NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton laid out several hopes for the state’s 113th General Assembly in a call with News Channel 11 on Thursday.

“Tennessee’s still in very good financial shape, we’re still watching the national economy to see if it’s impacting us at all,” Sexton, a Republican serving the state’s 25th district, said. “At this point it hasn’t really impacted us with a high inflation rate, but we’re waiting to see. We think we’re going to have another good budget year.”

Sexton said he expects a significant amount of debate surrounding the state’s abortion law, which went into effect in 2022.

“I think you’ll see a lot of conversations around the trigger law,” Sexton said. “And members on both sides of the aisle proposing legislation to clarify or add exceptions.”

Sexton said state residents can expect more out of Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s office as he continues to explore the possibility of public-private road construction and expressways in the state.

The speaker also addressed legislation surrounding third-grade retention, saying that feedback from parents and educators has been heard.

“It needs to be clarified and changed, holding students accountable for a two-day test at the end of the year, the TCAP, we probably need to have a test included that they’re currently doing throughout the school year,” Sexton said. “So we can see how they’re performing. If they have a bad day at the end of the school year, for some reason, but they may have done well all throughout the year we need to take that into account.”

In addition to changes with testing, Sexton said working to fix the root causes of third-grade literacy issues is key.

Another hot topic for Sexton was the reintroduction of medical cannabis legislation by his Democratic colleagues. House Bill 0085 would authorize adults to possess, consume, cultivate and transport cannabis if passed, and would allow parents/guardians to provide cannabis products to minors with medical conditions with doctor verification.

“I’m not in favor for recreational marijuana,” Sexton said. “I think that’s a terrible idea. You can look at Colorado, talk to law enforcement that has recreational marijuana. Especially in the youth, you see a lot of problems with it being in schools.”

According to Colorado’s state website on youth cannabis use, over 20% of high school students in the state said they had used cannabis in the last 30 days in a 2019 survey.

“Medical marijuana in the right forms, meaning in medical forms, I can be in favor of,” Sexton said. “But a medical form to me is not a chocolate bar and a gummy bear.”