Legislative Update, April 27, 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).

"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent."  --Douglas MacArthur

Coordinator of Elections, Mark Goins, (The Division of Elections) and his wife are expecting a baby in June. Mrs. Goins' mother died this week.  Speaking of mothers, Rep. Debra Moody's mother made her journey to see Jesus on Easter Sunday afternoon. Rep. John Holsclaw's father-in-law died this week. Lots of losses this week and they are never easy, even if expected. Please do remember these families in your prayers. 

Haley's aunt also passed away over the Easter weekend.  She and her family were out of town, so she was unable to come on Tuesday. You will want to remember this family too!!

As Representative Andy Holt said during the floor session on Wednesday, HB0001 is a dangerous piece of legislation. Legalizing sports gambling in Tennessee would cause more harm than good, and justifying the passage of this bill for the simple reason that this action already occurs in our state is silly to say the least. Harmful drugs like methamphetamine are circulated every day, but that does not mean we should legalize it. Not only does our state now have to regulate legal gambling, but there will also be more gray area for illegal gambling. Due to the nature of online betting, identification verification will be easy to bypass for those under the age of 21. In addition to this issue, gambling is very addictive. One could list all the complications of allowing betting within our state, but the damage has been done and this bill passed 58-37. This law is just a stepping stone for future gambling legislation. My advice for fellow citizens of Tennessee would be to stand against this issue. We must prevent the upcoming future of bills regarding legal betting within our state.

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: First I want to thank Reps. Holt, J. Sexton, Hawk and Todd for standing and speaking so eloquently in OPPOSITION to this legislation. Despite their efforts and ours, HB0001 passed the House floor 58-37-2:
Representatives voting aye were: Beck, Bricken, Calfee, Camper, Carr, Chism, Clemmons, Cooper, Curcio, Daniel, Dixie, Eldridge, Faison, Farmer, Freeman, Garrett, Griffey, Hakeem, Hall, Hardaway, Helton, Hicks, Hodges, Howell, Jernigan, Johnson C, Johnson G, Kumar, Lafferty, Lamar, Littleton, Love, Marsh, Miller, Mitchell, Moon, Ogles, Parkinson, Potts, Powell, Ragan, Ramsey, Rudder, Russell, Sanderson, Sexton C, Shaw, Smith, Staples, Thompson, Tillis, Towns, Travis, Vaughan, Whitson, Williams, Wright, Mr. Speaker Casada 
Representatives voting no were: Baum, Boyd, Byrd, Carter, Cepicky, Cochran, Coley, Crawford, DeBerry, Doggett, Dunn, Gant, Halford, Haston, Hawk, Hazlewood, Hill M, Hill T, Holt, Hulsey, Hurt, Keisling, Lamberth, Leatherwood, Lynn, Reedy, Rudd, Sexton J, Sherrell, Sparks, Stewart, Terry, Todd, Van Huss, Weaver, Windle, Zachary.
Representatives present and not voting were: Powers, White.
SB16 passed Senate Finance Ways and Means on Wednesday, 9-2:
Senators voting aye were: Briggs, Gardenhire, Gilmore, Johnson, Kelsey, Stevens, Watson, Yager, Yarbro 
Senators voting no were: Haile, Hensley 

ACTION:  We have one last chance to stop this debacle.  SB16 is scheduled on the Senate floor on Tuesday. Please, please contact your Senator and urge him or her to VOTE NO on this proposal.


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

This legislation gives a whole new meaning to 'sausage making'!  Wow!  
On Tuesday, HB939 was on the House floor where an entirely new amendment that 'made the bill' was adopted.  It limited the availability of the accounts to four counties: Davidson, Shelby, Hamilton and Knox. The debate started at 9:46, and was passionate as a number of amendments were offered and all but two (Amendment 11 by Leatherwood and Amendment 12 by Terry) were tabled. After the extended debate with lots of questions asked and answered and challenges brought forward, at 12:10 the Speaker called for the vote and the names on the board began to light up. It was looking pretty close and then folks realized that it WAS TIED at 49-49 (Rep. Moody was out due to here mother's death.)  What to do?

Well, it was a bit like a beehive around the Speakers podium while from the main part of the Chamber some members were shouting, 'Take the vote, take the vote'!  All to no avail, the board continue to stay open. 
Finally, the Speaker resumed his chair as Rep. Jason Zachary changed his NO vote to YES and at 12:50, the Speaker closed the vote, and HB939 passed 50-48:
Representatives voting aye were: Baum, Boyd, Carter, Cepicky, Crawford, Curcio, Daniel, DeBerry, Doggett, Dunn, Eldridge, Faison, Farmer, Garrett, Hall, Helton, Hill M, Hill T, Holt, Howell, Hulsey, Hurt, Johnson C, Kumar, Lafferty, Lamberth, Leatherwood, Littleton, Lynn, Marsh, Moon, Ogles, Powers, Ragan, Reedy, Rudd, Rudder, Sanderson, Sexton J, Sherrell, Smith, Sparks, Terry, Tillis, Todd, Van Huss, White, Williams, Zachary, Mr. Speaker
Representatives voting no were: Beck, Bricken, Byrd, Calfee, Camper, Carr, Chism, Clemmons, Cochran, Coley, Cooper, Dixie, Freeman, Gant, Griffey, Hakeem, Halford, Hardaway, Haston, Hawk, Hazlewood, Hicks, Hodges, Holsclaw, Jernigan, Johnson G, Keisling, Lamar, Love, Miller, Mitchell, Parkinson, Potts, Powell, Ramsey, Russell, Sexton C, Shaw, Staples, Stewart, Thompson, Towns, Travis, Vaughan, Weaver, Whitson, Windle, Wright 
Why Rep. Jason Zachary changed his vote and helped the House pass Gov. Bill Lee's voucher plan .

On Thursday, SB795 was on the Senate floor where a new amendment that 'made the bill' was adopted making the accounts available ONLY in Davidson and Shelby Counties.   It, too, underwent  close examination with lots of discussion and questions. Finally, after close to two hours SB795 passed 20-13:
Senators voting aye were: Bell, Bowling, Crowe, Gardenhire, Gresham, Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Lundberg, Pody, Powers, Reeves, Roberts, Rose, Stevens, Watson, White, Mr. Speaker McNally
Senators voting no were: Akbari, Bailey, Briggs, Dickerson, Gilmore, Kyle, Massey, Niceley, Robinson, Southerland, Swann, Yager, Yarbro 
In first act as state senator, Bill Powers flips stance on school vouchers .
It is an anticipated that the two versions will go to a Conference Committee to resolve the differences. I do plan to bring my popcorn and Coke.

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;
On Monday, SB1257-HB1029 passed in both Chambers.
In the Senate, 26-5:
Senators voting aye were: Bailey, Bell, Briggs, Crowe, Gardenhire, Gresham, Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Lundberg, Massey, Niceley, Pody, Reeves, Roberts, Rose, Southerland, Stevens, Swann, Watson, White, Yager, Mr. Speaker McNally.
Senators voting no were: Akbari, Gilmore, Kyle, Robinson, Yarbro 
In the House 69-24:
Representatives voting aye were: Baum, Boyd, Bricken, Byrd, Calfee, Carr, Carter, Cepicky, Cochran, Crawford, Curcio, DeBerry, Doggett, Dunn, Eldridge, Faison, Farmer, Gant, Garrett, Griffey, Halford, Hall, Haston, Hawk, Helton, Hicks, Hill M, Hill T, Holsclaw, Holt, Howell, Hulsey, Johnson C, Keisling, Kumar, Lafferty, Lamberth, Leatherwood, Littleton, Lynn, Marsh, Moon, Ogles, Powers, Ragan, Ramsey, Reedy, Rudd, Rudder, Russell, Sanderson, Sexton J, Sherrell, Smith, Sparks, Terry, Tillis, Todd, Travis, Van Huss, Vaughan, Weaver, White, Whitson, Williams, Windle, Wright, Zachary, Mr. Speaker Casada.
Representatives voting no were: Beck, Camper, Chism, Clemmons, Cooper, Dixie, Freeman, Hakeem, Hardaway, Hodges, Jernigan, Johnson G, Lamar, Love, Miller, Mitchell, Parkinson, Potts, Powell, Shaw, Staples, Stewart, Thompson, Towns   Tennessee bill to outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned heads to governor .

SB 1236  by *Pody, Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Roberts, Lundberg, Niceley, Reeves, White, Southerland, Bowling, (HB 0077) by *Van Huss
As you will recall, when SB1236 was in Senate Judiciary, a motion was made and passed to do an in depth study of the bill in August to prepare to bring it back in 2020.  Sponsor, Sen. Mark Pody used Rule 63, to move it out of committee directly to the Senate Floor. On Monday, he made that motion.  After extensive discussion, Sen. Jack Johnson made a motion to 'lay that on the table'.  That cuts off all debate except that of the sponsor, Sen. Pody.  The tabling motion passed on a voice vote.  The hearing will be August 13-14, and longer if needed. It is very important to remember that this major bill is not dead as some have said. I believe that the hearing will be held (and will work toward that end) and the bill will be back next year. 
David Fowler: ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Bill Suffered from ‘Congenital’ Defects .

Tennessee House passes budget, but standoff expected with Senate.
Tennessee Senate and House set to clash over state's $38.5 billion budget .
[The House and Senate are definitely not on the same 'budget' page!]

Study: Nearly 100,000 Unauthorized Immigrants Graduate From US High Schools Per Year .
Nike, Bridgestone and a dozen others join businesses pushing back on controversial Tennessee bills .
Rosalind Kurita steps down from interim state Senate seat .
Election 2019: Bill Powers heading to state Senate a 'happy man' .
Transgender Tennessee natives sue state for blocking them from updating their birth certificates

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