Legislative Update, February 1, 2014

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).


 

Parents have a right to expect that the schools, in their teaching approaches and selection of instructional materials, will support the values and standards that their children are taught at home.  And if the schools cannot support those values, THEY MUST AT LEAST AVOID DELIBERATE DESTRUCTION OF THEM
1974, Terrell Bell, former Secretary of Education


FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Would ask that you continue to remember Sen. Doug Henry (D-Nashville). The 87 year old was present in a wheel chair this week and continues to recover from his hospital stay in December. Rep. Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) lost his grandmother this week. One of the lobbyists lost his mother last week. On the PRAISE side, Sen. and Mrs. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) recently welcomed into their home, three-year-old Paul from Korea.  Congratulations and best wishes!!

JACOB'S CORNER:
 I now know the meaning of the phrase "There are two things which you should never watch, the first is making sausage, the second is making law".  Making sausage is a messy and time consuming process and lawmaking can be equally as messy and more time consuming.  Our legislatures take an oath of office before they may proceed to business pursuant to the Tennessee Constitution that "I will not propose or assent to any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear injurious to the people".  This oath is an echo from Article VI of the United States constitution.  All of our Statesman, at every level of Government, should have the courage to abide by this oath.
It is an encouragement to see the strength of character displayed by a Statesman standing up for his or her personal beliefs and for their constituents' beliefs.  We live in an era of situational ethics.  It is important for the younger citizenry to see that goodness, honesty, and justice are never situational.    
We live in the greatest Nation in the world, if we can have faith in nothing else earthly, we should be able to have faith that our elected officials will do what is honorable to the People.


CALLING FOR AN ARTICLE V CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION:
SJR 0493 by *Kelsey
Constitutional Conventions - Makes application to the U.S. Congress to call a constitutional convention for the sole purpose of proposing a federal balanced budget amendment.
STATUS:  SJR493 was postponed until February 11th.


BACKGROUND: 
Do we have a deficient Constitution or a derelict Congress??
While we certainly support a balanced budget, we have concerns about using an Article V Constitutional Convention to get there.  This proposal, as well as others I have seen, contains language that would, under certain circumstances ("in the absence of a congressional declaration of war or an economic recession, the total of all Federal appropriations made by the Congress for any fiscal year may not exceed the total of all estimated Federal revenues for that fiscal year.") Constitutional permission to raise taxes.  Who gets to define "economic rescission"?
 
Eagle Forum has long been an opponent of an Article V Constitutional Convention (Con-Con).  Our opposition is based on the uncertainty of how such a Con-Con would be  conducted. There are no laws, regulations or policies to follow once 34 states pass such calls and Congress accepts them.  Read Article V very carefully: ". . . on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, [Congress] shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments . . .".  That is all the direction we have.
These efforts have been around a long time -- the last thing I worked on in Kentucky before leaving in 1986 was defeating a call for a Con-Con. Through my years in TN there have been three or four 'calls' offered, but thankfully they did not get out of committee.  In addition, in 2010, we were successful in passing a resolution rescinding the three 'calls' that were passed in the 1970s.
Because of the depth of frustration we ALL share about the federal government (scary for sure)  and Mark Levin's book and radio show, it has once again become a hot topic.  However, the facts have not changed.
I urge you to read the piece I wrote in 2010,
Why the Tennessee Legislature Should Rescind Its Calls For a Federal Constitutional Convention, as well as the letter from retired Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court to Phyllis on the dangers of a Federal Con-Con.
With all due respect, we don't need to change our Constitution, we need to elect people who will actually ABIDE by the Constitution!!
ACTION:  Please contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and urge them to VOTE NO on SJR493. As a reminder, please be polite and mannerly.


HEALTH CARE FREEDOM AND AFFORDABLE CARE NON-COMPLIANCE ACT
SB 1888 by *Beavers , Bowling, Campfield, Gresham, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, McNally, Southerland, Summerville
 ( HB 1770 by *Pody)

State Government - As introduced, enacts the "Health Care Freedom and Affordable Care Noncompliance Act", which prohibits state entities from establishing or administering any regulatory scheme to operate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
STATUS: SB1888 is in Senate Commerce on Tuesday, members found HERE.
HB1770 is in Banking Subcommittee on Wednesday, members found HERE.
ACTION:  You can contact the committee members to urge their support.

 

EXPANSION OF MEDICAID REQUIRES LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY:
SB 0804 by *Kelsey
( HB 0937 by *Durham) TennCare - As introduced, prohibits Tennessee from participating in any Medicaid expansion authorized under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
STATUS:  HB0937, as amended (Click on number) passed out of the subcommittee last week, and will be in Insurance and Banking Committee on Tuesday.
A lot of negotiation went into writing the amendment agreed on this week. The amended bill provides that Medicaid cannot be expanded unless authorized by the General Assembly. It is expected to pass out of the full committee and on to Finance Ways and Means.


HONORING FREDERICK DOUGLASS:
HJR 0587 by *Matheny , Hardaway
Memorials, Recognition - Frederick Douglass.
STATUS:  Has passed the House and will  go to the Senate.
ACTION: I hope that you will click on the number and read the resolution about this remarkable man.



OK, ALL YOU COMMON CORE OPPONENTS - HERE IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE:
POLL: Should Tennessee delay the implementation of Common Core standards and its companion test?


BILLS, BILLS, BILLS-- HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE NEW INTRODUCTIONS:

STUDYING THE FOUNDATIONS:
SB 2132 by *Johnson ( HB 1567 by *Casada)
Education, Curriculum - As introduced, requires all public high school students to pass a one semester course in the founding principles of our country.

SCIENCE AND SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS:
SB 1682 by *Gresham ( HB 2253 by *Casada)
Education, Curriculum - As introduced, prohibits the state from joining consortia or initiatives that require the adoption of common standards in science and social studies; requires the state board of education to adopt standards in science and social studies that reflect the values of the state


STATE CONTRACTS REGARDING TESTING AND ASSESSMENTS:
SB 1960 by *Bell ( HB 1702 by *Lollar)
Public Contracts - As introduced, requires the contract services subcommittee of fiscal review to review the state's contracts regarding testing and assessment of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade and preparation for testing and assessment.

STUDENT DATA:
SB 1961 by *Bell ( HB 1703 by *Lollar)
Students - As introduced, prohibits transfer of student data when such action will transfer the data out of state, unless required by federal law.


REIMBURSING LEAS FOR COSTS OF COMMON CORE AND PARCC:
SB 2057 by *Niceley ( HB 2290 by *Spivey)
Education - As introduced, requires the department of education to reimburse LEAs for the costs of implementing and the ongoing costs to use common core state standards and PARCC assessments.

STUDENT DATA:
SB 1835 by *Gresham ( HB 1549 by *Dunn)
Education - As introduced, establishes requirements for the adoption of educational standards; prohibits use of student data for purposes other than tracking academic progress and educational needs of students.


GOOD NEWS ON THE JOBS FRONT:
Beretta USA Chooses Tennessee for New Factory Site
On January 29th, Beretta USA officials joined with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) to announce the firearm manufacturer will be opening its new plant in Gallatin, TN.
Beretta had been looking for a location for its new facility after deciding to leave Maryland over the draconian gun laws that state implemented in spring 2013.
On December 23rd, Breitbart News reported that Virginia was on the short list for possible states in which Beretta might open a plant, but the gun maker scratched VA off the list because of newly-elected Governor Terry McAuliffe's (D) gun control stance.
According to Beretta, the company will "invest $45 million in a state-of-the-art manufacturing and R&D facility" in Gallatin. Construction of the new facility is expected to be completed this year and will provide hundreds of new jobs in Tennessee.
At Wednesday's announcement, Gov. Haslam said, "Attracting a legendary company like Beretta reinforces our goal of becoming the No. 1 in the Southeast for high-quality jobs. I want to thank the Beretta family for their substantial investment in Tennessee and the 300 jobs they'll create in Sumner County."
Beretta Executive Vice President Franco Gussalli Beretta said that from the moment Beretta announced they wanted to move outside of Maryland, "Gov. Haslam and his economic team did an excellent job of demonstrating the benefits of doing business in Tennessee." 

 

ACU ANNOUNCES 2013 RATINGS OF THE TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

"On behalf of the American Conservative Union, I am pleased to announce the winners of our 2013 State Legislative Ratings for members of the Tennessee General Assembly," said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. "For 42 years, ACU has set the gold standard for Congressional ratings, and we are now able to offer that same level of transparent information to the voters of Tennessee so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well. The legislature should be commended for strengthening Second Amendment rights, protecting religious freedom on campus and instituting performance based standards for teacher retention during their 2013 session.  We urge legislators to build on their progress in labor law reform by eliminating Davis-Bacon wage requirements for all government projects, including highway construction."

In 2011, the American Conservative Union launched a new initiative to bring its annual Ratings of Congress - considered the gold standard of conservative voter education guides - to the state level, issuing inaugural ratings of state legislators in five battleground states: Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. In 2012, ACU graded state legislators in 15 critical states and in 2013, they expanded their ratings to 20 states.