Legislative Update, January 22, 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).


“If you will not fight for what is right when you can easily win without bloodshed…if you will not fight when victory is sure and not too costly…you may come to the moment when all odds are against you and your chances of survival precarious…there may even be a worse case…you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory because it is better to perish than live as slaves.” Winston Churchill



I was told by a lawmaker that a significant number of legislative staff members are out with Covid.  I understand that there are also a number of lobbyists out with the virus. I don't know about the lawmakers, but we certainly need to pray for all those being affected by this highly contagious virus.   It certainly is taking its toll. I understand that Rep. Kelly Kesling had a family loss this past week.  We will want to remember that family. 


Well, part of the 'heavy lifting is over'.  


SB 0779 by *Johnson - HB 1035 by *Marsh
Redistricting, Legislative - As introduced, updates references to 2020 redistricting law. - Amends TCA Section 3-1-103
STATUS: Senate floor action on SB779 was postponed until January 26 in order for the House to act on HB1035 (the House Districts bill) first, on January 24th.

SB 0780 by *Johnson - HB 1037 by *Johnson C
Redistricting, Legislative - As introduced, updates references to 2020 redistricting law. - Amends TCA Section 3-1-102.
STATUS: SB780 passed the Senate Judiciary 7-2 on January 18, passed the Senate floor on January 20; 26-5. HB1037 will be on the House floor January 24th.



SB 0781 by *Johnson - HB 1034 by *Marsh
Redistricting, Congressional - As introduced, updates references to 2020 TIGER system and geography. - Amends TCA Section 2-16-103.
SB781 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-2 on January 18; passed the Senate floor on January 20; 26-5. HB1034 will be on the House floor January 24.



SB 0782 by *Johnson - HB 1036 by *Johnson C
Redistricting, Legislative - As introduced, updates references to 2020 TIGER system and geography. - Amends TCA Title 2, Chapter 16, Part 1 and Title 3, Chapter 1, Part 1.
STATUS:  This bill was put into General Sub as it was no longer needed any longer.


Several redistricting bills sponsored by Democrats were defeated. 

Will Tennessee redistricting proposal end up in court? 


SB 1378 by *Bell - HB1416 by *Curcio
Criminal Offenses - As introduced, creates the Class A felony of aggravated human trafficking; specifies the release eligibility for a person committing a human trafficking offense or an aggravated human trafficking offense; revises the sentence enhancement for the offense of trafficking for commercial sex act
NOTE:  This was a bill that Tennessee Eagle Forum was very involved in last session.  We arranged to have a lovely lady, Ilonka Deaton, an unfortunate victim of this dreadful crime, to testify. Her testimony was well received in the House and the Senate.  However, the original language garnered a huge fiscal note that prevented it from passing.  It has been re-drafted in a way that reduces the fiscal note and it will be heard in House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee  on Wednesday.  

ACTION:  Click on the Committee link just above, then email the members asking them to support HB1416.


NOTE: Nice to see that well-known people are involved in stopping this tragedy.  Tennessee is certainly doing its part to protect and rescue these victims.

Tim Tebow releases special statement in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Day

By Grant Atkinson, The Western Journal,  Published January 11, 2022 at 9:03pm

Human trafficking has become a major concern in the U.S. and around the world. Jan. 11 is now recognized as Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow is taking action.

The Heisman Trophy winner established the Tim Tebow Foundation in 2010. Its stated mission is "to bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need."

One way Tebow seeks to achieve this goal is through his efforts to rescue victims of human trafficking. In July 2020, TTF posted a video explaining this commitment.




SB 1674 by *Bell - HB 1671 by *Curcio
School Vouchers - As introduced, extends eligibility for an education savings account to students zoned to attend a school in an LEA that, at any time during the three-year period immediately preceding September 1, 2025, or thereafter, did not offer students 180 days of in-person learning each school year due to COVID-19 or that voluntarily imposed a mask mandate in response to COVID-19 and that voluntarily refused to allow parents and guardians to opt their students out of the mask mandate. 
NOTE:  This bill has been REWRITTEN taking out references to masks and deals only with the 180 days of school each year.
STATUS:  As amended, SB1674 passed Senate Education 6-2-1 and will not go to the Senate floor.


Tennessee lawmakers advance school voucher bill targeting remote education

By Marta W. Aldrich  Jan 19, 2022, 6:55pm CS

A key Senate panel approved legislation Wednesday that would provide public money for private school tuition for Tennessee students whose school systems do not offer in-person learning all year.

However, lawmakers amended the bill first to remove a provision that also would have extended vouchers to students whose parents disagree with school mask mandates in their district.

The 6-2 vote in the Senate Education Committee came after only 30 minutes of discussion about a controversial voucher policy that has been debated for years in Tennessee’s legislature and is currently being challenged in court.

Meanwhile, dozens of schools across Tennessee are closed this week — or have moved remote temporarily — because of staffing challenges caused by COVID’s omicron variant.

Unlike Tennessee’s 2019 voucher law that was promoted as helping low-income students who attend low-performing schools in a few districts, the new legislation seeks to incentivize all 147 of the state’s school systems to keep students learning in person amid COVID-19.

“We’re doing this because we know that in-person learning is the most effective way to educate a child,” said Sen. Mike Bell of Riceville, noting that last year’s test scores showed a dramatic drop following a year of learning disruptions that leaned on remote instruction.



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