East Tennessee Republicans discuss hot-button issues in upcoming legislative session


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- With less than 24 hours until the 2020 Tennessee General Assembly reconvenes, lawmakers already have their eyes set on their goals for this legislative session.

On Monday, GOP leaders met at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City to discuss the upcoming legislative session. In attendance at the luncheon was Tennessee GOP Chairman, Scott Golden.

Golden met with fellow Republicans that serve as a part of the East Tennessee Republican club, as well as a few local lawmakers. While a variety of issues varying in topics are to be discussed in this legislative session, there are a number of hot-button issues across the party.

One hot topic that will be touched on this session, is refugee resettlement. Following Gov. Bill Lee’s recent statement regarding refugees entering the state of Tennessee, many republican lawmakers have posed questions on the topic of refugee resettlement.

SEE ALSO: Gov. Bill Lee met by protesters on Tri-Cities visit

“In terms of a blanket refugee program, that makes me worried. I’ve got to be more informed as to who’s coming in, where they’re going, and what purpose they’re in the United States and in Tennessee for,” said Greene County Representative, David Hawk.

Hawk as spoken openly in the past with News Channel 11 regarding his stance on the Governor’s announcement regarding refugees in the state of Tennessee.

SEE ALSO: Rep. Hawk reacts to Governor Lee’s refugee decision

On the other hand, Republican Senator, Rusty Crowe, said he’s split on the issue. While he sees where the governor is coming from, he doesn’t want potential refugees to become a burden on Tennessee taxpayers. He believes education and health care for these incoming refugees should not be paid for by the people. While there are still many questions surrounding the topic of refugee resettlement, he said he believes this topic should be overseen by a committee.

“As long as refugees are legal, and they’re coming here because they’re being persecuted in other countries for being Christians, I think that’s a good thing, that’s what America is all about. However, we have to make sure that we can control that so I think that the best thing is for us to get with the Governor and form a commission so we can oversee this,” said Crowe.

Questions also surround the much-debated “Fetal Heartbeat Bill” which republicans say will be another hot button issue this session.

“The Republican Party is a pro-life party so we certainly want to do all we can to protect life. The question I think is before the legislature in Nashville is how best to do that,” said Tennessee GOP Chairman, Scott Golden.

However, some lawmakers are keeping their goals closer to home by focusing on what matters most to their constituents.

“We fall woefully behind as a country in what we need to do to better address mental health and substance abuse needs,” said Rep. Hawk.

The 2020 Tennessee General Assembly reconvenes on Tuesday, January 14th at noon. Other topics that will be discussed this legislative session along with the fetal heartbeat bill and refugee resettlement include vaping, medical marijuana, taxes, education, and more.

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