Final Legislative Update, May 14, 2011

Final Update, May 25, 2011

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 be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14b
"On some positions, cowardice asks the question, it is EXPEDIENT? And then expedience comes along and asks the question—is it POLITIC? Vanity asks the question—it is POPULAR? Conscience asks the question is it RIGHT? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular—but must take it because it is RIGHT.” Last Sunday sermon given by   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey gaveled the House and Senate sessions to a close at 10:02 p.m. CDT Saturday, May 21, 2011, after a marathon day of lawmaking. It was the earliest end to a legislative session since May 1, 1998, and five weeks earlier than the 2010 session ended. Ramsey calculated that cutting five weeks off the session saved taxpayers $450,000 in legislative expenses.

                           ~SOME A LONG TIME IN THE MAKING~
First you choose the PERFECT sponsors…..Once more we want to Praise God for the multiple times that He intervened on behalf of this legislation and to express our deep appreciation to Republican Senate Caucus Bill Ketron (Murfreesboro-left) and House Speaker Pro Tem Judd Matheny (Tullahoma-right) for their courage and tireless efforts to see this important legislation through to victory. There were days when it seemed that we were in ‘hand to hand’ combat, but they never ‘blinked’. We are indeed blessed to have such men serving the State of Tennessee.

*SB 1028 by *Ketron Tracy, Beavers, Gresham, Johnson ( HB 1353 by *Matheny) This bill has offered us a significant opportunity to raise awareness among our legislators and begin to educate them about the many related and underlying issues. A new focus has been introduced and one we are confident will be pursued next year. Passed by the House 76-16; passed by the Senate 26-3. Note that these are overwhelming bipartisan majorities.
Summary of legislation. Text of legislation as passed.
We do express our deep appreciate to sponsors Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville-left) and Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville-right) for all the time they invested in shepherding this excellent legislation through the legislative process.

SB 1670 by *Tracy ( *HB 1632 by *Dunn)
Immigration - As introduced, codifies federal regulations to ensure that local absorptive capacity is evaluated at regular intervals in consultation between local governments and local resettlement agencies before commitments are made for refugee resettlement in any particular community. Text of amended legislation
HERE. Passed the State House 86-10; passed the Senate Floor 22-9-1.


*SJR 0127 by *Beavers, Maggart
Constitutional Amendments - Proposes new provision to Article I to provide that nothing in Constitution of Tennessee secures or protects right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion; states that the people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother. Passed in the Senate 24-8, passed the House 76-18-1.
             After many, many years of passing this proposed amendment in the State Senate only to see it defeated in the State House, the election of decidedly pro-life legislators in 2008 and 2010 ensured passage of this important resolution. Finally, it will be on the ballot for the people to vote on at the next governor’s election in 2014. While we can enjoy this victory, we also face a huge battle in 2014 when abortion supporters will be out in full force to defeat this effort. Congratulations to Tennessee Right to Life for their tireless leadership for LIFE.


SB 0113 by *Johnson ( *HB 0130 by *Maggart)
General Assembly Overturns Teacher Bargaining Rights

Law Had Been In Effect Since 1978
posted May 21, 2011
Both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly on Friday night overturned the 1978 law that gave teachers in the state bargaining rights.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) praised the action, saying it does away with a law "that gave a single government employee union the power to stifle education reform in the state of Tennessee."
He said, “It matters who governs. For years upon years, one union has thwarted the progress of education in Tennessee. Reform after reform has been refused or dismantled. The barrier that has prevented us from putting the best possible teacher in every classroom will soon be removed. I’d like to thank Senator Jack Johnson for his indispensable leadership on this issue.”

Read more here. Conference Committee Report on House Bill No. 130 / Senate Bill No. 113 – Read the report HERE. The Report passed the House 55-40-1; passed the Senate 19-12 (vote not posted.)
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today expressed his pleasure at the passage of Senate Bill 725, a bill, which will streamline the operations of the legislature by eliminating several oversight committees.
The bill, sponsored by Lt. Gov. Ramsey and Speaker Beth Harwell, avoids duplication in state government by shuttering eleven joint oversight committees and shifting their responsibilities to the standing committees of each house of the General Assembly. The fiscal note attached to the bill estimates $851,800 would be saved after passage. 
Read more here.
*SB 0725 by *Ramsey ( HB 1097 by *Harwell)
General Assembly - As introduced, abolishes certain statutorily created, legislative oversight committees and assigns certain responsibilities to certain legislative standing committees.
This cost-saving legislation passed the House
56-26; passed the Senate 29-9-1 (vote not posted yet.)

SB 0633 by *Beavers ( *HB 0498 by *Evans-right)
Criminal Offenses - As introduced, specifies that when a defendant commits a homicide or assault against a pregnant woman, the woman's fetus, regardless of viability, is also considered a victim of the offense. Passed the Senate
26-0; passed the House 80-0.
PERSONAL NOTE: This bill holds a special place in my heart. Many years ago when a young attorney and her unborn daughter were crushed against a light pole just before Christmas downtown, the very drunk driver could not be charge with two deaths because the lady was only five months pregnant. Never mind that the mother was buried with the baby in her arms. I thought that was just wrong and took proposed legislation to then Rep. Mae Beavers. At that time we were not successful in providing protection for so-called ‘non-viable’ unborn babies. Saturday when Sen. Beavers was presenting SB633 on the Senate floor, Sen. Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey) asked to sign on as a co-sponsor. When she made the request, Sen. Beavers commented about my involvement in the background of this bill adding that Sen. Tommy Burks (Charlotte’s husband) had been the Senate sponsor of the original bill. I was very touched and appreciative of that acknowledgment, and needless to say, am extremely pleased that, after all these years, we have finally identified the unborn baby as a victim regardless of viability.  

STATE BUDGET AMENDMENT TO BAR FUNDING FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Senators Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville), Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), and Lt. Gov. Ramsey (R-Blountville.)  Further tightens 2009 effort by requiring that federal Title X family planning funds shall be used fully by local, county or municipal health departments and that no funds shall be disbursed to private non-profit organizations or agencies.  Diverts $1.2 million tax dollars from Planned Parenthood affiliates in Nashville and Memphis. Passed unanimously as part of final budget approval.
*SB 0424 by *Crowe ( HB 0438 by *Hill)
Sen. Rusty Crowe, (R-Johnson City) and Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) amended a bill they had introduced to counter Planned Parenthood's aggressive plan for  inducing RU 486 abortions through Internet connections without a physician present.  In Iowa trials more than 2,000 such abortions have already been performed with plans for expanding the practice in "underserved" and rural areas throughout the country.  As amended, it passed the Senate 29-1 (vote not posted yet); passed the House.
SB 1468 by *Bell ( *HB 1631 by *Dunn)
Schools, Home - As introduced, makes various changes to home school requirements, including testing requirements for home school students. Clarifying and organizing Tennessee’s home schooling laws has been long overdue. As
amended, this bill goes a long way in the right direction. It passed the Senate 25-7 (vote not yet posted); passed the House 78-13.


SB 1669 by *Tracy ( *HB 1378 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act.
While this bill certainly did not do all that the sponsors had originally intended, it did pass and remember, that the issue can always be taken up again in the future. This battle is not over.
As amended, it passed the Senate 28-2 (vote not posted yet); passed the House
E-Verify Bill Amended to Exclude Employees With Driver's License

*SB 0780 by *Ketron ( HB 1380 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the "Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act."
STATUS: Stalled in the process, but can be taken up again in January.


SB 1325 by *Johnson ( *HB 1379 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the "Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act."
STATUS: Stalled in the process, but can be taken up again in January. 
Well, it is that time of year again – received last week the bill for the PRIVILEGE of being a lobbyist for the families of Tennessee and the end of the legislative session has finally come to pass. We do incur special expenses while the General Assembly is in session, which include this ‘privilege’ – to the tune of $400. This bill becomes a part of the annual expenses that Tennessee Eagle Forum must cover. Special donations are welcome and encouraged. Checks can be sent to 3216 Bluewater Trace, Nashville, TN 37217.