Legislative Update (We're Back) May 30, 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).

 
As James Madison warned, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”


FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Well, there is plenty to pray about for sure.  The families who have lost precious loved ones to the vicious virus, the near destruction of our economy, the children who have lost their education opportunities, the first responders who have worked so hard, the huge number of folks who have lost their jobs......well the list certainly goes on and on. Now that the General Assembly is fully reconvening next week, please pray for the lawmakers to be wise and thoughtful as they make extremely important decisions for our state. The goal here should be doing well, not just fast.


This past week a number of the House committees held meetings but the Senate did not hold any meetings except for Finance, Ways and Means which met on Thursday. This coming week the Senate and the House are holding a full slate of committee meetings and floor sessions every day.

Many dramatic changes have been made to Cordell Hull to account for the virus risk. Everyone is required to wear a mask, only three people can be on an elevator at once, the six foot distance is encouraged, only a few seats are open in each committee room, plexiglass barriers have been installed between the chairs of the legislators. I found it interesting to learn that as many as 60 of the legislature's 132 members, or roughly 45%, are over 60 years old. In the Senate alone, the average age is 61 years old. Just 14 of the chamber's 33 members are under 60.  This helps to explain the new procedures being put in place.
I have not yet been to the legislature.  Because of my husband's very poor health and the potential risks factors, I haven't decided about next week.  I certainly would not want to bring anything home to him. 




EVERYONE IN THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL LANE:
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:  Rep. Ron Gant did an excellent presentation of HB1929 in the Departments & Agencies Subcommittee on Thursday. On  a voice vote, it was sent to the full State Committee which meets Thursday evening.
ACTION: Please contact Rep. Bud Hulsey and Rep. Andrew Farmer and urge them to support this very important legislation.

STATUS:  SB2730 -- well we don't know.  So far the Senate has not scheduled our bill in committee.  Hopefully, that will change.



CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY, AUTHORITY AND POWER:
HJR 741 by *Weaver, Doggett, Todd, Hill T, Cepicky, Ragan, Gant, Reedy, Leatherwood, Van Huss, Moody, Hill M, Crawford, 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, Powers, Haston, Kumar, Sparks, Helton, Lamberth, White, Calfee, Lafferty, Zachary, Daniel, Russell, Hall, Cochran, Sherrell, Hurt 

•  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: I am so thrilled to remind you that HJR741 passed the House floor 72-25-2 on March 2nd and to let you know that we are scheduled in Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday afternoon.
ACTION: Please click on the link above and contact the members urging them to support this extremely important resolution. Don't forget that this resolution supports the law suit that we are in the process of appealing to the US Supreme court.




PROTECTING VULNERABLE CHILDREN FROM MEDICAL HARM
SB 2215 by *Bowling , Pody 
HB 2576 by *Ragan , VAN HUSS, WEAVER, GRIFFEY
As introduced, prohibits the provision of sexual identity change therapy to prepubescent minors; prohibits the provision of sexual identity change therapy to minors who have entered puberty unless a parent or guardian has written recommendations for the therapy from at least three physicians; punishes violations as child abuse; designates violations by healthcare professionals as professional misconduct.
Amendment #107769 completely rewrites the bill and was not available on the General Assembly website, but it improves the original language of the legislation.  
STATUS: Rep. Ragan did an incredible job of presenting HB2576 in Criminal Justice Subcommittee where it passed on a voice vote. HB2576 is scheduled in full House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
ACTION:  Please click on the link above, contact the members of the House Committee and urge them to support HB2576, as amended.
STATUS: SB2215 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday afternoon.
ACTION: Please click on the link and urge the members to support this bill as amended.




OPPORTUNITY AND EQUALITY IN ATHLETIC ACTIVITY:
SB 1736 *Hensley 
HB 1689 by *Cepicky, Doggett, Lamberth, Gant, Hill T, Hill M, Van Huss, Hurt, Sexton C, Lafferty, Faison, Weaver, Moody, Cochran, Griffey, Moon, Sherrell, Reedy, Holsclaw, Johnson C, Crawford, Holt, Tillis, Powers, Byrd, Carr, Leatherwood, Rudder, Ragan, Hulsey, Rudd, Todd, Wright, Hall, Sparks, Grills, Casada, Hazlewood, Whitson, Hicks, Kumar, Eldridge, Sexton J 
Students- As introduced, prohibits a student from participating in a single-sex interscholastic sport or athletic event provided by the student's public school unless the student verifies with the public school that the student is of the respective sex. 
STATUS:  Rep. Scott Cepicky did an excellent presentation in committee, and, as amended (#015456 unavailable on the website), HB1689 is scheduled on the House Floor on Tuesday. 
ACTION:  Please click on the link and let your representative know that you support this important legislation.
STATUS: SB1736 is scheduled in Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.
ACTION:  Please let the members of this committee know that you support this bill.





LIBERTIES AND FREEDOMS:
SB 2368 by *Pody -HB 2291 by *Hulsey
In the  House State Committee on Wednesday, Rep. Hulsey amended a bill he had to address the authority of the governor, chief executive officer to enforce a provision of an executive order. Thanks to Rep. Jay Reedy, you can watch Rep. Hulsey's impassioned speech that has gone viral. The bill, as amended, was voted out of committee and is scheduled in the Calendar & Rules Committee on June 5th where it will be assigned to a day on the House floor.  We will keep you posted. There has been no action on SB2368 in the Senate. Hopefully that will change.


OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST:

Early divisions between chambers as lawmakers return to Nashville to tackle budget, wrap up session .
State House of Representatives Returns to Work, But Not to Normal .

Tennessee governor's free 'sock masks' treated with registered pesticide .
After canceling TNReady exams, Tennessee must pay millions of dollars to testing company for prep work .
Efforts to halt Tennessee school voucher program fail in House committee .
Rep. John DeBerry, ousted by Democrats, may run as independent under new bill .
Tennessee Businesses Need Legislators Back in Nashville to Assist Them with COVID-19 Aftermath, Local GOP Leaders Say .

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