Legislative Update, February 8, 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).
Don't forget that next Friday is Valentine's Day. Make sure you let those you love know that, one never knows what a year will bring. Also, remember the greatest love of all!!
FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
This week was especially hectic as legislators and lobbyists scurried around to meet the bill 'cut off' filing date: February 5 at 4:30. Now begins the HARD work of shepherding the bills through the legislative process. Please pray that our lawmakers will be discerning, thoughtful and diligent as they discuss and vote on legislation that impacts the lives of everyone across the state.
This week Mrs.Patray and I continued to gather sponsors on Rep. Judd Matheny's newly filed bill, HB 2453. This bill requires every LEA (Local Education Agency) to allow parents to review all instructional materials used in the classroom of the parent's child and mandates the LEA to allow parental access to review all surveys and evaluations administered to the parent's child and requires an 'opt-out' provision.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has reported that although 98% of schools nationwide have reported involving parents in decision making only 75% of parents believed they were included. This discrepancy is actually shown to grow at higher grade levels. Furthermore, NCES has reported that although 96% of schools report informing parents of overall performance of students, only 57% of parents report full disclosure of overall performance. Parents feel excluded. Rep. Matheny's bill will allow, and in some cases require, a greater degree of parental involvement and co-operation between school systems and parents. While there may be those who want to exclude parents from the education process, imagine if it were your child and you were the excluded party.
ADOPTING FUTURE EDUCATION STANDARDS:
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.
STATUS: HB1549 is in House Education Subcommittee on Tuesday, see members below.
ACTION: PLEASE, PLEASE, contact EACH member (thank sponsor Rep.Bill Dunn) and politely urge them to support this important legislation. This is one of the first steps in taking back our education system.
RESTRICTING DATA COLLECTION AND MINING:
SB 1470 by *Gresham ( HB 1882 by *Dennis)
Education - As introduced, enacts the "Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act", which regulates the collection and release of data by the department and state board of education
STATUS: HB1882 is also in House Education Subcommittee on Tuesday.
ACTION: Again, PLEASE, PLEASE, contact EACH members and politely urge them to support this important legislation. See list below.
Note - I know that the definition of FERPA needs to be changed and I am working on that with the sponsors.
Chairman: Rep. Mark White: Phone (615) 741-4415 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Dawn White: Phone (615) 741-6849 email@example.com
Rep. Joe Pitts: Phone (615) 741-2043 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Debra Moody: Phone (615) 741-3774 email@example.com
Rep. Harold Love, Jr.: Phone (615) 741-3831 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Roger Kane: Phone (615) 741-4110 email@example.com
Rep. John Forgety: Phone (615) 741-1725 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. John DeBerry: Phone (615) 741-2239 email@example.com
Rep. Harry Brooks: Phone (615) 741-6879 firstname.lastname@example.org
MAJOR CHANGES IN THE TEXTBOOK ADOPTION PROCESS:
SB 1602 by *Bell , Gresham, Stevens, Yager, Johnson, Tracy, Hensley, Crowe, Tate
( HB 2249 by *Casada)
Textbooks - As introduced, restructures the textbook commission and the textbook selection process.
NOTE: For all those who spent countless hours reviewing the Social Studies textbooks, this history making legislation is the product of your research, your testimony and your persistence.
Bill would give lawmakers say over who sits on state textbook commission
STATUS: Toward the end of the Senate Gov Ops committee, they finally got to SB 1602. A lengthy discussion ensued as time for the committee ran out. Therefore, the legislation remained in the committee where discussion will pick up next week. HB2249 has not been scheduled on a House calendar yet.
The Gov Ops Committee only looks at the creation, or re-creation in this case, of the commission and it's operation. The other details of the legislation will discussed when it gets to the Senate Education Committee.
PROTECTING OUR PRIVACY AND DNA:
SB 1485 by *Bell ( HB 1652 by *Matlock)
Law Enforcement - As introduced, prohibits any state or local law enforcement officer from participating in a voluntary motor vehicle checkpoint conducted by a private company or research institute to collect a human sample from which DNA may be derived from consenting motorists stopped at the checkpoint for statistical studies or research. - Amends TCA Title 38, Chapter 8, Part 1.
NOTE: This bill is designed to address checkpoints like this: DNA samples taken at police checkpoint 'gross abuse of power,' say PA drivers. They are happening all across the nation.
STATUS: I am very pleased to report that SB1485 passed Senate Judiciary 7-0 and passed the Senate Floor 32-0. HB1652 has been assigned to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee
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: SB804 is in Senate Finance on Tuesday. Members can be found HERE. HB937 is in House Finance Subcommittee on Wednesday. Members can be found HERE.
ACTION: Please let legislators know that you support this important legislation.
Gov. Bill Haslam against bill that aims to block Tennessee from expanding TennCare
Gov. Bill Haslam's plan for free college tuition opens doors, raises questions
Community college isn't for everyone, but in Tennessee it soon could be free for just about everyone.
Continuing his efforts to increase college completion, Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled an ambitious plan to offer two years of community college or technical school at no cost to all graduating high school seniors. He plans to use reserve lottery funds and restructure Hope scholarships -- decreasing the amount freshmen and sophomores receive at four-year institutions and increasing the award for juniors and seniors.
Former Gov. Phil Bredesen pitched a similar plan in 2006 but got no traction.
Most are lauding Haslam's plan as a game changer for college access. If the proposal is approved, the financial barrier to getting an associate or technical degree will practically vanish overnight, opening up opportunities to those who were previously priced out of college. And students who start at community college could see the price of a bachelor's degree slashed in half.
But putting such an incentive on community colleges raises some questions.
Can community colleges and technical schools physically handle the capacity of all the students who may want to attend?
Will fewer freshmen and sophomores choose four-year colleges?
BILLS, BILLS, BILLS-- HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE NEW INTRODUCTIONS:
PARENTAL RIGHTS BILL:
SB 2559 by *Bowling, Hensley, Bell, Tate, Green, Dickerson, Burks, Crowe, Gardenhire, ( HB 2453 by *Matheny),Holt, Dunn, Hill M, Moody, Butt, Womick, Casada, Faison, Carr J, Matlock, Shipley, White D, Carter, Doss, Pody, Weaver, Kane, Williams R, DeBerry J, Alexander, Spivey
Education - As introduced, requires every LEA to allow parents to review all instructional materials used in the classroom of the parent's child; mandates the LEA to allow parents access to review all surveys and evaluations administered to the parent's child. - Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 2 and Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 70.
NOTE: This is a TN Eagle Forum Bill and I have to say that I am so excited about this legislation, especially excited about the support we have already received (see co-sponsors above as well as 'Jacob's Corner'). Minor children are in the classroom by compulsion, therefore, NOTHING should happen in the classroom that parents (or guardians) should not have access to, PERIOD!! The last section of the legislation (requiring review and an op-out for "surveys, analysis, or evaluations" took on increased importance and urgency as we learned about what has been happening in our state, please see: NOT WITH MY KIDS, YOU DON'T!! Additional information is being exposed daily.
DISCONTINUING COMMON CORE STANDARDS:
SB 2405 by *Beavers (HB 2332 by *Womick)
Education - As introduced, discontinues use of common core state standards
NOTE: We know lots of folks have been waiting for this, well now it has been introduced.
TENNESSEE STATE GUARD:
Did you know we HAD such an entity?? Don't know about you but I feel safer already!!
From Rep. Shipley - January 11: I am honored today to have 4 colleagues from the Tennessee General Assembly join the all volunteer Tennessee State Guard. (LtoR) Rep. Judd Matheny, Rep. Courtney Rogers, Rep. (Colonel)Tony Shipley, Rep. John Regan, and Rep. Rick Womick
Recently, your Tennessee State Guard, in its 234th year of service, conducted a successful communications exercise in preparation for the day that Tennesseans will need the Guard during an emergency. We have Battalions all over the State. In order to better serve our fellow Tennesseans, we need to expand our ranks. If you would consider volunteering your experience and energy, I would sincerely appreciate it. We need doctors nurses, paramedics, ham radio experienced and licensed operators , recon experienced prior service, and field grade officers. Message me for more details.
Colonel Tony Shipley
News release from Tennessee State Guard:
KNOXVILLE - The 3rd Regiment of the Tennessee State Guard has a new commander installed in ceremonies conducted in Nashville. Colonel Tony Shipley, an Air Force veteran with experience as a battle planner in Desert Storm, will lead the volunteers in the 24-county region of northeast Tennessee. He was promoted from lieutenant colonel to colonel in conjunction with his assignment as 3rd Regiment Commander.
"The primary purpose of the State Guard is to help our fellow Tennesseans," said the newly promoted commander. "It is the true spirit of being a volunteer. I am enthusiastic about this new challenge."
As an element of the Tennessee Military Department, the Tennessee State Guard supports and assists the National Guard, Air Guard, and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency by training volunteers to help coordinate activities in the event of natural or man-made disasters. All its activities are coordinated by the Adjutant General of Tennessee at the direction of the governor. The TNSG has four operational headquarters located in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville.
REP. RICHARD FLOYD RETIRING:
State Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, announced Thursday that he is not seeking re-election to the General Assembly in November.
"The desire to spend more time with my family and the need to properly recover from recent surgery has prompted me to not seek re-election," Floyd said, according to a press release.
Floyd said that he wouldn't be able to express his "deepest appreciation" to his constituents for the "great privilege" of being allowed to represent District 27, and added that he'd always be "grateful" to everyone who God placed in his life to help him in his campaigns.
NOTE: This Godly man of great intrigity will be missed!!