Tennessee AG declines to weigh in on voucher bill

Friday, April 19, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 16

NASHVILLE (AP) — A top Tennessee lawmaker says Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III's decision to not issue a legal opinion on a contentious voucher-like proposal signals it's likely unconstitutional.

Senate Speaker Randy McNally told reporters on Thursday that Slatery's response was acceptable if the state's top legal officer believed the state would be sued should the bill pass and issuing an opinion discussing the constitutionality of the bill would make it difficult for the attorney general to then defend the state.

The Daily Memphian was the first to report Slatery's office's refusal to issue a legal opinion on Gov. Bill Lee's proposal to expand education savings accounts — otherwise known as a voucher-style program allowing families to take public dollars to pay for private school tuition and other approved expenses.