Legislative Update, April 30, 2011

LEGISLATIVE ACTION  ALERT  
April 30, 2011                                                                              

Tennessee General Assembly information, click HERE. For information on State Senators, including phone numbers and email addresses, click HERE; for House members, click HERE. For information on legislation, click HERE.
Don't forget that you can now watch the Senate committee meetings and floor sessions online by going HERE; House committee meetings and floor sessions online HERE.
Phone calls can go to the legislative Switchboard at 615-741-3011 or to the Toll Free number 1-800-449-8366+1 last four digits of office phone number (available online).
 
“If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws—the first growing out of the last…A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.” Alexander Hamilton, 1794


FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Certainly we must continue to pray for the loss and destruction so many suffered this week.
Tennessee’s storm deaths rise to 33
Not even East Tennessee’s mountains were enough to thwart three waves of angry weather that stormed through overnight Wednesday.
Thirty-three Tennesseans were killed and property damage mounted from the southeastern part of the state to the northeastern tip about 200 miles away. Read more here.
The parents of Darlene Schlicher (Press Secretary for the Senate Republican Caucus), who live in Hixson, had significant damage to their home. In addition, please remember the family of Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis). His mother passed away this week.

SPEAKING OF PRAYER – May 5th is the 60th annual National Day of Prayer, using the theme “A Mighty Fortress is our God”, “I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:2. To find an event near you, click HERE, and enter your state. Prayer at the Capitol: From 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. (CDT), Old Supreme Court Chambers at the State Capitol, 600 Charlotte Avenue, 1st Floor, Nashville, TN 37243
Nashville has its own website: http://praynashville.com/


PROTECTING ALL TENNESSEANS---*FIRST STEP VICTORY*:
*SB 1028 by *Ketron ( HB 1353 by *Matheny)
Homeland Security - enacts the "Material Support to Designated Entities Act of 2011."
        Despite what has been printed – and believe me – there has not been ONE article written about our bill that was even close to being accurate, Sen. Ketron and Rep. Matheny met multiple times with representatives of the Muslim community. One of the things they asked was that the bill be re-written to apply to everyone evenly across the board.
        Well, guess what, that is exactly what we did. The original bill was tossed out and an attorney at Legislative Services wrote the present proposal so that Islam and Sharia Law are not mentioned in any way. So, did they count that as a victory? No! Several hundred showed up on Tuesday to protest, armed with ‘talking points’ that completely misrepresented the content of the newly written legislation.
          Many have had very legitimate questions about the provisions of our bill. You will find answers HERE that will be helpful.
STATUS: After many weeks of grueling work and extended debate at two committee meetings, SB 2018 passed the Senate Judiciary by a 6-3 bi-partisan vote:
Senators voting aye were: Barnes, Beavers, Bell, Kelsey, Overbey, Yager -- 6.
Senators voting no were: Campfield, Ford, Marrero -- 3.
         Again, after taking testimony on two different weeks, then vigorous debate on Tuesday, HB1353 passed House Judiciary by a 12-4 bipartisan vote:
Representatives voting aye were: Bass, Coley, Dennis, Elam, Faison, Gotto, Maggart, Matheny, Moore, Rich, Watson, Womick -- 12.
Representatives voting no were: Camper, Lundberg, Sontany, Stewart -- 4.
More details about this past Tuesday can be found HERE. Both bills now move on to the respective Finance Committees.
ACTION: PRAY! Our bill has an $88,600 fiscal note to cover the possible incarnation of a violator. Please contact (email or phone call) these House Finance Subcommittee members, urging them to support HB1353: Michael Harrison, Chair, Lois DeBerry, Craig Fitzhugh, Jimmy Naifeh, Gary Odom, Dennis Roach, Harry Tindell, and Johnny Shaw.
Please contact these members of the Senate Finance Committee and urge them to support SB1028: Lowe Finney, Joe Haynes, Douglas Henry, and Jim Kyle.

NEUTRALIZING TN CONSTITUTION ON ABORTION:
*SJR 0127 by *Beavers, Kelsey, Bell, Norris, Ketron, Crowe, Southerland, Yager, Campfield, Johnson, Woodson, Ramsey, Overbey, Tracy, Gresham, Summerville, Faulk, Watson Constitutional Amendments - Proposes new provision to Article I to provide that nothing in Constitution of Tennessee secures or protects right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion; states that the people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother. For additional information, go HERE.
STATUS: SJR127 is scheduled for a vote in House Health and Human Services on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please find committee members HERE and urge them to vote for SJR127.
 
REFUGEE ABSORPTIVE CAPACITY ACT:
SB 1670 by *Tracy ( *HB 1632 by *Dunn)
Immigration - As introduced, codifies federal regulations to ensure that local absorptive capacity is evaluated at regular intervals in consultation between local governments and local resettlement agencies before commitments are made for refugee resettlement in any particular community. For more information, go HERE. The bill has been re-written to address the concerns of the parties involved and is moving forward.
STATUS: HB1632 is scheduled for the House Floor on Thursday.
ACTION: Find you Representative HERE and ask him or her to support this legislation.

 
PROTECTING BUSINESSES FROM GOVERNMENT INTRUSION:
SB 0632 by *Ketron ( *HB 0600 by *Casada)
Business and Commerce - As introduced, enacts the "Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act." This pro-business and pro-taxpayer legislation provides that no local government can impose on any business or person, other than a local government’s own employees, any personnel practice, definition or provision relating to discrimination or discriminatory practices that deviates from the requirements of state law. It also makes null and void any nonconforming requirements imposed prior to the legislation’s effective date. The legislation does not affect anti-discrimination policies that businesses voluntarily adopt for the operation of their business.
      Good news for Family Action Council of TN when the AG opined that: Nothing Wrong with Legislature Overriding Nashville’s Sexual Discrimination Ordinance.  

STATUS: By a vote of 73-24, HB600 passed the House floor. TN House votes to reverse Metro. SB632 would protect private businesses from local governments imposing on them anti-discrimination policies that go beyond the protections provided by state law.
ACTION: It is scheduled in Senate State and Local Committee on Tuesday. Please find committee members HERE and urge them to support this bill.

 
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP ACT:
SB 0485 by *Kelsey ( *HB 0388 by *Dunn)
Education - As introduced, enacts the "Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act."
STATUS: After SB485 passed the Senate 18-10-4, this bill moved on the House Education Subcommittee, where, according to the paper: Republican-led school voucher bill dies in House subcommittee


PROHIBITING MANDATORY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING:
SB 0113 by *Johnson ( *HB 0130 by *Maggart)
Teachers, Principals and School Personnel - As introduced, abolishes teachers' unions ability to negotiate terms and conditions of professional service with local boards of education.
         As you may recall, the bills, as amended, in the Senate and the House were very different. Lots of negotiating has taken place and it appears that the two bills are becoming more alike.
TN teacher unions in jeopardy
The agreement would replace negotiated teachers’ contracts with an employee handbook updated every three years that spells out the district’s policies on salary, benefits, leave, student discipline and working conditions — matters that currently are set through union negotiations. Read more here.
STATUS: SB113 will be on the Senate floor on Monday. HB130 will be in House Finance on Tuesday.
ACTION: You can find your Senator HERE and urge him or her to support SB113. Find House Finance Committees HERE and urge them to support HB130.
 
LAWFUL IMMIGRATION:
*SB 0780 by *Ketron ( HB 1380 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the "Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act."
STATUS: SB780 has been deferred to the last Judiciary Calendar; HB1380 has been deferred in House Finance subcommittee until May 11th.

 
LAWFUL EMPLOYMENT ACT:
SB 1669 by *Tracy ( *HB 1378 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act.
STATUS: As amended, SB 1669 passed the Senate Commerce Committee 8-1 and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee:
Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Faulk, Gresham, Johnson, Southerland, Stewart, Tate, Woodson -- 8.  Senators voting no were: Burks -- 1. HB 1378 is scheduled in House Finance Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: House Finance Subcommittee members can be found HERE.
 
ELIGIBILITY VERFICATION:
SB 1325 by *Johnson (*HB 1379 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the "Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act."
STATUS: SB1325 is scheduled in Senate State and Local on Tuesday. HB1379 is scheduled in House Finance Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Senate and Local Committee members can be foundHERE; House Finance Subcommittee members can be found HERE.

 
PROHIBITING IMPLEMENTATION OF ‘REAL ID’:
SB 1638 by *Campfield ( *HB 1874 by *Niceley)
Safety, Dept. of - As introduced, prohibits Tennessee from participating in the implementation of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which mandates a national identification card for each citizen of the United States.
STATUS: HB1873 is scheduled in House Transportation on Tuesday.
ACTION: Committee members can be found HERE.

LT. GOV. RON RAMSEY’S NEW WEBSITE:
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
today unveiled a new stand-alone website for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate.

Sen. Watson appointed next Speaker Pro Tempore
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey today announced that he has selected Sen. Bo Watson (R – Hixson) to serve as the state Senate’s next speaker pro tempore. Sen. Watson will succeed the current speaker pro tem, Sen. Jamie Woodson (R – Knoxville) in that position.  Sen. Woodson announced yesterday her intention to resign from the Senate effective July 1.