Legislative Update, April 24, 2010


April 24, 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: 
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).

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win --  Mahatma Gandhi

The 106th Tennessee General Assembly continues to wind down. Although committees are shutting down, a number of very important issues remain to be resolved including our TN Law for TN Courts bill and HJR 30 (see below) plus the state budget, which is extremely important as it affects our every day lives. Please be praying for the lawmakers as they address each of these issues. Hard decisions need to be made with great wisdom. 
This session has been the most grueling that I can remember – in part because of the complicated legislation that we have been working on. There have been multiple 12-hour days that included sitting in committee for hours for our bills to come up and then the committee not getting to them. I feel compelled to publicly thank my husband for the patience, support and encouragement that he has provided. I cannot begin tell you the numbers of nights I have had to call him to tell him once again that I would not be home to fix supper for him—sometimes three nights a week. Never once has he complained. Folks, I could not do what I do without that kind of support.
I also want to pay tribute to my dear friend, attorney Joanne Bregman, who has kept nearly every crazy hour with me. Without her legal expertise we would NOT be as close as we are to making history here in Tennessee. As we have prayed for wisdom, access and favor, we have seen those prayers answered in really Divine ways like more than once literally encountering the needed legislator as I entered the building. Please pray for us as we continue fight, with great Grace, every inch of the way toward complete VICTORY!!!
                                                **SOME VICTORIES TO REPORT**
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.
State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) guided passage of Senate Bill 3589 through Ketronthe State Senate this week.  The bill would help in the fight against a tactic known as “Libel Tourism” which results from defamation lawsuits filed against authors critical of individuals with known ties to terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and Hamas. The legislation ensures that Tennessee Courts have the ability not to recognize a foreign judgment, if that country’s laws protecting free speech and the free press are not as protective as freedoms provided in the constitutions of Tennessee and United States.  The measure relates to grounds for non-recognition of foreign defamation judgments, closely resembling similar laws passed by the New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Utah and Florida Legislatures on the matter. The vote was 29-3-2.
Voting aye were: Beavers, Berke, Black, Bunch, Burchett, Burks, Crowe, Faulk, Finney L, Gresham, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, McNally, Norris, Overbey, Southerland, Stewart, Tate, Tracy, Watson, Woodson, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey -- 26.
Voting no were: Ford, Kyle, Marrero -- 3.
Senators present and not voting were: Harper, Haynes – 2
HB 3300 passed the House floor 97-0, so this important legislation will now go to the Governor for his signature.
                                         **IMPORTANT STEPS ON THE ROAD TO VICTORY**
*SB 3740 by *Bunch ( HB 3768 by *Dennis) Civil Procedure - As introduced, establishes that contracts based on the law of any foreign state or country that incorporates substantive or procedural law that would violate rights and privileges granted under the U.S. or Tennessee constitution are against the public policy of this state and are void and unenforceable in this state.
          This is one of our most important bills for the legislative session. This bill provides, subject to provisions of superseding federal treaties, that any otherwise enforceable contract that incorporates any substantive or procedural law, legal code or legal system of another state, foreign jurisdiction or foreign country that would violate rights and privileges granted under the United States or Tennessee Constitution is declared to be against public policy of this state and is unenforceable in this state. Vance
          With the increasing globalization and interactions with foreign legal systems, we are very excited about this legislation. It will offer Tennesseans some protections from legal pluralism when fundamental constitutional liberties are involved.
STATUS: HB3768 has passed the House Civil Practice Subcommittee, House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Dennis presented HB3768 in House Calendar and Rules (April 22) where it passed and is scheduled for the House Floor April 26th. We are so close to victory.
ACTION: PLEASE go HERE and send an email of support for this important legislation.
STATUS: SB3740 – this bill has been on the Senate Judiciary Calendar every week since March 23rd (I kid you not—we have gotten much older just sitting in committee waiting for this bill to be heard!!) We are first on the Calendar for April 27th.
ACTION:   The vote in this committee will be close. PLEASE copy and paste this message into an email to each of these three senators: sen.doug.jackson@capitol.tn.gov, sen.brian.kelsey@capitol.tn.gov, sen.doug.overbey@capitol.tn.gov.
Dear Senator
As an attorney, I know you have the greatest respect for the Constitution and the laws of this state and nation. SB3740 would
·         preserve individual rights and the sovereignty of Tennessee and its Constitution by preventing the encroachment of foreign laws and legal systems that run counter to our constitutionally protected freedoms
·         ensure that courts and other tribunals in Tennessee will first consider whether an individual’s constitutional protections have or would be violated by applying a foreign law or enforcing a foreign judgment
·         apply a standard consistent with the Restatement 3rd on Foreign Relations Law of the U.S. with regard to enforcement of a foreign judgment
·         protect against unknowing or unintentional waiver of constitutional protections
·         not to interfere with federal law or international treaties.
This bill does not impair the right to enter into agreements nor does it prevent parties from signing and executing contracts governed under the terms of any foreign laws or legal doctrine. Parties may still agree to resolve contractual disputes in a foreign tribunal or otherwise obey a foreign law if so dictated by the terms of their contract.
            SB3740 is in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday. I urge you to support this important protective legislation.
HJR 0030 by Hill, Moore
General Assembly - As introduced, rescinds three specific resolutions from 1977 and any other resolutions passed at any time that call for a federal constitutional convention. For background information, please see these links:
Why the Tennessee Legislature Should Rescind Its Calls For a Federal Constitutional Convention.
Letter from retired Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court to Phyllis Schlafly on the dangers of a Federal Constitutional Convention
Con-Con More Dangerous Than Congress
The Effort to Dismantle Our Constitution
STATUS: After some interesting debate, HJR30 was voted out of House Calendar and Rules 13-8. The BIG Moorenews is that afterwards we had meetings with some of the Democrat House leadership and were very encouraged by the results. In addition, I am so pleased to report that Gary Moore (D-Nashville) signed on as a co-sponsor of the Resolution. 
ACTION: HJR30 is scheduled for the House Floor April 29. PLEASE go HERE to send an email of support to your House member.

*HB 3433 by *Bell , Weaver, Harwell, Carr, Williams, Dunn, McDaniel, Matheny, Maggart, Dean, Lynn, Campfield, Rich, Shipley, Brooks K, Watson, Floyd, Rowland, McManus, Coley, Lollar, Lundberg, Hawk, Eldridge, Johnson C, Cobb J, Mumpower, Niceley, Matlock, Faulkner, Hill, Halford, McCormick, Ford , Johnson P, West, Marsh, Haynes, Dennis, Swafford, White, Casada, Hensley, Evans ( SB 3498 by *Beavers)
STATUS: HB3433 is scheduled in House Budget Subcommittee on Wednesday where it will live or die.
SB 2686 by *Black ( *HB 2681 by *Hill)
Health Care - As introduced, prohibits coverage for abortion services under any health care plan through an exchange required to be established in this state pursuant to federal health care reform legislation. These bills would keep our state from being forced to pay for abortion services through the new federal health care exchange program.
          As previously reported, HB2681 passed the House Floor
70-23; on Monday evening the Senate passed this bill 27-3:
Voting aye were: Barnes, Beavers, Black, Bunch, Burchett, Burks, Faulk, Finney L, Haynes, Henry, Herron, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, Kyle, McNally, Norris, Overbey, Southerland, Stewart, Tate, Tracy, Watson, Woodson, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey -- 27.
Voting no were: Ford, Harper, Marrero – 3
          It has now been sent to the Governor for his action.

*SJR 0698 by *Beavers , Kelsey, Johnson, Black, Tracy
Constitutional Amendments - Provides for the direct popular election of the state attorney general. Tennessee is the only state in the nation that allows the State Supreme Court to select the attorney general. It will now go to the State House for their action.
The amendment resolution must be approved by both the 106th General Assembly, currently in session, and the 107th, which will take office in 2011, before going to voters in a statewide referendum in November 2014.
Voting aye were: Beavers, Berke, Black, Bunch, Burchett, Crowe, Gresham, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, McNally, Norris, Southerland, Tracy, Watson, Woodson, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey -- 19.
Voting no were: Barnes, Burks, Faulk, Finney L, Ford, Harper, Haynes, Henry, Herron, Kyle, Marrero, Overbey, Stewart, Tate -- 14.

SB 3812 by *Johnson Gresham, Black, Tracy, Southerland, Beavers, Ramsey, Yager, Burks, Bunch ( *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, Fincher, Harrison, Matheny, Mumpower, Shipley, Rich, McManus, Floyd, Hawk, Brooks H, Eldridge, Haynes, Ramsey, Barker, McDonald, Roach
          UPDATE: This very important piece of legislation was signed by the Governor April 19, 2010. Hooray!!