Legislative Update, March 24, 2012

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

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).


"To read in the Bible, as the word of God himself, that 'In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,' and to preach therefrom that, 'In the sweat of other mans faces shalt thou eat bread,' to my mind can scarcely be reconciled with honest sincerity."
Abraham Lincoln--From the May 30, 1864 Letter to George Ide and Others


FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Please continue to remember Conner,[left] nephew of Rep. Tim Wirgau (R-Paris). He continues to improve at Stallworth after surviving a horrific accident February 14th. Don't forget, the goal is for him to walk at his graduation this Spring!  There is another legislative family that needs special prayer too.  My husband had another echocardiogram on Friday and we will see the heart surgeon Tuesday morning.


PUTTING TENNESSEE FIRST:
SB 3345 by *Ketron
, Summerville, Tate, Tracy, Crowe ( *HB 3540 by *Matheny, Brooks K, Forgety, Powers, Ragan, Williams R, Dunn)
Schools, Charter - As introduced, regulates charter schools' relationships with foreign entities and the use of non-immigrant foreign workers by charter schools has been rewritten by two amendments: HERE and HERE.
This bill requires disclosure of all sources of funding, allows for non- approval of a charter application if staffing utilizes more than 3.5% non-immigrant foreign worker visas, permits a charter school of any size to exceed the cap for purposes of hiring, when necessary, foreign language instructors, and permits revocation of a charter prior to expiration should the use of non-immigrant foreign worker visas exceed the 3.5% cap during the term of the charter.

STATUS: After some discussion and fighting off two 'unfriendly amendments', HB3540 was voted out of House Education Subcommittee and will be in full Education Committee on Tuesday.

ACTION:  Please contact these members and urge them to support HB3540:  rep.john.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov, rep.john.windle@capitol.tn.gov, and rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov.
STATUS:  After some bizarre and extensive discussion (one Senator even stating that is was unconstitutional for us to try to limit the number of people coming into this country - our bill has no impact on that at all!!)  and much confusion SB3345 was 'rolled' and will be in Senate Education once again Wednesday, March 28.
ACTION:  Please contact these members and urge them to support SB33345: sen.andy.berke@capitol.tn.gov and sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov,


EMPOWERING FAMILIES THROUGH INFORMATION ACT:
*SB 3178 by
*Bell ( HB 3539 by *Matheny)
Schools, Charter - As introduced, makes charter schools subject to open meetings law; requires charter schools to maintain a web site and post certain notices and information on the web site; makes charter school records open records to the same extent as records of public schools operated by LEAs.
As amended
HERE, the bill 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:  HB 3539 passed the House floor 98-0, March 15; SB3178 wil be on the Senate Floor Thursday, March 29.
ACTION:  Please go
HERE to find your senator and urge him or her to support SB3178.

NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE - CIRCUMVENTING THE US CONSTITUTION:

SB 1024 by *Southerland , Burks ( *HB 1302 by *Shepard)
Election Laws - As introduced, enacts the "Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote."
        HB1302 was heard in House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday afternoon. Former TN Democrat Party Chairman, Randy Button and Former TN Republican Party Chairman Bob Davis were there to support this proposal. They had brought with them Ray Haynes, a former republican legislator from California to testify in favor of this scheme.  During his presentation he touted his Republican and ALEC 'credentials' [He was National Chairman of ALEC in 2000] , but he conveniently 'forgot' to mention that ALEC OPPOSES NPV as does the RNC, as does the TN Republican Party, as does the TN Federation of Republican Women
.       
ALEC Approves a Resolution in Support of the Electoral College

Opposes National Popular Vote Legislation
http://www.alec.org/docs/Electoral_College_PR.pdf
RNC Resolution Opposing the National Popular Vote Compact

Tennessee Republican State Executive Committee Resolution To Preserve The Constitution Of The United States To Maintain The Integrity Of The Presidential Election By Opposing The “National Popular Vote Compact

Tennessee Federation of Republican Women Resolution Opposing NPV

For all the information on this TERRIBLE idea, go HERE.

STATUS:  I had been promised the opportunity to speak in opposition to NPV, but after Mr. Haynes completed his testimony, they went straight to making the motion and I did not get to address the committee. The motion was to send NPV to a' summer study' committee. I had been in touch with committee members URGING them to 'kill the bill', i.e., vote NO on HB1302.  Some said, "oh there are many ways to 'kill a bill ' and sending it to 'summer study' is one". While that is the case in some instances, it is NOT in this case.  The NPV supporters are professionals, they have lots of money with which to push this issue--everything to gain and nothing to lose. They walked out of that room encouraged.  Remember -- they are already half way to their goal of passing their proposal in enough states to get to the necessary 270 electoral votes. This issue is NOT 'dead' in Tennessee and we will see it back in 2013 where we will have to mount a fight against it once again.  BTW, if I sound unhappy, it is because I am!!

Listen and Call-in Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to Noon (CST): 800-736-3202. 
This week, Phyllis Schlafly will interview Janine Hansen on "Why The National Popular Vote is a Bad Idea."
Listen online at
bottradionetwork.com or Find a Radio Station currently carrying Eagle Forum Live.

OPPOSING THE U.N. AGENDA 21:
*HJR 0587 by Bell
General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position - Recognizes the destructive and insidious nature of United Nations Agenda 21
Public Officials Must Learn About Agenda 21, Henry Lamb explains why.  Other resources HERE.
STATUS:  HRJ 587 is scheduled in Senate State and Local Committee on Tuesday, March 27.

ACTION: Please contact these committee members and urge them to support this resolution. sen.ken.yager@capitol.tn.gov, sen.lowe.finney@capitol.tn.gov, sen.stacey.campfield@capitol.tn.gov, sen.mike.faulk@capitol.tn.gov, sen.joe.haynes@capitol.tn.gov, and sen.mark.norris@capitol.tn.gov.

MUCH NEEDED UPDATE TO FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION LAW:
*SB 3310 by *Johnson ( HB 3621 by *Gotto)
Education, Curriculum - As introduced, requires that a family life education curriculum comply with certain restrictions
STATUS:  SB3310 was postponed last week and will be on the Senate Education Calendar Wednesday.
ACTION:  Contact these members and urge them to support SB3310:
STATUS: HB3621 was voted out of House Education Subcommittee and will be in full House Education on Tuesday.
ACTION:  Contact these members and urge them to support HB3621: rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov, rep.john.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, and rep.john.windle@capitol.tn.gov.

PROTECTING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN HIGHER EDUCATION:
SB 3597 by *Beavers ( *HB 3576 by *Pody)
Education, Higher - As introduced, prohibits certain colleges and universities in this state from denying recognition, privileges or benefits to a student organization or group on the basis of religious content of the organization's or group's speech or the manner in which the organization or group determines its organizational affairs.
This bill prohibits a state higher education institution that grants recognition to any student organization or group from discriminating against or denying recognition, equal access or a fair opportunity to any student organization or group on the basis of the religious content of the organization's or group's speech, including but not limited to, worship.  With has been happening at Vanderbilt, this bill is extremely important -- for more information on Vanderbilt see THIS LINK on Facebook.
STATUS: SB3597 is Senate Education on Wednesday. 
ACTION:  Please contact these members and urge them to support this important bill: sen.andy.berke@capitol.tn.gov, sen.reginald.tate@capitol.tn.gov, sen.stacey.campfield@capitol.tn.gov and sen.brian.kelsey@capitol.tn.gov.
STATUS:  HB3576 is in House Education Tuesday:
ACTION:  Please contact these members and urge them to support this bill:  rep.john.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov, rep.john.windle@capitol.tn.gov.

CLASSROOM 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.
STATUS: This excellent bill passed in the House last year and was finally passed in the senate this week.
TN science bill protects teachers who allow debate over evolution
The Tennessee Senate approved a bill Monday that would encourage teachers and students to debate evolution in the classroom, setting aside complaints that the measure would drag the state back onto the battleground over the teaching of creationism.
Senators voted 24-8 to pass a bill that says schoolteachers cannot be punished for “helping students to understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories” taught in public schools. Read more here.


Rep. McDonald will not seek re-election
State
Rep. Mike McDonald, a Portland Democrat, announced Monday that he would not seek re-election to the 44th House District he has served for 18 years.
McDonald said in a prepared statement that he made the decision “after thoughtful consideration and conversations” with his family. First elected in 1994, the Portland farmer and former educator has been a popular voice for his district, perhaps known best as a champion for conservation and environmental issues.
McDonald thanked Sumner voters who elected him to nine terms and said he looked forward to opportunities in the private sector and spending more time with family.
Read more here.