Legislative Update, March 19, 2011

LEGISLATIVE ACTION  ALERT                
March 19, 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).

Quoted in The Revolution, July 1869, Susan B. Anthony stated:
"I deplore the horrible crime of child-murder...No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh! Thrice guilty is he who...drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime."


FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Please remember Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and his family. The Senator's father, William F. Ketron, 81, passed away on March 16th. Visitation was yesterday, funeral services will be at 2:00 pm today at Jennings and Ayers Chapel in Murfreesboro. Cared may be sent to 5 Legislative Plaza, Nashville, 37243.  Budget hearings are under way and more important bills are being run each week.  Please pray for wisdom, courage and principle to prevail. On a personal note, my husband goes back to the doctor on March 25 to see if his broken foot is healed enough to have the cast removed. Would appreciate your prayers for that.  If the cast comes off, he will go into a walking boot and will probably require physical herapy to regain the strength and flexibility in that ankle.

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.
STATUS: On February 16th, SB 133 passed Senate Education 6-3, and has not yet been assigned a Senate floor date. On Wednesday, HB130 was first on the calendar in the Education Subcommittee where a completely re-written bill was presented. You WILL want to go HERE
to view the proceedings – they are VERY instructive.
          While the amendment does not end collective bargaining, it does make some important inroads in the process like removing principals from the negotiating process and ending bargaining on differential pay plans and other incentive compensation and making it easier for teachers to decertify the TEA as their bargaining agent, requiring the votes of 30 percent rather than 50 percent of those covered by an agreement.
          The truth is that HB130 in its original form would not have gotten out of the subcommittee. Keeping in mind that “Politics is the art of the Possible,” the amendment was used to move the bill forward. Some have opined that a vote should have been forced to see who would vote against it then go after them in the next election. 
          However, if that had happened and the bill had been killed, that would have been the end of the effort for this General Assembly, then where would we be? If the Senate stands strong and it appears that it will, the bill will go to a conference committee where more changes can be made and that Conference Committee report will go back to the floors of the respective houses where it will be subjected to an up or down vote.
          After a rather strange discussion and noting that the amendment does not really become a part of the bill until it is heard and adopted in the full Education, the bill moved forward on an 8-5 vote:
Representatives voting aye were: Brooks H, Brooks K, Carr, Dunn, Hensley, Lollar, Maggart, Montgomery -- 8.
Representatives voting no were: DeBerry J, DeBerry L, Fitzhugh, Naifeh, Pitts -- 5.
          This bill has launched an interesting debate between Gov. Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ramsey with dueling responses:
1.
TN gov shrugs off Senate Speaker Ramsey's pledge to stick to plan to ax teachers' bargaining
2. Lt. Governor Ramsey’s open letter to conservatives
.
ACTION: HB 130 will be in House Education on Tuesday at noon in Room 16. You can go
HERE to send an email of support for the original language.

REWRITING TEACHER TENURE LAWS:
*SB 1528 by *Norris ( HB 2012 by *McCormick)
 As introduced, changes date by which assignments for the following school year and notices of termination must be sent to school personnel from May 15 to June 15; specifies that director of schools must decide if a teacher is qualified for an open position; changes various requirements for obtaining tenure.
STATUS: On March 10, SB 1528 passed the Senate Floor 21-12:
Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Bell, Campfield, Crowe, Faulk, Gresham, Henry, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, McNally, Norris, Overbey, Roberts, Southerland, Summerville, Tracy, Watson, Woodson, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey -- 21.
Senators voting no were: Barnes, Berke, Burks, Finney L, Ford, Harper, Haynes, Herron, Kyle, Marrero, Stewart, Tate -- 12.
On March 17th, HB 2012 passed House Calendar and Rules on a Voice Vote - Ayes Prevail Rep.(s) Fitzhugh, Naifeh, Towns, Turner M requested to be recorded as voting No. It is scheduled for a House floor vote on March 24 where it is expected to pass.

REAL ACADEMIC FREEDOM:
SB 0893 by *Watson ( *HB 0368 by *Dunn)
Teachers, Principals and School Personnel - As introduced, protects a teacher from discipline for teaching scientific subjects in an objective manner. This bill prohibits the state board of education and any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or principal or administrator from prohibiting any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught, such as evolution and global warning.
STATUS: HB 368 passed the Education Subcommittee 9-4:
Representatives voting aye were: Brooks H, Brooks K, Carr, DeBerry J, Dunn, Hensley, Lollar, Maggart, Montgomery -- 9.
Representatives voting no were: DeBerry L, Fitzhugh, Naifeh, Pitts – 4
ACTION: HB 368 will be in House Education Tuesday. Please send an email of support to
rep.john.windle@capitol.tn.gov.

REVISING TENNESSEE’S HOME SCHOOL LAWS:
SB 1468 by *Bell ( *HB 1631 by *Dunn)
Schools, Home - As introduced, makes various changes to home school requirements, including testing requirements for home school students. Summary can be found
HERE.

         The updating and revising of Tennessee’s Home School guidelines has long been needed. Over the years, various parts of the code have been changed and amended leaving some ‘piecemeal’ laws on the books. This legislation will lay out a coherent home schooling law.
STATUS: SB 1468 is scheduled in Senate Education on Wednesday morning.
ACTION: Please email these members and urge them to support this important legislation:
sen.reginald.tate@capitol.tn.gov, sen.andy.berke@capitol.tn.gov, sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov.

 

HOUSE STATE AND LOCAL SUBCOMMITTEE – Wednesday, 3:30 in room 30, the five bills below are on their calendar. If I counted right, on the first three, each bill has enough co-sponsors to pass it, which is very good news. You will want to send Rep. Carr an email of appreciation and encouragement, rep.joe.carr@capitol.tn.gov. The entire subcommittee can be found HERE. On the other two, you can contact the three members linked on those bills.

LAWFUL IMMIGRATION:
*SB 0780 by *Ketron ( HB 1380 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the "Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act."
Go
HERE to read the detailed summary.
STATUS: HB1380 was scheduled in House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday.

LAWFUL EMPLOYMENT ACT:
SB 1669 by *Tracy ( *HB 1378 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act.
Go
HERE to read detailed summary.
STATUS: HB 1378 is in House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday.

ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION:
SB 1325 by *Johnson ( *HB 1379 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the "Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act."
Go
HERE
to read detailed summary.
STATUS: HB 1379 is also in House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday
ACTION: Looking at the number of co-sponsors on each bill I cannot imagine they will not pass, however, you may want to contact these members in support of all three bills:
rep.tommie.brown@capitol.tn.gov, rep.larry.miller@capitol.tn.gov, rep.mike.turner@capitol.tn.gov.

PHOTO ID TO VOTE:
*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.
STATUS: Passed the State Senate on Feb. 14th, 21-11. HB 7 in the House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please contact these members and urge them to support this bill:
rep.tommie.brown@capitol.tn.gov, rep.larry.miller@capitol.tn.gov, rep.mike.turner@capitol.tn.gov.

VERIFY CITIZENSHIP TO REGISTER TO VOTE:
*SB 0352 by *Norris ( HB 0324 by *Todd)
Election Laws - As introduced, requires citizenship status to be proven prior to registration to vote and requires certain procedures to ensure identity and citizenship status prior to voting.
STATUS: HB324 is on the House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please contact these members and urge them to support this bill:
rep.tommie.brown@capitol.tn.gov, rep.larry.miller@capitol.tn.gov, rep.mike.turner@capitol.tn.gov.

TENNESSEE HAS A NEW COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION:
New education commissioner brings strong credentials, some critics, to position
Kevin Huffman is an avid runner. He jogs five miles a day. He runs marathons. And as Tennessee’s newly appointed commissioner of education, Huffman will need a fast start when he moves from Washington, D.C., to assume his post April 4, as Gov. Bill Haslam and Republicans in the state legislature have targeted education reform as a key issue this session. 
Read more here
.

GOOD NEWS FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS:
Funding Package for 40 New Charter Schools Unveiled
With the announcement that a public-private partnership will invest nearly $40 million in new charter schools in the state, Gov. Bill Haslam got a major boost to a key element of his
education reform initiative Tuesday.
The money will include about $14 million in state funds, emanating from the
First to the Top program, the state’s education reform plan that landed $501 million in federal dollars in the Race to the Top national competition last year. It includes $20 million in private funding and $5.8 million through the federal Investing in Innovation program. Read more here.