Legislative Update, March 6, 2010

March 6, 2010 
Tennessee General Assembly information and contacts: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/

To email legislators, look on the left side of the page, select House or Senate, then ‘Members’.

Don’t forget that you can now watch on your computer the committee meetings and the floor sessions: http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/livevideo/

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).

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."  ~~ President Ronald Reagan

Dave Black, husband of Sen. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) is recuperating from back surgery. The mother of my lobbyist friend, Beth, who was in serious condition in ICU last Friday, was well enough on Monday to be moved to rehab. Some very important legislation is in motion this week. We NEED your prayers as these bills move through the legislative process. 

NEWS FLASH: State Rep. Joe McCord (R-Maryville), chairman of the House Conservation and Environment Committee, announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election to another term of representing House District 8. Read more here

*SB 2480 by *Gresham ( HB 3105 by *Harwell)
As amended:  In determining the classroom assignments of multiple birth siblings, no school or gwenboard of education shall separate such multiple birth siblings into different classrooms solely due to such children being multiple birth siblings.

At left: Mom of twin boys, Gwen Adams, Sen. Gresham, mom of twin girls, Kim Biggs. Gwen and Kim have been excellent, articulate advocates for their children and parents of all multiples.

          It is a pleasure to report that both bills are moving forward but we still need your help.

STATUS: SB2480 was on the Senate Floor Wednesday. Sen. Roy Herron (D-Dresden—candidate for the 8th Congressional District—father of twin boys) raised some questions. Sponsor Sen. Dolores Gresham mentioned the science that supports parental choice. He decided he wanted to see the ‘science’ and asked that the bill be postponed until Monday evening. We provided a stack of studies to him.

STATUS: HB3105 was voted out of the House K-12 Subcommittee this week and will be in the full Education on next Wednesday.

ACTION: Please go HERE to selected Senators and House members.

HB 2059 by *Lynn ( *SB 0153 by *Ketron)
Criminal Offenses - As introduced, classifies as a Class A misdemeanor, subject to a fine only, the unauthorized implantation of an electronic identification and/or tracking device or mark placed on any human being.

          Thankfully, more good news--HB 2059 was finally voted out of the House Criminal Practice Subcommittee. We had only been in that committee for five weeks!!! Sponsor Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Lebanon) did an excellent job of advocating for this important legislation and the amendments that were added are provisions that we can live with.

STATUS: HB2059 will be in House Judiciary on Tuesday. 
ACTION: Please go HERE to send emails of support to selected committee members.

SB 3812 by *Johnson ( *HB 3301 by *Lynn , Evans, Matlock, Lundberg, Hill, Watson, Niceley, Johnson C, Ford , Casada, Halford, Swafford, Dunn, Dean, Bell, Carr, Weaver, White, Maggart, Hensley, Bass, Curtiss, Brooks K, Campfield)
Abortion - As introduced, enacts the "Freedom from Coercion Act."

          Obviously no girl or woman should be forced or coerced to have an abortion against her will. This bill would require abortion facilities to prominently post no-coercion policies; impose penalties against facilities which do not comply; reassure vulnerable women and girls that help and support is available and provide for damages against any person coercing an unwanted abortion.

STATUS: HB 3301 remains in the ‘friendly’ House Public Health Subcommittee to work out some language prior to sending it to the less ‘friendly’ full Health Committee. It will be heard again on Tuesday. SB3812 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday afternoon.

ACTION: Please send emails to sen.jim.kyle@capitol.tn.gov and sen.beverly.marrero@capitol.tn.gov asking them to support this common sense bill.

SB 3589 by *Ketron ( *HB 3300 by *McCormick)
Judgments - As introduced, specifies three reasons why a foreign judgment would not be conclusive, and further states that a foreign defamation judgment shall not be recognized if the defamation law of the foreign court adjudicating the case provided less protection for freedom of speech and press than the United States and Tennessee constitutions.
          This is one of our most important bills for the legislative session. It authorizes Tennessee courts to not recognize a foreign defamation judgment unless the court sitting in Tennessee before which the matter is brought first determines that the defamation law applied in the foreign court's adjudication provided at least as much protection for freedom of speech and press in that case as would be provided by the constitutions of the United States and Tennessee. We MUST protect the Free Speech rights of our citizens.

STATUS: HB 3300 will be in Civil Practice Subcommittee on Wednesday.

ACTION: Please go HERE to send the Committee an email of support.
*SJR 0763 by *Kelsey Constitutional Amendments - Proposes an amendment to clarify the constitutional language that currently prohibits the levying of a tax on any class of income, other than income derived from stocks and bonds, and to prohibit any tax levied on or measured by employer payrolls.
STATUS: SJR763 will be in the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.
ACTION: Please send emails to these three senators urging them to support SJR763 to ensure that a state income tax will be Constitutionally prohibited:
sen.joe.haynes@capitol.tn.gov, sen.roy.herron@capitol.tn.govsen.jim.kyle@capitol.tn.gov .

SB 3699 by *Black ( *HB 3495 by *Evans)
Criminal Offenses - As introduced, specifies that when a defendant commits a homicide or assault against a pregnant woman, the woman's fetus, regardless of viability, is also considered a victim of the offense.
STATUS: HB 3495 was voted out of the Public Health Subcommittee and will be in the full Health Committee Tuesday.

SB 2753 by *Johnson ( *HB 2685 by *Hill)
Employees, Employers - As introduced, authorizes employers to require English be spoken in the workplace if necessary to conduct the employer's business.
STATUS: By making a slight change in the language, Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) was able to guide this bill out of the subcommittee.

SB 2965 by *Beavers ( *HB 2768 by *Shipley)
DUI/DWI Offenses - As introduced, requires certain DUI offenders to operate only a motor vehicle that is equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device.

SB 2897 by *McNally ( *HB 2917 by *Fincher)
DUI/DWI Offenses - As introduced, requires certain DUI offenders to operate only a motor vehicle that is equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device. HB 2917 will be in House Judiciary on Tuesday; SB 2897 has not yet been scheduled in committee.
STATUS: HB 2768 and HB 2917 are in House Judiciary on Tuesday. Will be an interesting committee meeting!

*SB 2681 by *Ketron ( HB 2799 by *McCormick)
Election Laws - As introduced, allows registrar to email a ballot to each member of the armed forces and each citizen temporarily outside the United States who is entitled to vote and who has submitted a valid application for a ballot.
STATUS: This important bill is now on its way to the Governor for his signature.
SB 3189 by Kelsey (HB 3286 by Casada)
Vital Records – As introduced, establishes a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth.

          This legislation calls for the state to acknowledge the birth of a stillborn infant by issuing a birth certificate if the parents request one.  “This is to acknowledge for basically psychological reasons, you know, and grieving and that sort of thing,” said Beth Barnett of Cordova.  “But it’s also like a kick from the state when you find out you’re going to walk out of the hospital with almost nothing; and then you find out that the state doesn’t even recognize that you even gave birth, period.” Barnett said present law calls for a birth certificate if the infant lives for at least one minute.  If they do not, there is only a fetal death report which is for research gathering purposes.  The legislation, calls for issuance of a birth certificate, upon the request of parents for stillborn infants if they are 20 weeks or more gestation or 350 grams.

          In the subcommittee touching testimony was presented by two mothers who had stillbirths and recognizing the birth of the babies it not too much to ask. This is something I can identify closely with as our first baby, a boy, was stillborn at full-term.
STATUS: SB 3189 passed Senate General Welfare last week; HB 3286 will be in House Health Committee this week.

SB 3677 by *Burchett ( *HB 3510 by *Niceley)
Congress - As introduced, creates joint congressional communications committee of general assembly; authorizes changing of congressional districts between apportionment.
This is a very interesting bill and watching it’s progress will be fascinating.

"I [Clark Hubbard] studied most days. I was studying for three or four hours a day," said Hubbard, 14, who is home schooled and has worked with his mother to hone his natural spelling aptitude since he won his first bee in second grade. "I just wanted to get second or third place." Read more here

          "Tennessee is considered competitive in Race to the Top by national education reform experts because of the continued efforts we've demonstrated to public education reform," said Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen. The governor had called a special session in January to make key changes to the state's K-12 education policy.
          The competition will deliver $4.35 billion in school reform grants designed to reward states that have adopted and will continue implementing
innovative reforms to improve student performance. Read more here. Not sure this is ‘good news’ since federal money ALWAYS comes with very strong ‘strings’. As I understand it, state school board members of western states where told by officials of the National Governor’s Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers that the common core standards required for RTTT funds must be adopted ‘verbatim.” We shall see.