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State senators talk healthcare, budget and more

12:10 AM, Jan 13, 2013   |    comments
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State Senators Randy McNally and Becky Duncan Massey both took a break from the General Assembly in Nashville to talk with Knoxville voters at a breakfast forum organized by the League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County.

One of the first things the two Republican senators made clear is what's going on inside Tennessee's Capitol is nothing like what's been happening on Capitol Hill.

State Senator Duncan Massey, who represents the 6th District, said, "We do work together. Probably 90 percent of all legislation passes almost unanimously, if not unanimously."

State Senator McNally, who represents the 5th District, said, "It's a lot less partisan. There are a few partisan issues that come up. Of course it's a much smaller body than Washington and that makes it easier, I think, to manage."

The senators say there are several key issues facing the state in the current session. One of the biggest issues is healthcare.

"We had moved up to 39th in the country in health from, I think, 42nd so we are moving in the right direction. We have a lot of room to grow," said State Senator Becky Duncan Massey.

State senators are also continuing discussions on preventing prescription drug abuse.

"Nationally, I just heard this statistic, there are more people who die from overdoes than die from automobile accidents," said State Senator Randy McNally.

State Senators McNally and Duncan Massey say Tennessee's General Assembly will also have to work  together to balance the state's budget, which is a constitutional mandate.

State Senator McNally said, "We have a $32 billion budget and we'll have to pass a new budget sometime in March."

State Senator Duncan Massey said, "We do have to sit down at the end of the day and say 'okay, if we have let's say $100, we can't spend $105'. And as the governor told me last year, typically we spend $95."

The League of Women Voters of Knoxville / Knox County say they also invited District 7's Republican State Senator Stacy Campfield, but he declined.

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