Legislative Update, April 6, 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).

"If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our Country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity." Daniel Webster

If I counted correctly, 25 subcommittees have now closed in the House and in the Weekly Calendars, many committee calendars are marked 'Final Calendar'. The House has even scheduled a floor session on Wednesday a sure sign that the legislature is getting serious about shutting down. That also means the potential to hurry and perhaps not take the desired time to carefully evaluate the details of legislation and/or its application or consequences is inevitable. Please pray that the legislators will take the time needed to do good and do well.

The session is winding down for legislators, however, our mission is still at full speed! The day began as Mrs. Bobbie and I rushed from office to office continuing to update legislators on various pieces of legislation. Mainly, the FGM and gambling bills. Speaking of the gambling bills, Mrs. Bobbie and I parted ways once again to follow committee meetings containing HB0001 and SJR0097. While HB0001 was still not heard, SJR0097 was presented, voted on, and unfortunately, passed.  I am very disappointed to see the legislation pass regardless of the obvious harms and loopholes. I often wonder why Tennessee attempts to solve a crisis while creating one. Overall, this experience has been such a blessing so far, and I unquestionably look forward to seeing where all of the bills head next!

English philosopher Aldous Huxley once said, “Facts don’t cease to exist simply because they are ignored.” The greatest surprise upon coming to the capitol was the number of people who seem to ignore the facts. Mrs. Bobbie and I have met with numerous legislators, lobbyists, and staff at the capitol. The number of people who see things so differently and seem to not take past experience into account never ceases to amaze me. Whether it’s in regards to marijuana, gambling, etc., past evidence seems to be ignored. Alternatives also seem to be ignored and I can't help but wonder if these decisions will harm this state in the future. We should always look at history’s testimony and be very careful of present actions and how they will impact those yet to come

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:  I am definitely doing my 'happy dance'. HB1364,was presented in House Judiciary on Wednesday. 
Chairman Curcio called up the bill, recognized our sponsor,. Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver. She suggested putting the amendment on then she would discuss it. Motion made, and as the Chairman recognized Rep. Weaver, a member, Rep. Mike Carter, I think, called the question. With a bit of a surprised look and smile on his face, the Chairman looked around to see if there were any questions and not seeing any, took the vote! It was unanimous!!! He commented: "You are headed to Calendar and Rules and I hope they are as kind to you as we were." It makes a real difference when nearly every member of the committee has been visited and many of them are co-sponsors on the bill!!

SB 0572 by *Dickerson (HB 1011) by *Terry
Controlled Substances - As introduced, authorizes electronic submission of the annual report on distribution and abuse of controlled substances from the commissioner of health to the health committees of the senate and the house of representatives under the Tennessee Prescription Safety Act of 2016
STATUS:  Well, the 'caption' bill has now been identified and the 68 page amendment written and will be presented in the respective committees next week. SB572 will be in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee calendar 4/10/2019; HB1011 will be in the House Mental Health & Substance Abuse Subcommittee for 4/10/2019
Show Me the Pot Effect .
Many Medical Marijuana Patients Drive While High .
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence .
Testimony was taken in the Senate committee by supports and opponents which included the Sheriffs, TBI and others and the bill was rolled to next week. While this bill is being presented to be limited to just 'medical' marijuana has been the stepping stone to decriminalization and then legalization in every state that has gone in that direction.
ACTION:  Please contact the members of the respective committees and urge the lawmakers to stop it here and now.


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
STATUS:  Both bills continue to be postponed but are once again in committee: SB16 in Senate State and Local Government Committee on 4/9/2019 and HB0001 State Committee on 4/9/2019. This bill has been rewritten, but it is STILL a bad bill
ACTION: Please read the testimony of my dear friend, Skip Armistead and then click on the respective committee links then the lawmakers' picture, the 'email legislator' and ask him or her to vote NO on this bill.
Forbes: Sports betting won't be windfall for state pocketbook .

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: Despite the thoughtful and informative testimony by my good friend Skip Armistead: Presentation to Senate and House Committees Concerning Bingo , the  Senate State and Local Committee passed SJR97 7-2: Senators voting aye were: Briggs, Dickerson, Gardenhire, Jackson, Reeves, Yager, Yarbro;
Senators voting no were: Kelsey, White -- 2. It will now go to the Senate floor. 
ACTION:  Please go HERE to contact your Senator and urge him or her to VOTE NO on SJR97.

A Constitutionally Defensible Reason for Supporting the Pro-Life ‘Heartbeat’ Bill .

SB 1236  by *Pody,  , Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Roberts, Lundberg, Niceley, Reeves, White, Southerland, Bowling, (HB 0077) by *Van Huss,
Cepicky, Hill M, Moon, Eldridge, Griffey, Sherrell, Calfee, Crawford, Zachary, Todd, Hill T, Reedy, Hall, Rudd, Ragan, Smith, Hulsey, Doggett, Howell, Byrd, Leatherwood, Williams, Powers, Carr, Weaver, Casada, Littleton, Moody, Sparks, Sanderson, Cochran, Carter, Kumar, Hazlewood, Halford, Holt, Coley, Haston, Sexton J, Baum, Farmer, Keisling, Ogles, Terry, Whitson, Hurt, Gant, Helton, Bricken, Vaughan
STATUS: HB 77 passed the House floor with Ayes 65, Nays 21, PNV 7; SB1236 is on Senate Judiciary Committee calendar  4/9/2019


SB 1257 by *Gresham, (HB 1029) by *Lynn, Zachery, Boyd, Whitson, Gant
Abortion - As introduced, enacts the "Human Life Protection Act," which bans abortion in this state effective upon the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade or amending the U.S. Constitution to allow states to prohibit abortion; creates exception for situations where the abortion is necessary to prevent the death of pregnant woman or prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function; prohibits prosecution of a woman upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted
STATUS: SB1257 is in Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/9/2019; HB1029  Failed in Public Health Subcommittee of Health Committee 3/27 BUT Pursuant to Rule 83 (13), House Health Committee Member Ron Gant has filed written notice that he will move to recall HB 1029 from the Public Health Subcommittee to the Full House Health Committee. Pursuant to this Rule, Representative Gant’s motion to recall HB 1029 is hereby scheduled to be heard at the beginning of the April 9, 2019, House Health Committee meeting.
ACTION:  Please contact the members of the House Health Committee and urge them to bring HB1029 back.
Abortion 'trigger ban' bill making a comeback in House after being killed .

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:  Well that is a good question.  They don't call this the 'sausage making process' for nothing. SB795 is in Senate Education Committee 4/10/2019; HB939 Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee 4/10/2019. The amendments have been flying, so we don't yet know exactly what the bill will and will not do.
Is Tennessee governor’s voucher plan in trouble? Senate leader says it needs work .
Lawmakers lower income limit for Tennessee vouchers eligibility .


Retired State Representative Ben West dies at 78 
[Personal note: Ben was always very nice to me and I enjoyed knowing him.]
Gov. Bill Lee: Tennessee to return to paper-based testing in 2019-20 school year 
Tennessee bill to outlaw childlike sex dolls advances .
Childrens' insurance: Governor vows to look into TennCare purging kids .
Bill to extend statute of limitations for child sex crimes advances in state House
Senate sponsor of TennCare block grant bill working with members of congressional delegation 
Lebanon proactive on abortion clinic zoning .
Proton therapy bill resurfaces and passes Tennessee Senate; would allow employees to use alternative cancer treatment 
Democratic Rep. Rick Staples faces allegations, investigation of sexual misconduct .

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