FINAL Legislative Update, May 8, 2021
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).
FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
Rep. David Byrd has been at Vanderbilt Hospital the last couple of weeks... so they could run some tests on his liver. When he was admitted he was dehydrated plus his Bilirubin Levels and Liver Enzymes were high. The liver biopsy came back and although his liver function isn’t back to normal... the doctors seem to think that in time... it will heal itself. May 4th, he was released from Vanderbilt and admitted to a Rehab facility to hopefully help him regain his strength. At this time... David is still unable to walk unassisted... he’s lost 55 lbs... and he’s still jaundiced.. but he sure is determined to get back to a normal life again. David's family is very grateful for all the prayers coming their way, and they believe he would not being doing as well without them. If you want to send him a card, do so at PO Box1138, Waynesboro, 38485. You will also want to remember the members of the General Assembly as they go home and reintegrate into their daily family life and their work life.
Well, there is no doubt about it -- SB623-HB580 -- became THE bill during the final days of the legislative session.
Just so you will know, a group of us were already working on the issue, doing research, realizing how complicated it was, how deep it was already embedded into the schools and culture, planning to prepare legislation for next year. However, the issue really BLEW UP among the grassroots and the legislators KNEW it MUST be dealt with NOW.
Understand, the last three weeks of a legislative session are CRAZY - committees shutting down, decisions being made about which bills to work on, which bills to postpone, changes to bills, and on it goes.
But this HAD to be done. I am very proud of what was accomplished by the legislators who were committed to this effort, especially in a few days they had to do this. Special thanks to Sen. Mike Bell, Rep. John Ragan and Rep. Scott Cepicky.
I have seen a LOT armchair quarterbacking and complaints on Facebook. Folks, for Heaven's sake - be gracious!!! Is this bill perfect? NO! Will we be watching and evaluating its implementation? YES! Will we be looking at how to tweak it when the next session starts? YES! Bottom line: WE WON and the children of Tennessee won.
BECAME THE 'CRITICAL RACE THEORY' BILL
SB 0623 by *Bell , Johnson, Kelsey, Pody, Stevens, Bowling - HB 0580
by *Ragan , WHITE, CEPICKY, SHERRELL, SMITH, DARBY, ZACHARY, GRILLS, HOWELL, HELTON, LAMBERTH, RUDD, TERRY, CASADA, LITTLETON, WARNER, CARR, CARRINGER, GRIFFEY, CRAWFORD, WEAVER, BRICKEN, GILLESPIE, WRIGHT, RUDDER, CALFEE, WILLIAMS, HALFORD, HICKS T, ALEXANDER, COCHRAN, RUSSELL, MOODY, HAWK, HULSEY, TODD, SEXTON J, GARRETT, MOON, HOLSCLAW, DOGGETT, SPARKS, POWERS, HURT, REEDY, GANT, FAISON, KUMAR, ELDRIDGE, LEATHERWOOD, MARSH, VAUGHAN, BOYD, HALL, HASTON, OGLES, LYNN
Education, Dept. of - As introduced, requires the commissioner to post, by June 1, 2022, and by June 1 each year thereafter, the number of waivers of average class size limits granted to LEAs to assist the LEAs with funding grow your own programs.
STATUS: SB623-HB580 went to a Conference Committee, so the Senate could add a few things, then the House and the Senate voted on adopting the Report:
SB0623 by Bell - FLOOR VOTE: MOTION TO ADOPT CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORT 5/5/2021 Passed 69-20
Representatives voting aye were: Alexander, Baum, Boyd, Bricken, Calfee, Campbell S, Carr, Carringer, Casada, Cepicky, Cochran, Crawford, Curcio, Darby, Doggett, Eldridge, Faison, Farmer, Gant, Garrett, Gillespie, Griffey, Grills, Halford, Hall, Haston, Hawk, Hazlewood, Helton, Hicks G, Hicks T, Holsclaw, Howell, Hurt, Johnson C, Keisling, Kumar, Lafferty, Lamberth, Leatherwood, Littleton, Lynn, Marsh, Moody, Moon, Ogles, Powers, Ragan, Ramsey, Reedy, Rudd, Rudder, Russell, Sexton J, Sherrell, Smith, Sparks, Terry, Todd, Vaughan, Warner, Weaver, White, Whitson, Williams, Windle, Wright, Zachary, Mr. Speaker Sexton C -- 69.
Representatives voting no were: Beck, Chism, Clemmons, Dixie, Freeman, Hakeem, Harris, Hodges, Jernigan, Johnson G, Lamar, Love, McKenzie, Mitchell, Parkinson, Powell, Shaw, Stewart, Thompson, Towns -- 20
SB0623 by Bell - FLOOR VOTE: Motion to Adopt Conference Committee Report 5/5/2021 Passed 25-7-1
Senators voting aye were: Bailey, Bell, Bowling, Crowe, Gardenhire, Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Lundberg, Massey, Niceley, Pody, Powers, Reeves, Roberts, Rose, Southerland, Stevens, Swann, Watson, White, Yager, Mr. Speaker McNally -- 25.
Senators voting no were: Akbari, Campbell, Gilmore, Kyle, Robinson, Walley, Yarbro -- 7.
Senators present and not voting were: Briggs -- 1
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORTS
Below is the link to the Majority Report that was accepted and the Minority Report that was rejected:
Majority Report # 1 for SB0623 / HB0580
Minority Report # 1 for SB0623 / HB0580
INCREASING THE PENALTIES FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING:
SB 1378 by *Bell - HB1416 by *Curcio
Criminal Offenses - As introduced, creates the Class A felony of aggravated human trafficking; specifies the release eligibility for a person committing a human trafficking offense or an aggravated human trafficking offense; revises the sentence enhancement for the offense of trafficking for commercial sex act
STATUS: Both bills got through the respective committees unanimously and then went to the Finance Committees because of the Fiscal Note of $190,900. Unfortunately and sadly, it did not get funded, but you may rest assured that we will be working on that funding between now and January to make sure we can get this important legislation passed and 'in the books'!!
TRANSPARENCY IN FOREIGN INVESTMENT ACT
SB 1191 by *Johnson , Hensley, Kelsey, Pody, Rose, Stevens
HB 1238 by *Lamberth , GANT, RAGAN, CALFEE, RUSSELL, HALFORD, CARR, RUDDER, WHITE, SHERRELL, HULSEY, FAISON, REEDY, KEISLING, MOODY, SMITH, TERRY, HELTON, ALEXANDER, SEXTON J, LYNN, CEPICKY, ELDRIDGE
Education, Higher - As introduced, increases, from 30 to 45, the number of days a municipal corporation may continue prescribing and enforcing traffic ordinances on the campus of a state institution after receiving a request from the institution to cease such activity
STATUS: I was SO GLAD to see that the General Assembly was dealing with this important issue and one we have been concerned about for a long time. As amended, among other things, it is about Hosting a Confucius Institute. Under this amendment, a "Confucius Institute" means a Confucius Institute or Chinese Language Partner Network operated by the Office of Chinese Language Council International, also known as Hanban, which is affiliated with the ministry of education of the People's Republic of China, etc. It passed the house 90-0 and the Senate 32-1.
MEDICAL CANNABIS COMMISSION
SB 0118 by *Haile , Massey, Akbari, Rose - HB 0490 by *Terry , HODGES, RAMSEY, DIXIE, SMITH, HARDAWAY, CURCIO, FAISON, MILLER, HELTON, FREEMAN, THOMPSON
Health Care - As introduced, establishes the medical cannabis commission; requires the commission to study laws and legislation regarding the medical use of cannabis; requires the commission to report findings and recommendations, including proposed legislation on how to best establish an effective, patient-focused medical cannabis program in this state
STATUS: I really hate to see the state take this step. It sounds compassionate, but marijuana supporters see this only as a step toward decriminalization, then full legalization.
As amended, it creates the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission. The commission will serve as a nonpartisan, medically-focused entity that will study federal and state laws regarding legalization of medical marijuana. It passed the House 74-17-1 and passed the Senate 19-12
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR MAKING POSITIVE LIFE CHOICES, ABSTINENCE:
SB 1360 by *Bell , Hensley, Bowling - HB 0487 by *Smith , CEPICKY, WHITE, SHERRELL, COCHRAN, POWERS
Education - As introduced, extends, beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, the counties within which each LEA must implement a program of family life education from counties with a pregnancy rate of 19.5 pregnancies for every 1,000 females ages 15 to 17 to all counties; requires a curriculum on sex education or human sexuality that is implemented by an LEA as a part of a human growth and development program be in conformance with the curriculum guidelines established for family life programs
STATUS: On April 12, HB487 passed the House Floor 78-12; On April 14, SB1360 passed the Senate floor 29-0
COMMUNITY OVERSIGHT BOARDS
SB 0457 by *Bell , Pody, Gardenhire, Jackson, Powers, Rose - HB 0374
by *Casada , CURCIO, GRIFFEY, SMITH, WHITE, HULSEY, HASTON, CARR, TODD, LITTLETON
Law Enforcement - As introduced, requires that members of a community oversight board complete the local police force's citizen academy course within six months of beginning service on the board; removes authority from the board until all members have complied.
STATUS: As amended, it passed the House 68-22 and passed the Senate 26-6.
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