Legislative Update, April 10, 2010

April 10, 2010 

Tennessee General Assembly information and contacts: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/
To email legislators, look on the left side of the page, select House or Senate, then ‘Members’.
Don’t forget that you can now watch on your computer the committee meetings and the floor sessions: http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/livevideo/
Phone calls can go to the Legislative Switchboard: (615) 741-3011 or to the Toll Free number 1-800-449-8366+1+ last four digits of office phone number (available at the same location).

A society has the right to impose negative restraints; but positive acts of compliance it may exact only in extraordinary situations. One may not murder, steal, drive drunkenly, commit libel, undress publicly. But there is not, for each of these prohibitions, a corresponding injunction of an affirmative kind. To require participating in a social enterprise is a fatal habit for a free society to get into.   William Buckley, Jr.


A very sore Sen. Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville), who had an appendectomy last week, was back at the Capitol this week. Please continue to pray for his complete recovery. I have a personal request. My husband Ron has a ganglion cyst pressing on his spinal cord at L5 that is causing a lot of pain in his right thigh. On Tuesday he will have a procedure using an injection to attempt to burst the cyst and relieve his pain. We would appreciate your prayers as Ron has other ongoing health problems.

GOP in lead for legislative control
          Republicans begin the campaign for partisan control over the 107th General Assembly with a substantial head start over Democrats in the number of races already decided in their favor.
Read more here.

*HB 3433 by *Bell , Weaver, Harwell, Carr, Williams, Dunn, McDaniel, Matheny, Maggart, Dean, Lynn, Campfield, Rich, Shipley, Brooks K, Watson, Floyd, Rowland, McManus, Coley, Lollar, Lundberg, Hawk, Eldridge, Johnson C, Cobb J, Mumpower, Niceley, Matlock, Faulkner, Hill, Halford, McCormick, Ford , Johnson P, West, Marsh, Haynes, Dennis, Swafford, White, Casada, Hensley, Evans ( SB 3498 by *Beavers)
          Rep. Bell presented HB3433 in the Commerce Committee on Tuesday—it is a debate worth viewing. Click HERE, then under “Items”, click on HB3433. Former Speaker Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington) introduced an amendment that would provide that if any person declines health insurance required by federal law, they would become ineligible for TennCare, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Rep. Eric Swafford (R-Pikeville) moved that amendment ‘to the table’.
          A VERY interesting thing occurred when the roll call vote was taken—the tabling motion failed on a tie vote. Later that vote was called into question and it was determined that the vote was incorrectly counted and the tabling motion prevailed—meaning that discussion on the Naifeh amendment was halted and his amendment tabled.
          During the discussion, an Attorney General’s opinion was brought up and discussed.
TN health reform opponents undeterred by AG's opinion
          Naifeh requested that a representative from the Attorney General’s office come forward to discuss the opinion. When no one was there to respond, Naifeh started reading the four-page opinion. (Unique: A filibuster in the State House Committee—don’t think I have ever seen that before!!) AG Cooper was not available immediately and Naifeh continued reading. After more maneuvering Rep. Curry Todd (R-Collierville) called for adjournment, which passed.
         Supporters of HB3433 will press forward, and the bill will be back in the Commerce Committee on Tuesday at 9:15 in Room 16.

*SJR 0897 by *Ramsey
General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position - Urges Attorney General and Reporter Bob Cooper to join other states in contesting the implementation of any unconstitutional provisions of the federal health care legislation. –
          Not being deterred by the delays in the House on HB3433, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) has introduced a resolution urging the AG get involved. It passed the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday 6-2:
Voting aye were: Beavers, Bunch, Faulk, Jackson, Overbey, Kelsey -- 6.
Voting no were: Kyle, Marrero B -- 2.
          It is scheduled for the Senate floor Monday evening.
Ramsey Moves Resolution Urging AG to Question Federal Health Legislation

NOTE: All three of our bills were postponed from last week and still need your undivided attention.

HJR 0030 by Hill
General Assembly - As introduced, rescinds three specific resolutions from 1977 and any other resolutions passed at any time that call for a federal constitutional convention. For background information, please see these links:
Why the Tennessee Legislature Should Rescind Its Calls For a Federal Constitutional
Letter from retired Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court to Phyllis Schlafly on the dangers of a Federal Constitutional Convention HERE.
Con-Con More Dangerous Than Congress
The Effort to Dismantle Our Constitution

STATUS: HJR30 will be heard in House Judiciary on Tuesday afternoon.
ACTION: Please go HERE to send your House member an email of support.
SB 3589 by *Ketron ( *HB 3300 by *McCormick)
Judgments - As introduced, specifies three reasons why a foreign judgment would not be conclusive, and further states that a foreign defamation judgment shall not be recognized if the defamation law of the foreign court adjudicating the case provided less protection for freedom of speech and press than the United States and Tennessee constitutions.
          It authorizes Tennessee courts to not recognize a foreign defamation judgment unless the court sitting in Tennessee before which the matter is brought first determines that the defamation law applied in the foreign court's adjudication provided at least as much protection for freedom of speech and press in that case as would be provided by the constitutions of the United States and Tennessee. We MUST protect the Free Speech rights of our citizens.
STATUS: Great news – As amended, on March 25, HB 3300 passed the House floor 97-0 and picked up a number of new co-sponsors. Action was postponed, but SB 3589 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on April 13.
ACTION: Please go HERE and urge your Senator to support this important bill.
*SB 3740 by *Bunch ( HB 3768 by *Dennis) Civil Procedure - As introduced, establishes that contracts based on the law of any foreign state or country that incorporates substantive or procedural law that would violate rights and privileges granted under the U.S. or Tennessee constitution are against the public policy of this state and are void and unenforceable in this state.
          This is one of our most important bills for the legislative session. This bill provides, subject to provisions of superseding federal treaties, that any otherwise enforceable contract that incorporates any substantive or procedural law, legal code or legal system of another state, foreign jurisdiction or foreign country that would violate rights and privileges granted under the United States or Tennessee Constitution is declared to be against public policy of this state and is unenforceable in this state.
          With the increasing globalization and interactions with foreign legal systems, we are very excited about this legislation. It will offer Tennesseans some protections from legal pluralism when fundamental constitutional liberties are involved.
STATUS: SB3740 is in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday; HB3763 was voted out of Civil Practice and will be in full House Judiciary on Tuesday.
ACTION: Please go HERE to send your House member and you Senator an email of support.

*SJR 0763 by *Kelsey Jackson, McNally, Black, Beavers, Ramsey, Gresham, Bunch, Burchett, Tracy, Ketron, Faulk, Southerland, Johnson, Watson, Norris, Yager
          Constitutional Amendments - Proposes an amendment to clarify the constitutional language that currently prohibits the levying of a tax on any class of income, other than income derived from stocks and bonds, and to prohibit any tax levied on or measured by employer payrolls. 
STATUS: On March 23, SJR763 passed the State Senate 25-7. Voting NO were: Ford, Harper, Haynes, Henry, Kyle, Marrero, Tate. It is scheduled in House Budget Subcommittee on Wednesday. 
ACTION: Please send emails to these committee members urging them to vote for SJR763:
rep.harry.tindell@capitol.tn.gov, rep.joe.armstrong@capitol.tn.gov, rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.govspk.eme.jimmy.naifeh@capitol.tn.govrep.gary.odom@capitol.tn.gov, rep.johnny.shaw@capitol.tn.gov, rep.lois.deberry@capitol.tn.gov

SB 2686 by *Black ( *HB 2681 by *Hill)
Health Care - As introduced, prohibits coverage for abortion services under any health care plan through an exchange required to be established in this state pursuant to federal health care reform legislation. These bills would keep our state from being forced to pay for abortion services through the new federal health care exchange program.
STATUS: SB2686 is on Senate Commerce on Wednesday; HB2681 is on the House Floor Monday.
ACTION: Go HERE to send your senator and your house member an email of support.

HB 3105 by *Harwell , Maggart, Dunn, Bell, Weaver, McManus, Todd, Faulkner ( *SB 2480 by *Gresham)

          FINAL VICTORY!! I am so pleased to report that on April 5th, HB3105 passed the House floor 96-0 (SB2480 passed the Senate floor 31-0 back in March) and has already been transmitted to the Governor. While we didn’t get everything we wanted, we did make it clear that twins or other multiple siblings cannot be separated just because they are multiples.
Thanks so much to all the folks that made their voices heard and helped to produce this victory for families!!