Legislative Update, January 20, 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).

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

The new session is getting off to a bit of a slow start, but you will want to pray faithfully for the work of the lawmakers as they begin making important decisions that will impact our lives for years to come. We can pray for truth, integrity, Godly principles, and transparency.

Image result for Nashville snow storm

Well this certainly  'was the week that was' in terms of weather.  When it started snowing on Tuesday morning, no one was quite sure when it would finally stop.  And, indeed, it snowed most of the day.  One of my interns lives in Clarksville where they got hit before Nashville did; the other Tuesday intern lives in Goodlettsville, a good drive to downtown too.  Well, I clearly wasn't going any where, so we all stayed home. Thanks to the wonders of the internet (aren't we glad that Al Gore invented it?), I was able to watch the committee meetings that I wanted to attend and to keep up with what little happened at the Cordell Hull building. Wednesday did not bring any relief and even if I could have gotten out of my neighborhood (which I could not) the long walk I now have to make was just not worth the risk of falling in the ice and snow.  So....again the internet was a lifesaver.  But the biggest disappointment was I didn't get to meet my new Wednesday intern, LauraBeth Morgan.  (See below for introduction.)

LauraBeth Morgan is a high school junior and has been homeschooling since the second grade. She has been involved with 4-H since fourth grade, earning several awards for her talents in sewing and cooking, and winning first place in several speech and demonstration competitions within 4-H. She has been an active Teen Leader, attending numerous classes and camps to teach and guide younger students to live up to the 4-H motto, “To make the best better.” She attended the 2017 Tennessee 4-H Congress as a senator from Rutherford county. Miss Morgan traveled to Washington, D.C. with Mrs. Frances Arthur in 2016. While in Washington D.C. she attended several classes hosted by the Leadership Institute and plans to return this summer. She is preparing for her senior year of high school and hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in college, possibly in Advertising. Miss Morgan lives in Christiana, Tennessee with her family, three cats, and a dog. She enjoys sewing her own clothing and is currently trying to figure out what, exactly, stoichiometry is, and why her chemistry teacher insists that she know about it.

                                 The 2018 House Republican Caucus

State Representative Kevin Vaughan (R–Collierville), who was elected during a special election in the summer of 2017 after the conclusion of the first half of the 2017-2018 General Assembly.

State Representative Jerome Moon (R–Maryville), appointed to the House by the Blount County Commission to fill the remaining term of former State Representative Art Swann, who now serves in the State Senate.

State Representative Clark Boyd (R–Lebanon), who was appointed to the House by the Wilson County Commission following the election of Mark Pody to the State Senate.

The ONE good thing I can say about the Cordell Hull move is that the tunnel that takes you from the Capitol to the new home for the state legislators is really beautiful.  A visitor can take the elevator down at the Capitol about 58 feet, then walk the tunnel which is over 400 ft long.  You would never know that you are that far under ground, nor is there any feeling of claustrophobia as some had had concerns about.  The design is beautiful, the light fixtures dramatic, and provides a very pleasant place to walk. 

SB 1710 by *Dickerson
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

NOTE: Well, I guess the battle is finally engaged.  This 73-page bill has now been officially introduced and made available for all to read.  The previous versions read more like a business plan than anything else.  We will see what this one has to offer. It seems to be presented as the 'best thing since sliced bread'.  Please stay tuned as this will be a very important debate and issue for the 2018 legislative session. 

Tennessee bill seeks to legalize, regulate medical marijuana products
Two Republican lawmakers introduce Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018
January 19th, 2018by Andy Sher
NASHVILLE — Tennesseans diagnosed with diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDs, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis could be prescribed medical cannabis oil-based products under legislation introduced by two Republican state lawmakers Thursday.
The bill's sponsors, Nashville physician Sen. Steve Dickerson and Rep. Jeremy Faison, of Cosby, say at least 65,000 Tennesseans could benefit from what they call safe, regulated access to the drugs.
If passed, it would allow Tennessee to join 30 other states, including Arkansas and Florida, which have authorized similar laws.
"Now is the time for the General Assembly to embrace thoughtful, medically responsible legislation to help Tennessee's sickest residents," Dickerson said about the bill, called the Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018.
It would not allow the use of recreational marijuana, which some states like California and Colorado have legalized.
The products are derived from specially cultivated marijuana and, proponents say, the bill has tight restrictions.
Patients with more than a dozen types of health conditions could qualify. The list includes Hepatitis C, ALS, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer's disease, severe arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia and people suffering from seizures characteristic of epilepsy, among others.

SB272 by Bowling, HB222 by Ragan
Driver Licenses - As introduced, requires the department of safety to print the language "NON U.S. CITIZEN" or "ALIEN" on driver licenses, permits, or other forms of identification issued or renewed for a temporary period to persons who are not United States citizens and not lawful permanent residents of the United States. - Amends TCA Title 55, Chapter 50
STATUS:  On Feb 27, 2017, SB272 passed Senate Transportation and Safety Committee 6-1; then was referred to Sen. Finance Ways and Means.  HB222 was postponed from last week and is now scheduled for House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please send emails of support to these committee members:
; ; ; ;  ; ; ; ;  ;

HJR 0109 by *Miller, Akbari, Staples, Hardaway, Camper, Powell, Towns
Constitutional Amendments - Proposes amendment to Article XI, Section 5 to allow the legislature to authorize casinos and games of chance associated with casinos to be operated in Tennessee.
STATUS:  The committee meeting was cancelled so we will have to wait and see if this terrible bill is brought back.

Beth Harwell proposes TennCare work requirements
Jonathan Mattise, Associated Press Published 3:20 p.m. CT Jan. 11, 2018 | Updated 6:25 p.m. CT Jan. 11, 2018
Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell filed a bill Thursday that aims to require able-bodied adults without young children to work if they want TennCare health coverage.
The proposal would accept an offer by President Donald Trump's administration Thursday for states to implement Medicaid work requirements, which Harwell said was the type of flexibility states have requested for several years.
But the effect of that change in Tennessee would be limited under TennCare's tight qualifications, House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh said. The main group that appears would be affected would be parents or caretakers with children from 6 to 20 years old.
To receive TennCare, you must be pregnant, a child under age 19, a parent or relative caretaker of a dependent child under age 21, disabled, elderly or uninsurable, and meet financial requirements.

Tennessee House Republican Caucus Calls for Investigation into Removal of Confederate Statues in Memphis
December 22, 2017 Tennessee Star Staff
On Thursday, Tennessee House Majority Leader State Rep. Glen Casada (R-Thompsons Station) and Republican Caucus Chairman State Rep. Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) called for an investigation into the removal of two Confederate statues Wednesday evening from property that was owned by the City of Memphis until just a few hours earlier.
“Last night, the Memphis City Council unanimously approved the sale of the Health Sciences Park and Fourth Bluff Park under the cover of night to a private entity. For years, these two parks have housed the statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis,” the statement began.
Casada and Williams noted that “within an hour following the vote … cranes were spotted shortly thereafter to remove both statues,” adding:

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