Legislative Update, March 14, 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).

It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men. Samuel Adams

Well as you probably know, Tennesseans really lived up to their nickname, The Volunteer State, in response to the devastation left by the tornadoes that hit our state last week. These dear volunteers brought helping hands, hugs, smiles, hope, food, water, chain saws, strong backs, etc. But....this  tragedy will not 'be over' next week or the next or even the next. Lets continue to pray for these folks as they not only clean up, but as they deal with the loss of loved ones, deal with the insurance companies, decide about repair or rebuilding.  So many many things to attend to. Please pray for the Governor and the state leaders dealing with the virus in our state and  I would also ask your prayers for those at the Legislature and the risk of the virus in that setting. These are very needy days in our state.

This past Tuesday was a very busy day at the Capitol. We had three bills in committees, but the first one didn’t get discussed because the members ran out of time, the second was rolled to next week’s committee by the request of the Sponsor, and the third passed! Watching the vote of the members and the debate on the bill is a very nerve-wracking experience. We would appreciate any prayer for next Tuesday, as we will have multiple bills in committees that day.

In spite of a mostly uneventful first half of our day, our day became very interesting rather quickly. First, we went to a meeting with Senator Shane Reeves about his position and perspective regarding Senate Bill 2334. Secondly, we headed to a few more meetings, mostly missing people due to prior commitments to committee hearings. Finally, we marched to the Senate health committee hearing mainly about Senate Bill 2334. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion and hearing perspectives from the committee members and multiple witnesses. Ultimately, the bill passed through committee and we will be watching its progress closely.

Wow, what a difference a day makes. First came the announcement that the Capitol/Cordell Hull would be closed to the public, then on its heels, came the announcement that this ban included the Lobbyists!  Constitutionally the only responsibility the General Assembly has is to pass an annual budget. It appears that there may be come reassessment at the end of March, but we don't know yet what will happen.

The GOOD NEWS is that this closing DOES NOT keep YOU from being active in this process. The Committee meetings can be viewed online. You can go to these links, scroll down to the committee and watch the action: the Senate HERE, and the House HERE.  Right now we don't know if the bills that we have work on so hard this session and that are so important, will be dealt with or not, but we want the lawmakers to know that we still want to see them passed.

SB 2730 by *Bell , Pody, White, Gresham, Bowling, Lundberg, Crowe, Hensley, Rose, Reeves, Powers
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, Hill M

Purpose of the bill: to ensure that any expenditure of public money is made through Tennessee's Constitutionally mandated process
Why we need this bill: no federal law or regulation requires either consent from or consultation with the General Assembly before obligating state funds for the federal refugee program
STATUS:  SB2730 is scheduled in Senate State and Local Government Committee on March 17th.
ACTION: Please contact Sen. Dickerson and Sen. Gardenhire asking them to support this PRINCIPLED, CONSTITUTIONAL bill.
STATUS:  HB1929 is scheduled in House Departments & Agencies Subcommittee on the 17th where, thankfully, we have a number of co-sponsors and it is expected to pass, provided they actually hear the bill.

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

STATUS: On March 2,  HJR741 passed the House 72-25-2 and is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on March 17th, where we think we have the votes for it to pass.  

SB 2354 by *Gresham (HB 2616) by *Coley , HOLT, HILL T, REEDY
Child Custody and Support - As introduced, removes custody, visitation, or inheritance rights for a parent who has been convicted of statutory rape, aggravated statutory rape, statutory rape by an authority figure, or lesser included offenses of rape, from which crime the child was conceived.

This legislation would remove parental rights from a rapist who is convicted of or pleads guilty or no contest to lesser offense. The victim of a rape, and a child conceived of such an act, should be protected from the perpetrator of the criminal act.
STATUS:  On March 4th, HB2616 passed the subcommittee with a unanimous vote and is scheduled in House Judiciary on the 18th where, thankfully, I think we have the votes to pass it provided they hear it. 

SB 2636 by *White HB 2615 by *Coley , HOLT, HILL T, REEDY, GRIFFEY
Juvenile Offenders - As introduced, expands the unruly act of illegal use of a communication device by a minor to include possessing or transmitting an image of sexual activity involving a minor.
STATUS: On March 10th, HB2615 passed out of the subcommittee with a unanimous vote and is scheduled in House Judiciary on March 18th, where, again, we think there are the votes to pass it, if they actually hear it.
SB2636 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on the 17th. Would you please contact Sen. Gardenhire and ask him to support this legislation?



Lawmaker requests temporary coronavirus adjournment at Tennessee legislature; speakers say business as usual .
Tennessee Capitol complex to close doors to public .
Lobbyists included in Capitol ban but told remainder of session to focus on budget 
Schwinn on the hot seat over Tennessee’s handling of textbooks and contracts .
Lee signs executive order declaring state of emergency over coronavirus .
CDC approves $10M to fight coronavirus in Tennessee .
Tornado volunteers: Tennessee is 'Prayer Strong'

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