Legislative Update, February 11, 2017

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).

“immigration without assimilation is not immigration; it’s an invasion.” former Gov.  Bobby Jindal

With bill filing deadline on Thursday, the 'beast is fed' and it will be up and moving for real now. In the Senate, 1425 bills have been filed; in the House 1413, plus all the resolutions. Obviously, not all these will pass, but many will and they WILL impact the lives of the citizens of our state.  Will they be wise measures, well thought out, just, and appropriate?  Well, if we follow the Biblical command to pray for these lawmakers (I Timothy 2:1-2 - I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness) that can only improve the situation.

This week was absolutely crazy! Ms. Bobbie had a speaking arrangement at the TeenPAC where she spoke on the electoral college and the national popular vote. Later, we noticed that PBS had set up a booth, and The Cat in the Hat was walking around! This week was so full of random tidbits, as Ms. Bobbie texted me later, “It was like a ‘crazy quilt’ kind of day!” I guess you really don’t know what will happen at the capitol! In the words of Dr. Seuss, "Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”

The Legislative Plaza was full of action this Wednesday since it was the bill filing deadline for the legislators. All the legislators and their assistants were running around trying to file their bills before the deadline on Thursday. As we weaved through all the traffic of the hallways, Mrs. Bobbie and I went to two committees: the House State Government committee and the Senate Health and Welfare committee. The committee that was most exciting was the Senate Health and Welfare committee not only because of the interesting topic of stroke prevention, but because in attendance was Randy Travis who has survived a stroke himself. The pace is beginning to pick up at the legislature. Here we go!


It will take some time to catch up with the flurry of bills that have been filed, but it is already clear that we will certainly have a lively session! That means that YOUR attention and YOUR involvement can make all the difference in the world.  It is OUR responsibility to make our voices heard! The biggest disappointment is to see that a so-called 'Right to Die' bill has been introduced. (see list of bills below.)


As Malia mentioned, we were blessed to hear the testimony of Mary Travis about the nearly deadly journey that Randy has had including a massive stroke. My husband had a stroke in 2003, thankfully not nearly as bad as Randy had, but it is life changing. I am so glad that our state is working toward providing the care that stroke victims need and that can help them recover as much as possible.
SB 0544 by *Ketron,(HB 0123) by *Ramsey
Public Health - As introduced, requires comprehensive stroke centers and primary stroke centers, and encourages other hospitals, to report data on individuals with confirmed stroke to the ETSU College of Public Health on a quarterly basis.

Randy Travis: 'Damaged,' but still fighting after near fatal stroke
Doctors told her to pull the plug.
Randy Travis had already flatlined, and now he was fighting an infection that specialists said he had virtually no chance of surviving. Even if he did, they told his wife, he'd likely be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Three years and three months later, Travis walked on stage last fall to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He stood throughout his induction and then stunned the room, singing “Amazing Grace.”
But the road back has been grueling, Travis told The Tennessean during his most in-depth interview since the 2013 stroke that nearly took his life. Travis' speech is halting, and he mostly maneuvers around his upscale Nashville condo via a wheelchair.
Asked whether he is happy, the singer paused for several seconds.
“Well … no,” he admitted, before another long pause. "Damaged."


HJR 0024 by *Powers
Constitutional Conventions - Calls for a convention of the states to plan for an Article V convention to propose a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution; creates a balanced budget amendment convention committee
The tension between the two groups who support a COS became evident with HJR24 was in the State Government Subcommittee this week.  By my count, supporters of the resolution did not have the votes to pass it.  Sure enough, the bill was rolled until Feb 22.

SJR 0009 by *Kelsey
Constitutional Conventions - Calls for a convention of the states to plan for an Article V convention to propose a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution; creates a balanced budget amendment convention committee.
STATUS: This is the companion to HJR24 and passed the senate 27-3.

I still have a question for legislators that I can never seem to get an answer to:  Over 40% of Tennessee's budget comes from the federal government.  If we are REALLY serious about balancing the budget, which of the programs are you willing to refuse?
We remain opposed to a Convention and we maintain that we DO NOT had a deficient Constitution, but a DERELICT Congress.

HJR 0031 by *Goins
Memorials, Congress - Supports U.S. statehood for Puerto Rico.
STATUS: In 2010, a federal bill that supported statehood for Puerto Rico was stopped. Eagle Forum was opposed to that and we remain opposed to this move. With this financial situation this country as it is right now, we would be taking on a new 'state' with a 44.9% poverty rate.  What would that mean  in terms of new financial responsibility to the US?
"Over the past 30 years, Puerto Rican politics has been dominated by more liberal, blue state-leaning policies.  Of the eleven governors who presided over the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, nine have been Democrats.  By total time in office, Republicans have been in power for about 12 per cent of the time.  In general, these governors have opted for increased spending, expanding governments, increasing welfare and other transfer payments from the Federal Government, and higher taxation in the hopes that revenues would come close to supporting government spending programs."  
Puerto Rico Economy Worsens With Crisis, Most Anywhere You Look

Puerto Rico is living an impoverished debt nightmare reminiscent of southern Europe or Detroit
ACTION:  HJR31 is in the  State Government Subcommittee.  Please let the members know that this is not a good idea. Sanderson, (rep.bill.sanderson@capitol.tn.gov) Chair; Hulsey (rep.bud.hulsey@capitol.tn.gov), Jernigan (rep.darren.jernigan@capitol.tn.gov), Littleton (rep.mary.littleton@capitol.tn.gov), Ramsey (rep.bob.ramsey@capitol.tn.gov).

SB 0816 by *Green,(HB 1366) by *Matheny , Holt, Rogers, Moody, Pody, VanHuss, Carter, Ragan, Faison  Criminal Offenses - As introduced, gives immunity from civil or criminal liability to a person for making a report to law enforcement of suspicious activity or behavior if the report is based on articulable suspicion. The is a TN Eagle Forum Bill and we are grateful for the support we are receiving.  We live in a time filled with new risks and people need to feel free to report suspicious activity.   The federal government, and the US Department of Homeland Security in particular, urge citizens to report crimes to law enforcement authorities. Numerous crimes have been prevented and criminals have been apprehended as a result of such reports.

SB 1378 by *Tate (HB 1394) by *Wirgau
Right to Die - As introduced, creates a process whereby an adult suffering from a terminal disease may request medication for the purpose of ending the adult's life in a humane and dignified manner if certain requirements are met.
NOTE:  I am profoundly sorry to see this bill appear this session. It is problematic on so many levels as was revealed in the hearing we had a couple of years ago.  We will be strongly opposing it.


Wednesday seems to be the big day this week. At noon in the House Transportation Subcommittee, there will be a panel that will speak in support of the IMPROVE Act.  At 2:00 pm in the Senate Transportation Committee, there will be a presentation: Transportation Needs for the Next Tennessee. You may want to watch these presentations on the Legislative website, as well as contacting your senator and representative to make your opinion known.

Mayors group hires former top Haslam aide to lobby state on transit funding

Anti-tax group poll: Most Republicans opposed to Haslam gas tax plan

Poll finds 28 percent GOP support for gas tax increase, 15 percent opposed

SB 1180 by *Hensley,(HB 1189) by *Hill M
Abortion - As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee Infants Protection Act," which prohibits abortion of a viable fetus except in a medical emergency and requires testing to determine viability if a woman is at least 20 weeks pregnant.


SB 0155 by *Green,(HB 0271) by *Goins
Immigration - As introduced, prohibits state and local governmental entities and officials from adopting or enacting sanctuary policies; authorizes residents of this state and members of the general assembly to submit complaints to the attorney general and reporter; provides that violations will subject applicable entities to ineligibility of state moneys

SB 0675 by *Green,(HB 0928) by *Butt
Local Government, General - As introduced, limits the purposes for which a local government can issue identification cards; limits the uses of local government-issued identification cards

SB 0771 by *Beavers,(HB 0888) by *Pody
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
SB 1355 by *Bailey,(HB 0026) by *Sanderson
Motor Vehicles, Titling and Registration - As introduced, requires all license plates to bear the language "In God We Trust" upon the existing inventory of the registration plates in that particular plate category being utilized by the department of revenue.