Legislative Update, February 1, 2020

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).

There's a tendency to throw aside old values as belonging to an earlier generation. Don't discard those values that have proven, over the period of time, their value. Just believe in those values that made our nation great and keep them: faith, family, hard work, and, above all, freedom.  
Ronald Reagan, Speech at Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Illinois, August 12, 1986

Lots to pray about this week.  Rep. Karen Camper was called back to Memphis Wednesday when her brother died. Rep. Dale Carr had to return home because of his wife's illness and Rep. Vincent Dixie's daughter lost her God-mother this week. A lobbyist who is a dear friend, had surgery this week. Lots of hurting folks and extended families to lift to God's Throne. Also, our Teen Eagle Leader, Frances Arthur and several of our Teen Eagles are in St. Louis for the Educational Policy Conference/Eagle Council this weekend.  (Unfortunately, because of Ron's situation, I had to miss my favorite conference of the year.) Please pray that they will have safe travels, and learn a lot to bring back to Tennessee. 

This past week has been a blast! Besides having the amazing opportunity to participate in TeenPact this week (a leadership school for teenagers that teaches the youth of this country about state government), I had the great pleasure of meeting Lt. Governor Randy McNally. Mrs. Patray, Mrs. Bregman, and I had the honor of meeting with him in his office to discuss the bill to keep everyone in their “Constitutional Lanes.” I was able to see to him again when he spoke in a session of TeenPact. The students are very grateful to him for taking his time to speak to us. All in all, my experience this past week has been full of learning and I'm so very thankful for that.

This week at the capitol, I continued my internship under Mrs Bobbie Patray. We pursued more signatures for the resolution and began the pursuit for signatures on a Senate Bill. However, by far my favorite time of the day was being able to go to the gallery in the capitol through the (somewhat claustrophobic) tunnel from the Cordell Hull building to the capitol. There we were able to observe a brief House of Representatives floor session.

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY.  The two proposals below are among the most important we have ever presented. NEITHER  is focused on preventing refugees from coming into our state. BOTH focus on KEEPING EVERYONE in their CONSTITUTIONAL LANES.  We have a Federal Constitution and a State Constitution for a reason. They are supposed to be the guiding documents for our nation and our state. The proper application of the provisions of both Constitutions is vital and we need YOUR help to accomplish this important task.

HB 1929 - by *Gant , Sexton C, Todd, Carter, Weaver, Hurt, Lynn, Halford, Keisling, Carr, Calfee, Vaughan, Terry, Lamberth, Boyd, Faison, Marsh, Van Huss, Reedy, Lafferty, Cepicky, Johnson C, Crawford, Holsclaw, Wright, Casada, Moody, Littleton, Williams, Hawk, Travis, White, Ragan, Doggett, Moon, Hazlewood, Grills, Hill T, Griffey, Zachary, Leatherwood, Byrd, Daniel, Smith, Kumar, Rudd, Garrett, Whitson, Hicks, Howell, Tillis, Helton
State Government - As introduced, prohibits the governor from making a decision or obligating the state of Tennessee in any way with regard to resettlement of refugees unless authorized by joint resolution of the general assembly. - Amends TCA Title 4; Title 8; Title 9 and Title 71

We are so grateful to Rep. Ron Gant for sponsoring this bill and grateful to Speaker Cameron Sexton for signing on as the first co-sponsor, and grateful for all the other lawmakers who have signed on.

Rep. Gant’s bill is premised on the fact that the federal government has admitted that it has been shifting federal costs for refugee assistance to the states since shortly after Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980.

Federal reports and statements from Congressional hearings from 1990 forward, admit to the involuntary transfer of federal costs to the states due to reductions in federal appropriations for refugee assistance. In 2010, after a hearing in the U.S. Senate addressing the brokenness of the refugee program, a leading senator acknowledged that either refugee admissions must be lowered or “better matched” to “federal resources” but regardless, the practice of passing the costs on to state and local communities, needed to stop. Well, it didn't. 

This involuntary cost shifting to the state creates an unConstitutional bypass of the Tennessee General Assembly's exclusive power to appropriate public money and is the reason Tennessee sued. CONSTITUTIONALLY,  the Governor cannot make a decision which has the effect of a fiscal appropriation, without the consent and action of the General Assembly.

ACTION:  Is your House member a co-sponsor?  If not, click on this LINK, find your representative, either email or call, and POLITELY ask him or her to sign on and SUPPORT HB1929.

Weaver Introduces Resolution Affirming Tennessee's Sovereignty .

HJR 0741 by *Weaver , Doggett, Todd, Hill T, Cepicky, Ragan, Gant, Reedy, Leatherwood, Van Huss, Moody, Hill M, Crawford, Moon, Rudd, Grills, Garrett, Wright, Byrd, Hawk, Casada, Hulsey, Carr, Williams, Eldridge, Marsh, Halford, Smith, Rudder, Keisling, Sexton J, Hicks, Terry, Griffey, Howell, Sexton C, Boyd, Lynn, Bricken, Littleton, Baum, Carter, Jernigan, Whitson, Powers, Haston, Kumar, Sparks, Helton
State Government - As introduced, prohibits the governor from making a decision or obligating the state of Tennessee in any way with regard to resettlement of refugees unless authorized by joint resolution of the general assembly. - Amends TCA Title 4; Title 8; Title 9 and Title 71.

We are very grateful to Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver for sponsoring this important resolution dealing with these important Constitutional issues and to the all of the House members who have signed on as co-sponsors. 

Rep. Weaver was one legislators who joined the 'first in the nation' lawsuit as an individual plaintiff in 2017.  It is our hope that this 10th Amendment lawsuit will get to the US Supreme Court and that this resolution will demonstrate the support of the TN General Assembly to address these Constitutional issues. 

•  this resolution is strictly about Tennessee’s Constitutional status as a sovereign state, AND, the status of the Tennessee General Assembly as a separate and independent branch of the state government as established by the state Constitution
•  to affirm that neither the federal government nor any other branch of the Tennessee State government have the authority to bypass the General Assembly when the expenditure of public money and the state budget is involved.

ACTION:  Is your House member a co-sponsor?  If not, click on this LINK, find your representative, either email or call, and POLITELY ask him or her to sign on and SUPPORT HJR741.

State House Republican Caucus Elects a New Majority Whip
January 28, 2020 Laura Baigert

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – During a House Republican Caucus meeting held Monday prior to a floor session, Representative Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville) was elected as the new Majority Whip.

The position came open when Representative Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg) stepped down.

Representative Tillis was elected as Majority Whip during the House Republican Caucus elections held in November 2018, as The Tennessee Star reported at the time.

As the first legislative session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly was underway, an anonymous Twitter account was initiated under the handle @CHBMole. The handle implied an insider’s perspective of happenings at the legislature’s offices at the Cordell Hull Building.

Much of @CHBMole’s Twitter activity was critical in nature and was directed largely at Republicans and staffers.

After a few months of activity, @CHBMole was outed as Representative Tillis.

While at least one legislative support staff member complained of the creation of a hostile work environment at the hands of @CHBMole, no apparent actions were taken.

The Governor will be presenting his STATE OF THE STATE address on Monday February 3,2020, on the State House Floor. It can be viewed LIVE on the TN General Assembly website.

 He will also be speaking in East Tennessee on February 6, and in West Tennessee on February 13.

State paying voucher contractor $1.2 million in unbudgeted money .
The Tennessee Department of Education is paying a contractor $1.2 million this year to handle its voucher program without the funds being placed in the state budget or going through the Fiscal Review Committee, officials admitted Monday, Jan. 27.
Could Gov. Lee's abortion ban survive a legal challenge? Experts on both sides doubtful .
           [Language still not available.]
Emails: Big companies urged Tennessee Governor to veto anti-LGBT adoption law .
Tennessee school voucher program rules approved, but opposition remains in statehouse
Trump names Harwell, ETSU president to TVA board .
Forrest Bust Sparks Fiery Debate in House .

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