Legislative Update, April 3, 2010

April 3, 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: 
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).

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6

While I gaze upon the emblems of my Savior’s death, may I ponder why He died, and hear Him say, “I gave my life to purchase yours, presenting myself an offering to expiate your sin, shed my blood to blot out your guilt, opened my side to make you clean endured your curses to set you free, bore your condemnation to satisfy divine justice.”

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

One of the most touching and meaningful illustrations I have ever seen is the painting at the right, “FORGIVEN”. Even with the mallet and spike still in his hands, ‘forgiveness’ is wrapped all around the man who represents each of us. It is a day for celebration. “I’ve Just seen Jesus’ and Alive Forever Amen.

Sen. Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) was taken from the Senate floor to the hospital on Wednesday after having continued pain on the right side of his abdomen. He later had surgery to remove his appendix. Please be praying for his complete recovery. Please continue to pray for the niece of Rep. Stratton Bone (D-Lebanon) as she continues her recovery from the hit and run accident she was a victim of last week.

STUNNING NEWS: On Thursday, the deadline to file to run, Rep. Donna Rowland (R-Murfreesboro) announced that she would not run for re-election.
Keeping in mind that this is the list of those who have FILED to run. This list is unofficial until it is determined that each candidate has met the statutory requirements for the office they are seeking. State House and State Senate
HERE. US House and Governor HERE.


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.

              **EXTREMELY IMPORTANT**
      If you really want to protect our US Constitution and our form of government, you will fully engage in the effort to repeal the previous TN calls for an ‘Article V’ Federal Constitutional Convention (Con-Con). Article V of our Constitution provides two ways to amend. An amendment generated in Congress and sent to the state for ratification or 34 states call for a Con-Con where delegates are elected to form a convention. Please go HERE for why we should repeal the ‘calls’. Go HERE for vital background information to understand this issue.
          You may be told that once a Con-Con is initiated, the delegates will only be able to address the issue that was the subject of the ‘call’. That is the crux of the debate. A majority of legal scholars, and two former U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Warren Burger and Arthur J. Goldberg, have stated there is no assurance that an Article V convention can be limited to a particular amendment once it is convened. Any claim that Congress could, by statute, limit a convention’s agenda is pure speculation. More over, once convened, a convention could reject any, or all, Congressional restrictions on its activity. Congress, therefore, may not be any more effective in restricting the agenda of a modern-day convention than was the Continental Congress in 1787 when its directives to the original constitutional convention were totally ignored. And don’t buy into the ‘safe harbor’ argument that whatever the Convention proposes must be ratified by 38 state legislatures. The Convention could direct that the ratifications take place in state conventions, not legislatures and just at the original Convention did, change the number of states needed for ratification and/or the ratification process.
          Because of the high level of frustration with the federal government, a Constitutional Convention may seem like a ‘way to take back our government’ but it is actually a way to lose the Constitution, as we know it.

STATUS: HJR 30 was voted out of Civil Practice Subcommittee on Wednesday and will be in the full Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

ACTION: Pushing for a Con-Con is bubbling up all over the country by people who DO NOT understand the risk (and a few who know exactly what they are doing). We can’t control that but we can do our part in Tennessee to protect the integrity of our US Constitution. More information HERE. Please send emails to these members and urge them to vote YES on HJR 30: rep.janis.sontany@capitol.tn.gov, rep.eddie.bass@capitol.tn.gov, rep.karen.camper@capitol.tn.gov.

SB 3812 by *Johnson ( *HB 3301 by *Lynn, Evans, Matlock, Lundberg, Hill, Watson, Niceley, Johnson C, Ford, Casada, Halford, Swafford, Dunn, Dean, Bell, Carr, Weaver, White, Maggart, Hensley, Bass, Curtiss, Brooks K, Campfield)
Abortion - As introduced, enacts the "Freedom from Coercion Act."

          No girl or woman should be forced or coerced to have an abortion against her will. This bill would require abortion facilities to prominently post no-coercion policies; impose penalties against facilities, which do not comply; reassure vulnerable women and girls that help and support is available. This proposal has been amended to clarify some questions that were raised.

          What timing – both SB3812 and HB3301 were on the respective floors on Wednesday, which was Pro-Life Ladies Day on the Hill. While many of the ladies watched, SB3812 passed the Senate floor 29-2-1 that morning (Sen. Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, did not vote); HB 3301 passed the House floor 87-8-2 that afternoon. Congratulations to TN Right to Life for their leadership and thanks to all pro-life Tennesseans who supported this very important legislation.

SB 3498 by *Beavers ( *HB 3433 by *Bell)
Health Care - As introduced, enacts "Tennessee Health Freedom Act."
As amended, This bill provides that it is the public policy of this state that every person within this state is and will be free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty, and this bill provides that with this bill the state is exercising its sovereign power to declare this public policy. It also states that it is the duty of the attorney general and reporter to seek injunctive and any other appropriate relief as expeditiously as possible to preserve the rights and property of the residents of this state, and to defend as necessary this state, its officials, employees and agents in the event that any law or regulation violating the public policy set forth in this bill is enacted by any government, subdivision or agency thereof.

STATUS: Wednesday, to robust cheering on the hall, HB3433 was voted out of the Industrial Impact Subcommittee and will be in House Commerce on Tuesday at 9:15 in Room 16.

ACTION: To make contacts, you can find the committee members HERE.

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 6.

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: If your House or Senate member is on either committee, go HERE to send an email. 

If your House or Senate member is not on the committee you can go HERE to find the Senate Committee members; go HERE to find the House Committee members. Please let our lawmakers that you support this important civil rights legislation.

Tennessee celebrated ‘Tax Freedom Day’ on April 1st this year, which according to the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day answers the basic question, “What price is the nation paying for government?” Based on their calculations, Tennesseans worked for 91 days before they earned enough money to pay this year’s federal and state tax obligations. In addition, Tax Foundation reports that Americans will pay more taxes in 2010 than they will spend on food, clothing and shelter combined.
The State Funding Board met this week to update their revenue estimates for both the current and next fiscal year's general fund.  The Board estimates revenues will be at a -1.78 to -2.31 percent loss for the current budget year, and are projected to grow at 2.05 to 2.3 percent in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.  The new estimates mean Tennessee will need to make up at least $75 million more to cover the estimated revenue shortfalls to the proposed 2010-2011 budget.  Finance officials anticipate an additional $28 million shortfall will occur as a result of losses in the cigarette tax, bringing the total shortfall to over $100 million.