NASHVILLE - The Senate today approved its version of the state's budget after Republicans successfully beat back efforts by state Sen. Eric Stewart to save Taft Youth Development Center from being closed by Gov. Bill Haslam.
Stewart's amendment to restore $12 million in funding for the Bledsoe County facility, which serves as home for older, tougher teens, was tabled on a 19-14 vote.
Stewart, D-Belvidere, said Taft functions as the state juvenile system's maximum-security prison for serious offenders between the ages of 16 to 19, yet has been successful in rehabilitating many of them.
Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled Senate's version of the budget retaliates against the GOP-controlled House's decision to cut some Senate pet projects by slashing millions of dollars in funding for other programs and projects.
The bill now goes back to the House where leaders will decide whether to concur with the changes or stand by their previous actions.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, estimated the 2012-2013 spending plan at $31.1 billion.
Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.