Legislative Update, March 30, 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).


"The Founding Fathers established a nation under God, ruled not by arbitrary decrees of kings or the whims of entrenched elites but by the consent of the governed. Theirs was the vision of a striving, God-fearing, self-reliant people living in the sunlight of justice and breathing the bracing air of liberty."   President Ronald Reagan

I am happy to report that Rep. Bob Ramsey, after his extensive rotator cuff surgery,  has finally been able to lay aside the bulky sling/brace and even go without the simple sling some.  Rep. Jeremy Faison seems to be doing well now.  Rep. Tim Rudd seems to be healing well and finally on the road to good health. We are moving into the 'crazy' time at the legislature when committees are now closing and some are loaded up with bills as they try to close.  Things are moving fast with lots of pressure to keep things in motion.  Please pray for wisdom, patience and thoughtfulness. Better to do things well, than to do things fast.

Tuesday was a busy day! We began by hustling from office to office voicing our concerns about certain pieces of legislation. Especially the numerous, harmful gambling bills. Additionally, I observed the Senate State and Local Government Committee while Mrs. Bobbie observed the House State Committee. We were following SJR0097 and HB0001, however, neither one of them were heard. Furthermore, the rest of the day was spent continuing to meet with legislators specifically regarding our FGM bill. Altogether, something I have noticed is the excitement surrounding Tennessean’s, especially the youth, advocating for issues they are passionate about. As Leadership Institute speaker, Jeremiah Lorrig once said, ”We are a government 'By the people, For the people.' But that only works if the people are engaged and involved. And you're never too young to make a difference."

[BOBBIE'S NOTE ON PIC: Jaime, Bobbie, the Governor and my friend and colleague Joanne Bregman]
There he was. Sitting less than five feet away from me was the highest executive of Tennessee — Governor Bill Lee. He was just as nice as I could have imagined. Throughout our meeting he was cool, calm, and collected. Governor Lee actively listened to all the issues we brought before him, and he responded to each concern with utmost thought. These qualities are good in leadership. Often I have seen those in politics not heed the wisdom of those around them and refuse to change their mind on an issue despite the facts. Our current Governor, however, welcomes the advice of the experienced. His example of servant leadership is what our state needs. We should all consider the various viewpoints of an issue if we are to grow in our wisdom and better understand how to handle the challenges of our country.

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, Russell
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: So pleased to report that HB1364 came out of subcommittee unanimously and we are scheduled in House Judiciary on Wednesday at 12:30.
ACTION:  Please contact Rep. Bo Mitchell rep.bo.mitchell@capitol.tn.gov, Rep. Jason Potts, rep.jason.potts@capitol.tn.gov, Rep. Joe Towns, rep.joe.towns@capitol.tn.gov, and URGE them to support this important legislation.More information available HERE.

SB 0016 by by *Dickerson (HB 0001) 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
On Wednesday, SB0016 was heard in Senate Government Operations Committee (this committee cannot defeat a bill, only review it and make a recommendation). After some discussion, Sen. Janice Bowling made the motion to send it out with a NEGATIVE recommendation which passed 8-1:
 Sens. voting aye were: Bell, Bowling, Crowe, Jackson, Pody, Roberts, Rose -- 8;  Senator voting no was: Kyle -- 1.
This bill has been rewritten, but it is STILL a bad bill.
Tennessee Senate panel recommends against sports wager bill .
Sports betting bill faces opposition from both Republicans and Democrats
HB0001 is still in the House State Government Committee. Please click on the committee link and urge the members to oppose 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:   The Senate State and Local Committee did not get to SJR97 so it was rolled to next Tuesday.
ACTION:  Please read the information below and then contact the members of the committee and urge them to VOTE NO!
Bingo today is NOT just a group of seniors sitting in a church basement with their bingo cards in front of them just having a good time and enjoying the fellowship. Bingo is big business and the machines are more like slot machines and can be addictive.
Our Digital Bingo flashboard is extremely easy to use. The 20" Touchscreen Flashboard Control Panel displays exactly what is on the larger 50" flat screen display. When you pull a number from your bingo cage or bingo machine, simply touch the number on the Touch Screen Control Panel. Once touched, the number will pop up over the whole screen for approximately 20 seconds so everyone in the hall can see. Since the number fills the whole screen - it is HUGE - so even the people sitting in back can read it! Once back to the normal flashboard display, the last number called flashes so that your eyes jump right to it. 
US-BINGO Digital Flashboard System Includes:
* 20" Touchscreen Flashboard Control Panel 
* 50" Flashboard and Multi-Purpose Flat Screen Display 
* 15' HDMI Cable 
* Digital Flashboard Instruction Manual
This is to say nothing about what the state has already endured:  OPERATION ROCKY TOP .
Surely we don't want to go down this path again, no matter who or what it is supposed to help.

SB 0795 by *Johnson, Gresham, (HB 0939) by *Lamberth, Dunn
Education - As introduced, extends, from 10 days to 30 days, the period of time after a local board of education orders a student's school assignment within which a parent, guardian, or legal representative may apply to the board for a hearing to challenge the reasonableness of the student's assignment and to request the student's transfer to another school
STATUS: This caption bill was rewritten and after a couple of hours of pretty intense debate and testimony on both sides, it passed out of House Education 14-9-1 and was sent to the House Government Operation Committee for review.
Reps. voting aye were: Baum, Cepicky, DeBerry, Dunn, Hurt, Leatherwood, Moody, Ragan, Rudder, Sexton J, Weaver, White, Williams, Mr. Speaker Casada -- 14. Reps. voting no were: Byrd, Cochran, Coley, Dixie, Hodges, Love, Parkinson, Vaughan, Windle -- 9.  Rep present and not voting were: Haston -- 1.
To watch the very interesting debate, you can go HERE and click on Video. This debate is definitely not over.
Tennessee voucher bill seeks to block immigrant families .
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's scaled-down school voucher bill overcomes opposition, passes House Education Committee .

SB 1057 by *Dickerson (HB 1033) by *Terry
Gambling - As introduced, decriminalizes, under certain circumstances, wagers on fantasy sports leagues and sports pools
I really am disappointed that this bill passed, but I am VERY grateful for those who opposed it.  It passed the House 67-16-4; and passed the Senate 27-4-1.
 Reps. voting aye were: Baum, Beck, Boyd, Bricken, Byrd, Carr, Carter, Chism, Clemmons, Cochran, Coley, Dixie, Eldridge, Faison, Farmer, Freeman, Gant, Griffey, Hakeem, Halford, Hall, Hardaway, Hazlewood, Helton, Hicks, Hill M, Hill T, Hodges, Holsclaw, Howell, Hurt, Jernigan, Johnson C, Johnson G, Kumar, Lafferty, Leatherwood, Littleton, Love, Marsh, Miller, Mitchell, Parkinson, Potts, Powell, Ragan, Ramsey, Rudder, Russell, Sanderson, Sexton C, Shaw, Sparks, Staples, Stewart, Terry, Thompson, Tillis, Towns, Travis, Van Huss, Weaver, White, Whitson, Wright, Zachary, Mr. Speaker Casada -- 67.
Reps. voting no were: Calfee, Crawford, DeBerry, Doggett, Dunn, Haston, Hawk, Holt, Hulsey, Lamberth, Lynn, Moody, Moon, Rudd, Sexton J, Todd -- 16.
Reps. present and not voting were: Cepicky, Cooper, Ogles, Powers -- 4.

Sens. voting aye were: Akbari, Briggs, Crowe, Dickerson, Gardenhire, Gilmore, Gresham, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Kyle, Lundberg, Massey, Niceley, Reeves, Roberts, Robinson, Rose, Stevens, Swann, Watson, White, Yager, Yarbro, Mr. Speaker McNally -- 25.
Sens. voting no were: Bell, Hensley, Pody, Southerland -- 4.
Senators present and not voting were: -- 1.


House Speaker Glen Casada removes embattled Rep. David Byrd from subcommittee chairmanship .
Tennessee bill to declare God is the source of liberty, not government, back on agenda .
Tennessee must reform voter registration drive laws to preserve election integrity | Opinion .
Bias Training for Teachers Could Go Statewide in Tennessee If Democrat Bill Passes  .

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Sign-up for TN Eagle Forum's Daily Updates!