Legislative Update, April 17, 2010

LEGISLATIVE ACTION  ALERT 
April 17, 2010  

Tennessee General Assembly information and contacts: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/
To email legislators, look on the left side of the page, select House or Senate, then ‘Members’.
Don’t forget that you can now watch on your computer the committee meetings and the floor sessions: 
http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/livevideo/
Phone calls can go to the Legislative Switchboard: (615) 741-3011 or to the Toll Free number 1-800-449-8366+1+ last four digits of office phone number (available at the same location).


We are in a fight now to save America, and winning this fight is ore important than political correctness or trying to forecast the weather a hundred years from now. We are in a fight to save the America that has given so many of us lives we could not have imagined. We simply cannot lose.      ~~ Ben Stein, “The Fight to save America,” Newsmax.


FOR YOUR PRAISE LIST:
Thank you so much for your prayers for my husband Ron. The doctor does believe that he was able to burst the cyst pressing on Ron’s spinal cord and he is already experiencing a reduction in pain in his right leg. I checked this week on Rep. Stratton Bone’s (D-Lebanon) niece, Sue Ann Bone. You will recall that while walking along the road, she and a friend were struck by a suspected drunk driver. Although she still has a long way to go, she continues to improve. 
EXCITING NEWS
PROTECTING OUR US CONSTITUTION:
HJR 0030 by Hill
General Assembly - As introduced, rescinds three specific resolutions from 1977 and any other resolutions passed at any time that call for a federal constitutional convention. For background information, please see these links:
Why the Tennessee Legislature Should Rescind Its Calls For a Federal Constitutional Convention.
Letter from retired Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court to Phyllis Schlafly on the dangers of a Federal Constitutional Convention
HERE.
NEW: 
Con-Con More Dangerous Than Congress
NEW: 
The Effort to Dismantle Our Constitution

STATUS: HJR30 will be heard in Calendar and Rules on Tuesday.
ACTION: Please go
HERE to send your House member an email of support.
PROTECTING FREEDOM OF SPEECH:
SB 3589 by *Ketron ( *HB 3300 by *McCormick)
Judgments - As introduced, specifies three reasons why a foreign judgment would not be conclusive, and further states that a foreign defamation judgment shall not be recognized if the defamation law of the foreign court adjudicating the case provided less protection for freedom of speech and press than the United States and Tennessee constitutions.
          It authorizes Tennessee courts to not recognize a foreign defamation judgment unless the court sitting in Tennessee before which the matter is brought first determines that the defamation law applied in the foreign court's adjudication provided at least as much protection for freedom of speech and press in that case as would be provided by the constitutions of the United States and Tennessee. We MUST protect the Free Speech rights of our citizens.
STATUS: I am so pleased to report that SB3589 passed Senate Judiciary 6-0-1 and should be on the Senate floor on Thursday. Voting aye were: Beavers, Black, Bunch, Jackson, Overbey, Kelsey -- 6.
Present and not voting were: Faulk – 1
ACTION: Please go
HERE and send your Senator an email of support.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY AND THIS WAS UGLY!

TENNESSEE HEALTH CARE FREEDOM ACT:
*HB 3433 by *Bell , Weaver, Harwell, Carr, Williams, Dunn, McDaniel, Matheny, Maggart, Dean, Lynn, Campfield, Rich, Shipley, Brooks K, Watson, Floyd, Rowland, McManus, Coley, Lollar, Lundberg, Hawk, Eldridge, Johnson C, Cobb J, Mumpower, Niceley, Matlock, Faulkner, Hill, Halford, McCormick, Ford , Johnson P, West, Marsh, Haynes, Dennis, Swafford, White, Casada, Hensley, Evans ( SB 3498 by *Beavers)
        THE GOOD:  HB3433 was in the Commerce Committee on Tuesday, and while the debate certainly was not pretty, the outcome was: it passed 19-11. I encourage you to go
HERE to see the video, under “Items” click on 3433. You NEED to watch your lawmakers in action.
Voting aye were: Carr, Ferguson, Hackworth, Harwell, Johnson C, Johnson P, Lundberg, Lynn, Marsh, Matlock, McCord, McCormick, McManus, Montgomery, Roach, Sargent, Swafford, Todd, Yokley -- 19.
Voting no were: Curtiss, Favors, Fitzhugh, Gilmore, Hardaway, Harmon, Naifeh, Pitts, Shepard, Stewart, Towns – 11
          THE UGLY: On Thursday morning HB3433 was in House Calendar and Rules. You really do NEED to watch this to see the committee members in action. Go
HERE,
then under “Items” click on 3433 – do notice that there are two sections on Rep. Bell’s bill and you should watch both.
          When the dust settled, HB3433 was sent to the Budget Subcommittee, otherwise known as the ‘black hole’ because things go into that committee that never again see the light of day.
ACTION: These committee members need to hear from you:
rep.harry.tindell@capitol.tn.gov, rep.joe.armstrong@capitol.tn.gov, rep.lois.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov, spk.eme.jimmy.naifeh@capitol.tn.gov, rep.gary.odom@capitol.tn.gov, rep.johnny.shaw@capitol.tn.gov.
TENNESSEE LAWS FOR TENNESSEE COURTS:
*SB 3740 by *Bunch ( HB 3768 by *Dennis) Civil Procedure - As introduced, establishes that contracts based on the law of any foreign state or country that incorporates substantive or procedural law that would violate rights and privileges granted under the U.S. or Tennessee constitution are against the public policy of this state and are void and unenforceable in this state.
          This is one of our most important bills for the legislative session. This bill provides, subject to provisions of superseding federal treaties, that any otherwise enforceable contract that incorporates any substantive or procedural law, legal code or legal system of another state, foreign jurisdiction or foreign country that would violate rights and privileges granted under the United States or Tennessee Constitution is declared to be against public policy of this state and is unenforceable in this state.
          With the increasing globalization and interactions with foreign legal systems, we are very excited about this legislation. It will offer Tennesseans some protections from legal pluralism when fundamental constitutional liberties are involved.
STATUS:  SB3740 is in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday; HB3768 is In House Judiciary on Tuesday.
ACTION: Please go
HERE to send an email of support to your Senator and Representative.
 
PROHIBITION ON PAYING FOR ABORTION THROUGH FED. HEALTH CARE:
SB 2686 by *Black ( *HB 2681 by *Hill)
Health Care - As introduced, prohibits coverage for abortion services under any health care plan through an exchange required to be established in this state pursuant to federal health care reform legislation. These bills would keep our state from being forced to pay for abortion services through the new federal health care exchange program.
STATUS: On Monday, after turning back two amendments, HB2681 passed the State House Floor 70-23. Go
HERE to see how your Representative voted.
           "At the end of the day this is very simple.  Do your constituents want their tax money going to kill unborn babies, it's as simple as that. You have to ask yourself that question. Do more innocent unborn babies die or do we take a stand today, this evening, in this chamber, in the people's House, to say no to tax payer funded abortions? We have a chance to do something monumental tonight.  At the end of the day, the tax payers of this state do not want tax payer funded abortions. We have a chance tonight to set a standard, to draw a line in the sand and say no to taxpayer funded abortions."
House sponsor Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough)
SB2686 is on the Senate floor Monday night
ACTION: Go
HERE to send an email of support to your Senator.

CONSTITUTIONALLY PROHIBITING AN INCOME TAX:
*SJR 0763 by *Kelsey Jackson, McNally, Black, Beavers, Ramsey, Gresham, Bunch, Burchett, Tracy, Ketron, Faulk, Southerland, Johnson, Watson, Norris, Yager
Constitutional Amendments - Proposes an amendment to clarify the constitutional language that currently prohibits the levying of a tax on any class of income, other than income derived from stocks and bonds, and to prohibit any tax levied on or measured by employer payrolls.
STATUS: As amended, SJR763 has passed the Senate
25-7 and is scheduled in House Budget Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please urge these committee members to support this Constitutional Amendment:
rep.harry.tindell@capitol.tn.gov, rep.joe.armstrong@capitol.tn.gov, rep.lois.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov, spk.eme.jimmy.naifeh@capitol.tn.gov, rep.gary.odom@capitol.tn.gov, rep.johnny.shaw@capitol.tn.gov.
ELECTING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL:
*SJR 0698 by *Beavers
          TN is the only state in the nation whose Attorney General is appointed by the State Supreme Court (before whom he has to practice, by they way). For some time there have been efforts to move that office before the voters for popular election. This change would require a state Constitutional Amendment. Recent activities surrounding the TN Health Care Freedom Act have certainly raised the profile of this effort. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SJR698 5-2-1.
Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Black, Bunch, Jackson, Kelsey -- 5.
Senators voting no were: Marrero B, Overbey -- 2.
Senators present and not voting were: Faulk -- 1.
STATUS: SJR698 is on the Senate floor Monday evening where it is expected to pass.

 
PRO-LIFE “FREEDOM FROM COERCION ACT”:
SB 3812 by *Johnson Gresham, Black, Tracy, Southerland, Beavers, Ramsey, Yager, Burks, Bunch  ( *HB 3301 by *Lynn, *Evans, Matlock, Lundberg, Hill, Watson, Niceley, Johnson C, Ford , Casada, Halford, Swafford, Dunn, Dean, Bell, Carr, Weaver, White, Maggart, Hensley, Bass, Curtiss, Brooks K, Campfield, Fincher, Harrison, Matheny, Mumpower, Shipley, Rich, McManus, Floyd, Hawk, Brooks H, Eldridge, Haynes, Ramsey, Barker, McDonald, Roach
STATUS:
As you may know both SB 3812 and HB 3301 overwhelming passed the respective chambers. The legislation has been signed by both speakers and has been transmitted to the Governor for his signature.


HOLD ON TO YOUR WALLET:
Bredesen floats sales tax hike on luxuries

Gov. Phil Bredesen on Wednesday asked legislative leaders to consider eliminating the local sales-tax cap on the purchase of single big-ticket items in order to raise $85 million to plug the latest state’s budget shortfall.
The plan would apply to major purchases with a value exceeding $3,200. But it specifically exempts sales of vehicles, boats and manufactured homes, administration officials said.
“We’re floating this idea to fix the budget hole — what amounts to an additional $105 million shortfall,” Bredesen press secretary Lydia Lenker said, confirming lawmakers’ accounts of the governor’s proposal. “We feel it’s a better option than what the next round of budget cuts would look like.”
Read more here

Bredesen: Lift sales tax cap or cut state salaries
Democratic Gov. Phil Bredsen said Thursday that lifting Tennessee's sales tax cap to plug an $80
million budget gap would avoid a pay cut for all state employees.
Bredesen told reporters after a speech to educators that the alternative to lifting the cap would be to
require a 5 percent salary decrease for all state workers.
"We'd probably have to do an across-the-board salary reduction," Bredesen said, "and this was
sitting out there as an exception that I think is not really justified by any public policy."
Read more here.