SB 25 passed the state Senate on Monday and the state House on Thursday -- in both cases by party-line votes, Republicans out-numbering Democrats.
The bill, a response to the ongoing controversy over school-system merger and/or special school districts in Shelby County would restructure public-school education in the county and allow a merger of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools in such a way as tolead to possibility of one or more special school districts.
Norris' statement reads as follows:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —- Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and House State and Local Government Chairman Curry Todd (R-Collierville) announced that Governor Bill Haslam signed Senate Bill 25 / House Bill 51 into law this morning.
"We appreciate the Governor's expeditious review and support of this important legislation. His decisive action should help resolve some of the confusion and restore the focus on education," said Norris.
First elected to the Tennessee Senate in 2000 and elected Majority Leader in 2007, Senator Norris represents the West Tennessee Counties of Shelby, Tipton, Lauderdale, and Dyer.
Norris' statement was shortly followed by one from the Governor. It reads as follows:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam today announced he signed the Senate Bill 25 regarding school consolidation in Memphis and Shelby County. He offered the following comment:
The bill addresses two of my biggest concerns. It allows an orderly planning process for transition, while leaving the local vote in place for March 8.
My primary concern, however, has always been that we focus our discussions on what is best for the 150,000 students in Memphis and Shelby County. I think the situation, if we will handle it in a thoughtful manner, can be an opportunity for all of us to have a discussion about how we keep moving forward with public education in Memphis and Shelby County.”