Legislative Update, February 25, 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).

 
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. ---Calvin Coolidge


FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Please pray for a legislative staff member's son who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. Remember to pray for Rep. Harry Brooks' wife and also pray for Sen. Mae Beavers and her staff. No one should have to endure what they endured this week. And...would you 'put feet to your prayers'? Would you send her a card of encouragement to Suite 6, Legislative Plaza, Nashville, TN 37243


SARAH'S CORNER:

How do you create anarchy? By turning a blind eye. In my time working with Ms Bobbie that’s what I’ve seen more than anything. There are protests that are being left unchecked. Ms. Bobbie compared the protesters to a two year old; we’ve let them go without punishment and they’ve learned they can push boundaries. 



MALIA'S CORNER:

As the weeks go by, I’m finding it increasingly harder to fit my day into one paragraph. We began our quick paced day with a continued search for supporters and more co-sponsors on HB1366, which is the bill that Mrs. Bobbie is lobbying this year. About midday, Mrs. Bobbie and I were going to the House Transportation subcommittee because they were going to be talking about the gas tax only to find the room filled to capacity. We walked out hoping to find a place to sit in front of the TV but found even more people watching. I’m eager to see how these things are going to shake out




RIGHT TO DIE:
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

STATUS:  I was so thrilled to read on Rep. Tim Wirgau's Facebook page last weekend that he had had SERIOUS second thoughts and that he would would not run the bill.  I was able to speak with him early Tuesday morning and he was very gracious; he made no excuses and took full responsibility for making a mistake.  He assured me that he would withdraw the bill.  THANK YOU Rep. Wirgau.  We are grateful for your action.

 

GAS TAX ALTERNATIVE:
SB 0963 by *Roberts, (HB 1012) by *Hawk
Taxes, Sales - As introduced, requires the commissioner of revenue to annually report the amount of revenue generated from the tax on the sale of food to the chairs of the finance, ways and means committees of the senate and the house of representatives.
House leaders push alternative to Haslam's gas tax plan

STATUS: Well, a funny thing happened on the way to passing a gas tax bill....
When Malia and I arrived in the committee room on Wednesday, there was not a single empty seat to be had, so we had to go back out to the seating area outside Room 16 and watch the meeting on the TV.  At first there weren't any seats but finally some nice men gave us their seats. The committee was convened, did some business, then Chairman Terri Lynn Weaver said they would be going out of order and called up HB1012 sponsored by Rep. David Hawk.  He introduced the bill and the amendment that 'makes' the bill. Just a few minutes later, Rep. John Mark Windle made an motion to amend the bill to remove the tax on baby formula, and when the Chairman noted that the amendment had not been filed timely, he quickly made a motion to adjourn, a non-debatable motion.  Reps. David Alexander, Barbara Cooper, Barry Doss, Sam Whitson and John Mark Windle voted YES; Reps. Courtney Rogers, Jerry Sexton and Terri Lynn Weaver voted NO, and the meeting was adjourned.
House Transportation Subcommittee Adjourns Before Any Action Taken on Road Funding Proposals

ACTION:  We want YOU to come to the Plaza next Wednesday to be in Room 16 for the Transportation Subcommittee meeting!!! Please make your plans to join us!!!


'FREEDOM TO REPORT ACT':
SB 0816 by
*Green , Bell, Hensley, Beavers, Bowling
(HB 1366) by *Matheny,Holt, Rogers, Moody, Pody, VanHuss, Carter, Ragan, Faison, Reedy, Hill T, Hill M, Rudd, Butt, Weaver, Matlock, Gant, Sexton J, Sparks
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
NOTE:  We are so excited about this legislation.  We have been working with Rep. Matheny and others to design this bill.

The bill would provide (1) that individuals who report suspicious, potentially criminal or terrorist activity in good faith cannot be sued as a consequence, and (2) the intentional making of a report known to be false, or a report made with reckless disregard for the truth of the report it not protected. When it comes to suspicious, potentially criminal or terrorist activity, Americans are encouraged to, "report suspicious activity." But before they do so, they have a right to know that they won't be sued for their efforts. Similar legislation has passed in New York and Mississippi.

STATUS:  HB1366 is in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday.
ACTION:  Please contact these committee members and URGE them to support this common sense legislation. Reps. Tillman Goins, Michael Curcio, and William Lambreth.



SANCTUARY POLICY:
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.
Among other things, this bill replaces the present law prohibitions against local government activity that interferes with enforcement of federal immigration laws with a prohibition against any state or local government or entity of official enacting a sanctuary policy. Under this bill, a state or local government entity that adopts a sanctuary policy will be ineligible to receive any state moneys until the policy is repealed, rescinded, or otherwise no longer in effect.
This bill retains the present law authorization for residents to file a complaint in chancery court, although that complaint will now be based on adoption or enactment of a sanctuary policy. If a resident prevails, the chancellor will be required, rather than authorized, to order some type of action to ensure compliance with the prohibition against sanctuary policies.
STATUS:  SB 155 is in the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday.
ACTION:  Please let the members of that committee know that you support this very important proposal.



FORFEITURE OF ASSETS:
SB 0316 by *Gardenhire,(HB 0421) by *Daniel

Forfeiture of Assets - As introduced, establishes a new procedure for the seizure and forfeiture of assets as the result of criminal activity; requires conviction for the underlying criminal conviction before forfeiture can occur; requires clear and convincing evidence that the property is subject to forfeiture; and provides that all forfeited or abandoned money be deposited in state general fund and all property forfeitures be sold and the proceeds go into state general fund.
NOTE: This is a very important bill and we have seen serious situations here in Middle TN. This article from the Beacon Center explains the details:

Tennessee’s civil asset forfeiture system: Unfair and broken
STATUS: HB 421 will be in Civil Justice Subcommittee for March 1.
ACTION: You will want to encourage the members of this committee to vote for this proposal.
 

FREE SPEECH OR ANARCHY?
It was certainly a hot topic of conversation this week at the Plaza.
Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep. Mark Pody have introduce bills that have created some controversy, as many bills do.
'BATHROOM BILL':
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

NATURAL MARRIAGE DEFENSE ACT:
SB 0752 by *Beavers, (HB 0892) by *Pody
Marriage - As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act," which states the policy of Tennessee to defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary.

Last week:‘Bathroom bill’ news conference stopped by protesters

This week: Protesters Storm State Senator's Office, Intimidate Staff.

As it should be, the Plaza and the Capitol are open to everyone.  However there is some expectation of decorum and respect even if one supports or opposes legislation.  These past two weeks have seen people protest in totally unacceptable ways. It is my hope and PRAYER that a plan will be put in place to protect the lawmakers and their staffs as they carry on the work of their districts and the state.