Legislative Update, February 22,2020

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).

"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another." Thomas Jefferson, letter to Charles Hammond, August 18,1821

As far as I know most of those who have been ailing in one way or another, have improved and we are grateful for that. Again, I remind you, that the pace of the General Assembly has really picked up and committee meetings are increasing in length as more and more bills are being put 'on notice' to be heard. As they look toward a possible 'Easter' adjournment, the pace will only become more frantic and principle and wisdom will be needed. "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." I Timothy 2:1-2

This past Tuesday was an exciting day! Besides having the opportunity to meet and talk to more legislators, we attended a House State Committee meeting. The resolution we have been lobbying for, sponsored by Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (District 40), was supposed to be discussed (and hopefully passed) through the committee. However, they ran out of time and pushed it to next week’s meeting. It was my first time to attend a committee meeting in person, and it was a great experience to observe how it works. I am looking forward to witnessing the committee meeting next week where the resolution will be on the docket for discussion.

CJ's CORNER: This week at the Legislature: our week of lobbying for Rep. Weaver’s resolution and Rep. Gant’s bill was a bit more challenging due in part to another group lobbying against these proposals.  Sometimes meetings with Reps can be unexpected, but I still enjoyed being in them.  I was even allowed to chime in a couple times. Ultimately, the status of the resolution will be hanging in the balance until this coming Tuesday when it goes through committee and I am anticipating the results.

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

WELL, WE WERE IN FULL COMMITTEE ON TUESDAY BUT....The committee had lengthy Budget Hearings and they had to adjourn just as they got to HJR741 on the calendar. So....we are back on the calender for next Tuesday at 10:30.

The opponents to this common sense resolution have stepped up their opposition bringing in groups of folks to lobby against us using material that endeavors to misdirect what the resolution actually is about and does (see bulleted FACTS above.)

ACTION:  We REALLY encourage your participation here. 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 PLEASE email these co-sponsors and thank them for supporting this important Resolution and letting them know that you are looking forward to the vote and its passage on Tuesday. We want them to know how grateful we are for their support.

Rep. Kelly Keisling
Rep. Rick Eldridge
Rep. Rush Bricken
Rep. Glen Casada
Rep. Curtis Halford
Rep. Gary Hicks
Rep. Bud Hulsey
Rep. Justin Lafferty
Rep. Mary Littleton
Rep. Pat Marsh
Rep. Jerome Moon
Rep. Jay Reedy
Rep. Chris Todd

SB 2896 by *Bailey, HB 2721 by *Holt
Libraries - As introduced, enacts the "Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act." 
If you don't know what is in YOUR local Library, you should. What the children have access to today is troubling at least and in some cases, disgusting.
Legislator proposes library oversight panels to prevent drag queen story time events  .

 HB2721 is in Cities & Counties Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: PLEASE click on the subcommittee link above and URGE the members to support this important proposal.

SB 2367 by *Pody, HB 2323 by *Powers
State Symbols - As introduced, designates the poem "My Beloved Tennessee" by Marlene Tidwell as an official state poem
Marlene, a remarkable lady, is one of my best friends and founder of Tennessee Governmental Prayer Alliance. You will enjoy reading her poem.


Gov. Bill Lee changes course on how to extend paid family leave to 38,000 state employees .
The decision came one day after Senate lawmakers pressed the Lee administration on the financial impact of the policy change. 
The governor's latest move suggests Lee may not have had the authority to make the policy change via executive order because of the costs to taxpayers
[Just an observation, Constitutionally, it is only the General Assembly that can appropriate and spend state dollars. Think Refugee Resettlement issue.]

FBI issues warrants, searches home and business of state Sen. Katrina Robinson .
State Rep. Rick Staples' campaign spending, under scrutiny, includes a trip to the Gator Bowl .
USDA Invests $9 Million in Broadband Infrastructure for Rural Tennessee .
House Majority Leader William Lamberth Wants to Eliminate State Fees for Handgun Carry Permits .
Speakers seek delay of sports gambling in Tennessee amid questions about draft rules .
UT Trustees outline plan for removing 'interim' from Randy Boyd's title .
Tennessee TANF surplus: Department of Human Services fails to release public ​​​​​​​records .

Integrity of Tennessee Election remains top priority of state’s election officials
Voter security and the integrity of Tennessee’s election process continues to be a high priority for state election officials according to Secretary of State Tre Hargett who presented his department’s budget to the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee last week. Hargett, whose office oversees elections, told lawmakers they are focusing on both cybersecurity and physical security, taking numerous steps to ensure fair and accurate elections. This includes conducting tabletop exercises on both the state and local level, issuing $25,000 in election security grants to counties in the state, and conducting training to prepare local election officials for potential ransomware attacks or other cyber threats. Tabletop exercises are role-playing simulations that provide participants with tips, tools, and training to fortify their election systems against cyber attacks and information operations. 

NEW APPOINTMENTS: New Republican Whip Johnny Garrett named six of his Republican colleagues as Deputy Whips this week. They include: State Representatives Charlie Baum, R-Murfreesboro; Clay Doggett, R-Pulaski; Kirk Haston, R-Lobelville; Esther Helton, R-East Ridge; Rusty Grills, R-Newbern; and Lowell Russell, R-Vonore. As Deputy Whips, these members will assist in counting votes and communicating with members about the Republican supermajority’s position on issues and legislative initiatives of great significance for our caucus.

This should be fun.  SJR 1009 by *Bell Memorials, Recognition - Bring Your Pet to the Legislature Day, March 17, 2020 

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