Legislative Update, February 19, 2011


February 19, 2011                                                                         

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).

Life is not made by the dreams that you dream but by the choices that you make.”

The little choices we must make, Will chart the course of life we take; We either choose the path of light, Or wander off in darkest night.”


Please pray for Sen. Mike Faulk (R-Church Hill) and for his mother. She is very ill with cancer. Thank you for praying for my husband and his broken foot. An X-ray taken at the orthopedist’s office yesterday showed that there has been no displacement. We go back for more X-rays in two weeks. Please continue to pray for his complete healing!!

SB 0113by *Johnson(*HB 0130by *Maggart)
As introduced, abolishes teachers' unions ability to negotiate terms and conditions of professional service with local boards of education.
          COMMENT: On Wednesday, when I arrived at the Plaza shortly after 8:00 a.m. and entered Room 12 where Senate Education was scheduled to meet at 10:00 a.m., a number of people were already in their seats. I put into three seats, a coat, satchel and scarf to save seats for my lobbying partner, Joanne Bregman, my guest for the day, Kendrix Jefferson, and myself.
          As we went about our work we saw that the room continued to fill up and spill out into the hall. By the time we went back for the committee meeting we had to push through the people standing in the aisle. Just as we got to our seats, a man and woman representing TEA sat down in them. I pointed out to them that we had put our belongings there (a protocol always respected at the Plaza). The man was very hateful and very rude – saying, among other things, that we should have been sitting in our seats. A very nice gentleman gave me his seat and Joanne and Kendrix had to go elsewhere (guess age is good for something,

ha!) All the seats were taken and folks were standing two and three deep around the walls. The atmosphere was tense.
          Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) called the meeting to order, gave instructions to those gathered and started the meeting.  Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) took his place to present his legislation. He did a truly outstanding of making the case for SB 113.  You may not want to watch the whole debate, but I URGE you to go HEREand at least watch his opening remarks. 
          After over an hour in a hot, stuff, emotionally tense room, the bill passed 6-3:
Senators voting aye were: Crowe, Gresham, Kelsey, Summerville, Tracy, Woodson -- 6.
Senators voting no were: Berke, Burks, Tate -- 3.
 Republicans advance bill banning collective bargaining rights for Tennessee teachers
          P.S.  Later I saw the very rude man in the cafeteria and asked him it he was a teacher. He said he was not. I told him that was good because I would hate to think he was modeling those kinds of manners in front of students!!
STATUS:  The Senate bill will now go to the Senate floor. While it has not been assigned a floor day, it is NOT too early to begin contacting your Senator urging his or her support. You can be sure that opponents will be lobbying this very hard.  The House companion has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
ACTION:  Please go HERE to send an email of support to your State Senator.


PHOTO ID TO VOTE:*SB 0016by *Ketron(HB 0007by *Maggart)
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
STATUS: Pleased to that on Feb. 14th, that SB 16 passed the Senate floor 21-11:
Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Bell, Campfield, Crowe, Faulk, Gresham, Haile, Henry, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, McNally, Norris, Overbey, Southerland, Summerville, Tracy, Watson, Woodson, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey -- 21.
Senators voting no were: Barnes, Berke, Burks, Finney L, Ford, Harper, Haynes, Herron, Marrero, Stewart, Tate -- 11.
STATUS: HB 7 will be in House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please contact these committee members and urge them to support this common sense legislation: rep.tommie.brown@capitol.tn.gov, rep.larry.miller@capitol.tn.gov, rep.mike.turner@capitol.tn.gov, rep.kent.williams@capitol.tn.gov.


*SB 0079by *Beavers(HB 0115by *Weaver)
 As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee Health Care Freedom Act."
‘Health Freedom Act’ Headed to Senate Floor
Sen. Mae Beavers’ bill that attempts to block the most controversial component of the federal health care law had no problem moving along through the legislative process Tuesday.
          The Senate Commerce, Labor and Agriculture Committee OK’d the billby a 6-1 vote. Read more here. For background: TN Health Care Freedom Act: Trying Again.

Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Faulk, Gresham, Johnson, Southerland, Woodson -- 6.
Senators voting no were: Tate -- 1.
Senators present and not voting were: Burks, Stewart -- 2.
STATUS: SB 79 is scheduled for the Senate floor on Wednesday, February 23rd. HB 115 it scheduled in the Commerce Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Go HEREto find and contact the Democrat Senators urging them to support SB 79.
In the State House, please contact these House members and urge them to support this important legislation: rep.charles.curtiss@capitol.tn.gov, rep.joanne.favors@capitol.tn.gov, rep.bill.harmon@capitol.tn.gov, rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov, rep.david.shepard@capitol.tn.gov.

*SB 0325by *Beavers(HB 0234by *Maggart)
As introduced, requires pharmacies and pharmacy personnel to use a national record keeping system to log certain drug sales and changes the rate at which an individual may buy methamphetamine precursors.
          This is a much better proposal than the competing bill, which would force people to make and pay for an appointment with their doctor to get a prescription for an over-the-counter cold medicine.
          SB 325 Passed the Senate Judiciary 9-0. Senators voting aye were: Barnes, Beavers, Bell, Campfield, Ford, Kelsey, Marrero, Overbey, and Yager.
STATUS: It is on the Consent Calendar for the Senate Floor on Wednesday, the 23rd where it is expected to pass. Competing proposals target meth problem in Tennessee

*SJR 0018by *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 payroll.
Senators voting aye were: Barnes, Beavers, Bell, Campfield, Kelsey, Overbey, Yager -- 7.
Senators voting no were: Ford, Marrero – 2

Tennessee legislators debate public notice for income tax amendment
Former AG warns website notice only risks lawsuits
A proposed constitutional amendment began moving through the legislature Wednesday, but only after a former Tennessee attorney general warned it could wind up in the courts unless it is advertised in newspapers.
          The Senate Judiciary Committeeopened debate Wednesday on a resolution that would ask Tennesseans to vote on a permanent ban on a state income tax by writing it into the state constitution. Read more HERE.
STATUS: SJR 18 will next be heard in Senate Finance Ways and Means Committee.

SB 0294by *Gresham(*HB 0179by *Casada)
As introduced, prohibits LEAs from denying equal access to LEA employees to all domestic professional employees' organizations offering membership to all certificated personnel.
          Through the power of their union, TEA has kept other professional organizations from having access to teachers in Tennessee schools. It is very important that teachers know that they have choices when exploring their options prior to joining any professional organization.
          This bill (1) Prohibits an LEA, employees of an LEA and employee organizations from denying by any means, including a collective bargaining agreement, a domestic professional employees' organization that offers membership to all certificated personnel equal access to employees of the LEA, to the same extent that access is granted to other educators' organizations; and
(2) Requires any association that utilizes LEA facilities or services for meetings or any school printing services to reimburse the LEA for any costs incurred by the LEA at reasonable rates.
STATUS: SB294 is in Senate Education on Wednesday; HB 179 is in the House Education Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please contact these Senators and urge them to support SB 294: sen.andy.berke@capitol.tn.gov, sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov, sen.reginald.tate@capitol.tn.gov.

Please contact these House members and urge them to support HB 179: rep.john.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.lois.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov, spk.eme.jimmy.naifeh@capitol.tn.gov, rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov.

SB 0893by *Watson(*HB 0368by *Dunn)
Teachers, Principals and School Personnel - As introduced, protects a teacher from discipline for teaching scientific subjects in an objective manner.
      This bill prohibits the state board of education and any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or principal or administrator from prohibiting any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught, such as evolution and global warning.
STATUS: HB 368 is in House Education Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please contact these Committee members and urge them to support this bill:
rep.john.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.lois.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov, spk.eme.jimmy.naifeh@capitol.tn.gov, rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov.


GOP’s Illegal Immigration Bills Filed Separately
 State lawmakers announced Wednesday they’ll push several different proposals aimed at curbing illegal immigration. That’s instead of packaging the measures together as a single unified or “omnibus” bill – a move many had suggested, including Governor Bill Haslam.
         Sponsors say the piecemeal approach will let legislators take their time and study each of three proposals in depth. Read more here.