The Governor of TN responded to a letter calling for the cancellation of an extraordinary meeting
COOKWILL, Tennessee (WKRN) — Gov. Bill Lee (D-Tennessee) is confident lawmakers will get something done during a special session in August.
“Let’s talk seriously,” he said. “Let’s put the ideas on the table.”
The Tennessee governor is opposing his own party when it comes to his Emergency Protection Proposal (ERPO).
He spoke to News 2 after speaking with the American Legion Boys at Tennessee Tech on Thursday, a day after several Republican lawmakers signed a letter calling for Lee to cancel the special session.
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“I was contacted by a group of people from my district who said it was completely inappropriate,” said Rep. Brian Ritchie (R-Maryville). “Then when you look at the financial implications of having this special session for the people of Tennessee, when it comes to taxpayer dollars, it’s ridiculous.”
House leadership criticized the letter on Wednesday, writing in part in a statement: “If our Governor calls the Legislature into special session to discuss any issue, the Republican Convention will certainly be ready, willing, and able to discuss the best way forward for our state. “.
Li himself replied on Thursday. “I mean, I think everyone definitely has opinions about it and feelings about it,” he said. “I certainly respect the thoughts and opinions of every MP, I have a great relationship with them and I will continue to work with them.”
Lee’s best chances of winning Republican support likely come from the Senate and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, the speaker.
“I support the governor and believe that his proposal hit the mark,” he said. “I hope we can come up with something that will address his concerns about mentally ill people getting guns and also solve the problem of crime in general.”
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However, other senators have said they will not consider an emergency protection order. But McNally seemed a little confident that something significant would pass.
“I think the chances are about 50-50. I think right now it probably won’t work,” he said. “But if you give them a little time, let people think about it, they will come back home, interact with ordinary people who have returned home.”
The speaker noted that over the past few months, ERPO ratings in Tennessee have been extremely high.
“When you look at the breakdown of support in Tennessee on various issues, it’s one that’s in the high 80s and 90s, even among Republicans,” McNally said. “Look at the Republicans, even the MAGA Republicans – people who identify themselves that way – it’s high. That’s well over 50.”
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If no one in the legislature budges, what’s Lee’s plan?
“In the end, the General Assembly will decide how to move forward,” he said. “I think we have an obligation and an important responsibility to have a dialogue and come up with ideas.”