Legislative Update, April 7, 2012
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).
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. Isaiah 53:4-7
It was my sin and his love that held him on the cross.
FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Please remember Nathan James, Research Analyst for Sen. Dolores Gresham, lost his step-father this week. Other prayer requests include Lisa Falkenback, a staff member in Speaker Harwell's office is having gall bladder problems. While speaking in favor of a bill which would require insurance companies to pay for oral chemotherapy treatments.on can Rep. Curry Todd revealed that he has cancer. Rep. Tim Wirgau's nephew, Conner, should be home by now. This young man is truly a miracle. Please continue to remember my husband Ron, who had open heart surgery on Friday. We are in Cardiac Intensive care at Vanderbilt. He is making progress - the breathing tube came out last evening and they have him in a chair this morning--but he certainly has a long way to go.
EMPOWERING FAMILIES THROUGH INFORMATION ACT:
*SB 3178 by *Bell ( HB 3539 by *Matheny)
Schools, Charter - As amended, requires charter schools to make publicly available certain information as that provided by the LEA in which the charter school resides and requires charter schools to publish information on their website that will assist families in school choice decisions.
STATUS: HB3539 Passed the House Floor 98-0;thrilled to report that, without any discussion, SB3178 passed the Senate Floor on Thursday, 29-1.
PUTTING TENNESSEE FIRST ACT:
SB 3345 by *Ketron ( *HB 3540 by *Matheny)
Schools, Charter - As introduced, regulates charter schools' relationships with foreign entities and the use of non-immigrant foreign workers by charter schools.
STATUS: SB3345 will soon be on the Senate floor; HB3540 will soon be on the House floor.
ACTION: Please find your Senator HERE and your Representative HERE and urge them to support this bill.
I know that it is Easter Weekend, but I do hope you might be able to take a couple of minutes to contact both your House member and your Senator. This bill is so important and, once again, there has been so much disinformation distributed by the opponents that it isn't even funny. With YOUR HELP, we can get the job done!!!
Below is a suggest message:
"As amended, SB3345/HB3540 enhances transparency in the use of public funds by charter schools. The charter school option is first and foremost about expanding school choice for families and this bill helps provides additional information for families who might be exploring a charter school option for their student.
The bill is consistent with concerns about the overutilization of H1B visa use now being expressed in Washington. This bill does not prevent foreign-born refugees, green card holders or any other immigrant residing in the U.S. with work authorization from being employed by or volunteering in Tennessee charter schools. Rather, the bill only addresses a situation where a charter school would direct its recruitment overseas at workers who are neither present in the U.S. nor yet eligible to apply for a H1B visa. This bill helps preserve jobs for Tennesseans. The limit for foreign worker recruitment is only applied at the discretion of the chartering authority, typically the local school district.
The bill in no way limits participation in charter schools by those living in immigrant communities in Tennessee. It does not seek to eliminate diversity in charter schools or obstruct anyone with a foreign background from volunteering or working at charter schools."
PROTECTING YOUR PROPERTY
SB 1566 by *Ketron ( *HB 1576 by *Carr)
Eminent Domain - As introduced, describes the procedure by which counties, cities and towns may take property by eminent domain.
STATUS: This is a very important bill and I hope you will support it. SB1566 is in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday; HB1576 is in House Judiciary on Tuesday.
ACTION: Find and contact Senate committee members HERE; find and contact House committee members HERE.
LIFE DEFENSE ACT OF 2012
*SB 3323 by *Beavers ( HB 3808 by *Hill)
Abortion - As introduced, enacts the "Life Defense Act of 2012."
STATUS: HB3808 has passed the House floor 72-24; SB3323 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday. Committee members can be found HERE.
OPPOSING THE DESTRUCTIVE AGENDA 21:
*HJR 0587 by Bell
General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position - Recognizes the destructive and insidious nature of United Nations Agenda 21.
When this resolution was on the House floor, much was made about the fact that President Bush also supported this bad proposal. Yes he did...proving that it is an 'bipartisan BAD"!
STATUS: HJR587 was passed by the Senate State and Local Committee this week and will soon be on the Senate floor.
ACTION: Please contact your Senator HERE and urge him or her to support this resolution. You can use the message here:
Agenda 21 is a plan to control our lives demanding that we, "do as I say, not as I do". It will impact our individual freedom, our personal property and redistribute our wealth. Gone forever will be American exceptionalism, American nationalism and the western way of life as all will be classified as unsustainable. The supporters will use the government to take our money, exercise more power and to control every aspect of our lives.Â Agenda 21 is not a Democratic or Republican 'plan', it reaches across the aisle. We Are Americans and we will never give up our lives, family, morality or country.
ENSURING EQUITY IN ONCOLOGY DRUG BENEFITS:
SB 1985 by *Stewart ( *HB 1087 by *Casada)
Insurance, Health, Accident - As introduced, mandates that any insurer that provides health insurance coverage for cancer chemotherapy treatment must provide coverage for a prescribed, orally administered anticancer medication used to kill or slow the growth of cancerous cells. Good amendments have been added. "Intravenous chemotherapy drugs are the most traditional option for cancer patients, but oral chemotherapy drugs are quickly becoming a preferred method of treatment. Currently there are 34 drugs on the market with no IV equivalent. Of the anticancer drugs being developed, 35 percent will be administered orally. Oral chemotherapy drugs may be more appealing than injected methods, but are often more expensive because insurance plans consider oral medications a pharmacy – not a medical – benefit." I daresay that everyone reading this has been touched by cancer. My mother died of breast cancer in 2001. The choice in treatment should be based on what is best for the patient, not based on the way insurance companies cover treatment.
STATUS: HB1087 was re-scheduled in House Commerce Committee on Tuesday.
ACTION: Please contact these members and urge them to support this bill, as amended: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL:
*SB 0251 by *Marrero ( HB 0294 by *Richardson)
Controlled Substances - As introduced, enacts the "Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act."
It is unbelievably that this bill ever got out of subcommitee, but it did come to a halt in full committee when Rep. Richardson, after extensive testimony, took the bill off notice, with the promise to return with it in 2013.
Medical Marijuana Bill Dies After Hearing
Supporters of a bill to legalize marijuana for medical use ended their late-session push Wednesday after winning a hearing for the measure before a key committee.
State Rep. Jeanne Richardson, D-Memphis, withdrew the Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act after testimony on behalf of the legislation in the House Health and Human Resources Committee. The hearing capped a surprising week for the bill, set in motion by an unexpected vote in its favor in a Republican-led subcommittee.
Advocates hope the late momentum will persuade lawmakers to support medical marijuana when they return after their re-election campaigns in the fall.
“We’re all going to be out campaigning,” she said. “This is your time to talk to your constituents about this and ask them what they think. And I think if you all talk to enough of your constituents, you will see that most people think it’s a good idea.” Read more here.
REP. GARY MORE WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION:
After much consideration and after consultation with my wife, I have decided not to seek re-election to the State House of Representatives after my term expires in November.
It has been a pleasure serving District 50 and I sincerely appreciate the confidence shown in me by electing me to serve four terms. Read more here.
TN MOVES TO END HARMFUL ESTATE, GIFT TAXES:
Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Those words of wisdom ring particularly true in Tennessee, where you pay taxes, die, and then pay taxes again.
Your Tennessee General Assembly is working to change that by moving forward with two key proposals: phasing out the death tax entirely by 2016 and the complete elimination of the state’s gift tax this year.
Tennessee is one of only 19 states in the country, and two in the Southeast, that impose a death tax. Even worse, we are one of only two states in the entire country, the other being Connecticut, that levy a gift tax. Both tax policies send a terrible message to Tennesseans: Squander what you have today, lest the government confiscate it tomorrow. However, if you work hard your entire life, live frugally, create jobs and seek to pass your legacy on to your family, we will punish you for doing so. Read more here.
STATE ON WRONG TRACK WITH HEALTH EXCHANGE:
Despite openly expressing his opposition to the health-care overhaul, Gov. Bill Haslam has taken steps to establish a health exchange — a key component of the law designed to regulate and subsidize health insurance — in Tennessee.
He believes that “Tennessee risks losing millions of dollars in federal grant money if he allows the legal and political challenges to the federal health-care law to play out before establishing an exchange.”
To date, only 17 states have formally established a health insurance exchange; the other 33 have either rejected the idea or are still weighing options. It’s time for Tennessee to do the latter.
First, there’s no material difference between a state-based exchange and a federal one. President Obama claims that states have “flexibility” in setting up an exchange that’s right for them, but in reality a state exchange just means more federal control. Under the president’s health-reform law, every aspect of a state exchange must be approved by bureaucrats in Washington.
Second, there’s no imminent threat of a federal exchange. State exchange proponents often claim that, “If we don’t set up an exchange, the federal government will do it for us.” Read more here.