Legislative Update, March 2, 2013

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).

Whenever the pillar of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them. 
Jedediah Morse, the "Father of American Geography"

Rep. Billy Spivey's mother has been diagnosed with colon cancer.  Please remember this dear family as they adapt to this life change.  Also, continue to pray for the legislators as they are continually being pushed to move at 'break-neck' speed. The closing of one house subcommittee has already been announced.

On February 28, Ron and I celebrated our 54th Anniversary.  One year ago on that day, he was in the hospital having a heart cath, which eventually led to open heart surgery, and a long, but very successful recovery.  We are very blessed!!

My day at the Capitol on Wednesday provided an opportunity for me to see an excellent defense of the original intent of the framers of our founding documents. At the Senate Judiciary Committee session, the controversial SB0250 was up for discussion and an initial vote. Briefly put, this bill would make it a misdemeanor for a federal official to enforce any federal law in the state of Tennessee that violates the 2nd Amendment rights of the individual.  For those who don't know, nullification is the principle that gives a state the right to make void any federal law that is unconstitutional. This doctrine was uniformly advocated by the framers of the Constitution and was specifically defended by Hamilton, Madison and Jay in the Federalist Papers.  Thankfully, the founders were not without a voice at the session. Publius Huldah, the assumed name of a former attorney, was a guest of Sen. Beavers. She quickly demonstrated her mastery of the Federalist Papers as well as the pertinent statements of the framers. Without question, her defense of state sovereignty as well as nullification was unparalleled. She provided more than satisfactory answers to any questions asked of her. Needless to say I was extremely impressed by her knowledge and her courage to speak her mind without reservation or fear of man's opinion.

SB 0250 by *Beavers ( HB 0248 by *Butt)
Firearms and Ammunition - As introduced, expands and amends the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act to address federal actions in this state. - Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 54.
STATUS:  SB250 was heard in Senate Judiciary on Wednesday and it was quite an event. The Committee convened at 11:00, heard a few bills then Chairman Brian Kelsey announced an 18 minute 'lunch' recess, after which the committee would take up Sen. Mae Beavers' bill. At noon the Committee reconvened and they took up SB250.  From 12:05 until 12:27 the Chairman delivered a history lesson from the founding of this country through the civil war and way beyond, laying the groundwork for explaining his opposition to the legislation.  Sen. Beavers had brought in two Constitutional experts to testify on behalf of her proposal.  Thanks to Sen. Mike Bell's intervention, each speaker was given five minutes to speak.  You will want to see the testimony of each (only 5-6- minutes long)-- both are Constitutional gems:
Michael Maharrey Disputes TN AG's 'Supremacy Clause' Opinion

Publius Huldah Schools Tn AG on the Supremacy Clause
        After the testimony was taken, there were many questions that continued until about 1:15.
Sen. Beavers added an amendment that lowered the crime of enforcing gun laws to a misdemeanor. That would have meant local and state police could issue a citation, rather than attempt to arrest federal agents. That also removed the fiscal note. However, at nearly 1:30, when the dust settled, a vote was forced.  Sen. Stacey Campfield called a point of order, to absolutely no avail, and the vote went forward. The bill remained in committee on a 4-4 vote:
Senators voting aye were: Campfield, Bell, Gardenhire, Green -- 4.
Senators voting no were: Kelsey, Overbey, Finney L, Stevens -- 4.

        You really should watch the entire hearing -- it is very instructive!! Click on this LINK, then click on SB250 in the lower left hand corner.

SB 1241 by *Beavers ( HB 1150 by *Pody)
Education, Higher - As introduced, prohibits operation and maintenance of a campus police force by an institution of higher education that otherwise has statutory authority to operate a campus police force, if the institution requires a student organization to allow any student enrolled at the institution to participate in the organization regardless of the student's beliefs or status.
    Thanks to Family Action Council of Tennessee for bringing this VERY important.  Vanderbilt should not be allowed to 'have it both ways'.
STATUS:  SB1241 will be in Senate Education on Wednesday. 
ACTION: PLEASE contact committee members and URGE them to vote YES on this bill.
No, Vanderbilt, You Cannot Use State Power to Restrict Liberty
Our nation’s large private research universities have perfected a rather ingenious scam. They’ve lobbied state legislatures and Congress so effectively that they annually receive hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal taxpayer dollars while at the same time escaping state oversight by pleading protection — as “private” organizations — from the prying eyes of the very taxpayers who keep them in business. In this manner they’re not that much different from the crony capitalists who clog the halls of power in Congress, always with the same refrain: More dollars, less oversight.

The end result is a taxpayer-funded “private” behemoth that sucks citizens dry even as it creates vast laboratories for far-left social experimentation. Nashville’s Vanderbilt University is perhaps the perfect example. As I’ve reported many times before, Vanderbilt, one of the top recipients of combined federal and state dollars, began a cynical and dishonest effort last year to cleanse the campus of Christian student groups by requiring that they open their leadership to individuals who don’t share the group’s faith. (Full disclosure: I’ve advised a number of Christian student groups throughout their struggle with the university.) In other words, according to Vanderbilt, a Catholic group must be open to Muslim leaders, a Baptist group to atheists, and Jewish groups to Hindus. More than a dozen Christian groups have now been forced off campus; it’s a policy that makes no sense except as a method of exclusion. Read more here.

SB 0142 by *Ramsey ( HB 0118 by *Faison)
Handgun Permits - As introduced, allows person with a valid handgun carry permit to transport and store a firearm or firearm ammunition in the permit holder's privately-owned motor vehicle in public or private parking areas under certain conditions. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13.

STATUS: HB118 was heard on the House Floor on Thursday. The debate started at 9:47a.m.  Thirteen floor amendments were filed on the bill.  Republican Leader Gerald McCormick successfully moved to 'table' each of these amendments and at 11:10, the final vote on the bill was taken.  HB118 passed 77-22.  It now goes to the Governor for his signature.

SB 0837 by *Ketron ( HB 0610 by *Lundberg)
Wine & Wineries - As introduced, allows cities and counties to hold a referendum to authorize selling wine at retail food stores; creates permit to sell wine at retail food stores. - Amends TCA Title 2 and Title 57.
STATUS:  SB837 was in Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday were it was passed by one vote, 5-4. Senators voting aye were: Johnson, Bowling, Green, Ketron, Tate -- 5. Senators voting no were: Yager, Harper, Norris, Stevens -- 4.
It is scheduled in Senate Finance on Tuesday. Committee members may be found HERE.
HB610 is scheduled in Local Government Subcommittee on Wednesday.  Committee members may be found HERE.
ACTION:  Please contact the members of the respective committees and urge them to resist this expansion of the availability of alcohol.
Senate committee passes wine-in-grocery-store bill

SB 0549 by *Bell ( HB 0985 by *Matheny)
Election Laws - As introduced, prohibits persons who are not U.S. citizens from being admitted to polling places; requires appointed poll watchers to be U.S. citizens.

NOTE:  This is a very important bill as there have been questions about this in the past.
STATUS:  SB549 is in Senate State and Local on Tuesday.  Committee members can be found HERE.
HB985 is in House Local Government Subcommittee on Wednesday.  Committee members can be found HERE.
ACTION:  Please contact respective committee members and urge passage of this legislation.

HJR 0090 by *Carr J
General Assembly, Studies - Establishes a joint study committee to analyze the state's participation in various federal programs and the stipulations for participating in such programs.
NOTE:  Gathering this vital information could make a huge difference in budget planning as well as know what the 'unfunded mandates' are costing the state.
STATUS: HRJ90 in in the State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday.  Committee members can be found HERE
ACTION:  I can't imagine that this excellent bill from Family Action Council of TN will not  pass, but it never hurts to let members know it has support.

TV Mini-Series "THE BIBLE" starts Sun, Mar 3 (for 5 Sunday nights, ending on Easter Sunday, check your listings for time)

The Bible is an epic five-week, 10 hour television mini-series premiering Sunday, March 3, 2013, on the History Channel from Emmy Award winning husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (of Touched By An Angel).  For two hours each Sunday night millions of viewers will see the Bible come to life in a way never before seen.  The final episode of the series will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the death and resurrection of Jesus.
To help insure the accuracy of the miniseries, many Christian scholars served as advisors and hundreds of Christian leaders have given their endorsement. - (Outreach Magazine)   "It is also a project close to Mr. Burnett's heart. In the past couple of years the 52-year-old former paratrooper says he has become deeply religious, a transition he credits to Roma Downey, his wife since 2007.  "It wasn't until I met Roma that I truly understood my faith and it's been a dynamic shift for me," Mr. Burnett said.Wall Street Journal