Legislative Update, April 4, 2015

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).


"Leadership without character, business without ethics and science without human values-in short, freedom without virtue-will bring the republic to its knees". Os Guiness , A Free Peoples Suicide

This week, Sen. Ken Yager (R-Harriman) had his right knee pop and his leg folded causing excruciating pain.  Pray that he can get the care he needs.  Rep. Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis) continues to be out. Fellow Lobbyist and former representative Steve Bivens, suddenly lost his wife a few days ago. Please pray for Steve and his family.  As we celebrate Resurrection Weekend, please pray for those around the world who are in danger of being killed because they name the name of Christ.

The painting to the left is entitled: FORGIVEN!
On this special weekend may you Celebrate the the eternal meaning of Resurrection!
"Lead me to the cross and show me his wounds; the hateful nature of evil, the power of Satan; May I there see my sins as the nails that transfixed him, the cords that bound him, the thorns that tore him, the sword that pierced him.  Help me to find in his death the reality and immensity of his love. Open for me the wondrous volumes of truth in his, 'It is finished'. Increase my faith in the clear knowledge of atonement achieved, expiation completed, satisfaction made, guilt done away, my debt paid, my sins forgiven,  my person redeemed, my soul saved, hell vanquished, heaven opened, eternity made mine.  O Holy Spirit, deepen in me these saving lessons,  Write them upon my heart, that my walk be sin-loathing, sin-fleeing, Christ-loving;  And suffer no devil's device to beguile or deceive me."  Valley of Vision, Page 31

Wow! What an eventful day on The Hill! Insure Tennessee, abortion and school vouchers were all highlighted on what proved to be another full day.  After visiting with a few legislators, tying up loose ends, I attended the Senate State and Local Government committee as a bill that would make The Bible the official state book of Tennessee.  After debate on the bill, the vote was moved to next week.  After meeting back up with Mrs. Patray we finished our meetings with elected officials of the day before going back to committee.  As the day moved on more and more Proponents of Insure Tennessee, visible in their purple shirts, began arriving. Around noon they held a rally which could be heard in Committee rooms.  In the Senate Judiciary Committee members had a difficult time hearing testimony at times because of the noise.  Insure Tennessee failed 6-2 and the room erupted with cries and chants denouncing the legislative process.  We also heard Testimony in the House Health subcommittee  advocating for the "right to die" law decriminalizing a doctor helping a patient die. That bill was sent to 'summer study'. Rep. Rick Womick did a excellent job presenting his bill requiring that doctors to offer to show a woman the ultrasound before her abortion.  He faced some very tough questioning and answered truthfully and professionally before moving the bill to 2016.  I still wonder if there is an "ordinary" day on The Hill. 

Wednesday seemed quite a bit calmer compared to Tuesday on the Hill but was still rushing with urgent excitement. Having an early start came much in our favor with the crammed schedule of the committees pulling at us from every side. One of the many interesting bills I got to see come up was that of "The Bible Bill. Presented by Representative Jerry Sexton, the bill would have the Holy Bible named the official book of Tennessee. Seeming like a no-brainer to many, its intentions are unwelcome by others. As it went through committee it was fascinating to see the way that the people on opposing sides see what is and is not necessary. And even how they see our own form of government and its place in our lives. What may seem obviously important to you may not receive so much as a second glance from others, and vice versa. But the passion that runs through the people and their topics of concern is eye catching to say the least. Both sides should always be heard but what you know is right should never be wavered.

SB 1222 by *Beavers (HB 0977) by *Hill M
Abortion - As introduced, revises provisions governing reports a physician who performs an abortion is required to keep to specify that such records must be maintained for five years; clarifies that the requirement applies to any abortion procedure instead of just "operations."
NOTE:  As amended, this bill requires informed consent and a 48-hour waiting period.
STATUS: SB1222 will be in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday.  HB977 will be in Health Committee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please contact the members of both committees and URGE this to support this important bill.

SB 1280 by *Hensley,(HB 1368) by *Lynn
Abortion - As introduced, requires facilities or physician offices where more than 50 abortions are performed in a calendar year to be licensed as ambulatory surgical treatment centers.
"This proposal fulfills a promise to Tennessee voters that we would restore common sense protections for women and girls considering abortion," said Rep. Lynn.  "We have a duty and an obligation to ensure that health and safety standards are enforced consistently within facilities performing out-patient surgeries, including those performing abortions."
STATUS:  SB 1280 will be in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday.  HB1368 was referred to Calendar and Rules.
ACTION: Please urge Senate Judiciary members to support this bill too.

SB 0775 by *Beavers, (HB 0002) by *Womick
Abortion - As introduced, requires that an ultrasound be performed prior to an abortion, with an exception for medical emergencies.
STATUS: After a lengthy and, at times, contentious debate, HB0002 was moved to 2016.
However, I URGE you to go to THIS LINK , move the slide over to 2:24 to view the debate that includes a POWERFUL testimony for my friend Myra Simons who shares the devastating effects of abortion.

SB 0612 by *Gardenhire,(HB 0675) by *White M
Students - As introduced, exempts certain students from payment of out-of-state tuition at state institutions of higher education.
RECALL: On March 24, Asso. Attorney General Bill Young was brought before the Senate Finance Ways and Means to answer questions about Sen. Gardenhire's illegal immigrant bill. He seemed to say that, with significant changes in the legislation, while referencing a couple of court cases, and because about 20 other states have done so, the bill would be 'defensible'.  Sen. Norris drew Gen. Young's attention to the fact that TN is now a part of coalition suing the Obama administration's over their executive action on immigration. Norris, who is an attorney noted that, based on this fact, he thought it was ill advised for us to get involved in passing this legislation while this case is still pending.

Tennessee Joins Texas Led Immigration Lawsuit
STATUS:  Now this bill has once again been rewritten to impact only those students in the state under DACA, reducing the potential number to about 7,000. Read the amendment HERE. I would also urge you to go HERE, look on the lower left and click on SB612. You can also here the testimony of the proponents.
SB612 is once again in Finance Ways and Means on Tuesday; HB675 is in Education Administration & Planning for 4/7/2015.  Sen. Norris requested that the bill be put off until next week to hear from the Attorney General.

SJR 0093 by *Overbey
Health Care - Authorizes the Governor to do all that is necessary and appropriate to implement Insure Tennessee substantially as described in TennCare Demonstration
This has been one of the most contentious issues before the General Assembly this year. It went soundly down to defeat in the Special Session in February, and was brought back by Senators Doug Overbey and Richard Briggs. Despite literally hundreds of people showing up on Tuesday in their purple T-shirts (See Adam's Corner), thankfully, the majority of the members of the Senate Commerce did not think this was good public policy for the state of Tennessee and defeated the proposal once again.
Failed in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 3/31/2015
          Senators voting aye were: Tate, Yager -- 2.
          Senators voting no were: Gardenhire, Gresham, Johnson, Southerland, Tracy, Watson -- 6.
          Senators present and not voting were: Green -- 1.

SB 0180 by *Ketron , Bowling, Tate,(HB 0935) by *Matheny

Forfeiture of Assets - As introduced, specifies that property used in the course of, intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through certain terrorist acts is subject to forfeiture; creates a civil action for damages for a person injured as a result of certain terrorist acts.
    "Andy's Law in honor of U.S. Army Pvt. William "Andy Long of Conway [right], who was shot and killed outside a west Little Rock recruiting center in 2009. Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula of Jacksonville was wounded in the shooting rampage.
    Abdulhakim Muhammad, a Memphis, Tenn., native named Carlos Bledsoe who converted to Islam, pleaded guilty to capital murder and attempted capital murder in 2011, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Bledsoe claimed to be a terrorist and had traveled to Yemen and Somalia.
 AMENDMENT #1 rewrites this bill to authorize the seizure and forfeiture of property involved in the commission or terrorism offenses and creates a private cause of action for victims of terrorism to sue the offender.
STATUS:  I am very happy to report that SB180 passed the Senate floor 33-0. HB935 is scheduled in Civil Justice Committee on Tuesday.
ACTION:  Please urge the members of this committee to support this important legislation.

SB 1108 by *Southerland, Bailey, Beavers, Bell, Bowling, Briggs, Crowe, Gresham, Harris, Jackson, Johnson, Ketron, Kyle, Massey, McNally, Niceley, Roberts, Tate, Tracy
(HB 0615) by *Sexton J, Weaver, Goins, VanHuss, Hill T, Holt, Lollar, Matlock, Matheny, Spivey, Holsclaw, Hill M, Lamberth, Womick, Rogers, Sparks, Brooks K, Dunn, Shepard, Butt, Reedy, Powers, Calfee, Doss, Shaw, Ragan, Eldridge, Keisling, Hawk, Windle, Wirgau, Halford, Moody, Kane, White M, White D, Wilburn, DeBerry, Faison, Casada, Carr , Johnson, Littleton, Marsh, Haynes, Williams, Sargent, Harrison, McDaniel, Forgety, Howell, Brooks H, Kumar, Swann, Pody, Lynn, Coley, Lundberg, Terry, Carter, Towns, Parkinson
NOTE:  Just because it has all these sponsors does not mean it will pass.  It has to go through the committee system just like any other bill.  The vote on HB615 was VERY CLOSE in subcommittee: Representatives voting aye were: Hulsey, Littleton -- 2.Representatives voting no were: Jernigan -- 1. Representatives present and not voting were: Ramsey, Sanderson -- 2.

STATUS: SB1108 is on State and Local Government Committee calendar on 4/6/2015; HB615 is in State Government Committee for 4/7/2015
ACTION:  Please let the members of both committees know that you support this proposal.

SB 0377
by *Ketron,(HB 0261) by *Matheny
This bill was amended to provide for a process which could be used to remove investments from Iran. This is based a federal law, the behavior of Iran regarding nuclear activities, lack of respect of human rights, etc.  Amendment can be seen HERE.
STATUS: SB377 is in State and Local Government on Monday; HB 261 is in State Government on Tuesday.
ACTION: Please urge these committee members to support this legislation.

Medical marijuana in TN? Not this year, says Harwell (except maybe cannabis oil)

Haslam would spend $120M from revenue windfall on new Tennessee State Museum

Governor adds $30M to education budget to cover part of lawsuit contention

Haslam adds $330m ($30M recurring, $300M non-recurring) to state budget plan