yesterday’s House Floor Session. After quite a few generous warnings, Jones was ultimately cut off for his inability to stay on the topic of the bills being discussed. At the beginning of the week, the House passed a set of rules in an attempt to rein in political grandstanding from the floor and disruptions from the gallery— which have proven futile. 

Though Jones was prevented from speaking for the rest of the day, he wasn’t prevented from voting. In spite of this, he left the floor in protest, and the House Democratic caucus followed him out in a show of solidarity. While the House has been a playground for performative politics, the Senate has been decisive and deliberate. In fact, just moments ago, the Senate wrapped up the special session. Let’s take a look at what bills made it through.


Yesterday the Senate decided to take recess before reconvening at 10 a.m. this morning, when they gathered to review amendments the House added to the companion bills of SB7085 and SB7089. Though nine House bills were also re-introduced during yesterday’s floor session, the Senate only addressed adjustments made to the four bills they’ve already passed:

  • HB7012/SB7085 would provide free firearm locks to Tennessee residents, require handgun safety courses to touch on storing firearms safely, and create a tax break on firearm safes and safety devices.
  • HB7013/SB7086 would codify the governor’s Executive Order 100. This EO was established to streamline the Tennessee Instant Check System, ensuring up-to-date information for firearm background checks. This bill would require recent court rulings, arrests, and hospital discharges to be put into the system within 72 hours, making the information available to the TBI.
  • HB7041/SB7088 would require the TBI to issue an annual report on human trafficking crimes and trends in the state, the first to be submitted by December.
  • HB7070/SB7089 would approve the appropriations to cover the cost of special session along with $1.1 million for a firearms safety campaign, $10 million in school safety grants for K-12 schools, $30 million in public safety grants for post-secondary schools, and $50 million for Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to go toward a variety of initiatives, among other allocations.

The body’s only hang-up had to do with some language in the rewriting of HB7013/SB7086, concerning the window of time to update the Tennessee Instant Check System. In the end, they adopted the House’s version, which keeps it at 72 hours. We’re sure to see this discussion again during next year’s General Assembly.  There were no reports from committees, and Senator Johnson filed a sine die motion to end the special session.