Putting Tennessee First Act of 2012

Putting Tennessee First Act of 2012
Became Public Chapter 879

We are very grateful for the hard work of our bill sponsors, Sen.
Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and House Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma).


The “Putting Tennessee First” bill,  (SB3345-HB3540) as presently amended, is intended to enhance transparency in the use of public funds by charter schools.  The charter school option is first and foremost about expanding school choice for families and this bill in part, provides additional information for families who might be exploring a charter school option for their student.

The charter school law passed in 2002 during a Democrat majority Tennessee General Assembly, already requires all charter schools to be nonsectarian, such that any suggestion that the current bill is directed at any religious community is without merit.

The bill’s focus has always been about how public funds are spent with regard to charter schools.  It is consistent with concerns about the overutilization of H1B visa use now being expressed at the federal level by the current administration.  This legislation does not prevent foreign-born refugees, green card holders or any other immigrant residing in the U.S. with work authorization from being employed by or volunteering in Tennessee charter schools.  Rather, the bill only addresses a situation where a charter school would direct its recruitment overseas at workers who are neither present in the U.S. nor yet eligible to apply for a H1B visa. 

Further, the limit for foreign worker recruitment is only applied at the discretion of the chartering authority, typically the local school district.

Despite propaganda to the contrary, the bill in no way limits participation in charter schools by anyone, including parents, living in immigrant communities in Tennessee, seek to eliminate diversity in charter schools or obstruct any parent or anyone else with an international background from volunteering or working at charter schools.

In fact Tennessee provides adult English Language Learner services to help non-English speaking adults living in Tennessee to develop the skills which will enable them to communicate in all aspects of community life including participation in their children’s schools.

On April 19, 2012 this legislation was sent to the governor for his signature.  He returned it on May 2 without his signature, but it still became law.


SB3345 by Ketron - FLOOR VOTE: THIRD CONSIDERATION AMENDED 4/12/2012
Passed
          Ayes...............................................18
          Noes...............................................13
          Present and not voting.......................1

          Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Bell, Burks, Crowe, Faulk, Gresham, Johnson, Ketron, Massey, McNally, Norris, Overbey, Roberts, Southerland, Tate, Tracy, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey -- 18.
          Senators voting no were: Barnes, Berke, Campfield, Finney L, Harper, Haynes, Henry, Herron, Kelsey, Kyle, Marrero, Stewart, Watson -- 13.
          Senators present and not voting were: Ford -- 1.

SB3345 by Ketron - S. ED. COMM.:
Recommended for passage w/amendments- refer to: S. Cal. Comm. 3/28/2012
Passed
          Ayes................................................6
          Noes................................................3

          Senators voting aye were: Burks, Crowe, Gresham, Summerville, Tate, Tracy -- 6.
          Senators voting no were: Berke, Campfield, Kelsey -- 3.



SB3345 by Ketron - FLOOR VOTE: PASSAGE ON THIRD CONSIDERATION 4/16/2012
Passed
          Ayes...............................................63
          Noes...............................................29
          Present and not voting.......................1

          Representatives voting aye were: Alexander, Bass, Brooks K, Butt, Campbell, Carr, Casada, Cobb, Curtiss, Dennis, Dunn, Elam, Eldridge, Evans, Faison, Floyd, Ford, Gotto, Halford, Hall, Harmon, Harrison, Hawk, Hensley, Hill, Holt, Johnson C, Johnson P, Keisling, Lollar, Lundberg, Maggart, Marsh, Matheny, Matlock, McDaniel, McManus, Miller D, Montgomery, Niceley, Pody, Powers, Ragan, Ramsey, Rich, Roach, Sanderson, Sargent, Sexton, Shaw, Shepard, Shipley, Sparks, Swann, Tidwell, Watson, Weaver, White, Williams R, Windle, Wirgau, Womick, Madam Speaker Harwell -- 63.
          Representatives voting no were: Armstrong, Brown, Camper, Coley, Cooper, Favors, Gilmore, Hardaway, Haynes, Hurley, Jones, Kernell, McCormick, McDonald, Miller L, Moore, Naifeh, Odom, Parkinson, Pitts, Pruitt, Richardson, Sontany, Stewart, Tindell, Towns, Turner J, Turner M, Williams K -- 29.
          Representatives present and not voting were: Dean -- 1.

House moved to substitute and conform to SB3345

          HB3540 by Matheny - CALENDAR & RULES COMMITTEE:
Recommended for passage - refer to: House Regular Calendar 1 4/5/2012
          Voice Vote - Ayes Prevail Rep.(s) Naifeh requested to be recorded as voting No

          HB3540 by Matheny - EDUCATION COMMITTEE:
Recommended for passage w/amendments- refer to: Calendar & Rules Committee 4/3/2012
          Voice Vote - Ayes Prevail Rep.(s) DeBerry L, Fitzhugh, Naifeh requested to be recorded as voting No

          HB3540 by Matheny - EDUCATION SUBCOMMITTEE:
Recommended for passage w/amendments- refer to: Education Committee 3/21/2012
          Voice Vote - Ayes Prevail Rep.(s) Naifeh, Pitts requested to be recorded as voting No