Legislative Update, March 3, 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).


“History and common sense affirm the superiority of conservatism over liberalism, family over feminism, freedom over socialism, lower taxes over government programs, and the spending of money by individuals rather than politicians.” Phyllis Schlafly


FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Please remember all those families who were devastated by the storms that swept across seven states last evening.  Many lost their lives and hundreds lost everything they owned.
Please pray for Rep. Shelia Butt's sister, Nancy. On February 26th, she fell and broke her leg in three places requiring surgery to repair. Please remember Rep. Tim Wirgau's nephew, Connor.  He was in a horrific car accident last Saturday. He has undergone surgeries, has lots of tubes and while there have been a couple of 'responses', he has not yet regained consciousness.  They don't yet know about brain function.  I would also ask your prayers for my husband and myself.  As you probably know, Ron had a mild heart attack last Sunday evening and was in Summit Hospital until Wednesday evening. Tests revealed three significantly blocked arteries with open heart surgery recommended. With his chronic health problems we wanted to get further evaluation prior to making any decisions. Ron's Vanderbilt nephrologist connected us with a top cardiologist. They called Thursday offering an appointment in three weeks, I expressed our desire for an earlier appointment.  They called yesterday to say that they had had a cancellation and we could come in Monday morning!! Yea, God! Please pray that we will get as much information as possible and have the wisdom and discernment to make the right decision. 


CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FAISONS:
Rep. Faison, Family Receive A Leap Year Gift
State Rep. Jeremy Faison and his wife, Miriam, will have a special reason to celebrate Leap Year Day every four years.
He's called Tucker Andrew Faison, born at 6:35 a.m. today at Newport Medical Center. The healthy baby boy weighs 7 pounds, 8 ounces and is 20 inches long. Read more here.



WORKING UNDER A HUGE HANDICAP:

Don't know if it is a result of the storm that came through Nashville last evening or what, but the part of the Legislative Website dealing with bill status is completely down this morning, meaning that I don't have access to that vital information. With me being 'out ot pocket' some last week with Ron's situation, this is going to be a real challenge. Soooo, I will just do the best I can for today's legislative update.



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.  This important  bill will provide for families interesting in a Charter School the same information available on the Public School in that LEA.  Information IS power and that information should be made as accessible as possible.
STATUS:   We had to make a few additional changes in the text of the amendment, so HB3539 was postponed until this week where it will be heard in House Education on Tuesday. Would you please contact these members and ask them to please vote for this bill: rep.john.forgety@capitol.tn.gov, rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov, rep.john.windle@capitol.tn.gov, and rep.lois.deberry@capitol.tn.gov.

UNWELCOME CHANGES IN ADOPTION LAW:
 SB 2835 by *McNally (HB 3197 by *Ragan)
Adoption - As introduced, states that either party to an adoption may enforce contract provision providing for open adoption or visitation; allows certain adopted children to be issued new certificate of birth upon reaching age of majority.
        In the spirit of full disclosure, I am an adoptive parent, so I have a personal interest in this process.
With all due respect to the two sponsors, there is NOTHING good about this legislation. It is an effort to solve a single problem that would effect every adoptive family and potential adoptive in Tennessee. The purpose of adoption is to create a family that is just like a family that is created through natural birth. This bill would make distinctions between adoptive families and natural families that are unnecessary, that are probably unconstitutional on an equal protection basis, and could be harmful to the whole process of adoption going forward.  In my opinion, there is no way to 'fix' this bill, it should just be defeated.
STATUS:  HB3197 is in the Children and Family Affairs Subcommittee on Tuesday and I URGE you to contact these members and ask them to vote No on this bill: rep.kevin.brooks@capitol.tn.gov, mark.white@capitol.tn.gov, rep.harry.brooks@capitol.tn.gov, rep.sherry.jones@capitol.tn.gov, rep.jeanne.richardson@capitol.tn.gov, rep.art.swann@capitol.tn.gov, and rep.johnnie.turner@capitol.tn.gov.

FULL FACE PHOTO ON DRIVER'S LICENSE:
SB 2613 by *Tracy ( *HB 2547 by *Hill)
Driver Licenses - As introduced, requires visible full face color photograph of a licensee.
This TN Eagle Forum proposal is a simple bill that, as a safety measure, puts into state law the same photo requirements used for passports.
STATUS:  HB2547 was passed in the House on the Consent Calendar 96-0 as I recall
STATUS:  SB2316 was voted out of Senate Transportation on February 29th, 8-0. It is on the Consent Calendar for the Senate Floor, on Monday evening, I believe.
 
PROTECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY:
SB 3408 by *Beavers ( *HB 3572 by *Womick)
Real Property - As introduced, defines "private property rights" to clarify meaning of unwarranted government interference with such rights.
CONTROLLING EMINENT DOMAIN:
SB 3409
by *Beavers
( *HB 3573 by *Womick)
Eminent Domain - As introduced, restricts counties, municipalities, and other legally recognized forms of government from exercising eminent domain power beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of each entity.
STATUS:  Both bills were postponed until next week. HB3572 and HB3573 are both in House Judiciary Subcommittee on Wednesday. Having spoken with many of the committee members, there is good support for these concepts, but both bills need work on their language.  We will see Wednesday if language has been written that will be workable.


OPPOSING AGENDA 21:
*HJR 0587 by *Brooks K, Faison, Carr, Womick, Floyd, Miller D, Maggart, Rich, Weaver, Hill, Niceley, Lollar, Johnson P, Halford, Gotto, Matheny, Campbell, Evans, Casada, Sparks, Butt, Dean, Hensley, Harrison, Williams R
General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position - Recognizes the destructive and insidious nature of United Nations Agenda 21

STATUS: HJR587 passed out of the subcommittee and will be in House State and Local on Tuesday. Please contact these members to express support: rep.antonio.parkinson@capitol.tn.gov, rep.mary.pruitt@capitol.tn.gov, rep.harry.tindell@capitol.tn.gov, rep.mike.turner@capitol.tn.gov.

For background information:
RNC Passes Resolution Exposing UN Agenda 21
Agenda 21 In One Easy Lesson


CLEANING HOUSE ON THE PLAZA:
SB 2508 by *Gresham ( *HB 2638 by *Watson) Criminal Offenses - As introduced, prevents people from living on publicly-owned property not designated for residential use and prohibits people using publicly-owned property from posing a health hazard or threat to the safety and welfare of others.
The deed is finally done and on its way to the Governor for his signature.
Occupy Bill Approved By The House
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- (NewsChannel5/AP) A bill aimed at out lawing camping on state property was approved by the Tennessee house Monday evening. It passed in at 68-21 vote.
The bill has already been approved by the Senate. That vote came last Thursday, where Senate Bill 25-08 was approved, with an amendment added on to it. Because of that last minute change, the legislation went back before House lawmakers Monday evening, so they too, could agree on the changes. Read more here.

And, it is about time to have this over with: Occupy Protestors Fight in Downtown Nashville

VERY COOL: From Sen. Mike Bell's Facebook page and worth sharing:
February 27:  "1st Class Airman Zack Bell turns 20 tomorrow.  Well the 29th.  He's in Japan so tomorrow id the 29th for him. I told him to watch session live online tonight. The Lt. Governor wished him a Happy Birthday and the Senate members gave him a standing ovation.  I miss him but I am very proud of him." 
NOTE:  So are we Senator!
[His oldest son, Marine Nathan Bell, recently returned home from serving in Afghanistan.]

[Democrat] Sen. Andy Berke announces he will not seek re-election
State Sen. Andy Berke announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election to the State Senate District 10 seat he has held since 2007.
“It has been an honor to serve the people of Hamilton and Marion counties for the last five years,” Berke said. “My family and I owe a great debt of gratitude to those I have had the privilege to represent.” Read more here.

Dr. George Flinn plans challenge for Cohen House seat
Republican says District 9 'winnable' after redistricting
WASHINGTON -- Dr. George S. Flinn Jr., a radiologist and radio station magnate who has sought or held public office in Shelby County since 2002, said Wednesday he will seek as a Republican the 9th Congressional seat held by Democrat Steve Cohen.
"It's a winnable district," Flinn said. "The redistricting really changed the makeup of the district. I'm looking forward to winning."
Flinn, who spent $3.5 million of his own money losing the GOP primary in the 8th Congressional District to Stephen Fincher in 2010, said Cohen "has not done a very good job in Congress."Read more here.

State Unemployment Rate 8.2 Percent in January
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- State officials say the number of employed persons in Tennessee is the most in four years. Officials said the 2.8 million Tennesseans with jobs in January is the most since March 2008. State labor officials cited the figure Thursday as they announced a Tennessee unemployment rate of 8.2 percent, down from 8.5 percent in December.Read more here.