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Stewart critical of new state laws
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State Sen. Eric Stewart says Tennessee has done an admirable job of making budget cuts, but he wasn’t too pleased at legislation passed this session limiting lawsuits and placing more restrictions on teachers.Stewart made his comments last week during a town hall meeting at Warren County Administrative Offices.“There were $1.5 billion in budget cuts we had to find, and I think we found the best places to cut that will impact the services we offer the least,” said Stewart.Of Tennessee’s nearly $31 billion budget, Stewart said $18 billion comes from federal dollars for programs such as education, transportation and Medicaid. He said the state was able to completely fund its Better Education Program and did not cut education.But Stewart did not speak in glowing terms when its comes to the direction the state is taking with education. He spoke against new regulations passed this legislative session that prevent teachers from collective bargaining, and raised the years of service to be eligible for tenure from three to five.“There’s a pretty big misconception in regard to collective bargaining,” said Stewart.