Legislative Update, February 14, 2009


February 14, 2009                                                                      
Tennessee General Assembly information here.
To email legislators, look on the left side of the page, select Legislators then select House Members or Senate Members, or ‘Find My Legislator’.
Phone calls can go to the Legislative Switchboard: (615) 741-3011 or to the Toll Free number 1-800-449-8366+1+ last four digits of office phone number (available at the same location).

"There are a great many God-fearing, dedicated, noble men and women in public life, present company included. And yes, we need your help to keep us ever-mindful of the ideas and the principles that brought us into the public arena in the first place. The basis of those ideals and principles is a commitment to freedom and personal liberty that, itself is grounded in the much deeper realization that freedom prospers only where the blessings of God are avidly sought and humbly accepted. The American experiment in democracy rests on this insight. Its discovery was the great triumph of our Founding Fathers, voiced by William Penn when he said: 'If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants'." --Ronald Reagan

FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST: As the new Legislative Session begins in earnest, let us pray that the legislators will have the Wisdom of Solomon, the Courage of Joshua, the Business Sense of Joseph, the Governing ability of Nehemiah, and ‘understand the times’ like the Sons of Issachar.
In addition, please remember these needs: Rep. Les Winningham (D-Huntsville) recently lost his wife. Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry (D-Memphis) is hospitalized and said to be very ill. Rep. Mike Turner (D-Nashville) was hospitalized with chest pains this week, was later released. Speaker Kent Williams (I-Elizabethton) was at his hospitalized mother’s bedside on Wednesday. (This created an interesting situation on the House Floor. Normally when the Speaker is out, the Speaker Pro-Tem presides. With both out, Rep. Steve McDaniel, R-Parker’s Crossroads, was elected to serve temporarily as speaker.)
As we start a new and exciting legislative session, we have two needs. First, we want to significantly expand our influence. Subscribers will receive everything they need to be informed participants in their government. We will depend on YOU to let your friends know about what we offer and get them to ‘sign up’. Second, as you know, there is ‘no free lunch’. Considerable expenses are incurred in order to provide this UNIQUE service. We NEED your financial support. Please go to Tennessee Eagle Forum where on the lower left you will find a PayPal link and make a donation today or send your check to 3216 Bluewater Trace, Nashville, TN 37217. We look forward to hearing from you.
After moving to Nashville in August 1986, I began lobbying for Tennessee Eagle Forum (TEF) in early 1987. At that time there were 38 Republicans and 61 Democrats in the State House; 10 Republicans and 23 Democrats in the State Senate. On November 4th we saw that change to Republicans holding 19 of 33 seats in the Senate and 50 of 99 in the House. Because of recent events, this week the Tennessee Republican Party disassociated itself from then Republican, Speaker Kent Williams (Elizabethton), leaving 49 Republicans, 49 Democrats, one Independent. Speaker Williams equally divided the chairmanships of the standing committees between Democrats and Republicans. On all but two committees where House Rules dictate who serves on each of them, the members of each committee are equally divided between Democrats and Republicans. Under these circumstances, it should certainly be an interesting year.
You will want to check out the Tennessee General Assembly Freshman Class.
While there, review the other helpful material that we have added posted.
In the Republican Caucus, members who are committee chairmen voluntarily stepped down from their caucus leadership positions, so the caucus held an election. Rep. Gerald McCormick (Chattanooga) was elected assistant Republican Leader replacing now-Education Committee Chairman Harry Brooks (Knoxville) and Mike Bell (Riceville) was elected Secretary, replacing now-Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee Chairman Judd Matheny (Tullahoma).
Last year it was my pleasure to speak to a home schooling group. While there, one of the teens inquired about being my intern for the 2009 legislative session. Meagan Wuest, lives near Thompson’s Station with parents Mike and Shaleen and three siblings. 
Right now she is preparing for her senior piano recital and her graduation blessing ceremony with her pastor.  She is principle flutist in the homeschool band, Nashville Notes; clerk for the Student Congress rounds hosted by Christians Communicators of Tennessee; and has debated for a year with CCT. In addition, she was recently elected president of the Franklin Generation Joshua group. She is a re-enactor of the 1860's who loves to sew, host balls and researching that time period. In her ‘spare’ time she enjoys horses, reading, nature walks and dates with Daddy.


Obviously, as a subscriber, you will be kept abreast of the movement of bills of special interest to the pro-life, pro-family folks across the state. If you have interest in other legislation, you may want to bookmark:
Our priority this session is to try once again to pass the legislation restricting mental health screening. Basically the bill permits screening only with parental permission and consent except under special circumstances, prohibits coercion of parents to put their child on psychotropic drugs, etc. You many remember that we have passed this three times in the Senate only to see it defeated three times in a house subcommittee. The makeup of that committee has been changed and it is our hope that we can now get our bill out.
*SB 0850 by *Black Education - As introduced, places restrictions on universal mental health testing, or psychiatric or socioemotional screening of juveniles; requires certain consent by a juvenile's parent, guardian, legal custodian, or caregiver before such testing can occur.
When SJR 127 is introduced – We will once again join others to do a ‘full court press’ to pass this amendment to neutralize our State Constitution on this subject of abortion. For background on this issue go HERE.

Because of the fiscal situation the state is in, it had been anticipated that this lack of money would reduce the number of bills introduced. It does not seem to have worked that way. Nearly 2000 bills have now been filed. Listed below are some of the bills we will be working on or following. More will be added as all the bills are reviewed.


Health Care - As introduced, removes the exemption that prevents private physicians' and dentists' offices in which abortions are performed from being classified as ambulatory surgical treatment centers; requires the department of health, through the board for licensing health care facilities, to promulgate rules and regulations that contain certain minimum standards for the maintenance and operation of ambulatory surgical treatment centers.




Election Laws - As introduced, requires persons registering to vote to declare political party affiliation to vote in a primary election


Election Laws - As introduced, requires a voter to present qualified photographic identification before voting; voters without proper identification shall be allowed to cast provisional ballots.


Elderly Persons - As introduced, establishes a missing senior alert program in Tennessee.


Driver Licenses - As introduced, requires all written driver license examinations be given in English


Adoption - Prohibits any individual who is cohabitating in a sexual relationship outside of a marriage that is valid under the constitution and laws of this state from adopting a minor


Schools, Home - As introduced, requires that diplomas issued by home schools be recognized by all state and local governmental entities as having the same rights and privileges of diplomas issued by public school systems


Schools, Home - As introduced, clarifies that a diploma from a home school is equivalent to one from a public school.


Criminal Offenses - As introduced, prohibits cable television or satellite television company from advertising or promoting material that it knows to be obscene or harmful to minors.


Eminent Domain - As introduced, enacts the "Property Owners Bill of Rights."

Tennessee lawmakers lend names to Obama citizenship lawsuit
Several Tennessee lawmakers have signed onto a legal action intended to force President Barack Obama to turn over his birth certificate and other documents to prove his citizenship, an effort already rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in another case.
Tennessee Reps. Eric Swafford, Stacey Campfield, Glen Casada and Frank Nicely have all agreed to be plaintiffs in future legal action from a Russian immigrant in California who has challenged whether Obama meets constitutional criteria to be president.
The lawsuit from the Defend Our Freedoms Foundation, which has not yet been filed, will be among several court challenges to Obama's citizenship.