Legislative Update, May 6, 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).

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln

Well, the days dwindle down to a precious few.....this week of acrimony finally ended just after lunch on Friday in the House!! The House and Senate will reconvene in their respective chambers at 5:00pm on Monday.  The House has some brief committee meetings prior to the floor session. Please pray for graceful hearts and wise heads for these last few days.  Please remember Rep. Kevin Brooks' son, Zach. His arm was so severely broken that surgery was required to repair it.  It was nice to welcome Sen. Steve Southerland back to the Plaza this week.


I’ve been surprised how quickly things escalated, and then how quickly it calmed back down. There were only two committees left Tuesday, Finance Ways and Means for the House, and Senate. This week Ms. Bobbie asked what most surprised me about the legislature. There have been so many surprising things this session, but I had to say the politics. With the gas tax, the pro-life bill, and even the term limits resolution, everything has been so unpredictable that Ms. Bobbie said she, “threw out my crystal ball a long time ago.”


This last Wednesday was similar to the last few weeks as we did a lot of sitting and listening to debates and discussion on interesting topics. Abortion was one of the topics that came up as Rep. Matthew Hill was presenting SB1180 on the house floor that morning. The results were pleasing as it passed 69-18. Mrs. Bobbie and I have also been following SJR92 or the Term Limits Resolution which we waited to come up on the calendar only to be rolled to Thursday.

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 was finally scheduled on the Senate floor on Wednesday.  Sen. Jackson was absent so it was rolled to Thursday.  Then on Thursday he rolled it to Monday night. Regardless of how many times it is rolled, it is STILL a TERRIBLE idea.
ACTION:  Please contact, not just your senator, but some of the other senators HERE and URGE them to OPPOSE this UNNEEDED bill.
This opposition is NOT about a Constitutional Convention,
this is only about imposing artificial TERM LIMITS.

1.  We have 'term limits', they are called "elections", every two, four, and six years. Just because voters are derelict in their duty, does not mean we must change our process. 
2. 'Artificial' term limits means giving the bureaucracy a LOT more power; in addition, institutional memory and experience is no longer available.
3. Voters are prohibited from voting for the person they believe is best for that office.
4. Term limits creates multiple classes of 'lame ducks' and successive 'freshman' classes.  We all know that in the last term any official serves, without re-election on the horizon, there is no longer the accountability that was once there.
5.  This would prevent legislators from gaining the experience they need to become skilled lawmakers.
6.  This would also interfere with experienced legislators gaining seniority to gain committee chairmanships and leadership positions
7.  Term Limits give Lobbyists more influence.

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.

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.

STATUS:  So happy to report that on Monday, SB1180, as amended, after some debate, passed the Senate 27-3:
         Senators voting aye were: Bailey, Beavers, Bell, Bowling, Briggs, Crowe, Dickerson, Gardenhire, Gresham, Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, Lundberg, Massey, Niceley, Norris, Overbey, Roberts, Southerland, Stevens, Tracy, Watson, Yager, Mr. Speaker McNally -- 27. Senators voting no were: Harris, Kyle, Yarbro -- 3
[RIGHT: Opponents line the entrance to the House floor.]

The action then moved to the House floor on Wednesday.  Sponsor Matthew Hill stood in the well for very long time beautifully responding to questions and statements (some absurd), and defending against some amendments offered by opponents.  When the vote was finally taken, it passed the House 69-18-3:
Representatives voting aye were: Brooks H., Butt, Byrd, Calfee, Carr, Casada, Coley, Crawford, Curcio, Daniel, DeBerry, Doss, Dunn, Eldridge, Faison, Farmer, Forgety, Gant, Goins, Halford, Hawk, Hicks, Hill M., Hill T., Holsclaw, Holt, Howell, Hulsey, Johnson, Kane, Keisling, Kumar, Lamberth, Littleton, Lollar, Lynn, Marsh, Matheny, Matlock, McDaniel, Moody, Pody, Powers, Ragan, Ramsey, Reedy, Rogers, Rudd, Sanderson, Sargent, Sexton C., Sexton J., Shaw, Sherrell, Sparks, Swann, Terry, Thompson, Tillis, Travis, Van Huss, Weaver, White D., White M., Whitson, Williams, Wirgau, Zachary, Madam Speaker Harwell -- 69.
Representatives voting no were: Akbari, Camper, Clemmons, Cooper, Favors, Fitzhugh, Gilmore, Hardaway, Jernigan, Jones, Love, Miller, Mitchell, Pitts, Powell, Staples, Stewart, Turner -- 18.
Representatives present and not voting were: Gravitt, Hazlewood, McCormick -- 3.
It has been transmitted to the Governor for his signature.

Legislature gives final approval to ban on abortions after 20 weeks  .

SB 0483 by *Norris, (HB 0511) by *Sargent
Appropriations - As introduced, makes appropriations for the fiscal years beginning July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017.
STATUS:  Well, where to start?  HB511 was finally taken up on the House floor on Thursday where over 20 amendments had been filed. The debate quickly became acrimonious -- some amendments being adopted, some rejected.  As time moved on and fatigue and frustration set in and tempers flared, the House started approving a lot of amendments.  Various recesses were taken and then about mid afternoon, an abrupt motion to adjourn was made.  The body was then informed that they House would meet again on Friday morning at 9:00am.

When they convened on Friday, apologies were made and statements of mutual support were forthcoming.  Clearly discussions had taken place and agreements made.  Rep. Sargent had filed an amendment that stripped off all the amendments that had been adopted on Thursday, then Rep. Judd Matheny offered one amendment that would send $55million to the counties for use in the state street aid funds rather than putting it in the state's transportation fund. That was adopted 77-9-1, and the bill was officially sent to the Senate where is expected to be taken up on Monday evening.

HB511, as amended, passed 83-2:
Representatives voting aye were: Akbari, Alexander, Brooks H., Byrd, Calfee, Camper, Carr, Carter, Casada, Clemmons, Coley, Cooper, Crawford, Curcio, Daniel, DeBerry, Doss, Dunn, Eldridge, Farmer, Fitzhugh, Forgety, Gant, Gilmore, Goins, Gravitt, Halford, Hawk, Hazlewood, Hicks, Hill M., Hill T., Holsclaw, Hulsey, Jernigan, Johnson, Jones, Kane, Keisling, Kumar, Lamberth, Littleton, Lollar, Love, Lynn, Marsh, Matheny, Matlock, McCormick, McDaniel, Miller, Mitchell, Parkinson, Powell, Ramsey, Reedy, Rogers, Rudd, Sanderson, Sargent, Sexton C., Sexton J., Shaw, Sherrell, Smith, Sparks, Staples, Stewart, Swann, Thompson, Tillis, Towns, Travis, Turner, Van Huss, Weaver, White D., White M., Whitson, Williams, Wirgau, Zachary, Madam Speaker Harwell -- 83.
          Representatives voting no were: Hardaway, Holt -- 2.

The other bills related to the budget passed easily with bipartisan support.

Thursday's acrimony is Friday lovefest: House passes $37B budget
By Sam StockardUpdated 12:17PM
Putting a day of acrimony behind it, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a $37 billion budget plan, stripping away nearly $320 million in amendments placed on it the previous day.
Compared to the previous day of arguments and overspending, Friday’s debate was a veritable lovefest.
Before passing the measure in an 83-2 vote, the House voted 77-9 to send $55 million in Gov. Bill Haslam’s budget amendments to the state’s 95 counties for use in State Street Aid funds rather than putting it into the state’s transportation fund.
The relatively smooth action came a day after the House Democratic Caucus teamed with a group of conservative Republicans to slow down the budget process to ensure it had a voice in the budget process.

Haslam signs ‘natural and ordinary meaning’ bill


Lawmakers' pet project fund gets 193 percent boost under Haslam budget .

Majority of lawmakers ask state to slow down on outsourcing .

Controversial Tennessee bills that could rear their heads next year
Kirk A. Bado , USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee 6:05 a.m. CT April 28, 2017
With Tennessee's legislative session nearing an end, it’s never too early to start thinking about next year.
Lawmakers during the first of two legislative sessions for the 110th Tennessee General Assembly heard everything from a revised bill to mandate which bathrooms transgender students use and a prolonged fight over a gas tax increase to expanded broadband access in rural communities.
But many of the most controversial pieces of legislation were pushed back to the next session. Here are some of the most controversial bills that could be debated again in 2018 and what that could mean in an election year.

Action to outlaw sanctuary cities
Natural marriage legislation
Medical marijuana legalization
New version of the bathroom bill
School vouchers

Vaughan Claims Republican Nomination in State House District 95
Collierville Schools board member Name Search
Watch Service">Kevin Vaughan won the Republican primary election for state House District 95 Thursday, April 27, by 49 votes over former Germantown alderman Name Search
Watch Service">Frank Uhlhorn.
The unofficial results show Collierville alderman Name Search
Watch Service">Bill Patton running third in the seven candidate contest.
Vaughan advances to the June 15 special general election in the district where he will meet Democratic nominee Name Search
Watch Service">Julie Byrd Ashworth, who ran unopposed in Thursday’s primary election, and independent contenders Robert Schutt and Jim Tomasik.