Legislative Update, April 1, 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).

“I have to realize that whatever I do has meaning only if I ask that it serves His purpose .. I believe that in this present undertaking whatever the outcome it will be His doing.  I will pray for understanding of what it is He would have me to do.”  Ronald Reagan 1976.

Please remember Rep. Johnnie Turner and family.  Her sister died this week. Several more House Subcommittees have announced their final calendars this week, so please continue to pray for the lawmakers as these hectic days continue and become even more so. There seems to be so much frustration this year, probably more than I have ever seen. Great wisdom, inspiration, encouragement, and persistence is certainly needed to do the business of the state well.

This week was the Right to Life’s day on the hill. We started in the health committee, where Representative Matthew Hill presented his pro-life bill, HB1189. This bill will make abortion after 20 weeks a class C felony. Next we had the luncheon, where we heard from an abortion survivor, which was incredibly powerful, they also received a congratulatory letter from the Vice President that they read during lunch

Mrs. Bobbie told me yesterday that never in her 30 years has she experienced such an odd legislative session. This statement gives a good description of what I have witnessed down at the legislature. On Wednesday the atmosphere almost seemed uneasy because of the incident with Sen. Mae Beavers in the Senate Education committee last week and because of Gardenhire’s SB1014 the instate tuition for students including illegal aliens that has caused quite a bit of discussion on that topic. There is definitely never a dull moment at the Legislature and I am always eager to see what I’ll learn

SB 1180 by *Hensley,(HB 1189) by *Hill M,
, Matlock, Byrd, Lynn, Terry, Rudd, Eldridge, Weaver, Butt, Goins
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.

Tuesday was Pro-life Ladies' Day on the Hill and the Plaza was filled with these supporters of LIFE.  At 10:30 am in the House Health Committee, to a room overflowing with supporters (we only saw six or seven Planned Parenthood folks there), Rep. Matthew Hill did a masterful job of presenting his bill and even though peppered with questions by opponents, he clearly and effectively defended its provisions.  You can watch the debate HERE; on lower left scroll down to HB1198 and click. When the dust settled, the bill was passed out of the committee to the Finance, Ways & Means Committee on a voice vote with Rep. Clemmons, Favors, Jernigan, Jones, Staples requesting to be recorded as voting No.

Then in the War Memorial Auditorium, a lovely luncheon was held. Thanks to TN Right to Life for inviting Sarah and me to be a part of the celebration. Melissa Ohden, survivor of a saline infusion abortion in 1977 guest speaker. A stunning and impressive story. 20-week abortion ban advances in Tennessee House.


State Sen. Joey Hensley: In-State Tuition Would Encourage More Illegal Immigrants To Come To Tennessee .

Guest Commentary: ‘Gardenhire Republicans’ Want Subsidized Education for Illegal Immigrants and Sanctuary Campuses.

Legislators Who Give In-State Tuition to Illegal Immigrant Students Are Voting to Violate State Law .

SB 0635 by *Gardenhire, (HB 0660) by *White M
Education, Higher - As introduced, authorizes the governing body of each public institution of higher education to determine the qualifications that students must possess to be eligible for payment of in-state tuition
STATUS:  SB635 is in Senate Education Committee on Tuesday.  HB660 is in Education Administration & Planning Subcommittee Tuesday.
ACTION: PLEASE contact the members of both committees and URGE them to OPPOSE this legislation.

SB 1014 by *Gardenhire, (HB 0863) by *White M
Education - As introduced, exempts certain students from payment of out-of-state tuition at state institutions of higher education

STATUS:  SB1014 is still sitting in Senate Finance, Ways and Means, but has not yet been put on the Calendar.  HB863 on the Education Administration & Planning calendar on Tuesday.
ACTION:  PLEASE contact the members of both these committees and URGE them to vote NO on this bill.


Glen Casada: 'It's time for House to lead' on IMPROVE Act .

Commentary: NO, It ISN’T a Tax Cut for Regular Tennesseeans .

State Rep. Jerry Sexton Calls Out Hypocrisy of Gas Tax Supporters Who Oppose Use of Sales Taxes for Road Construction .

Concerned Veterans of America: ‘Veterans Being Used in Tennessee Tax Hike Ploy

SB 1221 by *Norris,  (HB 0534) by *Casada,Doss, Dunn, Sargent, Swann, McDaniel, Whitson, White M, Marsh
Gas, Petroleum Products, Volatile Oils - As introduced, changes from July 20 to July 25 the date by which a commercial user of a vehicle propelled by liquefied gas or compressed natural gas must submit the annual report of miles traveled and tax due.
NOTE: This was the "Caption" bill that, with an amendment, was to become the IMPROVE Act, a.k.a, the Governor's bill.

STATUS:  After endless hours of debate, great frustration, and many amendments, SB1221 is on the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee Calendar on Tuesday; HB534 is on Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee calendar on Wednesday.
ACTION:  Time is running out for your to make your voice heard. Now is the time to let the lawmakers hear from you.

SB 0155 by Roberts (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

In 2009, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation that, among other things, prohibits local government entities from adopting any ordinance or written policy that expressly prohibits a local government entity, official or employee from complying with applicable federal law pertaining to persons who reside in Tennessee illegally. It also prohibits local government officials from materially interfering with the ability of a local government entity, official or employee to comply with applicable federal law pertaining to persons who reside in Tennessee illegally.

The 2017 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. Among other things, the full text of this bill defines "sanctuary policy" in detail. Generally, "sanctuary policy" includes policies that:
(1) Hinder communication and cooperation between state or local government and the federal government to verify or report an alien's immigration status;
(2) Authorize illegal aliens to remain in Tennessee;
(3) Interfere with the ability of state or local government entities to detain and transfer aliens to the department of homeland security;
(4) Require the department of homeland security to obtain a warrant or demonstrate probable cause before complying with a request to detain and transfer an alien to the department; or
(5) Prevent law enforcement from inquiring into citizenship or immigration status.
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.
Full text available HERE.

In the world in which we find ourselves living today, it is extremely important that we tighten up our law in Tennessee.
STATUS:  SB155 is on the
Senate State and Local Government Committee calendar on Tuesday; HB271 on the State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION:  Please contact the members of these committees and urge them to support this legislation.

SB 0816 by *Green , Bell, Hensley, Beavers, Bowling, Ketron, Kelsey, Stevens.
(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, Kumar, Terry, Byrd, Powers, Eldridge
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 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: As this important bill has moved through the legislative process, it continues to pick up co-sponsors. Rep. Matheny ended up with 23 co-sponsors; Sen. Green now has seven co-sponsors including the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
SB816 was in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday afternoon. During the discussion, the question was asked if 'articulable' was defined in law or code.  Sen. Green deferred to the committee legal counsel, but Chairman Kelsey call on the DAs director and he asked Steve Crump, the elected DA for the 10th District to respond. Mr. Crump was wonderful saying that there was a significant body of law that defined and supported that term. (Later I saw him and thanked him profusely. He said he was very happy to do so and went on to say that he thought the bill was excellent and needed.)
The committee vote was unanimous and it is scheduled on the CONSENT Calendar Monday afternoon. 

This comes under the heading of just plain fun:
Bringing your best four-legged friend started several years ago when Sen. Jon Lundberg (then House member) brought a lab-looking puppy named Nash (for Nashville) to the Plaza. Since that time other four legged friends have shown up; Rep. Judd Matheny with Panzer, then Maggie; Rep. Mark Pody with Barney. Perhaps there have been others that don't come to me at the moment. However, I do have to say that Sen. Bo Watson's Dolly really does 'take the cake'.  What a doll baby she is - so quite - so well behaved - just a joy to be around.


In case you were wondering:  Haslam not looking at Medicaid expansion after failed ACA repeal effort.