Legislative Update, April 9, 2016

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).

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest expression every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.  -- Martin Luther (1483-1546)

I was speaking with Rep. Bryan Terry, M.D., on Wednesday and he mentioned not feeling well, then I learned on Thursday that he had been admitted to the hospital with blood clots in his lungs. [Rep. Terry with daughter, left.]  This can be a very serious situation, so please be praying for Bryan and his family.  Continue to remember Rep. Rick Womick and his family as his mother continues under hospice care.  Another very important prayer request is the court case on the Yes on 1 Amendment.  It is now in a judge's hands: Abortion measure challenge awaits judge's ruling. We would also appreciate your prayers as decisions are being made about what treatments my husband Ron needs to make a full recovery.  He is still in a skilled care facility. 

Once again I had the pleasure to go to the Legislative Plaza on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. Mrs. Patray, Mary, and I had a fairly relaxing but fun day. We worked on the "Fantasy Football Bill" which we have some concerns about. We went to a few Legislative offices of the people on the House Budget Subcommittee then we sat in on the committee where the bill was rolled one week. It will be interesting to see how things pan out as we near the end of the session.

Mrs. Bobbie's Tuesday intern joined us again this week. I got to witness one of the most interesting discussions of a bill on the floor concerning HB1840, the counselor bill. We have not been lobbying for this bill but we have been keeping an eye on it while it has been in committee. This bill, I believe, had around eight hours of debate in committee and over an hour on the floor. I suggest you watch the floor session for yourself but HB1840 did pass in the house and senate. Also, since the bills we wanted to kill are dead Mrs. Bobbie has found a new interest in SB2109 which will now be one of our main focuses.


The cut off for filing to run in the August Primary and November general election was Thursday at noon.  Candidates have until April 14th to withdraw, but HERE is the list as of right now.

SB 2109 by *Johnson,(HB 2105) by *Marsh
AMENDMENT #2 rewrites this bill and establishes licensing requirements for fantasy sports operators.
SB2109-HB2105 is now composed of these:
Amendment # 2 that is 20 pages long.
Amendment # 4 that is a half page.  

STATUS:  If there was any question about it, the Tennessee Attorney General has clearly answered it:  Fantasy Football IS GAMBLING. Now the question is, will the members of the House vote to establish more gambling in our state.   As you can see from the other articles linked below, Tennessee is not the only state grappling with this gambling proposition.

When this proposal was first being discussed, the emphasis was on the 'fact' that it really was a game of skill (not really gambling) and that it should be regulated. 
Now that AG's opinion clearly labels this activity as gambling, the choice lawmakers have is whether or not to legalize it.

Remember, whatever you legalize, you get more of!!

AG: Fantasy sports 'illegal gambling' in Tennessee

Alabama AG Orders FanDuel And DraftKings To Cease And Desist

N.Y. AG declares DraftKings, FanDuel are illegal gambling, not fantasy

Illinois Attorney General Says DFS Is Gambling; Expects DraftKings, FanDuel To Leave State

Texas AG says daily fantasy sports are illegal gambling

Vermont AG: Fantasy sports sites illegal in Vermont

ACTION: HB2105 was in the this committee this week just after the Attorney General opinion came out and it was quickly rolled until next week.  You can be sure that the fans of this gambling enterprise are being encouraged to contact the lawmakers to support this bill. So will you help stand against it?
It in the House Finance Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tuesday. PLEASE contact the members of this committee and urge them to take the time to read the 20 page bill, ask informed questions, urge them read the TN article above and the AG opinion and VOTE NO on this proposal: rep.curtis.johnson@capitol.tn.gov. rep.david.alexander@capitol.tn.gov,   rep.karen.camper@capitol.tn.govrep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov, rep.david.hawk@capitol.tn.gov, rep.gerald.mccormick@capitol.tn.gov, rep.steve.mcdaniel@capitol.tn.gov, rep.charles.sargent@capitol.tn.gov.

SB 2387 by *Bell, (HB 2414) by *Lynn
Students - As introduced, requires students in public schools and public institutions of higher education to use restrooms and locker rooms that are assigned to persons of the same sex as that shown on the students' birth certificates.

An Open, Urgent Letter to the Pastors in Tennessee

Why businesses and schools should not be forced to allow men and women to use the restroom designated for the opposite sex.
[While the article above brings some excellent points that are good to know, when making contacts, please remember this bill as written, is directed at schools only.]

STATUS:  This bill has now been amended and THIS is the current language.
For a report on what happened in the House committee this week, go HERE. This bill faces a huge uphill battle, but YOU can make the difference.  SB2387 will be in  Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee  on 4/12/2016
The Human Rights Campaign is doing everything in their power to get businesses to oppose this proposal.  Please contact the members of this committee and URGE them to vote YES on SB2387.

SJR 0467 by *Ramsey , Norris, Ketron, Beavers, McNally, Roberts, Green, Bailey, Bell, Bowling, Briggs, Gardenhire, Haile, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Niceley, Southerland, Stevens, Tracy, Watson, Yager, Hensley
General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position - Urges the commencement of legal action, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, from the federal government's mandated appropriation of state revenue and noncompliance with the Refugee Act

STATUS:  Trying to work this incredibly important resolution through the legislative process in the House has been like 'trying to pull hens' teeth'. Despite the fact that about 70 of the House members have signed onto SJR467, the opponents continue to try to throw roadblocks in the path and some continue to completely misrepresent what the proposal actually does.  The resolution is scheduled in House Finance Ways and Means committee on Tuesday where it is expected to pass probably after misdirected questions.

SB 2568 by *Norris,(HB 2577) by *McCormick
Abortion - As introduced, establishes requirements regarding the disposition of fetal remains resulting from surgical abortions, including reporting requirements and requirements for interim inspections of and certain reporting by facilities where surgical abortions are performed.

STATUS: After seeing the heartbreaking videos of negotiations over the price of little baby parts and how abortions could be done in ways that preserve the body parts, this is an important piece of legislation. SB2568 is on the Senate Floor Calendar calendar for 4/11/2016; HB2577 is the Government Operations Committee calendar for 4/12/2016. Both are expected to pass.

House Speaker excuses Lundberg for military service

Haslam still weighing options on Bible bill
Joel Ebert, jebert@tennessean.com 9:43 p.m. CDT April 6, 2016
Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday said he is still weighing his options regarding a bill that would make Tennessee the first state in the country to name the Bible its official book.
"We literally have not decided what we're doing yet, he said after an appearance at the groundbreaking ceremony for the state museum.
Haslam once again reiterated a position he's maintained since last year, noting that he had constitutional concerns about the legislation.
"The Tennessee state Constitution is actually more explicit than the United States Constitution in terms of establishing religion. The language is pretty strong about separating that (religion) from what we do as government, he said. "As a person of faith myself, there's nothing more important to me, but I also want to make certain that we're not confusing the role of government with the role of faith.
Haslam's comments come two days after the Senate narrowly approved the measure, which received approval in the House last year.

Dickson state Rep. David Shepard won't seek re-election
Chris Gadd, Dickson Herald 6:12 p.m. CST March 11, 2016
Dickson County's longtime state lawmaker, Rep. David Shepard, D-Dickson, will not seek re-election in the November election after serving 16 years in the state House of Representatives.
"I am not going to run for re-election, Shepard said. "It's time. It's a combination of a lot of things. The most important reason is, I feel like after 16 years, it's a good time for me to retire.
Shepard, 68, who co-owns with family members two area pharmacies including Dickson Apothecary, said his priorities are shifting.
"I have four grandkids, Shepard said. "I want to spend some more time with them. Martha and I want to be able to do a little more of the mission work that we do.
Shepard and his wife, Martha, are members of First United Methodist Church in Dickson.
Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, who lost to Shepard two years ago by 16 votes of the more than 12,000 votes cast across three counties, is running again. He has already turned in his qualifying petition.