Legislative Update, March 26, 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).


"The essential principles of our Government... form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety."    -- Thomas Jefferson, 1st Inaugural Address, 1801.


The Governor's budget is about to be introduced in the second session of the 112th General Assembly .  We have already felt the 'downhill slide', but since the only Constitutional requirement for the legislators is to pass a budget, once that is done, they are ready to leave. PLEASE pray that in these last days, the lawmakers will remain attentive to the important issues that remain and that they will treat their colleagues with respect. 


This past Tuesday, I learned more about the Senate, and how the committees operate on the Senate floor. I didn't realize how similar they were, but they do operate differently in a couple of ways. In the house, votes are taken all at once, unless it is requested otherwise. In the Senate, the vote is taken by roll call. Additionally, the Senate only has thirty-three members, as opposed to the house's ninety-nine members. Later, we attended the health subcommittee and heard extensive debate on Rep. Terry's medical cannabis bill, which would permit marijuana in certain medicinal forms. We also heard a bill that would allow ivermectin to be sold over the counter. The bill had some minor debate, but passed to the health committee. I'm enjoying my time at the capitol, meeting new people and learning how our state government operates.


My second week interning was just as incredible as my first week. We spent the morning talking to Rep. Weaver concerning her bill getting a motion, but not a second on March 22, 2022. It was frustrating to hear of the effects and the possible intent behind her bill getting killed without the committee even hearing or voting on the bill. I also got the opportunity to sit in on great committee meetings. One meeting that stood out was at around 12:30 where we listened to HJR 0757, an Equal Rights Amendment resolution. Rep. Johnny Garrett asked incredible questions which ultimately led to the bill being killed in the Civil Justice Committee. It has also been amazing to see Ms. Bobbie working busily on getting new legislation passed to protect children from obscene and pornographic material in the school system. I can’t wait to be back next week and to continue learning from Ms. Bobbie.


On Tuesday,  with 16 co-sponsors signed on,  Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver presented HB2451 in the House Health Subcommittee.
Chairman Bob Ramsey called for a MOTION, which I heard but could not tell who made it. Then he called for SECOND.  Crickets.. 
Rep. Weaver was stunned, as were those of us who were there to hear the bill.  You can go HERE, move the slide over to 26.27 to see the brief encounter. Rep. Weaver commented that this was unacceptable.
Members present were: Rep Mark Hall, Rep. Darren Jernigan, Rep. Sabi Kumar, Rep. Pat Marsh, Rep. Paul Sherrell, Rep. Bryan Terry and Chairman Bob Ramsey.

We have since learned that the lone voice to 'make the motion' to hear Rep. Weaver's bill was Rep. David Byrd. We wanted to publicly thank Rep. Byrd for the respect he showed his colleague. 


PLEASE NOTE:  I KNOW that it looks like we just keep repeating notices about bills that NEED your help and attention.  Well......yes we are. This is the time of year that calendars are so long that the committees just don't get to some bills, or, for various reasons, bills need to be postponed, and on it goes.  HOWEVER, PLEASE don't ignore the vital need to be attentive and faithful. 

Obscenity and Pornography - As introduced, redefines "obscene" to include material that has educational value; makes various changes to the internet acceptable use policy LEAs are required to adopt; requires providers of digital and online resources to ensure that users cannot access certain obscene material; requires a local board of education to establish a mechanism for parents, legal guardians, or students to report failures of the technology selected by the LEA to filter, block, or otherwise prevent access to pornography or obscenity through online resources and to submit an annual report to the state board of education regarding same.
STATUS:  HB2454 is in Education Administration on Wednesday, March 30.

ACTION:  PLEASE, PLEASE contact these legislators and politely URGE them to support HB2454.
Rep. Charlie Baum rep.charlie.baum@capitol.tn.gov , Rep. Mark Cochran rep.mark.cochran@capitol.tn.gov , Rep. Tandy Darby rep.tandy.darby@capitol.tn.gov , Rep. John Gillespie  rep.john.gillespie@capitol.tn.gov , Rep. Yusuf Hakeem rep.yusuf.hakeem@capitol.tn.gov , Rep. Justin Lafferty rep.justin.lafferty@capitol.tn.gov , Rep. Antonio Parkinson rep.antonio.parkinson@capitol.tn.gov 


SB 1944 by *Hensley - HB 1944 by *Cepicky
Obscenity and Pornography - As introduced, excludes local education agencies, public schools, and employees and private contractors of LEAs or public schools from the exception to certain obscenity offenses if the LEA, public school, employee, or private contractor possesses obscene material that is harmful to minors on public school premises; prohibits an LEA or public school from making obscene materials or materials harmful to minors available to students in the school libraries control.
STATUS: SB1944 is in Senate Education on Wednesday.  
ACTION: You will want to contact these members and urge them to support this legislation.
Sen. Jon  Lundberg sen.jon.lundberg@capitol.tn.gov ,  Sen.Raumesh Akbari Sen.Raumesh.Akbari@capitol.tn.gov ,  Sen. Mike Bell sen.mike.bell@capitol.tn.gov,  Sen. Rusty Crowe sen.rusty.crowe@capitol.tn.gov , Sen. Ferrell Haile sen.ferrell.haile@capitol.tn.gov,  Sen. Brian Kelsey sen.brian.kelsey@capitol.tn.gov , Sen. Bill Powers sen.bill.powers@capitol.tn.gov , Sen. Dawn White sen.dawn.white@capitol.tn.gov .


SB 2532 by *Haile - HB 2641 by *Terryma
Health Care - As introduced, establishes a medical cannabis program under the purview of the medical cannabis commission; establishes a patient registry for qualified patients and authorizes the possession of certain medical cannabis products by qualified patients and designated caregivers; redefines the term "marijuana" to exclude products containing less than 0.9 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol

I challenge you to view the impressive testimony AGAINST HB2641 HERE, move slide to 42:00. This issue is NOT what many people think.   Even the TBI testified against the bill.
STATUS:  On a voice vote, HB2641 came out of House Health Subcommittee Tuesday and will be in House Health Committee on Wednesday. March 30.
STATUS:  SB2532 is in Senate Judiciary Committee calendar on Tuesday.
ACTION:  Click on the committee links, then on the email address and urge the legislators to OPPOSE these bills and not take Tennessee down the road to decriminalization and legalization, which is a goal of the national marijuana supporters and those that see this as a way to make a lot of money.

Good News and Bad News About Girls' Sports in Indiana | Family Policy Alliance

SB 2153 by *Hensley - HB 2316 by *Ragan 
Education - As introduced, prohibits males from participating in public higher education sports that are designated for females; creates a cause of action for violations that deprive a student of an athletic opportunity or that cause direct or indirect harm to a student at the middle school, high school, or postsecondary level
STATUS:  SB2153 is in Senate Education on Tuesday. 
HB2316 is in the Civil Justice Committee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please click on committee links, then email addresses just below the picture and URGE the lawmakers to SUPPORT this important legislation. 


HJR 0757 by *Powell 
General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position - Supports ratification of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution; calls on the United States Congress to remove the deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment by the state.
STATUS:  Great thanks to Rep. Johnny Garrett for being fully prepared with the right questions and focus to SUCCESSFULLY OPPOSED HJR757  which was DEFEATED Civil Justice Committee on Wednesday.
Watching the debate is definitely worth the time - move the slide to 29:26.


SB 2396 - by *Johnson - HB 2143 by *Lamberth
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

We are told that this bill establishes a new funding model that prioritizes the individual needs of students rather than relying on ratio components and district averages.  The plan puts direct focus on students with disabilities, students in rural and urban areas and low-income families. Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, the TISA would invest an estimated $9 billion in education funding for the state, including state and local funds, which would include an additional recurring state investment of $1 billion.   More information is available at Funding for Students Success .

STATUS:  SB2396 has been amended, passed Senate Education 6-1-1, and it on its way to Finance Ways and Means.
STATUS: HB2143 is in House Education Administration on Wednesday.

This is a lengthy, complicated bill and definitely a 'work in progress.'



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