Tennessee lawmakers OK new bill to prevent TNReady fiasco from harming teachers

Tennessee House holds state's $37.5 billion budget hostage in bid to protect educators

The Tennessee House of Representatives meets on the opening day of the legislative session Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee General Assembly's traditional end-of-session jockeying over last-minute bills boiled over into dramatic brinkmanship Wednesday with a focus on the latest TNReady student testing fiasco.

The House seized the state's recently passed $37.5 billion budget as hostage, demanding senators and Gov. Bill Haslam agree to guarantee teachers' evaluations won't be at risk after the latest problems.

The House then quickly amended and passed a bill on an 89-0 vote to hold teachers harmless and prevent the state from using scores from the latest botched rollout of student TNReady assessments from applying to educators this school year unless teachers want them used.

The move threw proceedings into turmoil at the Capitol for hours, with Senate leaders saying the problem had already been fixed with legislation rushed through last week. Other bills became embroiled, and a full-fledged fight was on.