Legislative Update, March 23, 2019

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).


"Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion"......Daniel Webster

As the pace of the Legislative Session continues to pick up and some subcommittees are already shutting down, the pressure increases. Please pray for wise heads, patience, understanding, and focus as the bills are being debated and voted on. Also, one of our number received some troubling health results last week. Please remember this one.

It is the time of year that legislators are in back to back meetings and committees. Thus, this Tuesday Mrs. Bobbie and I struggled to be able to meet with legislators concerning important issues. However, Tuesday was still a relatively productive day. First of all, we sat in on the State Committee. Our main concern was HB0001 by Rep. Stables regarding gambling. This bill is definitely an issue considering gambling addictions and Operation Rocky Top. Due to the long debate over this bill, HB0001 and the rest of the calendar will be picked up next week. In addition to this, Tuesday was Homeschool Rally Day on the Hill. As a homeschooler, it was exciting to see parents there protecting their rights to educate THEIR children, and bring a good report of home education. In conclusion, Tuesday was another remarkable day on Capitol Hill in which I gained more knowledge, and fueled my addiction to being involved in the well-being of our Republic.

Jaime was out of town this week but will be back next week.

SB 1166 by *Hensley, Gresham, Bell, White, Roberts, Briggs, Stevens, Bowling, Haile, Crowe, Bailey, Pody, Gilmore, Massey, Rose (HB 1364) by *Weaver, Casada, Littleton, Farmer, Griffey, Faison, Sanderson, Ogles, Garrett, Zachary, Cepicky, Sexton J, Holt, Kumar, Moody, Hill T, Sherrell, Hawk, Carter, Gant, Ragan, Smith, Carr, Boyd, Reedy, Haston, Doggett, Howell, Powers, Leatherwood, Hall, Cochran, Rudd, Johnson C, Moon, Eldridge, Windle, Coley, Hulsey, Todd
Criminal Offenses - As introduced, rewrites the criminal offense of female genital mutilation; extends the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions or civil actions for female genital mutilation
STATUS:  Well, I certainly did my 'happy dance' Monday evening when the State Senate passed SB1166 33-0 with NO DEBATE!! We had done as much as we could to answer all the questions of the senators before we got to the floor and, of course, having 15 sponsors helped. Thank you Sen. Hensley for being our Senate sponsor!!
HB1364, because of a glitch, was rolled to this Wednesday, in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee
Would you please send emails of support to rep.karen.camper@capitol.tn.gov and 
rep.antonio.parkinson@capitol.tn.gov asking that they vote YES on HB1364.

SB 1243 by *Gresham, Hensley, Pody, Bowling, Reeves, Bailey, Dickerson, Kelsey, Swann, White, (HB 1016) by *Weaver, , COLEY, VAN HUSS, KUMAR, CEPICKY, LAFFERTY, HALL, RAGAN, SANDERSON, HOLT, DOGGETT, BAUM, HELTON, CARTER, ELDRIDGE, REEDY, RUDD, RUDDER, WRIGHT
Local Education Agencies - As introduced, requires students to pass a civics test to receive a full diploma upon graduation from high school; requires LEAs to include all 100 questions from the United States civics test, instead of only 25 to 50 questions, on the civics test prepared by the LEA; increases from 70 to 75 the percentage of questions a student must correctly answer to pass the civics test.
NOTE: We are so glad to see this bill and are fully supportive.  Observing the nearly total lack of civics knowledge and the historical beginnings of our nation today, this could be the beginning of turning this around, by making sure that our students learn this vital information.
STATUS: SB1243 is in Senate Education on Wednesday.
ACTION:  Please let Sen. Rusty Crowe , Sen. Ferrell Haile  and Sen. Jon  Lundberg  know that you strongly support this legislation.

SB 0016 by *Dickerson, (HB 0001) by *Staples
Gambling - As introduced, authorizes sports betting in this state only in jurisdictions that approve sports betting by local option election; imposes a 10 percent tax on gaming revenue; distributes 40 percent of the tax to the general fund for general appropriations, 30 percent to Tennessee colleges of applied technologies and community colleges for equipment and capital projects, and 30 percent to local governments for education and infrastructure; establishes the Tennessee gaming commission to regulate sports betting; authorizes the commission to collaborate with the Tennessee bureau of investigation for purposes of enforcement
STATUS:  HB0001 was in the House State Committee last week where a 26-page amendment was presented that re-wrote the bill. When time ran out the proposal was rolled until this coming Tuesday.
ACTION: Please click on the committee link and then the members and 'email legislator' and urge these members to VOTE NO on this legislation.


SJR 0097 by *Niceley
Constitutional Amendments - Proposes an amendment to Article XI, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee concerning charitable lotteries to authorize the general assembly to authorize the operation of Bingo games to benefit public and private schools. 
STATUS:  One down and one to go.  Another BINGO resolution was defeated earlier this year and now is the time defeat this one. SJR97 is scheduled in Senate State and Local Committee next Tuesday.
ACTION: Please click on the committee link and let the members know that you OPPOSE this legislation. 
The machines used today are more like slot machines than the little cards we are all familiar with, and these machines can be addictive. just like slot machines.  In addition, Tennessee has already dealt with the fallout of Bingo with OPERATION ROCKY TOP and I don't think we need to go there again.


SB 0817 by *Akbari, (HB 1421) by *Towns
Gambling - As introduced, enacts the "Horse Racing Control Act of 2019," authorizing and regulating parimutuel wagering on horse racing.
"Throughout the country, attendance at racetracks is down. Revenues and profits have fallen. Trainers, sometimes desperate to win, increasingly drug their animals to make them run faster or run through pain, threatening the safety of horses and riders alike.
" 'I personally don't see a reason for the racing industry to exist when I look 10, 20 or 25 years out," says Susan Kayne, the team manager of Unbridled Racing who has spent 25 years owning, raising and breeding horses. "The way it's funded, the disarray, the lack of respect for the horse itself — which is the reason why there is a horse industry. I see it imploding upon itself '."

STATUS:  HB1421 WAS POSTPONED LAST WEEK and is back in the  House Departments & Agencies Subcommittee on Wednesday
ACTION:  Please contact these legislators and URGE the members to vote NO on this proposal. Horse racing doesn't make it on its own any longer.  Most tracks now function as casinos with lots of machines on the premises to gamble on.
Rep. Bill Beck , Rep. Curtis Halford  ,
Rep. Kelly Keisling  ,Rep. Mary Littleton  ,
Rep. Bill Sanderson  , Rep. Rick Staples  ,
Rep. Rick Tillis

SB 1057 by *Dickerson (HB 1033) by *Terry
Gambling - As introduced, decriminalizes, under certain circumstances, wagers on fantasy sports leagues and sports pools
NOTE: As far as I can tell, there is NO ENFORCEMENT mechanism (how would that work anyway?) and one has to wonder if this would promote MORE LOST TME AT WORK. And, of course whatever you legalize you get more of!!
STATUS: I am very troubled to say that on Thursday, SB1057 passed the Senate with Ayes 25, Nays 4, PNV 1. HB1033 is scheduled on the House floor next Thursday morning. I hope you will voice your opposition to your House member.

SB 1407 by *Bell, (HB 0658) by *Curcio
Law Enforcement - As introduced, limits the authority of a community oversight board to the review and consideration of matters reported to it and the issuance of advisory reports and recommendations to agencies involved in public safety and the administration of justice.
STATUS:  On March 14th, the House passed HB658, as amended, Ayes 66, Nays 26, PNV 1. On March 18th, the Senate passed SB1407, as amended, Ayes 27, Nays 4, PNV 2.  I am being told that the bill WILL go to a conference committee to resolve the differences.  Stay tuned!!
Tennessee Senate passes police oversight bill with amendment for limited subpoena powers .

SB 0362 by *Niceley, (HB 0340) by *Daniel, etc.
Forfeiture of Assets - As introduced, makes various changes to civil forfeiture procedure, including requiring the district attorney general to review the underlying circumstances of a seizure to determine if probable cause exists to justify forfeiture and, when appropriate, file a motion to dismiss the application for forfeiture warrant, upon which the court shall dismiss the application and return the seized property.
STATUS: On Tuesday HB340 was sent to a Summer Study from the Civil Justice Subcommittee.  Yet another year without solving this problem. Asset Forfeiture Reform Continues to Receive Resistance in Tennessee .

1. Gov. Bill Lee's voucher bill advances in House — but with a wave of questions from lawmakers .
2. Tennessee charter school bill advances in two key legislative committees .
3. TennCare block grant proposal advances in state House, despite opposition for 30 organizations .
4. State unable to run TNReady verification ahead of upcoming testing .
5. The Federal Government’s “Unconstitutional Compulsion” – AUDIO: Tennessee and Government Lawyers Spar Over The Federal Refugee Resettlement Program .
6. State Rep. London Lamar Wants to Talk to Gov. Lee About American Exceptionalism and ‘What This Particular Curriculum Looks Like’ .


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