It's a rare day at the Tennessee state Capitol when politics does not reign supreme.
The imminent gubernatorial change and significant lawmaker turnover likely leaves even less time for improvements to standardized testing and combating opioid addiction when lawmakers reconvene in Nashville on Tuesday for the second year of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly.
Unlike recent sessions dominated by significant initiatives like a gas tax increase or Medicaid expansion, such major issues will likely be shelved for the year.
Instead, as lawmakers begin their months-long session, two statewide elections and more than two dozen lawmakers retiring or seeking another office will loom large over legislative action.
Many lawmakers will also likely seek to wrap up their work early so they can hit the campaign trail.
Although there will be some new faces in the legislature this year — due to federal appointments by President Donald Trump and retirements — Republicans still maintain super majority status in the House and Senate.
Unless there's another makeshift coalition of Democrats and frustrated Republicans in the House, that means the GOP can pass whatever legislation they deem necessary.
When policy does trump politics, here's a look at some of the big topics that could dominate legislative session.
Much like the rest of the country, Tennessee has worked in recent years to stave off an ongoing opioid epidemic. In 2016, more than 1,600 residents died from drug overdoses — a 12 percent jump from the year before.
FULL COVERAGE: Tennessee's Opioid Crisis
But as lawmakers and others have tried to reduce the number of painkiller prescriptions, experts say more needs to be done. A legislative task force made a variety of recommendations, including adding more investigative agents, creating a drug abuse commission and limiting the prescription quantity of certain drugs.
The task force also wants officials to develop consistent approaches to determining overdose deaths after a USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee investigation found that drug overdose deaths are widely under counted.
Gov. Bill Haslam has his own group that is expected to help create legislation related to opioids.
Taking notice that the issue isn't going away anytime soon, candidates in the upcoming gubernatorial race have started to outline their own plans for addressing the epidemic.
In September, Haslam announced plans to reinstate work requirements for food stamp recipients in most Tennessee counties.
Able-bodied adults without dependents were not subject to such work requirements in the aftermath of the 2008 economic recession.
Citing the state's current economic climate — which features record-low unemployment — Haslam said it was difficult to continue waiving those work requirements.
The change, which is set to begin Feb. 1, means qualifying individuals must put in at least 20 hours per week on a job, an approved volunteer program or a qualified education or training program to get benefits.
At the time of the governor's announcement, the requirements were expected to affect 58,000 of the roughly 1 million Tennesseans who get grocery buying assistance.
The governor signaled his package of legislative measures would include a bill to increase the ability to investigate fraud in welfare programs and seek to join a multi-state effort to identify people who participate in multiple states.
Juvenile justice and corrections
Although Haslam previously suggested he may push a larger criminal justice reform effort, no major overhaul is expected.
But that doesn't mean lawmakers will ignore the issue of prisons and the state's correction system.
There's anticipation lawmakers and the governor will work on changes to the juvenile justice system. A recently concluded legislative task force is looking for ways to protect public safety while focusing resources on high-risk youth.
Beyond juvenile justice, the state's prison system, which has repeatedly struggled with insufficient staffing, could also see some changes.
A state audit in late 2017 blasted private prison operator CoreCivic, prompting criticisms and procedural rebukes from lawmakers. While doing away with private prisons is unlikely, there could be legislation to curb their influence in the state.
The $1 billion Department of Correction may also face a federal court ruling requiring the state to provide hundreds of millions for additional hepatitis C medical care. If such a ruling comes down during session, it will likely have a drastic impact on budget negotiations.
As Haslam begins his final year in office he will likely look at ways to continue his work of improving the state's education system.
Since his first election, Haslam raised teacher pay, bolstered funding for K-12 education, made significant investments in the state's colleges, and implemented a successful scholarship program to encourage Tennesseans to work toward obtaining a college degree or certificate.
This year, lawmakers could take up a recently floated idea to reduce the number of people who sit on the University of Tennessee board of trustees.
It wouldn't be surprising to see legislators work to address problems with the state's standardized testing and double-down on an effort to require seat belts in school buses.
It remains to be seen what may happen with an effort to enact legislation that would allow students who entered the country illegally as children or overstayed their visas to pay in-state college tuition.
Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, who is one of the bill's sponsors, said he is looking for movement by Congress on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. An attorney general opinion stating the bill would still not allow colleges to accept in-state tuition for undocumented students may quash any legislative action.
Unlike in recent years, the major sponsors of legislation to implement private school voucher programs have said they won't focus on the issue this session.
Instead, the sponsors have indicated they will work to boost funding resources for public schools.
While Tennessee's largest cities attempt to set their own rules for short-term rental networks like Airbnb, state lawmakers have been slow to come up with statewide regulations. The issue remains contentious as industry experts and local and state officials work toward a solution.
In Nashville, officials are looking at everything from out-right banning short-term rentals owned by investors to placing caps on the number of non-owner-occupied rentals.
In Knoxville, residents who live at their properties and anyone in non-residential districts are allowed to run short-term rentals by obtaining a permit. The proposal requires any owners who don't live on their property for at least one year to either sell their building or rent out the space permanently.
During the 2017 session, a bill backed by the industry would have prevented local governments from banning short-term rentals. Although the measure was approved in the House, it stalled in the Senate.
Dave Boucher and Jason Gonzales contributed to this report.
Reach Joel Ebert at email@example.com or 615-772-1681 and on Twitter @joelebert29.