Legislative Update, April 29, 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).

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr.

First and foremost, I ask your prayers for Sen. Mark Green as he walks through the confirmation process for Secretary of the Army.  He is being vicious attacked for being the conservative that he is. You will want to continue to remember Sen. Steve Sutherland as he recuperates. You will also want to remember Rep. Patsy Hazelwood as she lost her aunt last week.  Rep. Judd Matheny was in a leg brace this week with a ligament problem in his left leg.  Please pray for him as this is resolved. It looks like we are heading into the final couple of weeks of the 2017 General Assembly with the budget and appropriation bills on the agenda.  It is interesting that 'passing a budget' is the ONLY Constitutional requirement of the General Assembly, and it must be balanced.  Wisdom, clarity, and courage are needed as these closing decisions are made.

As the session winds up, things are calming down. Most of the bills we were working on are heading to the floor, so we had to find some fun this week. We were in the criminal justice committee to watch the discussion on a bill, when they brought up a bill that bans holding cellphones in a school zone. It had to be at least 20 minute debate on the bill. Aside from that, we listened to budget presentations, which were very boring.


This Wednesday was very slow compared to the usual frantic rushing around. Our main mission was to hunt down Senators to see were they stood on SJR92, the Term Limits Resolution. Although both the House and Senate floors met, they only had a few bills up so they finished quite quickly. In the early afternoon after Mrs. Bobbie and I went to the House Finance Ways and Means Committee, we had nothing more to do that day. Never did it occur to me that such slow days existed at the Tennessee Legislature.

SJR 0358
by *McNally , Kelsey, Southerland, Briggs, Crowe, Jackson, Gresham, Lundberg, Bailey, Beavers, Bell, Bowling, Dickerson, Gardenhire, Haile, Harper, Hensley, Johnson, Ketron, Massey, Niceley, Norris, Overbey, Roberts, Stevens, Tate, Tracy, Watson, Yager
Memorials, Congratulations - Senator Mark Green
STATUS:  SJR358 passed the Senate 30-0 and will be on the House floor Wednesday.



In the Air and Among the Clouds: The Rapture of the Church Paperback – March 16, 2017 by Rick Womick (Author)
And we are many!!!  I am thrilled to let you know that Rick has not been idle since his retirement.  Between flying planes across the country, he has become an author.
"In the Air and Among the Clouds" captures the very essence of what the United States and the world so desperately need as mankind approaches the rapture of the church and the Great Tribulation, as is foretold in the book of Revelation. It's author has not only tapped into the problems of our day, but he provides Biblical insight and answers to the questions people are asking about the return of Jesus Christ, life after death, and where mankind will spend eternity. This book not only lifts the veil of confusion as it relates to end time events, but it has the potential to reach the heart, mind, and soul of so many people who are seeking spiritual guidance in the midst of a lost and dying world. "In the Air and Among the Clouds" will offer every reader the discernment, encouragement, and assurance they need to fully comprehend God's perfect word as it relates to end time prophecy, the rapture of the church, the return of Jesus Christ, the judgment of mankind, and the Father's awesome gift of eternal life with Him in heaven

SJR 0092 by *Jackson , Harris
Constitutional Conventions - Makes application to Congress for the purpose of calling a constitutional convention for proposing a congressional term limit amendment.
STATUS:  SJR92 continues to sit in the Senate Calendar Committee, just waiting to hit the Senate floor.

NOTE:  A LOT of out-of-state money is being spent for SJR92 on lobbyists and publicity, and they have seen to it that similar resolutions have been introduced on 14 other states.  They even say on their website: "A massive national campaign to limit the terms of the U.S. Congress has been launched and Tennessee is one of the first target states!" The national organization, US Term Limits, is now running ads every hour on the Ralph Bristol Show on WWTN urging listeners to call their lawmakers asking them to vote for this proposal. If YOU don't make YOUR VOICE heard, these out-of-state folks may be successful!! Do we really want outsiders determining what we do in Tennessee??

We don't really NEED Term Limits: Here's a look at congressional tenure, by the numbers:
9.1 years: Average length of service in the United States House of Representatives as of January 2013, according to the Congressional Research Service.
10.2 years: Average length of service in the U.S. Senate as of January 2013

More information HERE!

ACTION:  Please contact YOUR senator and urge him or her to VOTE NO when this comes to the Senate floor.


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: As you probably recall, o
n April 19, after several hours of debate, HB534, as amended, passed the House floor 60-37 and was sent to the Senate. That afternoon, the Senate voted to 'substitute and conform' and after a short debate, it passed 25-6.  The Senate version was a little different, so it was sent back to the House.  On Monday evening, HB534 was on the floor message calendar.  After a
contentious half hour, the House voted to concur in the Senate amendments, 67-21. The Governor signed the legislation on April 26th.

This week, Governor Bill Haslam introduced his amendment to the fiscal year 2017-2018 budget proposal that will be considered by the 110th General Assembly in the coming days.
The appropriations amendment tracks closely to the Governor’s original budget proposal presented to the legislature on January 30, which for the second year in a row does not take on any new debt and makes significant investments in teachers, K-12 schools, higher education, state employees, the state’s Rainy Day Fund, and the tax cuts included in the IMPROVE Act.
The amendment builds on previous legislative priorities by making strategic and thoughtful investments across state government.
  • $2 million for prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services,
  • $55 million for transportation projects as the IMPROVE Act is phased in,
  • $40 million for a new State Library and Archives building to collect and preserve Tennessee records of historical, documentary, and reference value,
  • And $10.65 million for disaster relief in Gatlinburg and Sevier County after the devastating wildfires in November 2016. 
  • $8 million to increase salaries paid to Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities service providers who care for the state’s most vulnerable,
    The appropriations amendment is customarily introduced in the final weeks of the legislative session each year for consideration and approval by the General Assembly. The final 2017-2018 budget is expected to be adopted sometime in May.
Transportation, state library, Gatlinburg relief bolstered in Haslam's latest budget.


SB 0831 by *Yarbro,(HB 0841) by *Fitzhugh
Education - As introduced, enacts the "K-12 Block Grant Act," which distributes block grants to each LEA to improve the quality of education; appropriates $250 million from excess state tax revenues over collected in fiscal years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 for K-12 block grants

NOTE:  This bill is said to be the 'bill to watch' to see if the Democrats are successful! It requires the department of education to administer a K-12 block grant program, which grants will be supplemental to BEP funding.  The funding comes from excess state tax revenue over-collected in fiscal years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 and deposited in the general fund, for an appropriation of $250 million for the grants. SB831 is in Senate Finance Ways and Means on Monday and HB841 is in House Finance Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tuesday.


SB 0631 by *Haile,
Crowe, Bailey, Beavers, Bell, Bowling, Briggs, Dickerson, Gardenhire, Green, Gresham, Harper, Harris, Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, Kyle, Lundberg, Massey, Niceley, Norris, Overbey, Roberts, Stevens, Tate, Tracy, Watson, Yager, Yarbro, McNally (HB 0727) by *Swann,Wirgau, Whitson, Thompson, Hardaway, Sherrell, Turner, Lamberth, Carr , Sanderson, Holsclaw, Camper, Miller, McCormick, White D, Shaw, Staples, Powell, Hazlewood, Sargent, Faison, Doss, Farmer, Lynn, Williams, Eldridge, VanHuss, Gant, Zachary, Hill M, Crawford, Holt, Windle, Halford, Brooks K, Tillis, Matlock, Hawk, Matheny, Powers, Sparks, Towns, Byrd, Clemmons, Littleton, Travis, Hill T, Calfee, Gravitt, Beck, Weaver, Goins, Rogers, Reedy, Moody, Marsh, Terry, Rudd, Alexander, Kumar, Gilmore, Cooper, Akbari, Hicks, Hulsey, Lollar, Coley, Daniel, Butt, McDaniel, Stewart, Curcio, Ragan, Jernigan, Johnson, Sexton C, Parkinson, Casada, Carter, Fitzhugh
Education, Curriculum - As introduced, requires students to complete one year of instruction in American government and one year of instruction in Tennessee history between grades 7 and 12 to receive a high school diploma, with various exceptions

We were in Senate Education when Sen. Haile presented his bill and I was taken with his emphasis on the 'stories' of Tennessee, not just the 'facts'. We all remember 'stories' far better than 'facts'.  At least one member of the recent TN Social Studies Standards Review Committee thinks the new standards are lacking: 
Tennessee history would suffer with social studies revision. Perhaps this bill would bridge the perceived gap between 'embedded' history and the stories.

STATUS: This bill has sort of taken on a life of its own - note the number of sponsors each has - that is truly amazing!! On Monday evening, SB631, as amended, passed the Senate floor 32-0.  HB727 is scheduled in House Finance Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tuesday where it is expected pass.

SB 1085 by *Stevens,(HB 1111) by *Farmer
Statutes and Codification - As introduced, requires that undefined words be given their natural and ordinary meaning, without forced or subtle construction that would limit or extend the meaning of the language, except when a contrary intention is clearly manifest.
STATUS:  On March 16,  HB1111 passed the House floor 70-23-2; on April 27, SB1085 the Senate floor 23-6-1.
Senate passes 'natural, ordinary meaning' bill slammed by LGBT groups as discriminatory.
It will be in the Governor's hands shortly.  We will see if he chooses to sign it.

HJR 0148 by *Gravitt
Memorials, Interns - Jason Rogers
A RESOLUTION to commend Jason Rogers for exemplary service as an intern in the Governor's Office.
As the grandmother of a granddaughter with Downs, I was so please to see Jason honored for his service in the Governor's office. The resolution is definitely worth the read.

Of course, it passed unanimously in both Houses.