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Hot topics answered in Tennessee General Assembly

By Lyndsey Price, lprice@wcyb.com
Published On: Apr 18 2014 04:46:20 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 18 2014 08:43:29 PM CDT

New laws will soon be on the books in Tennessee.

New laws will soon be on the books in Tennessee.

Lawmakers are calling it a success, even though state revenue didn't grow as expected.

Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey says wine could soon be sold in a grocery store near you, plus they were able address state-wide problems.

Tennessee lawmakers tell us they got a lot done in the 108th general assembly. One issue that gained a lot of attention was the limit on the amount of pseudoephedrine one can buy over the counter. "Many wanted it to be prescription-only. I don't think we're quite there yet, so I think what we did is at least a step in the right direction. I wish we had gone further," says Ramsey.

We learned the new law requires a prescription to be more than 28.8 grams of pseudoephedrine a year, or about five months' worth of the medicine, which can be used to make methamphetamine. "They've got monthly and yearly limits. We'll probably see a little more rejections from the system that tracks the buying of pseudoephedrine products," adds Barry Walton with Mac's Medicine Mart.

A bill to put more students in Tennessee colleges also passed -- Governor Bill Haslam's 'Tennessee Promise.'

That legislation is a plan to cover tuition at two-year colleges for any Tennessee high school graduate.

Ramsey says the students have to apply for other grants and scholarships then the state will fill in the rest. "If we want to be competitive in recruiting businesses and grow jobs in Tennessee then we have to change the track we were on for college education. I think this can change that track," he said.

Ramsey says excess lottery money and a $47 million endowment will pay for it.

Another controversial issue was the proposed open carry bill. The Senate passed it, but the House rejected it. It would have kept the current training and background check requirements to carry concealed firearms, but would allow anyone legally allowed to own a gun to carry it openly without a license. "It'll come back, but it didn't pass the House. Again, that was basically because there were some technical problems with that bill, but I'm sure we'll see it again," says Ramsey. 

Ramsey tells us the changes for pseudoephedrine and the Tennessee Promise will go into effect July 1, 2014.

Another issue that passed is annexation. Previously, cities and towns could decide to annex private property without consent of the property owner.

Now, future annexations will have to be voted on by those affected before the land would be annexed.