Legislative Update, March 29, 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).

 

It may be the will of Heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting, and distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case it will have this good effect at least. It will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies, and vices which threaten to disturb, dishonor, and destroy us. The furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming in every part will require a purification from our vices, and an augmentation of our virtues, or they will be no blessings. The people will have unbounded power, and the people are extremely addicted to corruption and venality, as well as the great. But I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe. John Adams in a Letter to Abigail Adams (3 July 1776)


 
FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
One of the legislative staff lost his mother this week.  Please remember that family. Although it hardly seems possible, the pace of the legislative session continues to accelerate.  More committees and subcommittees shut down this week, so that means longer period of time on the respective floor sessions.  On a personal note, would appreciate prayer for my hip and back. Doing more sitting in Committee now is really doing a number on my fractured hip.


JACOB'S CORNER:
[Jacob got to meet Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey this week.]
As I have continued through the session, with the guidance of Mrs. Bobbie Patray, I have realized there is a great deal of emphasis on speed. To an extent that committees are already on their final calender. This leads to many drafting errors as well as errors in judgement among the legislators. A legislator was telling me Wednesday how brain wearying these overly long, overly hurried committee meetings can be for them as they are presented with oftentimes very serious legislation which they must then vote on. So now I leave you with a quote from our very own Bobbie Patray, "The job of good government is to do well, not fast."


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

 

Senate Sponsor Says Compromise Near on Common Core

 

Haslam asks business group to lobby for Common Core

What the Common Core will Do to Colleges

2014 Common Core Legislation Round-Up (12th Update)


PROTECTING PARENTAL RIGHTS:
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

NOTE: This bill came directly from complaints from parents about not having access to materials used in their child's classroom, their student not being allowed to take a textbook home, and surveys  being giving that actually violated federal law when permission was not sought prior to administering the survey.  School - minor children in the classroom by compulsion. Therefore, NOTHING should happen in the classroom that parents (or guardians) cannot 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 NOT WITH MY KIDS, YOU DON'T!  
STATUS:  Absolutely thrilled to report that on Tuesday HB2453, as amended, was unanimously voted out of the House Education Subcommittee and will be in Full House Education Committee on Tuesday, April 1.  SB2559, as amended, was voted out of Senate Education on Wednesday, 9-0!!
ACTION:  Please contact these legislators and ask them to support this important legislation: rep.john.forgety@capitol.tn.gov, rep.harold.love@capitol.tn.gov, rep.raumesh.akbari@capitol.tn.gov.



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: This is an exceptionally important bill. Dozens of volunteers worked all summer to review textbooks and evaluated the textbook adoption process. This is our chance to improve the process and give more control legislators.
STATUS:  As you know, on March 17, SB1602, as amended, passed the Senate Floor 29-3-1. Pleased to report that HB2249, as amended, passed the House Education Committee with no negative votes, and moved on to Government Operations Committee where it will be heard on April 1.
ACTIONPLEASE contact these members and URGE them to support this important bill:
rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov, rep.ga.hardaway@capitol.tn.gov, rep.johnnie.turner@capitol.tn.gov , rep.mike.turner@capitol.tn.gov.


SECURES THE RIGHT TO VOTE ON ANNEXATION:
SB 2464 by *Watson ( HB 2371 by *Carter)
Annexation - As introduced, abolishes annexation by ordinance at the initiative of the municipality
Rep. Carter wins the award for persistence and tenaciousness, regardless of the opposition, in not giving up on providing folks with the right to vote on an annexation proposal.
NOTE:  Trying to get this bill through the process to protect the property rights of Tennessee citizens has been like 'hand to hand combat'.  We are ALMOST there, but YOUR help is needed!!
STATUS:  On March 27, SB2464 passed the Senate Floor 27-1-2!! HB2371 is scheduled on the House Floor April 2nd.
ACTION:  All members of the House can be found HEREPLEASE contact your Representative and urge him or her to support this important bill.



REQUIRING CURSIVE WRITING:
SB 1881 by *Niceley ( HB 1697 by *Butt)
Education - As introduced, requires cursive writing to be taught in the third grade
One would hope that passing this legislation would be a 'slam dunk' but nothing in the Education Committees is guaranteed this year.
What Learning Cursive Does for Your Brain
Handwriting is critical to student literacy
STATUS: On March 17, HB1697 passed the House Floor 85-6-1.  SB1881 passed out of Senate Education 7-1-1. It has not yet been scheduled on the Senate floor.



COMPLETE AUDIT COMMON CORE, PARCC,ETC.:
SB 2410 by *Hensley ( HB 2333 by *Butt)
Education - As introduced, directs the comptroller of the treasury to audit the funding for the implementation of common core state standards and all components of PARCC, with cooperation from the department of education and the state board of education; requires the comptroller to do audit the race to the top funding; requires a report of findings and recommendations to the education committees by July 1, 2015

NOTE:  There is so much conflicting information 'out there' on the costs of the Common Core standards, all the components of PARCC and the Race to the Top grant, that it seems time to require the comptroller to a complete audit of each of theses entities.  The legislators, who are responsible for the budget, have not only the right, but the responsibility to know all of these important details.
STATUS:  Although we were able to get the bill out of Senate Education, the fiscal note was a 'growing' problem!!  The original fiscal note (what it could cost the state to carry out the requirements of the audit), grew from just over $100,000 to $386,400!!  Well, looking at a budget that is awaiting significant cuts, there is no way that money for an audit could be designated.  So.... we had to take the bill off notice.  That's too bad, as you and I, nor any of the legislators know what this whole thing is costing the state nor where all the money has gone, nor how much MORE money will be needed.



INSTATE TUITION FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS:
SB 1951 by *Gardenhire ( HB 1992 by *Floyd)
Education, Higher - As introduced, permits undocumented alien students who are Tennessee residents, who meet the academic requirements of HOPE scholarship and attend Tennessee schools for five years prior to graduating from high school, be charged in-state tuition at public institutions of higher education.
This legislation could incentivize illegal behavior. The laws of the United States prohibit illegal aliens from residing in our country. However, everyday illegal aliens make a conscious decision to ignore these laws. Should we be rewarding this behavior and, in addition, make TN a magnet for these students?
69% Oppose In-State Tuition To Illegal Immigrants
Providing In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens: A Violation of Federal Law

STATUS:  I am so pleased to report that this bill has FINALLY been taken off notice and is DEAD for this year.  Unfortunately, I will probably be back in years to come.  We must remain vigilant!!



MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL:
SB 2451 by *Ford ( HB 1385 by *Jones) Show Co-Prime Sponsors
Drugs, Prescription - As introduced, creates the "Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act".
STATUS:  HB1385 was in the Health Subcommittee, and, THANKFULLY, was DEFEATED 2-6Medical marijuana bill fails  However, I think this is another issue we will continue to see year after year.



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 THRILLED to  report that his VERY IMPORTANT bill has been passed by both chambers and was signed by the Governor on March 28.  Thank you Sen. Bell and Rep. Matlock for protecting the privacy of Tennessee citizens.


AG DAY ON THE HILL:
Tuesday, March 25 was AG Day on the Hill.  Always a fun time that includes a milking contest between the House and the Senate.  Speaker Harwell won the last two years, but Lt. Gov. Ramsey won this year!