State GOP achieves first supermajority - WSMV Channel 4

State GOP achieves first supermajority

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) -

President Barack Obama was the big winner nationwide on Election Day, but in Tennessee Republicans achieved their first supermajority in both chambers of the Legislature.

The last time there was a super majority in both chambers was during the 90th Tennessee General Assembly when Democrats controlled the Senate 23-9 and the House 66-32, according to legislative records.

State Republicans have never held a supermajority, but the legislature has now turned a deeper shade of red.

"There are essentially three parties in Tennessee now: the Republicans, the Democrats and the tea party," said State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley.

Going forward, House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, said Tennesseans can expect to see a lower food tax.

But the biggest impact could be on the education front, as the Republican-dominated chambers plan to consider the issue of school vouchers.

"I think the education committee will take it very seriously, because it is a major change in the way we've conducted our business in education. And I can't predict the outcome of that legislation yet," Harwell said.

Lawmakers have also expressed a desire to find a compromise on the controversial issue of allowing guns in workplace parking lots.

In general, Tennessee Republicans plan to pass legislation to continue to make the state one in which companies want to create jobs.

"The goal now is to make us the most business-friendly state," said State Rep. Glen Casada, R-Thompson's Station.

Democrats say they know who is driving the car on Capitol Hill, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, and say they want to work together with him.

But they say they have concerns about the some of the newly-elected members across the aisle.

"Many of their new members appear to be extremists from the far right of the political spectrum," Fitzhugh said.

State lawmakers will start to tackle some of these issues when they reconvene in January.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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