FINAL Legislative Update, May 28, 2022
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. Scott Cepicky's mother passed away Wednesday morning. A former legislator's father committed suicide recently. Please remember these two families as they walk through these difficult days. Also, as the session ended Thursday, the election season is now in full bloom. PLEASE pray for these campaigns. The election cycle is extremely important this year, at both the state and federal level.
This being my last week at the Capitol, I expected to be in floor sessions most of the day. We ended up on the House floor for a little while, but our main goal was to drum up support for the veto of HB 2309, which had barely passed and was on the Governor's desk. During the floor session, we watched a long debate going on about HB 2430, which is extremely controversial but only affects certain school districts. There were a few representatives debating the bill, but most of them did not seem concerned with it, as it did not affect their districts . We also spoke to a number of legislators about the Eagle Forum bill, which passed last week. Apparently, this bill was a groundbreaking piece of legislation. As it turns out, other states tried to pass similar bills, and failed. We are still celebrating the passing of this bill, and we hope that other states will follow our example next session. We also met with House Speaker Cameron Sexton, explaining the importance of our bill, and the danger of HB 2309. I have never experienced anything like the General Assembly, and strongly encourage more people to learn about our country's unique process of lawmaking. I have enjoyed my time at the Capitol, and I am thankful for this opportunity to learn from Mrs. Bobbie.
On Wednesday, Ms. Bobbie and I sat in on a Joint Floor Session. This Joint Convention was held for the confirmation of three Judges. Two of the Judges were confirmed to the Criminal Court of Appeals and the third Judge was confirmed to the Court of Appeals. We spent the rest of the day in the House Chamber for the House Floor Session. One bill that was amazing to hear in the floor session was SB 1378. This bill was one of Ms. Bobbie’s bills dealing with Sex trafficking and making it a Class A felony. This bill passed easily with 92 Ayes and 0 nays. This bill already passed the senate so it is now on to the Governor's office for him to sign it for it to become part of the Tennessee Code Annotated. God is doing incredible things through Ms. Bobbie. We also spent some time handing out papers with information on the consequences of the DACA bill, the bill that gives illegal aliens the ability to receive professional and commercial licenses, since the Governor signed the bill into law. This week was my last week interning with Ms. Bobbie. Interning with Ms. Bobbie was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. I am so thankful to have interned with Ms. Bobbie for as long as I did. I am looking forward to what God has for me next.
POINT OF PERSONAL PRIVILEGE: Since 2010, attorney and wonderful friend, Joanne Bregman, has been my lobbying partner. Whether she is with me at the Capitol or working with me from home, her contributions to what we are able to accomplish cannot be overestimated. She is always ready to offer advice, strategic ideas, do research, write "talking points'', whatever is needed to 'get the job done'. This year she got to do something very special. She was able to provide important background information to Sen. Paul Rose and Rep. Jerry Sexton to help them craft the important antisemitic legislation included below in this update. THANK YOU dear friend. You are a priceless treasure.
SENTENCE ENHANCEMENT FOR SEX TRAFFICKING:
SB 1378 by *Bell , Bailey, Bowling, Crowe, Jackson, Stevens, White - HB 1416 by *Curcio , SHERRELL, WHITE, WHITSON, OGLES, RAGAN, ALEXANDER, TODD, TERRY, LITTLETON, JERNIGAN
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.
PLEASE NOTE: We started working on this bill last year. It passed in Senate Judiciary and House Criminal Justice in 2021, then it was put 'behind the budget' for funding. My friend, Ilonka Deaton, who was trafficked from the time she was 12, until she was 17, gave dramatic testimony in the House and Senate committees. FINALLY on Wednesday the bill was on the Finance committee's calendar and was funded. As amended, it passed the Senate 32-0 and the House 92-0. What a WONDERFUL victory!!
TENNESSEE INVESTMENT IN STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT ACT
SB 2396 by *Johnson , Gardenhire, Massey, Powers, Stevens, Crowe, Reeves, Watson - HB 2143 by *Lamberth , GANT, WHITE, WILLIAMS, GARRETT, HAWK, JOHNSON C, FAISON, MARSH, HASTON, HURT, BAUM, ZACHARY, GILLESPIE, COCHRAN, POWERS, DARBY, HICKS T, LAFFERTY, WRIGHT, RAMSEY, MARTIN, HAZLEWOOD, KUMAR, CARRINGER, CRAWFORD
Basic Education Program (BEP) - As introduced, changes the date, from November 1 to September 1, by which the BEP review committee must submit its annual report on the BEP to the governor, the state board of education, the finance, ways and means committees of the senate and the house of representatives, the education committee of the senate, and the education administration committee of the house of representatives.
STATUS: After hours and days of intense discussion and negotiations, TISA finally passed 26-5 in the Senate and 63-24-1 in the House:
Sens. voting Aye: Akbari, Bailey, Bell, Briggs, Crowe, Gardenhire, Haile, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Lamar, Lundberg, Massey, Niceley, Powers, Reeves, Roberts, Rose, Southerland, Stevens, Swann, Walley, Watson, White, Yager, Mr. Speaker McNally -- 26.
Sens. voting no : Bowling, Campbell, Hensley, Kyle, Yarbro -- 5.
Reps concurring with Senate amendments and passing the bill:
Reps. voting Aye: Alexander, Baum, Boyd, Bricken, Campbell S, Carr, Carringer, Casada, Cochran, Crawford, Curcio, Darby, Doggett, Eldridge, Faison, Farmer, Garrett, Gillespie, Hakeem, Halford, Hall, Haston, Hawk, Hazlewood, Helton, Hicks G, Hicks T, Holsclaw, Howell, Hurt, Johnson C, Kumar, Lafferty, Lamberth, Leatherwood, Littleton, Lynn, Mannis, Marsh, Martin, Moody, Moon, Parkinson, Powers, Ragan, Ramsey, Reedy, Rudd, Rudder, Russell, Sexton J, Shaw, Sherrell, Sparks, Terry, Todd, Vital, Warner, White, Whitson, Wright, Zachary, Mr. Speaker Sexton C -- 63.
Reps. voting No: Beck, Byrd, Calfee, Camper, Cepicky, Chism, Clemmons, Dixie, Freeman, Hardaway, Harris, Hodges, Jernigan, Johnson G, Keisling, McKenzie, Miller, Mitchell, Powell, Stewart, Thompson, Towns, Weaver, Windle -- 24.
Reps. present and not voting were: Hulsey -- 1.
INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS QUALITY:
SB 2247 by *Lundberg - HB 2666 by *Sexton C , SEXTON J, SHERRELL, LYNN, CEPICKY, RAGAN, KEISLING, POWERS, MOODY
Textbooks - As introduced, requires the state textbook and instructional materials quality commission to provide a copy of the commission's proposed textbook and instructional materials list to the general assembly.
STATUS: The Senate and the House could not come to an agreement on the content of this legislation so it went to a Conference Committee. The Conference Committee Report was adopted by both houses and passed the Senate 21-11 and passed the House 60-25-3.
POLICIES POHIBITING ANTI-SEMITIC CONCEPTS:
SB 2684 by *Rose , Bailey, Bowling, White - HB 2673 by *Sexton J , GRIFFEY, HOWELL, MOODY, REEDY, POWERS, SHERRELL
Education - As introduced, requires the governing body of each LEA to adopt a written policy prohibiting the teaching of anti-Semitic concepts in schools by teachers and administrative staff employed by the LEA; requires that the policy be distributed or made available to each teacher and staff member at the beginning of each school year
STATUS: As amended, it passed the Senate 95-0-1 and passed the House 31-0.
BACKGROUND ON THIS IMPORTANT BILL: SB2684/HB2673 sponsored by Senator Paul Rose (R-Shelby) and Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station), makes Tennessee an early leader in codifying the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism into state law. The IHRAis already utilized by various branches of the U.S. government, including the State Department and the Department of Education. According to a recent study by the Combat Antisemitism Movement and Tel Aviv University, the IHRA has been adopted by more than 865 key entities worldwide, including over 200 in the past year. Tennessee’s new law is based on a model bill that was brought to the sponsors by several members of the Nashville Jewish community working with the Israeli-American Coalition for Action and Prof. Rabbi Mark Goldfeder, a former constitutional law professor and Director of the National Jewish Advocacy Center. The new law provides the IHRA as a uniform standard to help K-12 school systems and institutions of higher education assess the motivation behind unlawful discriminatory anti-Jewish behavior when it occurs. The new law specifically states that it “does not diminish or infringe” Constitutionally protected free speech.
ETHAN'S, HAILEY'S AND BENTLEY'S LAW
SB 2103 by *Bell , Rose, Walley - HB 1834 by *Hall , GRIFFEY, LAMBERTH, CURCIO, HOWELL, BECK, MOODY, HARDAWAY, DOGGETT, SEXTON J, SHERRELL, OGLES, HASTON, FAISON, MOON, PARKINSON, HOLSCLAW, KEISLING, TOWNS, HELTON, GRILLS, JERNIGAN, THOMPSON, TERRY, HURT, WILLIAMS, TODD, GILLESPIE, LITTLETON, WHITSON, VITAL, CEPICKY, POWERS, MANNIS
AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 39; Title 40 and Title 55, relative to driving under the influence.
DUI Offenses - As introduced, requires a sentencing court to order a defendant who has been convicted of vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide due to intoxication and in which the victim of the offense was the parent of a minor child to pay restitution in the form of child maintenance to each of the victim's children until each child reaches 18 years of age and has graduated from high school.
STATUS: As Amended, it passed the Senate 32-0 and the House 93-0.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE OVERHAUL:
SB 1005 by *McNally , Haile - HB 1201 by *Sexton C , WHITSON, JERNIGAN, WILLIAMS, HAZLEWOOD, KUMAR, MANNIS, RAMSEY, FREEMAN, HARDAWAY, WHITE, HOWELL
Campaigns and Campaign Finance - As introduced, revises various provisions relative to ethics and campaign finance laws
STATUS: This became one of the most hotly debated bills both inside and outside the General Assembly. The Senate and the House could not agree on the language and it ended up in a Conference Committee. The Conference Committee Report was adopted in both chambers and passed the Senate 31-1 and the House 85-3.
SB 1904 by *Briggs - HB 1927 by *Lamberth , WRIGHT, HARDAWAY, CURCIO
Controlled Substances - As introduced, changes the date, from January 1 to January 15, by which the medical cannabis commission must submit its annual report to the general assembly
STATUS: The House bill (with Amendment 1 and Amendment 2) was assigned to the floor, but evidently did not get voted on. The Senate bill was heard in Finance Ways and Means (with Amendment 1 and Amendment 2), but was never sent to the Floor.
JUST A COUPLE OF FUN THINGS:
New Senator (former Rep.) London Lamar (who was recently appointed to take Katrina Robinson's seat when she was expelled from the Senate) had the honor of being the only member of the 'GREENHORN' caucus this year. New members are 'required' to do some kind of 'something' at the end of their first session. She did a very funny presentation, including talking about the "Frat House" vs. "Shady Acres" comparing the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Rep. Greg Martin
Since he is the newest member of the State House of Representatives, he was appointed chairman of the "paper committee." All of his colleagues brought to his desk their papers as the General Assembly adjourned for the year. It was his responsibility to dispose of them. He says he has been a "Recycling Republican for years."
RETIRING SENATOR MIKE BELL:
In the Monday evening Senate floor session, most of Mike's family was able to join him to be a part of an emotional evening filled with well-earned accolades. You will want to read, probably, the best resolution that I have ever heard in the 35 years I have been in the Legislature:
If you want to laugh and perhaps, like me, shed a few tears, you can go HERE , move the slide over to 6:50 and understand how Mike developed into such a respected leader.
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