Legislative Update, March 31, 2018

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).


"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6

Rep. Mary Littleton continues to improve, which is great news.  Sad to report that Sen. Thelma Harper lost her husband this week. Paul Wilson Harper, Prominent Businessman Dies.  You will want to remember his family. A legislator's father had a serious heart procedure this week.  Please pray that it was successful. Also, please continue to pray for these fast-paced days at the Legislature.  Everyone is stressed, trying to get bills passed and important decisions are still being contemplated as time begins to run out. 

FUNFACTS:  The Senate State and Local Committee met for five and a half hours on Tuesday and I turned the lights out on them. (I accidently leaned on the wall where the light switch was and the Chairman said: "Is that you, Bobbie?". Oops!) Six Senate Committees have closed; Four House Full Committees and 11 Subcommittees have closed and this week we are starting all day floor sessions.  Time is marching on.

The day started out with a bang. First thing, we were off to visit several legislators about our sanctuary city bill. There was a significant amount of confusion as to who was opposed to it, and people had been told different things about the bill. Eventually, Mrs. Bobbie was able to resolve the issues and everyone was on the same page. However, the day did not continue its breakneck pace. At 10:30 we went to watch a committee meeting where the bill we were there for never appeared. We instead got to watch a debate - the longest debate over a bill I've seen so far - on the role of public employees in local governments. That bill was kept in committee. After that, we went to watch the committee where our bill was. After debates over what a monument to the unborn should say, and whether the government should fund legislator's trips, our bill got rolled. One of the committee members had to leave, and so we lost a vote. Thus the drama continues. Hopefully next week will be more conducive to our side.

Luke was on spring break this week.

Wednesday went by like a whirlwind! Between the medical marijuana bill and our sanctuary city bill, our day was packed to the brim with appointments and committee meetings! We talked to Reps. Dan Howell, Jay Reedy, and Dale Carr in the morning, and also spent some time listening into the senate floor session. It felt like the morning went by too fast and suddenly we were in the Criminal Justice Committee to hear about HB 1749, or the medical marijuana bill. We spent a total of two hours sitting in there listening to testimony and debate, to see only Reps. Lamberth and Sherrell vote no. The bill moves on to the House Health Committee next week. Afterwards, we went to see our Sanctuary City bill take place in the State Government Subcommittee, and, thankfully, it got out of there! We expended a lot of energy listening to the talk around the bill, but all in all, it's a blessing that we've made it this far! It's can be so interesting to listen to the debates, but it can also be incredibly frustrating! I can't wait to see what happens next week!

SB 2332 by *Green , Bell, Ketron, Roberts, Pody, Southerland, Bowling, Jackson,
HB 2315 by *Reedy, , Terry, Sexton J, Moody, Rogers, Hill M, Goins, Eldridge, Byrd, Matheny, Boyd, Matlock, White D, Weaver, Keisling, Zachary, VanHuss, Carr , Vaughan, Crawford, Hawk, Whitson, Tillis, Kane, Calfee, Marsh, Sexton C, Lynn, Johnson, Moon, Hill T, Holt, Casada, Holsclaw, Halford, Brooks H, Sargent, Brooks K, McCormick, McDaniel, Carter, Travis, Gant, Smith, Sherrell, Powers, Lollar, Gravitt, Sparks, Littleton, Hulsey, Coley, Ragan, Doss, Lamberth, Howell, Hicks, Williams, Faison, Kumar, Butt, Forgety, Harwell, Daniel
Immigration - As introduced, prohibits state and local governmental entities and officials from adopting sanctuary policies; authorizes Tennessee residents and members of the general assembly to submit complaints to the attorney general; provides that violations subject entities to ineligibility of state moneys; requires law enforcement agencies to enter into memorandums of agreement with federal officials concerning enforcement of federal immigration laws.  
SB2332-HB2315 as AMENDED.

STATUS: SB2332 has not yet been scheduled for a floor vote. 

HB2315 - First, please note the number of House Members who have signed on to our bill including Speaker Beth Harwell.  We are very grateful for each.  It was in the State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday afternoon (their final meeting). We went in thinking that we had the votes to get it out, but literally ran into a 'buzz saw' that almost killed our bill.  THANKFULLY, Rep. Mary Littleton suggested that the subcommittee send the bill to the full committee to give us time to work out any problems. Chairman Bill Sanderson called for vote and gaveled it passed, keeping the bill alive. As we worked really hard on Thursday, it became clear that the amendment that 'makes the bill' had not be read carefully or understood thoroughly. We hope we now have the details ironed out and that we are ready for Tuesday, but at this point we can't take ANYTHING for granted.
ACTION: HB2315 is in the State Government Committee on Tuesday morning. It is VITAL that members of this committee hear from you. You will note that some members are co-sponsors - THANK THEM; please let the other members know that you support this important bill. This is a hot issue in TN, especially based on what Nashville tried to do last Spring and it was an issue that helped Donald Trump carry TN and become President. In addition, it is my recollection that EVERY candidate for Governor OPPOSES permitting Sanctuary Cities.


More California cities looking to reject state's sanctuary law

SB 2333 by *Green, Bell, HB 2312 by *Lamberth, Casada, Hill M, Holt
Public Officials - As introduced, prohibits the use of consular identification cards, and other similar documents not authorized by the general assembly for use for identification purposes, for determining a person's identity or residency by an official or employee of the state or any political subdivision of the state; prohibits local governments and law enforcement agencies from establishing the acceptability of any such cards or documents.
STATUS:  SB2333 has not yet been scheduled for the Senate floor.  HB2312 was in committee last Tuesday, but one of our supporting members had to leave and time was running out, so Rep. Lamberth rolled the bill to this coming Tuesday.
ACTION:  This bill is also in the State Government Committee and, once again, we NEED your participation.  Remember, locally issued identification cards are most benefit illegal aliens by enabling them to reside in the jurisdiction under an impression of lawful presence.  Politely urge the committee members to support HB2312.

TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition Leaders Finally Admit to Legislative Committee They Want to Keep Illegal Immigrants in Tennessee


SB 1710 by *Dickerson, HB 1749 by Faison, Ramsey
Health Care - As introduced, enacts the "Medical Cannabis Act"; establishes medical cannabis commission for regulation of cannabis-related health care. - Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 29; Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 4; Title 50; Title 53, Chapter 11; Title 67 and Title 68.
STATUS:  Where to start? The 73 page bill was amended on the 21st to become a four-page bill.  On the 28th, during a couple of hours of testimony by supporters and opponents including the Dept. of Health, the TBI, the Sheriffs, and the DAs, two more amendments were added: Amend #2Amend #3. Then HB1749 passed the Criminal Justice Committee 9-2: Reps. voting aye were: Akbari, Coley, Curcio, Farmer, Goins, Jones, Littleton, Parkinson, VanHuss -- 9. Reps. voting no were: Lamberth, Sherrell -- 2.
HB1749  moved on to the Health Committee and SB1710 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday
House sponsor significantly alters medical cannabis legislation .

ACTION:  HB1749 will be in the Health Committee on Wednesday. Now what we don't know is if there will be an effort to amend the bill further in the Health Committee.  Regardless, we are opposed. Please contact the members and urge them to vote NO.
SB1710 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday. We have no idea if the amendments that have been put on the House bill will be presented in the Senate or not.  Regardless, we are opposed. Please contact the members and urge them to vote NO.
This article speaks volumes about what the goal of this legislation was and even in its present form,  is a step in that direction:
TN Medical Cannabis Trade Association Withdraws Support For Medical Marijuana Bill . 

SB 2263 by *Gardenhire, HB 2429 by *White M
Education, Higher - As introduced, exempts certain students from paying out-of-state tuition at state institutions of higher education
STATUS: FINALLY, I am so glad to report that SB2263 was put in General Sub this week, meaning that it will NOT be voted on this year and HB2429 will just stay in the Education Administration and Planning committee. However, I am sure this will come back next year.  These folks are determined but don't forget: In the six months between the June 2017 Tennessee Star Poll and the December 2017 Tennessee Star Poll, opposition to in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students among likely Tennessee Republican primary voters has actually increased–from 84 percent to 88 percent–while support has decreased–from 11 percent to 6 percent.
State Senator Todd Gardenhire Lashes Out at Fellow Republicans As His Bill to Expand In-State Tuition Benefits Dies in Committee .

Illegal Immigrants in Tennessee Can Already Get Cheaper College Tuition Than What is Proposed in Gardenhire/White Bill .

SB 1908 by *Niceley, HB 2109 by *Tillis , TRAVIS, CALFEE, MARSH
Business and Commerce - As introduced, establishes the Tennessee horse racing commission to regulate horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering in Tennessee.
This 53 page bill basically sets up a gambling parlors in that it legalizes simulcasting and parimutuel gambling. Horse racing is a sport on the decline and new tracks find it very difficult to support themselves simply by running the horses around the track
STATUS:  HB2109 was just taken 'off notice' in the State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday.  SB1908 was on the calendar in Senate State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday.  It had become pretty clear, thankfully, the there weren't the votes in the House and Senate to pass this 'gambling parlor' bill.  Chairman Ken Yager was very gracious and permitted Sen. Nicely to bring the members of the task force to the committee where extended discussion took place.  In the end, the issue was sent to 'summer study'.  We will see what comes of that.  Sen. Nicely is pretty determined, so we will probably see this again next year.

Local Education Agencies - As introduced, enacts the "National Motto in the Classroom Act," which requires each local education agency to display the national motto, "In God We Trust," in a prominent location in each school.

SB2661 passed the Senate floor 28-0; HB2368 passed 81-8-2  
          Reps/ voting aye were: Alexander, Beck, Boyd, Brooks H., Brooks K., Butt, Byrd, Calfee, Carr, Carter, Casada, Coley, Crawford, Curcio, Daniel, DeBerry, Doss, Dunn, Eldridge, Faison, Farmer, Fitzhugh, Forgety, Gant, Goins, Halford, Hawk, Hazlewood, Hicks, Hill M., Hill T., Holsclaw, Holt, Howell, Hulsey, Jernigan, Johnson, Kane, Keisling, Kumar, Lamberth, Lollar, Lynn, Marsh, Matlock, McCormick, McDaniel, Moody, Moon, Pitts, Powell, Powers, Ragan, Ramsey, Reedy, Rogers, Rudd, Sanderson, Sargent, Sexton C., Sexton J., Shaw, Sherrell, Smith, Sparks, Staples, Terry, Thompson, Tillis, Travis, Van Huss, Vaughan, Weaver, White D., White M., Whitson, Williams, Windle, Wirgau, Zachary, Madame Speaker Harwell -- 81. Reps.voting no were: Clemmons, Hardaway, Jones, Mitchell, Parkinson, Stewart, Towns, Turner -- 8. Reps.present and not voting were: Cooper, Love -- 2.

Tennessee Legislature Passes Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood Abortion Chain

Haslam proposes $30 million budget to boost school safety .

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