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Tennessee Republicans acting badly….

From Mary Mancini, Chair, Tennessee Democratic Party:

It’s only been two weeks since lawmakers made their way back to the Tennessee state Capitol and Republicans have already set forth an aggressively corrosive agenda targeting Tennessee’s values and families. As mentioned last week, Tennessee Democrats have Republicans on the run. And now, rather than prioritizing the needs of children and families, Republicans are using their borrowed time to push unhelpful and damaging policies while they still can.

This week during the Senate Health and Wellness Committee, it was revealed $214 Million in federal funds earmarked to help low income families with childcare costs had been lost. Tennessee was only 1 of 2 states in the entire country which did not spend the “use it or lose it” funds. These dollars are our tax dollars that would come back to Tennessee and they were rejected by Republicans, just like the billions of dollars that would have kept 13 rural hospitals from closing and insured 300,000 hardworking Tennesseans.

Rather than addressing this issue, practicing oversight, and fulfilling the responsibility  of the government, Republicans ignored what’s needed and instead pushed unnecessary legislation to further harm children.

How? Republican Senator Brian Kelsey of Shelby introduced a “right to work for less” amendment to the constitution. Tennessee’s “Right to Work” law has been on the books for over 70 years and is already damaging enough  to working families. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ research shows workers in “right to work for less” states make $7,443 less per year than workers in states that allow the protection of workers and their families.It is unnecessary and meaningless to add it to the state constitution but Republicans won’t stop until “right to work for less” is part of our constitution, even if it means deploying draconian tactics.

To further Republican extremism , Governor Bill Lee decided to host his first press conference of 2020 to unveil an attack on women, their reproductive rights, and their ability to make important and difficult decisions for themselves and their families. No politician, should insert themselves in the middle of the decision to end a pregnancy, choose adoption, or raise a child. Those decisions must be left to a woman, her family and her faith, in consultation with her doctor or health care provider. Republicans were acting in the best interests of Tennessee women, workers, children and families, they’d work with Democrats to put forth real solutions to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies (like age-appropriate reproductive health education (including teaching abstinence) & access to affordable contraceptives & reproductive health) and figure out how we lost $214 Million Dollars that would have served Tennessee children and their families.

Standing with Tennessee families,