Legislative Update, April 16, 2011


April 16, 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).


A Progressive is one who is in favor of more taxes instead of less, more bureaus and job holders, more paternalism and meddling, more regulation of private affairs and less liberty. In general, he would be inclined to regard the repeal of any tax as outrageous. Henry Louis Mencken, 1926

Please remember the family of Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin).
Sen. Johnson’s mother Suzanne Chidester Johnson passed away on April 9th. Many of you have inquired about my husband Ron and his broken foot. The appointment we had with a new doctor on April 6th was messed up and we have a new appointment for April 20th. Your prayers for additional bone growth in the break would be greatly appreciated.

*SB 1028 by *Ketron ( HB 1353 by *Matheny)
Homeland Security - enacts the "Material Support to Designated Entities Act of 2011."
”There has been a string of terror cases involving U.S. citizens in recent years. Justice Department data shows there has been a "class-one" terrorism case -- the highest designation for a terrorism case -- involving a U.S. citizen every two weeks, on average, since January 2009. An August 2010 background report showed 21 U.S. citizens were charged in such cases in 2009 and another 20 were charged in 2010 between January and August.” Source
          One of the few legitimate and Constitutional responsibilities of government is the protection and security of its citizens. This legislation provides new tools for local law enforcement to carry out their mission.
          Please go
HERE for additional helpful information.
STATUS: It was a whirlwind week for our anti-terrorist legislation. In order for all the members of the entire House Judiciary Committee to hear our witnesses, Tuesday morning, Committee Chairman Eric Watson (R-Cleveland) graciously permitted former Lt. Col. Joe Myers and the Honorable Joe Schmitz to address the panel, even though no vote would be taken. Both men have impressive credentials and used their expertise and experience to fully support our legislation. That testimony can be viewed
. [Remarkable note about Mr. Schmitz: working with Phyllis Schlafly, his mother led the anti-ERA battle in California.]  (Photo: Lt. Col. Joe Myers, Joanne, Bobbie, Rep. Matheny, Honorable Joe Schmitz)
          After the morning meeting, we took our witnesses to visit with some of our lawmakers then prepared for the afternoon when Myers and Schmitz appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) made his presentation and then the debate went on nearly two hours. It can be seen
HERE. An American Muslim lady from Knoxville and Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of the ACLU testified against our bill. (Photo: our speakers with Sen. Bill Ketron.)
         At one point, Commissioner of Safety Bill Gibbons and Homeland Security Director David Purkey were asked for a position on this proposal. We were very pleased that their OFFICIAL position is to DEFER to the ‘wisdom of the legislature’. While we would certainly prefer to have the Administration’s support, we will take the deferral. Senators Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) and Tim Barnes (D-Clarksville) raised some questions that will be addressed in some minor changes in the text of the legislation. In order to complete those changes, a vote on the legislation was postponed.
          On Wednesday, we took our visitors to meet with more members and made plans for the House Judiciary Subcommittee that afternoon where we faced a completely different, and much more pleasant situation. Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma) made his introductory remarks and asked for questions. The bill was ‘moved’, the amendment that re-writes the bill, was ‘moved’ and adopted—still no questions—and the bill was sent to the full committee on a voice vote. That happy and high speed action can be seen
            A number of Muslims were in attendance over the two days including Ahwad Binhazim, the Muslim chaplain that serves the MSA at Vandy and is the President of Olive Tree Education, Inc., that does dawah in Nashville, Daoud Abudiab is president of the Islamic Center of Columbia, and Policy Coordinator Remziya Suleyman, Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition.
We are VERY GRATEFUL for the large group of supporters that were in both Tuesday meetings.  (Photo: Among those supporters were some of our Teen Eagles.)  
ACTION: Stay tuned – we will keep up updated – however, in the meantime, you can go HERE to send an email of support to your State Senator and State Representative.

*SB 0016 by *Ketron ( HB 0007 by *Maggart)
Election Laws - As introduced, requires a voter to present qualified photographic identification before voting; voters without proper identification shall be allowed to cast provisional ballots.
STATUS: Happy to report that the Photo ID bill (HB 7) has finally passed the House floor. After many years of hard work and having to fight off a number of efforts to amend the proposal, Rep. Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville) was finally successful with vote of
57-35-2. SB 16 had previously passed the Senate Floor 21-11. Tennessee voters would have to show photo identification before they can cast ballots under a proposal that passed the House. Bill to require photo ID for Tennessee voters passes state House
SB 0632 by *Ketron ( *HB 0600 by *Casada)
Business and Commerce - As introduced, enacts the "Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act." This pro-business and pro-taxpayer legislation provides that no local government can impose on any business or person, other than a local government’s own employees, any personnel practice, definition or provision relating to discrimination or discriminatory practices that deviates from the requirements of state law. It also makes null and void any nonconforming requirements imposed prior to the legislation’s effective date. The legislation does not affect anti-discrimination policies that businesses voluntarily adopt for the operation of their business.
House Panel OKs Bill to Void Nashville Sexual Orientation Ordinance
STATUS: Congratulations to sponsor Rep. Glen Casada (R-College Grove). This important bill is the product of a great deal of hard work by David Fowler, President of Family Action Council of TN and victory was sweet. The House Commerce Committee passed HB 600 on a Voice Vote -- Ayes Prevail: Rep.(s) Favors, Gilmore, Hardaway, Pitts, Shepard, Sontany, Towns requested to be recorded as voting No. SB 632 has not yet been scheduled in the Senate Committee.
ACTION: Please go HERE, find your State Representative and send him or her an email of support for this important, business protecting legislation.

SB 0893 by *Watson ( *HB 0368 by *Dunn)
Teachers, Principals and School Personnel - As introduced, protects a teacher from discipline for teaching scientific subjects in an objective manner. This is another of the excellent pieces of Legislation being promoted by Family Action Council of TN.
STATUS: HB 368 has passed the House. SB 893 is scheduled in Senate Education on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please find committee
HERE and urge them to support this proposal.

*SJR 0127 by *Beavers, Kelsey, Bell, Norris, Ketron, Crowe, Southerland, Yager, Campfield, Johnson, Woodson, Ramsey, Overbey, Tracy, Gresham, Summerville, Faulk, Watson 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. For additional information, go HERE.
STATUS: SJR 127 passed Senate Judiciary 6-3; has been read twice on the Senate Floor. It was scheduled for the final Senate vote on April 11th, but had to be postponed until April 18th.
the Senate
ACTION: Please go HERE to find your Senator and urge him or her to support this important Constitutional Amendment.

*SB 0780 by *Ketron ( HB 1380 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the "Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act."
Go HERE to read the detailed summary.
STATUS: HB1380 is scheduled for House Finance Subcommittee on Tuesday. You can find committee members HERE to send emails to encourage their support. 

SB 1669 by *Tracy ( *HB 1378 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act.
Go HERE to read detailed summary.
STATUSHB 1378 was amended in House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday. It still holds to  the premise that in order for an E-Verify component to be an effective part of the solution it must be mandatory and must have a mechanism for enforcement. SB 1669 was voted out of Senate Commerce, 8-1:  Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Faulk,  Gresham,Johnson, Southerland, Stewart, Tate, Woodson -- 8. Senators voting no were: Burks – 1
ACTION: HB 1378 is on the Government Operations Committee Calendar on Wednesday. Committee members can be found HERE.  

SB 1325 by *Johnson ( *HB 1379 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the "Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act." Go HERE to read detailed summary.
STATUS: HB 1379 is also on the Government Operations Committee Calendar on Wednesday. Committee members can be found HERE.


Jamie Woodson Resigning Senate Seat
Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jamie Woodson announced today that she will resign her state Senate seat to become president and CEO of an education reform organization founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
Republican Woodson, who has served 12 years as a legislator from Knoxville, said her resignation as a senator will be effective on July 1 or at the adjournment of the current legislative session, whichever comes first. Legislative leaders have a goal of adjourning by May 25. Read more here.

State Tax Collections Up Again in March
NASHVILLE - Tennessee revenue collections for March continued to exceed the budgeted expectations. Finance and Administration Commissioner Mark Emkes today announced that overall March revenues were $815.5 million, which is $9.5 million more than the state budgeted. It marks the eighth consecutive positive growth month for this fiscal year. Read more here.
TCPR Hires Former Rep. Rowland as Part of Staff Buildup
Nashville, TN - The Tennessee Center for Policy Research today announced that it has added five senior fellows to its team. Former state Rep. Donna Barrett, University of Tennessee professor Harold Black, Rhodes College professor Art Carden, Lipscomb University professor Richard Grant, and Paul Stumb, Dean of the Cumberland University Business School, will join the organization as senior fellows.
Read more here.