FINAL Legislative Update April 22 2023
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).
Friday evening: "Free at last" from THE most difficult legislative session I have ever been a part of and after 36 years, that is saying a LOT! Absent a special session, they will reconvene on January 9,2024.
GOOD NEWS: The first legislative session of the 113th TN General Assembly has adjourned.
BAD NEWS: The Governor has already called for a Special Session. Welcome to the circus.
OBSERVATIONS: In the last couple of weeks, the floor sessions have been dramatically extended due to the behavior of Rep. Jones and Rep. Pearson. They made accusations and insults against the speaker and the other legislators. They required endless answers to questions about the legislative rules, challenging those rules, questions about the TN Constitution, using their time to 'educate' the other legislators on various issues, and on it went, trying everyone's patience.
Now with a Special Session already called, we will have a circus for sure. Just look at what has taken place during the regular session. Will the Special Session bring more rallies (potential riots?), demonstrations, marches, people being brought in from other places, local supporters being energized for successful action?? YES!!
The Solid Gold Cup goes to House Assistant Chief Clerk/Parliamentarian Daniel Hicks. I don't know what they pay him, but it isn't nearly enough. What a remarkable young man he is. His grasp of the House rules, the TN Constitution, US Constitution, his ability to CALMLY explain and answer the never ending (sometimes ridiculous and repetitive) questions, was amazing and impressive. Well done, Daniel, well done!!
PROTECTING EDUCATORS AND EMPLOYEES
SB 0102 by *Gardenhire , Bowling - HB 0158 by *Zachary , BULSO
Education - As introduced, prohibits a local education agency, public charter school, public institution of higher education, the state board of education, and the department of education from requiring an educator, employee of an LEA or charter school, faculty member, or employee of a public institution of higher education to complete or participate in implicit bias training; defines "implicit bias training"; prohibits adverse licensure and employment actions from being taken against such an individual for the individual's failure or refusal to participate in implicit bias training
STATUS: It passed the Senate 23-4; passed the House 71-22.
TN HIGHER EDUCATION FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION & TRANSPARENCY ACT
SB 0817 by *Hensley , Bowling, Briggs, Rose - HB 1376 by *Ragan , FRITTS, HICKS T, SLATER, HAWK, BARRETT, LAFFERTY, CAPLEY, BUTLER, ELDRIDGE, GRILLS, RICHEY, SHERRELL, COCHRAN, TODD, MOODY, DOGGETT, HOWELL, POWERS, ZACHARY
Education, Higher - As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee Higher Education Freedom of Expression and Transparency Act."
STATUS: As amended, SB817 passed the Senate 26-6; after a hard fight on the House floor, Rep. Ragan passed HB1276, as amended, 73-25.
MATURE MINOR DOCTRINE CLARIFICATION ACT
SB 1111 by *Bowling , Hensley, Jackson, Pody, Taylor - HB 1380 by *Ragan , FRITTS
Public Health - As introduced, enacts the "Mature Minor Doctrine Clarification Act.
STATUS: As amended, SB1111 passed the Senate 27-6; HB1308 passed the House 74-25.
PARENTAL PERMISSION REQUIRED:
SB 1443 by *Roberts , Lowe - HB 0727 by *Fritts , HULSEY
Local Education Agencies - As introduced, requires a student's parent or legal guardian, or the student if the student has reached the age of majority, to provide a written, informed, and voluntarily signed consent to the student's LEA before the student may receive instruction through the LEA's family life curriculum, participate in a survey, analysis, or evaluation, or receive health services provided through a coordinated school health program.
STATUS: SB1443, as amended, and as amended, passed the Senate 25-5-1; HB passed the House 74-24.
PROTECTING PERSONAL PROPERTY RIGHTS:
SB 1147 by *Niceley , Bailey, Pody, Rose - HB 1346 by *Powers , FARMER, GANT, SHERRELL, RAGAN, MOODY, DOGGETT, GRILLS, COCHRAN, ZACHARY, TODD
Real Property - As introduced, prohibits this state and its political subdivisions from adopting or implementing policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to, "Agenda 21," adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the constitution of the United States or the constitution of this state
STATUS: As amended, SB1147 passed the Senate 25-6; HB1346 passed the House 66-22-1.
CONTROLLING PROPERTY OWNERSHIP:
SB 0122 by *Niceley , Bowling - HB 0040 by *Reedy , HULSEY, WARNER, VITAL, RAPER, FRITTS, HAWK, CAPLEY, HARDAWAY, SHERRELL, GRILLS, MOODY, CEPICKY, RICHEY, MCCALMON, ZACHARY, MOON, BRICKEN, BARRETT, WHITE, RAGAN, RUDDER, CARRINGER, POWERS, LAFFERTY, LYNN, SPARKS, TODD
Real Property - As introduced, prohibits foreign ownership of real property in this state by nonresident aliens and foreign entities if the laws of the country where such aliens reside, or such entities are located, prohibit citizens of the United States or its territories or possessions from purchasing real property located within that country.
STATUS: As amended, SB122 passed the Senate 22-3; HB40, as amended, passed the House 83-6-1.
SB 1440 by *Roberts , Bowling, Stevens - HB 0239
by *Bulso , LAMBERTH, FARMER, CAPLEY, GRILLS, BARRETT, KUMAR, SHERRELL, BURKHART, GANT, BUTLER, COCHRAN, MCCALMON, POWERS, SLATER, HAWK, MOODY, TODD, DOGGETT
Statutes and Codification - As introduced, adds "sex" as a defined term for statutory construction purposes.
STATUS: As amended, SB1400 passed the Senate 27-6; HB239, as amended, passed the House 71-21.
PROTECTING FROM 'ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL, AND GOVERNANCE' IMPACT:
SB 0955 by *Johnson , Walley, White, Yager, Bailey, Bowling, Crowe, Gardenhire, Niceley, Reeves, Rose, Stevens, Taylor - HB 1286 by *Zachary , TERRY, LAFFERTY, HAWK, DAVIS, VITAL, SHERRELL, MOODY, GRILLS, POWERS, TODD, CEPICKY, RAGAN, RICHEY, MARTIN B
Public Funds and Financing - As introduced, authorizes the state treasurer, with the approval of the attorney general and reporter, to contract with additional legal counsel, who must be paid compensation for services as the treasurer may deem just, to advise on issues concerning the state treasurer's fiduciary obligations and responsibilities, including the investment, reinvestment, management, and selection of investment options for program assets
STATUS: SB955, as amended, passed the Senate 27-4-2; HB1286, as amended, passed the House 75-19.
PLEASE NOTE: On the bills above, don't let the margin of the vote in the state House mislead you. Every sponsor had to fight for their bill, deal with many questions, some ridiculous, many just time-consuming; some sponsors had to deal with direct personal insults before they could get to the vote!
Hopefully, we can successfully bring back the bills below in 2024.
VALIDATING US CITIZENSHIP IN ORDER TO VOTE:
SB 0137 by *Hensley - HB 0835 by *Richey , DOGGETT
AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 2-2-106 and Section 2-2-141, relative to election integrity.
Election Laws - As introduced, requires the coordinator of elections to compare the statewide voter registration database with those of other relevant state agencies and county records when compiling information to distribute to the county elections commissions for purposes of purging voters who have moved; requires the coordinator
NOTE: Unfortunately, last year, an inadvertent change was made to this law permitting the coordinator of elections to NOT ensure that the voter registration database only includes eligible U.S. citizen voters. SB137-HB835 corrects this and restores the law’s language to its original 2011 version.
STATUS: SB137 was never heard in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means; HB835 was taken off notice in the House Finance, Ways and Means committee.
AMENDING THE AGE-APPROPRIATE MATERIALS ACT OF 2022
SB 1060 by *Hensley - HB 0843 by *Lynn , BARRETT, MCCALMON, MILLER, POWERS, CEPICKY
Education, Higher - As introduced, changes, from September 15 to October 1, the date by which each public institution of higher education operating a hearing center must provide a written report to the Tennessee higher education commission, the education committee of the senate, and the education administration committee of the house of representatives regarding the operation of the hearing center
STATUS: After a very hard fought battle on the House floor, Rep. Lynn was successful in passing HB843, as amended, passed 71-22.
Curiously, SB1060 was never run in Senate Education. Maybe next session.
FREEDOM TO SHARE ACT
SB 0862 by *Reeves - HB 1163 by *Todd , HULSEY, SHERRELL, SLATER, SHAW, LAFFERTY, DOGGETT, HOWELL, RICHEY, MOODY
Health Care - As introduced, requires the commissioner of commerce and insurance to make the standardized forms for health care insurance claims, developed by the commissioner along with the commissioner of health, available to insurance companies for free on the department of commerce and insurance's website.
SB862-HB1163 contains provisions to protect consumers who participate in sharing ministries including transparency disclosures and annual independent audits.
Transparency is important in all areas of healthcare, and we support reasonable requirements to ensure financial solvency.
Health care sharing is an important option for many Americans. Overly burdensome regulations will inhibit their ability to operate. Health care sharing is not health insurance.These ministries operate very differently, and 31 states and Congress have recognized that. This bill incorporates that protection into Tennessee law.
STATUS: As amended, HB1163 passed the House floor 76-17. SB862 passed Senate Commerce and Labor 8-1. Unfortunately, the Senate sponsor moved it back to the Calendar Committee. Maybe he will bring it back next year.
PREGNANCY RESOURCE TAX CREDIT ACT
SB 0837 by *Taylor , Hensley, Pody, Crowe, Rose - HB 1019 - by *Doggett , GANT, CEPICKY, LEATHERWOOD, GRILLS, HULSEY, RUDD, CRAWFORD, MOODY, TODD, RAGAN, RICHEY, HAWK, WARNER, FAISON, BUTLER, BARRETT
Taxes, Exemption and Credits - As introduced, enacts the "Pregnancy Resource Tax Credit Act," which authorizes business, excise, and franchise tax credits for businesses that make monetary contributions to eligible nonprofit organizations that provide certain pregnancy-related services
Among other things, this bill enacts the pregnancy resource tax credit, which will be available only to a taxpayer that is a business enterprise engaged in commercial, industrial, or professional activities and operating as a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or sole proprietorship. The credit is equal to monetary contributions made by the taxpayer during a taxable year to an eligible charitable organization; provided, that the amount of credit that may be utilized by the taxpayer in a taxable year is limited to 50 percent of the total tax liability of the taxpayer for business, excise, and franchise taxes. Any unused credit may be carried forward in any tax period until the credit is taken; however, the credit must not be carried forward for more than five years. The credit allowed is for taxes only and is not allowed for penalty and interest.
STATUS: SB837 was never heard in Senate Finance and HB1019 was taken off notice in House Finance.
THE SENATE 2023 GREENHORN CAUCUS
At least the Senate had their traditional fun. At the close of the first session of a new General Assembly, the freshmen Senators are required to put on some kind of fun 'show'. Well, this 2023 class did not disappoint!! So funny and so clever.
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