Tennessee Legislature begins 2023 session

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — As Tennessee lawmakers kick off their annual legislative session on January 10, they’ll spend the next few months finalizing the state’s upcoming budget, debating abortion ban exceptions and considering express toll lanes among other policy decisions.

In Tennessee, Republicans have supermajority control in both the House and Senate. However, GOP lawmakers have remained split on whether the state’s strict abortion ban should be tweaked.

Tennessee’s current ban, which went into effect upon the overturning of Roe v. Wade, does not have an explicit exemption for the mother’s life. Instead, it shifts the burden to the doctor to make a case in criminal court, if charged with a felony under the law, that an abortion was needed to save the mother’s life or to spare her from irreversible, severe impairment.

Meanwhile, a bill drawn up by GOP House and Senate majority leaders would ban medical providers from altering a child’s hormones or performing surgeries that enable them to present as a different gender.

The governor has prioritized plans to pay for roadwork to combat congestion in a state that continues to see its population boom.