TN Senate passes annual state budget, sends to House

TN Senate passes annual state budget, sends to House

April 14th, 2016 by Andy Sher in Politics State

NASHVILLE - Tennessee senators today approved the state's $34.9 billion annual spending plan, sending the measure over to the House.

The vote was 31-1 with Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, being the lone no vote. 

"When folks at home ask you what's the most important thing you do each year, I hope you tell them the budget," Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, told colleagues.

As approved by the Senate, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's budget calls for $35.9 million in spending to put UTC's old Lupton Library to new uses as well as well as renovate portions of the Chattanooga university's Fine Arts Center. 

He noted the state's budget is the "well spring" for state government activities in areas ranging from education to healthcare. 

The annual spending plan, which will take effect July 1, provides new money for K-12 education and public colleges and universities as provides increased spending for public safety, economic development and other areas.

"I like to say it focuses on the four 'Es' of Tennessee: employment, education, economic opportunity and enforcement of the law," Norris said.

The House is expected to take up the annual appropriations bill later this afternoon.

This story is developing.