Tennessee GOP majority lawmakers challenged Republican Gov. Lee during 2022 legislative session

NASHVILLE - While Gov. Bill Lee is in many respects at the top of his game, the Republican governor first elected in 2018 as a political outsider faces mounting challenges from the GOP supermajority, which has dominated the Tennessee legislature since 2011.

The latest evidence of that came last week when Lee refused to sign a "truth in sentencing" law championed by House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, and Senate Speaker Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge.

But because he didn't veto it, it became law anyway, requiring people convicted of eight violent felonies, including attempted first-degree murder and carjacking, to serve 100% of their court-imposed sentences before becoming eligible for parole.

Those convicted of 20 other violent offenses, such as aggravated assault and reckless homicide, would only become eligible for parole after serving 85% of their sentences.