TREE to Legislators: PLEASE SUSPEND the 111th SESSION of the Tennessee General Assembly.
Updated: May 5
Today, Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) issued the following press release:
NASHVILLE - March 16, 2020 - Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE), along with a coalition of concerned citizens, public school parents, educators, and advocates, are deeply troubled by the Governor’s decision to close the State Capitol and Cordell Hull Building during the 111th General Assembly's legislative session. This has effectively eliminated public oversight of Tennessee lawmakers.
It is indisputable that the public has the right to be present when the General Assembly is debating and voting on bills. “These laws will affect our lives as Tennesseans,” said TREE President, Terri Harris. “I am especially concerned about the lack of public oversight for education bills this session; some of which have the potential to bring drastic changes to public schools. Our elected officials should role model “social distancing” for their own safety just like they are asking the public in response to this current crisis.”
Moreover, TREE contends that the State Legislature should make efforts to calm public panic and fear. During a time when citizens are required to suspend their daily activities and take precautions to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, we expect our legislators to do the same. It is time for our lawmakers to come home and observe the needs of their constituents.
If needed, we urge the legislature take all necessary action for the well-being of our citizenry and pass an emergency budget as soon as possible. And specifically, we urge the cancellation of TNReady for the 2019-2020 school year; crisis funding for public schools; and to focus resources where 80% of our children attend schools by repealing the ESA voucher program.
Accordingly, TREE calls on our elected officials to consider the oath they took to represent the People of the State of Tennessee and SUSPEND the 111th General Assembly until the public is welcomed to attend the legislative session in person.
TREE parents, educators and advocates, contact your elected officials as soon as possible and ask for transparency and to quickly end this session with a budget that focuses on the crisis at hand. Tennessee families are counting on leadership to guide us to solutions and best outcomes. Click HERE to find out how to contact your legislator by phone and email. And flatten the curve.