Legislative Update, February 15, 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).


"The transformation of charity into legal entitlement has produced both donors without love and recipients without gratitude." Antonin Scalia

Reps. Matthew Hill and Timothy Hill lost their grandmother this week. Please remember that family. Some of the members and staff are still suffering from the viruses and germs floating around Cordell Hull Building. And, as mentioned before, the General Assembly is now in full swing with important decisions being made every day.  The lawmakers certainly need wisdom and clarity as these votes are taken. Also, would you pray for sponsor Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver and our Resolution as it continues through committee this week (see below).

This past Tuesday, we were very busy at the Capitol. From watching the resolution that we have been lobbying come out of sub-committee (but not without a long discussion) to meetings with Senators and Representatives, we were all over the Cordell Hull Building. Through it all, we had a guest with us, Demytris Savage-Short, a nurse at Vanderbilt and a mother of three. She wanted to witness what the legislators do at the Capitol. Her drive, determination, and love for truth, justice, and most importantly God and His will inspired me in great ways. It was such a joy to have the opportunity to spend the day with such a Godly woman.

We spent Wednesday morning lobbying for more signatures on the senate bill regarding refugee resettlement and the Constitution. During two of these meetings, one with Sen. Bo Watson and the other with Sen. Steve Dickerson, they both asked me what I thought of the bill and issues it was addressing. Two events I appreciated greatly as I was able to participate more in the discussion. Later in the day we were working on acquiring more signatures for Rep. Weaver’s resolution and at the end of our meeting with Rep. John Ragan, he quizzed me on Tennessee history...something I clearly need to work on. I still enjoyed the exercise though and he awarded my attempt with a pin. Overall I quite enjoyed this last week at the capitol and I am looking forward to the next.

VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW: Don't let ANYONE say that the Resolution or the bill is aimed at keeping Refugees out of TN.  Both of these proposals are about keeping everyone in their Constitutional lanes. We either CARE about and PROTECT that authority, or we fold up our tents and go home. 

HJR 741 by 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, Whitson, Powers, Haston, Kumar, Sparks, Helton, Lamberth, White, Calfee, Lafferty, Zachary, Daniel, Russell, Hall, Cochran

•  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.
•  to affirm that the Tennessee General Assembly continues to object to the coerced expenditure of state funds by the federal government for its refugee resettlement program as evidenced by the history of federal funding for refugee assistance and federal reports which confirm that due to reductions in federal program spending, certain of those federal costs have been transferred to the state in violation of the Tenth Amendment and Supreme Court precedent

AND THE BIG NEWS IS:  After weeks of very hard work, walking an inordinate number of steps at breakneck speed, HJR741 was finally in the Departments & Agencies Subcommittee on Tuesday at noon. After a lengthy discussion, it was passed out of committee on a voice vote. HOORAY!! Now on to the full committee.

ACTION:  Would you please send Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver an email THANKING her for having the courage and conviction to sponsor this important proposal? 

Would you look at the list of co-sponsors above and if your Representative is not on the list, go HERE, look down left side to correct name, click on it, then under the picture, click on 'email legislator' button and politely urge them to sign on as a co-sponsor. 

If your  Representative HAS signed on, PLEASE THANK THEM.  The push back has already started with the opponents circulating very erroneous information about what the Resolution does.

 HJR741 will be in the House State Committee on Tuesday, February 18, at 10:30 am. PLEASE click on Committee link, contact these members and urge them to support this Constitutional proposal: Beck, Farmer, Love and Powell.

SB 2730  SB 2730 by *Bell , Pody, White, Gresham, Bowling, Lundberg, Crowe, Hensley, Rose, Reeves
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, Eldridge, Bricken, Rudder, Baum, Russell, Sexton J, Hall, Cochran

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.

NOTE:  As you can see, this week we were able to get even more co-sponsors signed onto both the Senate and the House bills.

Purpose of the bill:
•  to ensure that a Governor cannot commit to an expenditure of public money for the federal refugee program without a joint resolution of the General Assembly
Why we need this bill:
•  irrespective of the President’s Executive Order 13888,federal law and regulations authorize a Governor to submit a state plan to the US Office of Refugee Resettlement for initial refugee resettlement in Tennessee
•  no federal law or regulation requires either consent from or consultation with the General Assembly before obligating state funds for the federal refugee program
This bill ensures that the executive and legislative branches stay in their Constitutional lanes:
•  this bill is modeled on Pub.Ch.662 passed in 2014 and signed by Governor Haslam requiring a joint resolution of the General Assembly before any commitment could be made to expand Medicaid
•  this bill helps counteract the federal overreach which authorizes a Governor to bypass the General Assembly’s exclusive power and Constitutional authority to appropriate public money
•  this bill helps ensure that the executive and legislative branches remain aligned with their designated powers under the State Constitution

ACTION:  If your Senator or  Representative has not yet signed-on as a sponsor, PLEASE look down left side to correct name, click on it, then under the picture, click on 'email legislator' button and politely urge them to sign on as a co-sponsor.

If your Senator or Representative HAS signed on, please THANK THEM.  Neither bill is scheduled in committee yet but will be soon.  Stay tuned!!

Tennessee TANF: $221 million in state funds used in place of available federal TANF funding
Tennessee has spent $221 million more in state funding than necessary on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program since 2013 — rather than using available federal funding, according to the Tennessee Comptroller.

Why the Tennessee House will no longer hold these little-known, secretive meetings to discuss legislation .
                                         [This is EXCELLENT news!!]

Tennessee adopts 'The Volunteer State' as official nickname .
GOP chairman regrets voting for voucher bill, says program won't be implemented in 2020 .
Shelby County government, Nashville sue state over 'unconstitutional' voucher program .
Beacon Center of Tennessee Files Motion to Defend Education Savings Accounts .
Tennessee’s January Revenue Collections Result in $129.4 Million Surplus .

House Completes Spend A Day In My Wheels Challenge
This week in Nashville, House members participated in the Team ALeX “Spend A Day in My Wheels” Challenge.
This event challenged lawmakers to go about their normal daily activities using a wheelchair. The challenge aims to create awareness about the difficulties people with mobility devices face on a daily basis with the goal of making the world more inclusive for everyone.
It was the idea of 14-year-old Alex Johnson, an eighth-grader at Friendship Christian School in Lebanon who approached the General Assembly about hosting this event.
Johnson has a rare skeletal disorder which left him dependent on a walker and then later a wheelchair. He came up with the idea for his “Spend a Day in My Wheels” challenge in 5th grade as a way of helping his able-bodied classmates experience the world from his perspective.

Honored to participate in “Spend a Day in My Wheels” day on the hill. Alex Johnson, event organizer, is a wheelerchair bound 8th grader and has made it his passion to teach those around him about the struggles a disabled person faces on a day2day basis. #DayinmyWheels #42nd

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