SPECIAL REPORT: U.N. Treaty - Justice Denied



SPECIAL REPORT: U.N. Treaty – Justice Denied 2009
Justice Achieved in 2010

2010 UPDATE on HRJ369:  It is a pleasure to report that HJR369 was placed on the Senate Floor Calendar February 22 where it passed 26-3-1.
          Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Black, Bunch, Burchett, Burks, Crowe, Faulk, Finney L, Ford, Gresham, Henry, Herron, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, McNally, Norris, Overbey, Southerland, Stewart, Tracy, Watson, Woodson, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey -- 26.
          Senators voting no were: Berke, Harper, Marrero -- 3.
          Senators present and not voting were: Haynes -- 1.
It was signed by the Governor on March 3, 2010.
2009 REPORT: 
“You win some…you lose some… and some get rained out”. While I hate losing (being a conservative, I have probably lost more than I have won), losing in a fair fight is one thing. Being denied a place on the field of battle is quite another!!
HJR 369 by Sen. Tim Burchett
Bell, Curtiss, Bass, Harmon, DeBerry J, Bone*, Casada, Weaver, Dunn, Floyd, Shipley, Cobb J, Swafford, Mumpower, Hawk, Haynes, Niceley, Matlock, Harwell, Halford, McManus, Lynn, Maggart, Eldridge, Evans, Rich, Dean, Lollar, Carr, Brooks K, Hensley
           Urges United States Senate to reject ratification of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. For background on this invasive treaty,

The journey through the House with sponsor Rep. Mike Bill (R-Riceville) was fairly smooth enjoying bi-partisan support. The bill finally made it to the House Floor on June 1, where it passed 70-20-2
The twenty votes AGAINST the sovereignty of our country and our families were: Joe Armstrong (D-Knoxville, Stratron Bone* (D-Lebanon), Butch Borchert (Camden), Tommie Brown (D-Chattanooga), Karen Camper (D-Memphis), Kent Coleman (D-Murfreesboro), Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis), Lois DeBerry (D-Memphis), Joanne Favors (D-Chattanooga), G.A.Hardaway (D-Memphis), Sherry Jones (D-Nashville), Ulysses Jones (D-Memphis), Larry Miller (D-Memphis), Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington), Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis), Johnny Shaw (D-Bolivar), Janice Sontany (D-Nashville, Harry Tindell (D-Knoxville), Joe Towns (D-Memphis), Mike Turner (D-Nashville). 
[* I find it exceedingly interesting that Rep. Stratton Bone (D-Lebanon) was a co-sponsor of the resolution then voted against it on the floor!!]
 It then moved to the Senate where Sen. Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) enthusiastically agreed to be the resolution’s sponsor. It was assigned to the Finance Committee where it was presented on June 12th. Sen. Jim Kyle (D-Memphis and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2010) commented that he didn’t know anything about it and would like to read the document prior to casting a vote. The resolution was postponed and copies of the treaty were provided to each committee member.
We were back on the calendar the next day, but it languished behind the hours of debate on the budget and appropriations bills finally being back before the committee on June 15th. Prior to the vote, Sen. Kyle made it clear that he would save his comments for the floor debate. HRJ 369 passed the committee 8-1-1.
Voting aye were: Black, Burchett, Overbey, Henry, Norris, Watson, McNally, Woodson -- 8. Voting no were: Kyle -- 1. Senators present and not voting were: Haynes -- 1.
I had been prepared to testify in committee to discuss the content of the treaty and the reasons we opposed it. I did wonder if Kyle’s comment meant that he would prefer talk about it on the floor where I would be unable to respond to his criticisms.
It was on the floor calendar on June 15th where there was some confusion and it was reset for the 17th. When it was brought up then, I believe it was Sen. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) who commented that it was a busy day and asked that it be postponed until the next calendar.
On Thursday, June 18th, the Senate floor session was scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. I had checked the calendar only to discover that HJR 369 was not on there. I inquired and was told it would be on the second calendar for the day. (It is not unusual during the waning hours of the session to have multiple calendars.)
The starting time was moved to two, then three. Finally, they convened at 3:40 p.m. to begin their work with Senators Mike Faulk and Mark Norris absent (this fact becomes very important later).
When Calendar #2 came out and HJR 369 was no where to be found, I started inquiring. Twice during the long afternoon, I was able to question markcatch the Senate Clerk, Russell Humphrey, in the Rotunda to ask him why the resolution was not on the calendar. The first time he said he would check on it; the second time he indicated they could not find it. 
Now, understand, when a bill is postponed from one day until the next, it is automatically placed on the next calendar with no special action or motion required.

I mentioned the problem to Sen. Burchett’s aide and finally sent a note in to Burchett inquiring about this obvious oversight.

The evening rocked on until nearly eight o’clock when Sen. Jamie Woodson (R-Knoxville) sought recognition to “inquire about the status of HJR 369”.
PLEASE go to http://tnga.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=63&clip_id=1701
Move the oblong ‘seek’ button over to 4:43:53 and view the brief floor action.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker of the Senate, awaited word from the Chief Clerk, then responded that it WAS on yesterday’s calendar and should be on today’s—apparently it was not. They spent some time trying to find the jacket, which I think they finally located. Ramsey commented that Woodson could “suspend the rules to bring it up for immediate consideration”.
question markQUESTION: If this was a simple clerical error, why didn’t the Chief Clerk say that and why would the rules have to be suspended to do what should have automatically happened had the bill been on the calendar as it should have been?
Woodson indicated that if it was appropriate she would make such a motion, but didn’t want to jump ahead of Sen. Burchett, continuing that several members were interested in this bill – that she had been asked about it by several members.
The Caption was read, then Ramsey called on Burchett who said, “ah….I guess just move it Mr. Speaker”. Kyle inquired if it was any different from the original since they were being asked to ‘concur’. (There had been no changes since it came over from the House.)
Ramsey was about to call for discussion and vote when Sen. Joe Haynes (D-Goodlettsville) asked if the rules didn’t have to be suspended. Ramsey acknowledged that, stated the ‘motion is to suspend’ and asked if there was objection.
Haynes said that he had taken time to read it and “for the life of me I don’t understand what the problem is and I wish somebody would explain to me what is so bad about this U.N. Resolution...it is late in the day and I don’t understand why we need to put this up” and stated that he was going to oppose the suspension of the rules.
Despite the fact that he had been supplied with ample materials as well as ‘talking points’ Burchett offered no response to Haynes’ questions.

Woodson valiantly pointed out that HJR 369 had gone through the process, it was to be ‘calendared’...this is ‘not a special thing…it slipped through the cracks…went through the appropriate committee process...it was a mistake it didn’t get calendared…members can vote against it or not…I would request that we allow it to be heard’.
Sen. Roy Herron (D-Dresden, also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor) inquired if this was the same resolution that was on the calendar yesterday. Burchett replied that, “apparently the only difference is that that was the Senate [resolution] and this is the House [resolution].
NOTE: There never was a Senate Resolution, I have no idea where that came from—there has only been this House Joint Resolution. question mark(Unlike regular bills that have companion documents in the House and the Senate, Joint Resolutions start in one house, go through the legislative process, then move to the other house to complete the process.)
It requires 2/3s vote to suspend the rules (22 votes). When the vote went up, it was 19-12 – three votes short of the number needed; the motion FAILED. Later Sen. Stewart changed his vote from No to YES, making the final vote 20-11. (If Norris and Faulk had been present, it would have passed.)
Senators voting aye were: Mae Beavers, (R-Mt. Juliet), Diane Black (R-Gallatin), Dewayne Bunch (R-Cleveland), Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville), Charlotte Burks, (D-Monterey) Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), Doug Henry (D-Nashville), Jack Johnson (R-College Grove), Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), Doug Overbey (R-Maryville), Steve Southerland (R-Greeneville), Paul Stanley (R-Germantown), Eric Stewart (D-Belvidere), Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), Bo Watson (R-Chattanooga), Jamie Woodson (R-Knoxville), Ken Yager (R- Harriman), Mr. Speaker Ramsey (R-Blountville)-- 20.
We are very grateful for the efforts of Sen. Jamie Woodson and those senators who voted to have a debate and vote on HJR 369.
Senators voting no were:
Tim Barnes (D-Clarksville), Andy Berke (D-Chattanooga), Lowe Finney (D-Jackson), Ophelia Ford (D-Memphis), Thelma Harper (D-Nashville), Joe Haynes (D-Goodlettsville), Roy Herron (D-Dresden), Doug Jackson (D-Dickson), Jim Kyle (D-Memphis), Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis), Reginald Tate (D-Memphis) -- 11.
Why didn't these eleven senators, two of whom are candidates for Governor (Herron and Kyle), want to discuss and permit a vote on this resolution opposing the ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child? I honestly do not understand.

 Does that mean that they have no problem with relinquishing the sovereignty of this country over something as sensitive as the parent-child relationship? That they have no problem with moving the recognized needs of children to “rights under law”?
That minor children should, by treaty, (which under the U.S. Constitution becomes the superior 'law of the land')  be guaranteed “freedom of association”, “access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources”, “develop respect...for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations”, “right…to rest and leisure”? That they have no problem with an 18 member unelected, unaccountable committee sitting in Geneva assuring compliance with this treaty?
That they have no concern about the interference with home schooling this treaty could generate as has already been seen in Britain? Go HERE.

Well, I guess we won’t know until next January when it will be brought back for a vote that will require only a simple majority. Hopefully, it won’ t be too late as “Child Rights” forces are mobilizing (Go
HERE) to promote the ratification of this treaty. To read the document itself, go HERE. For additional information, go to ParentalRights.org.

Shortly after the vote a recess was taken. I spoke with a number of the senators pointing out how wrong this was and making the case for justice. The response was universal with them saying they would look into it. Later I was told that no additional action would be taken. 

I have frequently said that in my 22 years on the Hill I have had about everything done to my bills to kill them that could be done, but this was definitely a new twist.

What was seen as a very successful session for the pro-family, pro-life, home schooling communities across the state, certainly closed on a VERY sour note.




       1.  Why was THIS resolution important enough to generate all this drama? (Urging resolutions are routinely passed with little or no debate.)
  1. Is the Convention on the Rights of the Child even more important than we thought?
  2. Why was HRJ 369 left off the final calendar when resetting items on a calendar is an automatic, ordinary part of the legislative process?
  3. Why would the rules need to be suspended to account for an error by the Senate Clerk’s office?