TN Republicans Pushing Extreme Social Issues
Abortion. Evolution. Guns.
As Tennessee lawmakers rush to the finish of the two-year legislative session, Republican leaders say they want their first term in control of the state Capitol to be remembered for their efforts to create jobs and reform schools. But social issues are making their way to the top of the agenda, forcing debates that have garnered national attention and opened the GOP to renewed attacks from Democrats.
The flurry of activity reflects the power of socially conservative voters in Tennessee and the pressure Republicans are under to deliver for them before they go home for the year.
Bills dealing with sex, religion and guns may spark controversy. But they also give Republican lawmakers a chance to show where they stand and could help them head off the biggest challenge they face to re-election this year — a primary opponent who accuses them of having done too little to advance conservative causes.
In recent days, Republican lawmakers have moved ahead with bills that would place new restrictions on abortion providers and tighten rules for teaching sex education, and they opened the door for local governments to post the Ten Commandments in courthouses and on town squares.