Legislature faces diet of leftovers, heated up by politics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The General Assembly returns to session Tuesday with a few fresh issues and several leftovers from last year. And they can count debate being warmed up by the heat of election year politics.

Party leaders say Republicans are bound to renew their efforts to remove state protections for abortion rights.

They also plan legislation to limit medical malpractice lawsuits, to clamp down on illegal immigration and to ban adoption by gay couples.

Democrats are certain to counter with hot-button legislation of their own, like a proposal to create a state minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum.

Other areas of conflict will probably include Gov. Phil Bredesen's push to add more pre-kindergarten classrooms and a dispute over how to spend the state's reserved lottery money.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)