Legislative Update, April 20, 2019
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).
" But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5
FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Rep. William Lamberth announced on the floor Thursday morning, that while coming into work that morning, Barbara Grice, was attacked and badly injured. Please pray for her complete recovery. Rep. Ron Travis announced that his little granddaughter, Scout, had come through serious surgery and was doing well. You will want to pray for her complete recovery. Rep. Debra Moody is still out with her very ill 97-yr-old mother. Please remember this family also.
It has become apparent that committees, bills, and schedules are unpredictable this time of year. Therefore, Mrs. Bobbie and I spent the majority of the day roaming around the Cordell Hull Building attempting to find legislators. What occasions we were able to find one was great! I've grown to really enjoy listening and talking to all of the legislators. Their personalities and passions are always so unique! It has been extremely enlightening to hear them talk about the issues that matter to them, including the FGM bill. We briefed them on the FGM bill since it was to be heard on Wednesday. Apart from that, we followed a couple of committees in order to observe the outcome of a few bills we have an interest in. Mainly bills we are against, but a few good ones as well. By mid-day we were staring to lose hope of any productivity, but by the end of the day, Mrs. Bobbie and I were able to check several things off the to-do list!
The most amazing accomplishments come with patience. I am very excited that after months of talking with legislators, attending endless committee meetings, and walking all over Cordell Hull, TN Eagle Forum’s FGM bill passed on the House Floor! Throughout this legislative journey, I think the most eye-opening thing I have learned is that anyone can get involved in politics. Although it can be a lot of hard work, all of us should take initiative on issues that matter to us. I am now a firm believer that any citizen can make a difference in our state or country if they just begin taking action. Phyllis Schlafly, the founder of Eagle Forum, was a Christian mom that saw an issue with a piece of legislation our government was trying to pass. By setting an example for other women around her, she started a movement and created an organization dedicated to preserving family principles in our country. Since the beginning of this organization, many women have followed her and have caused change in our nation. Mrs. Bobbie is one of those women. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to intern with her this session. She makes lobbying seem so easy. I wish everyone had the ability to work with her and see how amazing she is at passing legislation. She has taught me so much, and I cannot wait to take the skills I have learned with me as I graduate this year.
STRENGTHENING TN'S FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION PROHIBITIONS:
SB 1166 by *Hensley, Gresham, Bell, White, Roberts, Briggs, Stevens, Bowling, Haile, Crowe, Bailey, Pody, Gilmore, Massey, Rose (HB 1364) by *Weaver, Casada, Littleton, Farmer, Griffey, Faison, Sanderson, Ogles, Garrett, Zachary, Cepicky, Sexton J, Holt, Kumar, Moody, Hill T, Sherrell, Hawk, Carter, Gant, Ragan, Smith, Carr, Boyd, Reedy, Haston, Doggett, Howell, Powers, Leatherwood, Hall, Cochran, Rudd, Johnson C, Moon, Eldridge, Windle, Coley, Hulsey, Todd, Russell, White, DeBerry, Helton, Whitson, Bricken, Terry, Byrd
Criminal Offenses - As introduced, rewrites the criminal offense of female genital mutilation; extends the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions or civil actions for female genital mutilation
STATUS: I can't tell you how pleased I am to report that our FGM bill, with 48 co-sponsors, passed the House floor 90-2-2 on Wednesday morning.
I certainly can't explain why Reps. Vincent Dixie and Antonio Parkinson actually voted AGAINST it, nor why Reps. Jesse Chism and Jason Powell chose to 'blue light' it, nevertheless, the bill is now on its way to the Governor for his signature.
We are so grateful for our sponsors, Sen. Joey Hensley and Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver.
It was our pleasure to present our sponsors with the 2019 Tennessee Eagle Forum Award, not just for sponsoring this important bill, but for their years of service to their respective districts and the State of Tennessee upholding conservative values.[In case you don't know, Eagle Forum gets its name from that passage of Scripture - Isiah 40:31.]
LEGALIZING SPORTS BETTING:
SB 0016 by by *Dickerson (HB 0001) Staples
Gambling - As introduced, authorizes sports betting in this state only in jurisdictions that approve sports betting by local option election; imposes a 10 percent tax on gaming revenue; distributes 40 percent of the tax to the general fund for general appropriations, 30 percent to Tennessee colleges of applied technologies and community colleges for equipment and capital projects, and 30 percent to local governments for education and infrastructure; establishes the Tennessee gaming commission to regulate sports betting; authorizes the commission to collaborate with the Tennessee bureau of investigation for purposes of enforcement
STATUS: Unfortunately this bill continues to move through the process.
ACTION: Please read the testimony of my dear friend, Skip Armistead. It will help you understand this issue much better. SB16 is in Senate Finance Ways and Means on Tuesday. Please contact these Senators below and ask them to vote NO on SB16:
Sen. Bo Watson
Sen. John Stevens
Sen. Joey Hensley
Sen. Jack Johnson
Sen. Ferrell Haile
Sen. Brenda Gilmore
HB0001 is on the House Floor Monday evening. Please contact your House member and urge him or her to VOTE NO on this proposal. FYI: Forbes: Sports betting won't be windfall for state pocketbook
SJR 0097 by *Niceley
Constitutional Amendments - Proposes an amendment to Article XI, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee concerning charitable lotteries to authorize the general assembly to authorize the operation of Bingo games to benefit public and private schools.
STATUS: A proposed AMENDMENT to the TN Constitution is read three times on the Senate floor and voted on at the last reading. (In the House they read it three times and vote on it all three with only the last vote 'counting'.) Frankly I was very surprised and very disappointed that it passed 23-9. Senators Bell and Swann were the only ones who spoke against it.
Sens. voting aye were: Akbari, Bailey, Bowling, Briggs, Crowe, Dickerson, Gardenhire, Gilmore, Gresham, Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Kyle, Massey, Niceley, Reeves, Roberts, Robinson, Rose, Watson, Yager, Yarbro, Mr. Speaker McNally -- 23. Sens. voting no were: Bell, Haile, Kelsey, Lundberg, Pody, Stevens, Swann, White -- 9. It will now move the the House.
What an Oxymoron:Tennessee Faith Leaders Write Letter Supporting Abortion
THE HEARTBEAT BILL:
SB 1236 by *Pody, Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Roberts, Lundberg, Niceley, Reeves, White, Southerland, Bowling, (HB 0077) by *Van Huss,
Cepicky, Hill M, Moon, Eldridge, Griffey, Sherrell, Calfee, Crawford, Zachary, Todd, Hill T, Reedy, Hall, Rudd, Ragan, Smith, Hulsey, Doggett, Howell, Byrd, Leatherwood, Williams, Powers, Carr, Weaver, Casada, Littleton, Moody, Sparks, Sanderson, Cochran, Carter, Kumar, Hazlewood, Halford, Holt, Coley, Haston, Sexton J, Baum, Farmer, Keisling, Ogles, Terry, Whitson, Hurt, Gant, Helton, Bricken, Vaughan
STATUS: As you may recall, some time ago HB77 passed the House 65-21-7; SB1230 was moved to a study in August, however, State Sen. Mark Pody Moves to Revive Tennessee’s ‘Heartbeat Bill’ and it will be on the Senate floor Monday night. You will want to make your voice heard.
HUMAN LIFE PROTECTION ACT:
SB 1257 by *Gresham, (HB 1029) by *Lynn, Zachery, Boyd, Whitson, Gant
Abortion - As introduced, enacts the "Human Life Protection Act," which bans abortion in this state effective upon the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade or amending the U.S. Constitution to allow states to prohibit abortion; creates exception for situations where the abortion is necessary to prevent the death of pregnant woman or prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function; prohibits prosecution of a woman upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted
STATUS: Rep. Ron Gant was successful in bringing HB1029 back and it passed the House Health Committee.
SB1236 will be on the Senate Floor Monday night; HB1029 will be on the House Floor Monday night. You will want to make your voice heard.
NOTE: "There are two things you shouldn't watch being made, one is sausage and the other is Law!" Well, that 'old saw' is clearly on display as the Voucher/ESA bill makes its way through the Legislative process.
EDUCATIONAL SAVINGS ACCOUNT/VOUCHER BILL:
SB 0795 by *Johnson, Gresham, (HB 0939) by *Lamberth, Dunn
Education - As introduced, extends, from 10 days to 30 days, the period of time after a local board of education orders a student's school assignment within which a parent, guardian, or legal representative may apply to the board for a hearing to challenge the reasonableness of the student's assignment and to request the student's transfer to another school
STATUS: SB795 has been re-written and is in Senate Finance on next Tuesday. HB0939 has been re-written for the THIRD time and is on the House Floor next Tuesday. It was in the House Finance Subcommittee on Wednesday where it passed with Hazlewood, Hicks, M. Hill requesting to be recorded as voting NO. Then a new version was presented by Rep. Matthew Hill later to the full committee where it passed. It was heard an passed in Calendar and Rules on Thursday.
Tennessee school voucher bill: Lawmakers, Gov. Bill Lee are at odds over proposal, here's what to know .
Tennessee governor huddles with school leaders in cities affected by his voucher proposal .
Senate could limit voucher bill to Nashville, Shelby County, setting up clash with House version .
GUARDRAILS FOR OVERSIGHT BOARDS:
SB 1407 by *Bell, (HB 0658) by *Curcio
Law Enforcement - As introduced, limits the authority of a community oversight board to the review and consideration of matters reported to it and the issuance of advisory reports and recommendations to agencies involved in public safety and the administration of justice.
STATUS: As you may recall the Senate and the House could not agree on language for the legislation so it went to a Conference Committee (made up of three members from each house). Conference Committee Report on House Bill No. 658 / Senate Bill No. 1407 was presented and was adopted by the Senate Ayes 24, Nays 6, PNV 1. It has not yet been voted on in the House.
Tennessee Legislature’s Conference Committee Compromises on Community Oversight Board Subpoena Power .
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST:
Our very own, Mike Krause executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission: After college bribe and schemes scandal, we need to rethink the concept of elite education .
Some politicians want an extra $350 million for Tennessee schools; here's what it would pay for .
TennCare, under fire for dropping children, gains 24,000 kids in February and March .
JUST FOR EASTER FUN:
The COMPTROLLER Easter Bunny [better known as Justin Wilson] showed up again this year. For many years this Bunny has hidden multiple plastic Easter Eggs in the legislator's offices. Sometimes the lawmakers find all of them and sometimes some aren't found until there is an office change or a retirement. [Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, Comptroller Bunny, Jason Mumpower, Rep. Dan Howell.] At the close of the Thursday House Floor session, Rep. Bill Beck requested that Terri Lynn close the session, which she did, beautifully, by singing "Because HE LIVES"
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