Legislative Update, June 6, 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).

 
"If we don't have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except for the State." President Harry Truman


FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST: 
Well, where to start.  I don't know when my heart has been so heavy. What is going on in our state and in our nation is tragic, costly, exasperating, scary especially when we know that much of it IS NOT accidental but is being planned, funded, and supported by those who really want to do serious damage to our nation and our Constitutional political process. If ever serious prayer was needed, it is NOW.  We NEED God's solution. As this session of the 111th General Assembly winds down, under these restrictive circumstances, please pray for the legislators, their families, their safety as they travel to and from Nashville, their safety as they carry out the business of the state, and for great WISDOM as the leaders make decisions at to what bills will be heard and what bills will be abandoned. 




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 incredible job of presenting HB1929 in the State Committee on Thursday where it passed by a strong voice vote to Calendar and Rules Committee.


STATUS:  Unfortunately, the companion bill, SB2730, HAS NOT BEEN SCHEDULED in a senate committee.

The legislature’s lawsuit is still pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. 
SB2730 was intended to address several problems including the state’s separation of powers issue triggered by the federal refugee program which forces the expenditure of state dollars but bypasses the legislature’s appropriations authority. The bill is also intended to be the “safety net” should the Supreme Court rule against us.
SB2730 falls squarely within the category of bills that relate to the budget which are clearly so important to the state during these difficult days.  I urge you to please consider suspending the rules to hear this bill and perhaps even, reassigning it to Judiciary

ACTION:     Please see message above and PLEASE contact these leaders and ask them to make sure that SB2730 is scheduled in either State and Local Government or PREFERABLY Senate Judiciary this week.
SPEAKER: Lt. Gov. Randy McNally lt.gov.randy.mcnally@capitol.tn.gov ,Phone: (615) 741-6806 
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Sen. Janice Bowling sen.janice.bowling@capitol.tn.gov ,Phone: 615-741-6694 
MAJORITY LEADER: Sen. Jack Johnson sen.jack.johnson@capitol.tn.gov , Phone: (615) 741-2495 
MAJORITY CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: Sen. Ken Yager  sen.ken.yager@capitol.tn.gov , Phone (615) 741-1449



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:  HJR741 was in Senate Judiciary on the 2nd, but was postponed until the 9th.
ACTION:  Please contact the members of this committee and urge them to pass this very important resolution.



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 which improves the original language of the legislation.  

STATUS: Rep. Ragan did an excellent job of presenting HB2576 in Judiciary on June 2nd, commenting that this bill prevents children from being used for social experimentation!! It was voted out of Judiciary and sent to the Health Committee.
STATUS:  SB2215 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday.
ACTION:  Please contact the members of these respective committees and let the members know how important it is to pass this bill and to protect our children. 



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. The bill, as amended, was voted out of committee
STATUS: HB2291 is scheduled on the House floor Monday.  Please let your House member know that you support this important bill, as amended.
STATUS: SB2368 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday. Please contact members of this committee to express your support.  



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:  HB1689, as amended, passed the House floor 73-13-2. I am SHOCKED to tell you that The Senate Education Committee moved SB1736  to December 1, 2020, meaning that the Senate Committee will not hear this bill.



PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION:
HJR 0809 by *Keisling
Constitutional Conventions - Requests the United States Congress to convene an Article V Convention for the purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would restore the public's trust in our representative government by reforming our campaign finance system

Brilliant Men Have Warned

TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION.

NINE MYTHS

What we found about this particular resolution:

It is very interesting, according to the language in the resolution itself, to note what states have passed the proposal:

WHEREAS, the General Assembly intends that this be a continuing application considered together with applications calling for a convention passed in the 98th Illinois General Assembly as SJR 42, the 2014-2015 New Jersey legislature as SCR 132, the 2015-2016 Rhode Island legislature as HR 7670 and SR 2589, the 2013-2014 California legislature as Resolution Chapter 77, the 2013-2014 Vermont legislature as R454, and all other passed, pending, and future applications until such time as two-thirds of the several states have applied for a convention for a similar purpose and said convention is convened by Congress

As I look at that list I don't see any states that I want Tennessee to emulate and clearly there isn't a conservative state in the group.

I wasn't very familiar with Wolf-Pac or how it is funded, but I did find this information:

Soros in Vermont: Leftist billionaire behind state’s call to keep money out of politics May 6, 2014
By Bruce Parker | Vermont Watchdog
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Despite the Legislature’s intent to keep money out of politics in Friday’s vote for a state-led constitutional convention, the move was a victory for billionaire George Soros, whose financial backing of The Young Turks and Wolf PAC helped influence state lawmakers.
CON CON: George Soros is the billionaire behind the Young Turks and Wolf PAC, two prominent groups that seek to end corporate money in politics through a state-led constitutional convention

 

Eagle Forum has long opposed states calling for an Constitutional Convention because of the uncertainty [despite what supporters will tell you] and our firm belief that we have a DISOBEDIENT CONGRESS not a DEFICIENT CONSTITUTION.

STATUS:  I am so happy to tell you that when HJR809 was on the House floor last Monday the opposition was stiff enough that the sponsor postponed the resolution to June 8th. 

ACTION: Please contact your House member and urge him or her to oppose this effort.





LEGALIZING BINGO MACHINES:
HJR 0814 by *Griffey
Constitutional Amendments - Proposes an amendment to Article XI, Section 5 of the Constitution of Tennessee, to allow for bingo games conducted by congressionally chartered nonprofit veterans organizations that are tax-exempt as 501(c)(19) organizations to meet charitable, not-for-profit, or community service purposes. 
NOTE: One of the problems with the Bingo issue is that most of us think about older ladies like me sitting with a large group in a basement with a couple of cards in front of them marking off numbers as they are called out.  No, no, no!  Bingo is now like automatic slot machines (see picture above) not the innocent picture we have in mind.

As Margaret Mead commented: “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

Well, I will adjust this to say:  Never underestimate the power of one persistent person, my good friend, Rev. Skip Armistead. For many years, Skip has been so faithful to come to the committee hearings to testify AGAINST any and every gambling bill presented in committee.
On May 28th, Skip once again came to Cordell Hull to testify against HJR814 in  Departments & Agencies Subcommittee. Skip raised so many cogent points that the committee moved the Resolution to a Summer Study.
Thank you Skip for your faithful service to the State and its citizens.


OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST:

Gallery: Back in session, though some distance more than others .
[I just have to say, looking at these photos just makes me sad beyond words.  I have been there 33 years and I have to wonder if things will ever be the same again.]

Here is Gov. Lee’s revised budget plan amid coronavirus pandemic .

Tennessee legislative staff questions budget cutting teacher increases, keeps governor's .

Supreme Court won’t intervene in voucher appeal .

Tennessee House GOP leader wants to increase penalties for rioting .

Tennessee House Passes Pro-Life Bill Saving Babies From Abortion .

Governor Lee asks Senate to pass law ending Nathan Bedford Forrest Day .

Carmack statue might have to return unless law is changed .

A protester asked the Tennessee National Guard to lay down their riot shields. They did .

Mayor Ogles asks state to eliminate COVID-19 restrictions in Maury County

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