Legislative Update, February 12, 2011

 

LEGISLATIVE ACTION  ALERT                   
February 12, 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).

Addressing the New York Historical Society, 1852, Daniel Webster:
"If we and our posterity...live always in the fear of God and shall respect His Commandments...we may have the highest hopes of the future fortunes of our country....
But if we...neglect religious instruction and authority; violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity."


FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Speaking of praying, our friends at the
Tennessee Governmental Prayer Alliance have provided a great tool for praying. We wanted to make you aware of the PDF list of governmental leaders that is now available on their website.  Click HERE to access and print the list. Rep. Joey Hensley’s (R-Hohenwald) dad recently died and his mother is not in good health. I have a personal request: my husband fell and broke his right foot. He is in a cast and is not suppose to put weight on it for about six weeks. With his other health problems, sitting for six weeks will not be good for him. In addition, at this point I don’t know how this affect my work, so we covert your prayers.

 
THE 2011 HOUSE FRESHMAN CLASS:
You can find pictures and information
HERE. This is an excellent resource.

THE START OF SOMETHING GOOD:
This week began the 107th Tennessee General Assembly in earnest, and my 24th year on Capitol Hill (where did the time go??) As a subscriber to our email network, you know that we provide a unique service unavailable elsewhere. As you might imagine, there are significant expenses connected to maintaining this service. Would YOU help us with a DONATION to help us get the year started right? You can use PayPal through our website: www.tneagleforum.org, or send a check to 3216 Bluewater Trace, Nashville, TN, 37217.
[Donations are not tax deductible.]
 
SOME GOOD NEWS:
Holiday Sales Tax Collections Best Since '07
Tennessee experienced its best Christmas sales tax season since 2007, the state's finance commissioner said Thursday, indicating that holiday shoppers were spending more than any point since the recession began.
          Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes said at a forum sponsored by The Associated Press and the Tennessee Press Association that sales taxes posted a growth rate of nearly 4.5 percent in January, which reflects economic activity in the previous month. Sales taxes make up two out of every three tax dollars collected in Tennessee, which has no state income tax. Read more here.

SENATE EDUCATION – ‘THE HAPPENING PLACE’:
Lots of excitement is expected when Senate Education meets on Wednesday morning. A number of bills are on the calendar that will go along way toward impacting the nearly uninhibited control that the teacher’s union has had over those employee relationships.

ON EDUCATION CALENDAR:
 
STOP REQUIRED NEGOTIATION:
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:
NOTE: Currently, Tennessee does not authorize firefighters, police officers, state employees, etc., to engage in collective bargaining.  These groups have trade organizations, but the state and local governments are not required to negotiate, except for teachers.  In addition 45 school systems are NOT REQUIRED to negotiate, so this bill would simply provide a level playing field.
Business interests, labor unions join teachers debate.

TRANSFERS SELECTION OF TRUSTEES AWAY FROM TEA:
 
*SB 0102 by *Gresham ( HB 0565 by *Hensley)

Pensions and Retirement Benefits - As introduced, changes the method of selection of trustees of TCRS representing teachers and retired teachers from election by the representative assemblies of the Tennessee Education Association and the Tennessee Retired Teachers Association respectively to appointment by the speakers of the senate and the house.

REQUIRES ACCESS BY OTHER TEACHER ORGANIZATIONS:
SB 0294 by *Gresham ( *HB 0179 by *Casada)
 
Local Education Agencies - As introduced, prohibits LEAs from denying equal access to LEA employees to all domestic professional employees' organizations offering membership to all certificated personnel.

REQUIRES ACCESS BY OTHER TEACHER ORGANIZATIONS TO STUDENTS IN TEACHER TRAINING :
SB 0330 by *Summerville ( *HB 0233 by *Brooks H)

Education, Higher - As introduced, requires public institutions of higher education to give equal access to any domestic professional educators' organization if access to students in teacher training programs is granted to any other professional educators' organization.


ACTION: We are supporting each of the bills on the Education Calendar above. Please contact these senators and urge them to support these proposals: sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov, sen.andy.berke@capitol.tn.gov, sen.reginald.tate@capitol.tn.gov.
*******
 
PHOTO ID TO VOTE PASSES COMMITTEE:
*SB 0016 by *Ketron ( HB 0007 by *Maggart)

Election Laws - As introduced, requires a voter to present qualified photographic identification before voting; voters without proper identification shall be allowed to cast provisional ballots.
Senators voting aye were: Campfield, Faulk, Ketron, Norris, Tracy, Yager -- 6.
Senators voting no were: Finney L, Harper, Haynes -- 3. SB 16 is scheduled for the Senate floor on Monday; the house companion has not yet been scheduled for a committee hearing. 
Tenn. Bill Would Require Photo ID From Voters
ACTION: Please go HERE to send your senator an email of support.



TENNESSEE HEALTH CARE FREEDOM ACT
*SB 0079 by *Beavers ( HB 0115 by *Weaver)


Insurance, Health, Accident - As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee Health Care Freedom Act."
SB79 is scheduled in Commerce on Tuesday. 
ACTION: Please contact these senators urging them to support this very important legislation.
sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov, sen.eric.stewart@capitol.tn.gov, sen.reginald.tate@capitol.tn.gov
.

LOTS OF SUPPORT FOR IN TN FOR THE HEALTH CARE FREEDOM ACT:
Many in TN want repeal of health-care reform law
Insurance requirement is big sore point in poll
          If anyone would seem a likely supporter of last year's federal health-care reform, it's Alè Dalton.
          The 19-year-old Nashville resident counts herself among the nearly 1 million uninsured non-elderly Tennessee residents. What's more, both of Dalton's parents, who live in Florida, are also uninsured.
          Though Dalton fits the profile of Americans a new federal health-care reform law is designed to help, she favors at least partial reform of the new law. And Dalton is not alone.
According to a
public opinion poll conducted by Vanderbilt University's Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, more than 62 percent of Tennessee residents favor completely repealing or partially repealing the new law. Read more here.
Most in Tennessee want to curb federal reach

ON THE SENATE JUDICIARY CALENDAR

PROHIBITING AN INCOME TAX ONCE AND FOR ALL:
*SJR 0018 by *Kelsey
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.

ELECTING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL:
SJR 0023 by *Beavers
Attorney General and Reporter - Proposes a constitutional amendment to provide for the popular election of the attorney general and reporter for the state.

COMMON SENSE SOLUTION CERTAIN DRUG SALES:
*SB 0325 by *Beavers ( HB 0234 by *Maggart)
Drugs, Over the Counter - As introduced, requires pharmacies and pharmacy personnel to use a national record keeping system to log certain drug sales and changes the rate at which an individual may buy methamphetamine precursors.
          NOTE: Passage of this bill solve a serious problem with the manufacture of meth without punishing every Tennessean needing some cold medication by forcing them to pay for a doctor visit to get a prescription for what was an over-the-counted medicine.

ACTION: Please contact these senators urging them to support each of these bills above on the Judiciary Calendar:
sen.tim.barnes@capitol.tn.gov, sen.ophelia.ford@capitol.tn.gov, sen.beverly.marrero@capitol.tn.gov
.
******


EXAMINATIONS FOR A DRIVER LICENSE IN ENGLISH:
*SB 0010 by *Ketron ( HB 0454 by *Butt)
Driver Licenses - As introduced, requires that all written examinations for a driver license or intermediate driver license be in English.
SB 10 was on the Senate Transportation Committee Calendar, but was postponed until February 23rd.

AND ON THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION FRONT:
A number of bills will be introduced shortly that would curb illegal immigration. This will be monitored carefully to make sure these efforts are not ‘watered down’ in the process:

Haslam plans broad-based immigration legislation
          Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday he is working with Republican legislative leaders to develop a broad-based bill dealing with illegal immigration.
          One piece would be an Arizona-style law allowing state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws.
          Another would require the written portion of driver's license exams be given in English unless the person is in the U.S. legally through a work or student visa.
          The law would require businesses to use the federal E-Verify program in hiring and make the state ensure illegal immigrants cannot access a number of state services.
Read more here.