Legislative Update – Week Ending 2/23/2024

TSEA February 23, 2024 Comments Off on Legislative Update – Week Ending 2/23/2024
Legislative Update – Week Ending 2/23/2024

The legislature is moving about their business swiftly, and we anticipate they will conclude by mid-April. As the legislative session progresses, we continue to monitor and participate in the discussions that impact our members. Here’s what happened on the hill this week:

Budget Updates and Implications

The latest financial reports indicate a significant shortfall, with revenue coming in $97.8 million below the budgeted estimate for the month. January is the sixth month in the 2023-2024 fiscal year, and this month’s report brings the year-to-date revenues to $377.7 million less than expected. Despite these revenue challenges, everything we’re hearing indicates the funding for salary increases included in the proposed budget remains secure. Part of the reason for optimism is these raises are funded by a portion of funds saved from the one-time COVID relief from the federal government.

You can view the January Revenue report here: https://www.tn.gov/finance/news/2024/2/16/january-revenues.html

Higher Education Budget Presentations

ETSU and the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) presented their budgets to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Both budgets include funding toward raises and were approved by the committee. As we’ve mentioned before, the board of trustees at each higher education institution maintains the authority to use their 3 percent pool toward salary in whatever manner they choose. That being said, the salary pool funding in the governor’s proposed budget is insufficient to fully fund 3 percent across-the-board raises; additional funds must come from the institution. TSEA is concerned about these obstacles to higher education members’ adjustments and is monitoring the budget presentations for key indicators of which institutions will be able to fully fund their raises.

ETSU’s presentation this week highlighted their strong performance in enrollment, retention, and graduation rates, which bodes well for fully funding their raises. We continue to monitor the TBR’s budget, and are hopeful community colleges will have rebounded enough to enable them to also fully fund their raises.

Upcoming Budget Presentations

Next Monday, we expect budget presentations to the House Finance Committee from the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Human Services. These sessions are important for understanding future funding and operational plans, including the progress on the new Moc Bend site and responses to anticipated questions from key legislators for DHS.

TSEA remains vigilant and proactive in ensuring our members’ interests are represented and protected. Upcoming meetings with legislative finance leaders will focus on the 401(k) match reduction and looking for potential opportunities for funding based on the progress of other unrelated bills.

As always, TSEA is committed to keeping you informed and engaged with the legislative process. That’s all for this week, thank you for all you do for Tennessee and for being a member of TSEA.

Bills we’re monitoring:

(NOTE: We may add additional bills to this list as legislative session progresses)

SB1545/HB1554 Rose, Slater

Senate: Referred to Senate State & Local Government Committee

House: Placed on s/c cal Public Service Subcommittee for 2/27/2024

Salaries and Benefits – As introduced, establishes a program under which a state employee may receive up to six weeks of paid leave if the employee becomes a foster parent of a minor child. – Amends TCA Title 3; Title 8; Title 16 and Title 50.


SB1941/HB2143 Haile, Martin, G

Senate: Passed 33-0, 2/24/2024

House: Placed on s/c cal Public Service Subcommittee for 2/27/2024

State Employees – As introduced, permits employees of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government to complete Tennessee foster parent training and in-service training during the course of their employment without having to use paid sick, annual, or compensatory time up to a certain amount of time. – Amends TCA Title 4; Title 8; Title 37 and Title 71.


SB2007/HB1960 Campbell, Powell

Senate: Refered to Senate State and Local Government Committee

House: Assigned to s/c Health Subcommittee

Hospitals and Health Care Facilities – As introduced, authorizes public hospitals, upon approval of the hospital’s governing body, to establish a state employee and retiree healthcare incentive program that will allow for the waiver of applicable out-of-pocket expenses associated with medical care at the public hospital for state employees and retirees and their covered dependents participating in the state group insurance plan. – Amends TCA Title 8, Chapter 27.


SB2081/HB2088 Johnson, Lamberth

Senate: Placed on Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee calendar for 2/27/2024

House: Action def. in State Government Committee to 3/6/2024

Military – As introduced, authorizes the military department to administer a critical skills retention bonus program to be used to award retention bonuses of up to $10,000 to enlisted service members in the Tennessee National Guard; entitles certain state employees who are members of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States or the national guard to special leave with partial pay during a period in which the members have been called to active duty. – Amends TCA Title 58, Chapter 1, Part 1.