Legislative Update, February 21, 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).


"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government." probably Thomas Jefferson


On her way to the Wednesday session, Rep. Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) fell on the ice.  A trip to the ER revealed that she had suffered a mild concussion.  Her husband also fell and and left the ER with his arm in a sling. Rep. Jeremy Faison's mother (R-Crosby) fell and broke her ankle.  Please continue to remember Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) as he is being treated for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Well, due to the horrible weather, none of us were able to get to the Plaza this week. In fact, the schedule for Tuesday was completely canceled. Wednesday, the Senate and House held floor sessions - only 24 of the 33 Senators were there, and only 81 of the 99 House members were there. I don't think that any House committees met and they cancelled their Thursday floor session to permit the lawmakers to get back home safely.  Some of the Senate Committees met, but some, due to absences, did not do much business. 

Our friends at FACT are hosting a very important event.  Please pass this information on to YOUR pastor.  I cannot begin tell how important it is that our pastors understand what the issues are that we a facing today and how to respond to them.

Help Your Minister Learn About the Issues

Forward this email to a friend to let your minister know about this exclusive opportunity for ministers to:

  • Learn about pending legislation affecting marriage, family, life, and religious liberty that will impact their congregation
  • Gain critical insights about the legislative process to discern fact from fiction
  • Pray with and for their state elected officials

Ministers' Day on the Hill is on February 24th from 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m, with remarks from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey at lunch.

It's a great way to help your minister to minister to those whom the Word of God calls "ministers of God" (Romans 13:4). It's not a day away from ministry to the local church, but a day of ministry on behalf of the local church!

The event is FREE for ministers, but if your minister would like to buy lunch, we offer two choices for $10.


The HIGHLIGHT of the day was the testimony of Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) in the Senate Education Committee on the subject of Pre-K.  Rep. Dunn has done years of research on this subject and has become an expert on the truth about its effectiveness.  Please go HERE to view the committee meeting and move the slide over to 19. We are continually being told that Pre-K is the 'be-all, end-all' to give young children what they need.  However, you will learn the fallacy of that position and how ineffective Pre-K actually is despite the hype and millions of dollars spent on the effort.

'Student Success' group spending big money to defend Gov. Bill Haslam
February 19th, 2015 by Andy Sher
NASHVILLE -- A new advocacy group with deep pockets and close ties to Gov. Bill Haslam is spending big bucks defending his stance on maintaining Tennessee's K-12 education standards, Federal Communications Commission television station filings show.
Since Dec. 29, Tennesseans for Student Success, a nonprofit group headed by Haslam's 2014 campaign manager, Jeremy Harrell, has spent $137,000 broadcasting a 30-second spot in the Nashville and Knoxville media markets, according to a Times Free Press review of Tennessee-based television stations' political advertising files.
The ad even aired on Nashville NBC affiliate WSMV-TV during the Super Bowl.
You will want to read every word here.

Mr. Tucker, will be speaking to both House Education Committees on Tuesday.
"No Bills On Notice Committee Will Meet Marc S. Tucker, author of Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World's Leading Systems will appear".
Ed. Admin. and Planning meets at 10:30am, Room 16
Ed. Instruction and Programs meets at noon, Room 16
If you cannot attend either of these meetings, I would suggest going to the Legislative Website, click on Tuesday's House Schedule, then clicking Committee Video and watching.

Mr. Tucker is best known for his "letter to Hillary [Clinton]".

Some Bills of Interest:

SB 1040 by *Ketron,(HB 1141)
by *Lynn
Attorney General and Reporter - As introduced, requires the attorney general and reporter to report to the department of justice that a no-go zone exists within political subdivisions of the state; requires the attorney general to take all necessary steps to eliminate the no-go zone to enforce compliance with state and federal law. 
Muslim advocacy group skeptical of 'no-go zone' bill

SB 0525 by *Hensley,(HB 0448) by *Byrd
Education - As introduced, requires a report on the TCAP tests and end-of-course exams to be made available to the LEAs, together with each student's answers, so that a parent and a parent's student may determine the student's areas of deficiency and the school may plan remediation for the student

SB 1039 by *Ketron, (HB 0670) by *Matheny
Education - As introduced, requires certain institutions to report nonimmigrant student enrollment to the department of safety.

SB 0552 by *Niceley,(HB 0663) by *Alexander
Education, State Board of - As introduced, modifies the composition of the members of the board from nine appointed members to nine members elected by the people during the regular November elections; authorizes the governor to fill any vacancies on the board, subject to confirmation by the senate.

SB 1292 by *Hensley,(HB 1151) by *Terry
Textbooks - As introduced, permits citizen groups to submit error reports detailing any errors in textbooks used in public schools in this state to the textbooks and instructional materials commission; creates an appeal process before a joint education committee; implements various provisions of law to address errors in textbooks


Textbook Selection Process More Transparent and Thorough Under New Law Says Commission Member


Tennessee's new law reforming the state's Textbook Commission has resulted in greater transparency and better reviews of books going into state classrooms according to Dr. Craig Hammond, a member of the Commission.  Hammond, who has been on the Commission for three years, appeared before the Senate Education Committee for confirmation for a second term to the panel which has been renamed the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission. 


The former commission, which was responsible for recommending an official list of textbooks for approval by the State Board of Education, came under fire by a group of parents for having adopted books containing inappropriate language and controversial interpretations of historical facts.


 "The law that was passed was a great thing for transparency and better reviews," said Dr. Hammond.  He added, "The reviews of textbooks have been much, much more thorough, and therefore, the quality of the books that we push forward for school districts to choose from are better and that is going to continue."


The new law revamping the commission was designed to provide more public input in the textbook selection process.  It provides for better training for commission members; gives specific review criteria that must be considered when recommending books for approval; makes textbook companies financially responsible for fixing any mistakes in their materials; and, requires publishers to submit complete books for online review by the public.  In addition, it significantly lowered the bond for publishers to allow more companies to submit books for approval, creating competition in both price and content.  Tennessee had been the only state in the nation that required a bond of up to $1 million for participating companies.  Hammond said that move helped in the recent Math book selection process by providing them with a wider group of books from which to choose.


Asked about moving textbooks to digital content, Hammond said publishers are ready to make that move as soon as counties and local districts are ready to put a device in the hands of students.  Publishers have been adding to the traditional textbooks with digital resource links. 


Office Of The Repealer Seeks Citizen Input

The Office of the Repealer, an initiative created with the goal of streamlining state government and saving taxpayer dollars, is currently seeking input from citizens across the state.

Brought to life in 2013, the Repealer has the sole responsibility of making recommendations to the legislature of areas of government waste, duplication, and out-of-date regulations that should be removed from the law books.

In addition, the Office of the Repealer takes recommendations directly from the public, basing its decisions on input received from business-owners, educators, activists, and concerned citizens from across the state.

Since its creation in July 2013, the Repealer has identified several major areas of waste and duplication within the Tennessee code books. Once identified, legislators within the Tennessee General Assembly must sponsor bills to remove the outdated language and other antiquated items from law.

To visit the Office of the Repealer website and submit your own ideas, visit http://www.capitol.tn.gov/joint/staff/legal/repealer.html, email olsrepealer@capitol.tn.gov, or call (615) 741-3056.