Legislative Update February 18 2023
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).
FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:
You will want to continue to pray for First Lady Maria Lee. The first phase of her lymphoma treatment went well.I don't know if the planned marrow transplant has taken place, but we can certainly pray for the process and the success of the transplant. Sen. Mark Pody and his wife, Barbara, received good news this week.. The additional testing revealed that there was no further cancer. Rep. Ron Gant, who was almost killed in a head-on collision in October, was out this week working on some further PT. We certainly want to remember him in prayer as he continues to regain complete health.
This week was unique. There was a mix of things, both good and bad. We made good progress forward on one issue and at the same time took three steps back on another one. However, that is the nature of politics and it is important to realize that not everything can always work the way we want .
PROPOSED CHANGES TO TENNESSEE'S PRO-LIFE LAW :
SB 0745 by *Briggs - HB 0883 by *Helton-Haynes , RUDDER, HAZLEWOOD, FARMER, MOON, WHITE, MARSH, WHITSON, TRAVIS, CARR, VAUGHAN
Abortion - As introduced, requires the state capitol commission to be responsible through funds appropriated to the commission, after funds from the construction and placement have been exhausted, for the upkeep and maintenance of a monument on the capitol campus that is in memory of the victims of abortion.
STATUS: The 'caption bill', HB883, was in the Population Health Subcommittee on Tuesday, where it was dramatically re-written.
There had been some agreement that a few adjustments to the language of the 'Trigger' bill would be acceptable, but, among a few other things, the new language of HB883 contains a lot of undefined phrases and terms that could be interpreted in a number of different ways.
It was instructive to see Rep. Bryan Terry, MD, vote NO on the amended HB883.
I asked my good friend, Dr. Omar Hamada, an OB-GYN, to review the present language:
In 2019, the TN Legislature passed a short, simple, and effective “trigger” bill that would make elective abortion illegal in the event Roe v Wade was overturned, or if Congress passed a Constitutional abortion amendment pushing the decision back to the states.
In 2022, the unimaginable happened and RvW was overturned. Thirty days later, the “trigger” bill became law.
Though an excellent piece of legislation, some are concerned it doesn’t specify specific exclusions for medically needed terminations of pregnancy like ectopics and miscarriages thus endangering women and their physicians.
In an effort to clarify these, the TMA, THA, Vanderbilt, and others wrote a replacement amendment to specify these and other indications for pregnancy termination such as fatal fetal anomalies, anencephaly, and maternal illnesses such as eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. What they came up with was actually a pretty good and reasonable bill save for two or three issues that would crack open a door for the return of elective abortions.
The first issue is that the amendment relies on a “physician’s good faith medical judgment”. The problem is that this leaves open a huge door as the State can’t prove subjective bad faith, thus allowing great latitude to an individual abortion-minded physician to do as he or she pleases. A more objective standard would be in place if the authors of the amendment would simply change this phrase to “reasonable medical judgment” as it changes the standard from an implied subjective moral judgment to a more standardized scientific basis.
The second is that the amendment allows abortion in order to “prevent” a medical emergency that may or may not happen. This again allows a wide berth for “preventive” elective abortion without the presence of any maternal danger. We are asking that the authors simply remove this word and stick with the treatment of medical emergencies that actually exist.
Of course, the underlying fact that is being ignored by all, is that from the mid-2nd through the 3rd trimesters of pregnancy, abortion is actually never required. Early delivery certainly may be, and often is, but there is never a reason to kill or dismember a child before delivery in order to save the mother. The child may not survive the induced or surgical delivery and may indeed die in the process or soon thereafter, but there is no reason to intentionally target it for forcible extrication in pieces from the mother’s womb.
Omar L. Hamada, MD, MBA, MATS FAAFP, FACOG, FICS
Adjunct Professor, Union University, McAfee School of Business
Clinical Associate Professor, Belmont University, Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine, Department of Integrated Clinical Education
SOME REASONABLE CHANGES INCLUDE:
1) The subjective medical judgment standard (what did that doctor think was reasonable) used in criminal proceedings is too difficult to prosecute should be changed to an objective standard (What does the medical profession as a whole think is reasonable).
2) Treat and PREVENT a medical emergency should just be TREAT
3) Define with certainty what a fatal fetal anomaly and medically futile pregnancy is to ensure babies with a path to life aren’t being unnecessarily aborted.
4) Don’t delete other sections of existing law such as the heartbeat law.
This should NOT BE a "GOTCHA" situation. We can work together to craft an acceptable, workable, well defined law for our state.
HB883, as amended, is scheduled in House Health Committee on Wednesday. Please contact these members and ask them to please support these reasonable changes and avoid the other dramatic, undefined changes. Feel free to use Dr. Hamada's notes.
Rep. Bryan Terry firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Clark Boyd email@example.com
Rep. Jeremy Faison firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Andrew Farmer email@example.com
Rep. John Gillespie firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. David Hawk email@example.com
Rep. Esther Helton-Haynes firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Gary Hicks email@example.com
Rep. Tim Hicks firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Sabi Kumar email@example.com
Rep. Brock Martin firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Iris Rudder email@example.com
Rep. Paul Sherrell firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Ron Travis email@example.com
Rep. Kevin Vaughan firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Sam Whitson email@example.com
Rep. Ryan Williams firstname.lastname@example.org
ALSO, PLEASE GO HERE, find YOUR legislator, click on the link below his or her picture and URGE them to support ONLY the reasonable changes. We simply cannot destroy the excellent legislation that was already our state law and was saving the lives of babies.
PROHIBITING PROCEDURES RELATED TO GENDER IDENTITY
SB 0001by *Johnson , Yager, Haile, Bowling, White, Crowe, Bailey, Hensley, Jackson
HB 0001 by *Lamberth , SEXTON , FAISON, GARRETT, RAGAN, ZACHARY, TODD, KUMAR, RUDDER, KEISLING, GRILLS, WHITE, RUDD, MCCALMON, SHERRELL, CAPLEY, WARNER, RICHEY, RAPER, LITTLETON, HELTON-HAYNES, COCHRAN, FRITTS, HICKS T, VITAL, BUTLER, ALEXANDER, HASTON, DARBY, MOON, CRAWFORD, DOGGETT, CEPICKY, MARTIN B, HULSEY, SLATER, HALE, HAWK, BRICKEN, WILLIAMS, BULSO
Public Health - As introduced, prohibits a healthcare provider from performing on a minor or administering to a minor a medical procedure if the performance or administration of the procedure is for the purpose of enabling a minor to identify with, or live as, a purported identity inconsistent with the minor’s sex
PLEASE WATCH FOR MONDAY'S EMAIL. HB1 WILL BE DISCUSSED.
PROHIBITING TENNCARE CONTRACTORS FROM COVERING TRANSGENDER PROCEDURES:
SB 1339 by *Johnson - HB 1215 by *Sexton
Managed Care Organizations - As introduced, prohibits any managed care organization that contracts with the bureau of TennCare to provide medical assistance from providing reimbursement or coverage for a medical procedure if the performance or administration of the procedure is for the purpose of enabling a person to identify with, or live as, a purported identity inconsistent with the person's sex, or treating purported discomfort or distress from a discordance between a person's sex and asserted identity.
STATUS: HB1215 passe the Subcommittee and is in the full Insurance Committee on Tuesday.
ACTION: Please click on the committee name, then the picture and send the members an email urging them to support this bill.
LEGALIZING ‘MEDICAL’ MARIJUANA:
SB 1104 by *Bowling - HB 1441 by *Rudder
Health Care - As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act," which establishes a medical cannabis program to be administered by the medical cannabis commission.
“There have been many claims about the benefits of medical marijuana … without sound scientific evidence to support them.”
— Jodi Gilman, Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH.
The hype over medical marijuana for treating health problems may be exaggerated, researchers find.
Legalizing 'medical' marijuana is also recognized as a step toward decriminalization then legalization. EVERY state that took those two additional steps started with "medical' marijuana.
STATUS: SB1104 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary Tuesday.
ACTION: Please contact these senators and ask them to please OPPOSE this legislation.
Sen. Todd Gardenhire email@example.com
Sen. Dawn White firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Paul Rose email@example.com
Sen. Jon Lundberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Kerry Roberts email@example.com
Sen. John Stevens firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Brent Taylor email@example.com
CONTROLLING ACCESS TO ADULT PERFORMANCES:
SB 0003 by *Johnson , Crowe, Bowling, Haile, Yager, Bailey, Jackson
HB 0009 by *Todd, RICHEY, MCCALMON, CEPICKY, MOON, BARRETT, BULSO, Raper, Howell, Hawk, Vital, Moody, Davis, Sherrell, Gant, Fritts
Obscenity and Pornography - As introduced, creates an offense for a person who engages in an adult cabaret performance on public property or in a location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adul
STATUS: I am happy to report that SB0003 has passed the Senate 26-6; HB0009 is scheduled for the House Floor on Thursday.
NOTE - THESE WERE POSTPONED FROM LAST WEEK: Both Eagle Forum at the federal level and the state level have been opposed to ARTIFICIAL term limits since the idea arose a number of years ago for the Congressional level.
We have 'term limits' -- they are called ELECTIONS every two, four and six years.
This Resolution and Bill deal with local government term limits.
As I understand it, some other states have adopted term limits and they have proven to be very unsuccessful.
Two states have overturned their term limits. In four states, the courts have overturned term limits.
Artificial term limits can transfer power and influence to others who are NOT accountable to the voters.
ACTION: Let's not go down this road.
PLEASE click on the committee links and ask them to vote against these bills.
TN CONSTITUTIONAL ESTABLISHING TERM LIMITS
HJR 0045 by *Richey
Constitutional Amendments - Proposes amendment to establish a term limit of 16 years for all state and local public officials, except for the governor, for whom a term limit is established of eight years
STATUS: HJR45 is in Public Service Subcommittee on Tuesday
LOCAL TERM LIMITS?
SB 0580 by *Pody - HB 0118 by *Richey
Local Government, General - As introduced, establishes a referendum process by which the electorate of a local government in this state may vote to establish 16-year term limits for the public officials of the local government.
STATUS: HB118 is in Elections & Campaign Finance Subcommittee on Wednesday.
For those closely following the Third Grade Retention debate, on Wednesday at 1:30 in House Hearing Room 1, Education Administration will meet to hear 10 speakers. You can attend of click above and watch.
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