Victory is Sweet: SJR 127 passes House
Last night history was made May 18 the House Floor where SJR 127 passed 77-21.
(The original vote was 76-22; Rep. Hackworth changed his vote after the vote was recorded.)
You can go HERE and move the blue slide over to 2:04 to watch this historic event.
THANK YOU: To everyone who has called, emailed, prayed and worked toward this end. After nine years your labor has born tremendous fruit!! To contact your representative and comment on his or her vote, go HERE.
A little comment about the importance of this issue: Since the 2000 State Supreme Court decision, the effort to amend the Constitution has become more and more prominent (and rightly so) as a campaign issue. In addition, during this last election cycle as the nation was heading 'hard left', Tennessee was heading 'hard right' and THIS ISSUE was one of the reasons that the Republicans took over the numerical majority in the Tennessee General Assembly. During the 2010 election cycle we must again make it a very prominent issue because that newly elected General Assembly will have to pass SJR 127 by a 2/3rds majority before it can be put on the ballot at the 2014 Governor's election.
The floor session began shortly after four. It was just after 6:00 p.m. when the clerk called up SJR 127. Rep. Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville) was joined 'in the well' (the podium at the front of the chamber) by co-sponsors Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), Rep. Charlie Curtiss (D-Sparta) and Rep. Curt Cobb (D-Shelbyville).
Rep. Maggart carefully reviewed the history and need for SJR 127 to overturn Planned Parenthood vs Sundquist, pointing out that it does not outlaw or prevent any abortion but brings the State Constitution back to neutral and returns to the people the rightful authority to regulate abortion. She noted that the language was carefully drafted by experts and that to make changes in the language could give the courts the opportunity to 'create mischief.'
Rep. Gary Odom (D-Nashville) then offered the amendment he filed that would have placed into the Constitution exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. This language would have completely destroyed the whole purpose of SJR 127 which is to 'neutralize' the Constitution on the issue.
Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) addressed Odom's amendment reminding the body that the Chairman of the Health committee had held a hearing where a Constitutional scholar testified on this issue and how changing it could once again give the courts the opportunity to intervene. Dunn even got in a comment about the current debate on judges: "Obviously the courts and how we select them or how we should elect them is an issue before us now. And if we continue to go where the people have no say who sits on the Supreme Court, then we're going to be right back in the posture of instead of the people controlling their Constitution, the courts will..."
After that response, Rep. Charlie Curtis (D-Sparta) stepped to the mike and made the motion to 'lay on the table' Odom's amendment. That cuts off debate except that of the amendment's sponsor. Odom objected mightily to giving a future General Assembly 'a blank check' to make decisions on common sense regulations on abortion.
The vote to 'lay on the table' the amendment that would have gutted SJR 127 is very revealing.
Representatives voting pro-life which kept the SJR 127 language from being changed were: Bass, Bell, Bone, Borchert, Brooks H, Brooks K, Campfield, Carr, Casada, Cobb C, Cobb J, Cobb T, Coley, Curtiss, Dean, DeBerry J, Dennis, Dunn, Eldridge, Evans, Faulkner, Floyd, Ford, Halford, Harrison, Harwell, Hawk, Haynes, Hensley, Hill, Johnson C, Johnson P, Kelsey, Lollar, Lundberg, Lynn, Maggart, Matheny, Matlock, McCord, McCormick, McDaniel, McDonald, McManus, Montgomery, Mumpower, Niceley, Ramsey, Rich, Roach, Rowland, Sargent, Shipley, Swafford, Todd, Watson, Weaver, Windle, Mr. Speaker Williams -- 59.
Representatives voting no were: Armstrong, Barker, Brown, Camper, Coleman, Cooper, DeBerry L, Favors, Ferguson, Fincher, Fitzhugh, Fraley, Gilmore, Hackworth, Hardaway, Harmon, Jones S, Jones U, Kernell, Litz, Maddox, Miller, Moore, Naifeh, Odom, Pitts, Pruitt, Richardson, Shaw, Shepard, Sontany, Stewart, Tidwell, Tindell, Towns, Turner L, Turner M, Winningham, Yokley -- 39.
Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) stated that if a 11-year-girl is raped and gets pregnant, under this proposal she could not be able to get an abortion.
That is patently inaccurate and I honestly don't understand why she continues to say these things. SJR 127, even when added to the Constitution, won't stop one abortion.
Rep. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) replied that SJR 127 restores neutrality and agreed that the court had put rights into the Constitution. "It is not the courts place to put rights into the Constitution. It is the people's job to put rights into the Constitution."
After some opposing comments by Rep. Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis) the final vote was taken at 6:32 p.m.
The final vote on SJR 127:
Representatives voting aye were: Barker, Bass, Bell, Bone, Borchert, Brooks H, Brooks K, Campfield, Carr, Casada, Cobb C, Cobb J, Cobb T, Coleman, Coley, Curtiss, Dean, DeBerry J, Dennis, Dunn, Eldridge, Evans, Faulkner, Ferguson, Fincher, Fitzhugh, Floyd, Ford, Fraley, Hackworth, Halford, Harmon, Harrison, Harwell, Hawk, Haynes, Hensley, Hill, Johnson C, Johnson P, Jones U, Kelsey, Litz, Lollar, Lundberg, Lynn, Maddox, Maggart, Matheny, Matlock, McCord, McCormick, McDaniel, McDonald, McManus, Montgomery, Moore, Mumpower, Niceley, Pitts, Ramsey, Rich, Roach, Rowland, Sargent, Shepard, Shipley, Swafford, Todd, Towns, Turner M, Watson, Weaver, Windle, Winningham, Yokley, Mr. Speaker Williams -- 77.
Representatives voting no were:Armstrong, Brown, Camper, Cooper, DeBerry L, Favors, Gilmore, Hardaway, Jones S, Kernell, Miller, Naifeh, Odom, Pruitt, Richardson, Shaw, Sontany, Stewart, Tidwell, Tindell, Turner L -- 21.