By ERIK SCHELZIG / Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam has presented to lawmakers a nearly $33 billion annual spending plan that includes a staffing shakeup at the troubled Department of Children's Services, a heavy investment into construction projects around the state and a large deposit into the state's cash savings fund.
The Republican governor also formally introduced his proposal to create a limited school voucher program in Tennessee to allow parents to use public money to send their children to private schools.
According to legislation filed in the Senate on Monday, the program would be limited to 5,000 students in the school year that begins in August, and grow to 20,000 students by 2016.
Haslam acknowledged that the proposal will be "hotly debated," and Democrats issued a statement before the speech to criticize the plan.