NASHVILLE - The state's $32.4 billion budget is on its way to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam after the Senate took final action on the governor's recommended spending plan.
Senate majority Republican senators approved the bill on a 28-3 vote, earlier defeating minority Democrats' efforts to change the House-approved version to appropriate $2 million to deal with the state's backlog on processing rape kits.
Earlier, in the GOP-controlled House, Democrats unsuccessfully tried to restore planned teacher and employee pay raises scrapped by revenue shortfalls.
Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, charged Republicans are "going to balance [the budget] on the workers of this state."
He offered an amendment that would have provided funding to restore Haslam's originally proposed salary boosts that would go into effect if revenues increase.
Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, called Fitzhugh's plan a "gimmick" and said it would confuse state workers, teachers and higher education employees.
Representatives tabled Fitzhugh's amendment on a 68-28 vote.
Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, was widely expected to present his own plan to restore employee increases. But after speaking at length on his amendment, Hill, who spoke with administration officials earlier in the day, withdrew his amendment.