Legilsative Update, March 19, 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).

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."
--Thomas Paine, The Crisis, No. 1, 1776

"And the days dwindle down to a precious few...."  Long committee meetings, frenetic activity, frequent changes in schedules, etc., as the committees try to wrap up their work for the year.  Some committees have now closed; several committees are on their last long calenders this week and will close when that calendar is complete.  Please pray for wisdom, clarity, focus, and attention to detail.   Rep. Sherry Jones is recovering from pneumonia.

Things are moving at a rapid pace at the Legislative Plaza. There are two major things we are focused on: National Popular Vote and Balanced Budget Amendments. We are fighting very strongly against both of those things, we had meetings with legislators from various committees on Tuesday to present our sides on these important issues. With only a few weeks left in this session, we are hoping and praying that these elected officials stay rooted in constitutional principles as we finish up this session.

I could write a 10 plus page paper about everything that happened this week, but I don't have the space or time. I will be keeping this week's events short and sweet. First on the calendar was SB2017 (BBA), which failed by one vote. SJR467 (refuge act) passed to full committee and HB1728 (NVP) moved to full committee. The day was also full of familiar faces because my fellow Teen Eagles were all shadowing a legislator. It was nice to know some people in the halls for once. It seems like we can't go more than a few steps before Mrs. Bobbie runs into someone she knows but I got to join in this week.

In a surprise announcement on the Senate floor Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Ramsey said he would retire after 24 years in the TN General Assembly. I remember when he first joined the State House.  We quickly became friends and in both the House and the Senate, worked together on a number of issues.  He will be greatly missed. He was always a friend of TN Eagle Forum and we certainly wish him well as he makes this life transition.
For his statement and some interesting details, see:
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey won't seek reelection

SB 1657 by *Tracy , Briggs
HB 1728
by *Sexton C , Marsh, Lundberg, Brooks K, McManus, Travis, Powers, Johnson, Casada Election Laws -  As introduced, adopts the interstate compact to elect the president by national popular vote.

You will not want to miss the brief excellent video:

The Popular Vote vs. the Electoral College

How the National Popular Vote Compact Attempts to Circumvent the US Constitution and Why it Should be Opposed by Governors and Legislators in All Fifty States

 The Heritage Foundation has written an excellent paper AGAINST it.  The Republican National Committee, the State Executive Committee of the TN Republican Party, the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women have passed strong resolutions AGAINST it. Attorney John Ryder, Tennessee's National Committeeman and legal counsel for the RNC has written an excellent article AGAINST it.  Do we see a pattern here?

STATUS: SB1657 is scheduled in Senate State and Local Government committee on Tuesday at 10:30.
HB1728 is scheduled in House Local Government on Tuesday at 9:00

ACTION:  Please contact these Senators: sen.richard.briggs@capitol.tn.govsen.ed.jackson@capitol.tn.gov;  and these House members: rep.tim.wirgau@capitol.tn.gov, rep.marc.gravitt@capitol.tn.gov, rep.billy.spivey@capitol.tn.gov, And URGE them to vote NO on this legislation

SB 2017 by *Ketron, (HB 2584) by *Todd

Interstate Compacts - As introduced, authorizes Tennessee's participation in Article V conventions to propose amendments to the United States Constitution, through the adoption of the "Compact for a Balanced Budget."

STATUS: As mentioned last week, the out-of-state proponents of the proposal did not behave very well in Tennessee as they made this debate personal.  At the third hearing on SB2017 in Senate Government Operations Committee, Chairman Mike Bell said he preferred not to have any more testimony and requested that sponsor Sen. Bill Ketron present his closing remarks. After some discussion by committee members, the vote was taken and the bill DID NOT get out of committee. I wish I could say that it was due to the expert lobbying, HA!  However, that was not the case.  It was just a 'God thing'!

Senators voting aye were: Roberts, Jackson, Crowe, Bell -- 4, Senators voting no were: Bowling, Beavers, Bailey -- 3, Senators present and not voting were: Harris -- 1. To move forward, five YES votes were required.  Sen. Brian Kelsey was not in committee this week and had voted YES last week.
HB2584 is on the House State Government calendar on Wednesday, but I am told it will not be run

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:  SJR467 was heard in House State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday. 
Despite testimony to the contrary the object of this potential lawsuit is NOT to STOP refugee resettlement, it is to hold the federal government accountable for abiding by federal law and the cost shifting to the states. After extended testimony and stiff opposition, and with us holding our breath, the chairman finally called for the vote. Thankfully, it was passed out to the full committee.   Whew!  Voice Vote - Ayes Prevail Rep(s). Jernigan, Ramsey requested to be recorded as voting No.

ACTION:  Please contact the members of the State Government Committee and URGE them to support this important resolution.  We cannot take for granted that it will get out committee.

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

Resources:  Gender Ideology Harms ChildrenGender anarchists and their bathroom battles.

This very important bill is running into stiff opposition and REAL misinformation!!
Placed on cal. Education Administration & Planning for 3/22/2016
Placed on Senate Education Committee calendar for 3/23/2016

ACTION We cannot take this for granted. Please use the links above to content committee members and help pass this legislation. If it doesn't happen this year, I suspect it won't happen at all.

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.
NOTE:  This legislation is a response to the activities of Planned Parenthood and the gruesome videos we all saw last summer.
Tennessee Gov Bill Haslam Pushes Pro-Life Reforms to Hold Unlawful Abortion Clinics Accountable
STATUS:  HB2584 was postponed last week but is in House Health Subcommittee on Tuesday. SB2586 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday.
ACTION:  Planned Parenthood has had folks at the Plaza at least twice this session and I suspect that the Planned Parenthood supporters will turn out in large numbers, so please let the committee members know you support this proposal.

Four now eye Ramsey's Senate seat; Hill out
Four Republicans have now picked up the paperwork needed to qualify as candidates for the Senate District 4 seat being vacated by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, according to the Kingsport Times-News.
State Rep. Jon Lundberg filed his nominating petition with the Sullivan County Election Commission on Friday. Petitions have been issued to Republicans Neal Kerney, Brad Baker and Steve Godsey.
No Democrats had picked up petitions or filed to run for the seat.
Kerney unsuccessfully ran for the House District 2 seat in 2004 against former state Rep. Nathan Vaughn.
Godsey is a former state representative who served as Sullivan County mayor from 2006 to 2014, when he lost his bid for re-election at the party primary level to current County Mayor Richard Venable.
¦Lundberg appears to have a huge early fundraising advantage in the Senate race, as his current House campaign account has more than $120,000 in it, according to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.

House votes thanks to Alexander, Corker for SCOTUS stance
A partisan debate topic on the House floor Thursday was a resolution by state Rep. Andy Holt offering thanks to Tennessee's two U.S. senators for declaring they will not vote for anyone nominated by President Barack Obama as a U.S. Supreme Court nominee.
"We hereby thank Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Bob Corker for their position to not move forward on a nomination to the Supreme Court by the current administration and expect their decision to refrain from entertaining a nomination by the current administration be sustained regardless of any conditions, declares HR178[passed 70-24-1]
"It looks like to me like we've got more important things to do than compliment senators on not doing the job they're supposed to do ¦ or for doing the job they're supposed to do, for that matter, said House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley.
But Holt said it was appropriate for legislators to back Alexander and Corker in refusing to consider Obama nominees when "his presidency is coming to a close, thank goodness. Other Republicans, including Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin and Rep. William Lamberth of Gallatin, rallied to the cause in speeches. Casada read quotations from Vice President Joe Biden, speaking when he was a Democratic U.S. senator, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York in opposition to Republican presidents submitting nominees to the Supreme Court late in their terms