Legislative Update, June 5, 2010

June 5, 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).

“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People.”
~~George Washington from “The Patriot Post”

As of yesterday Jenna Hensley, daughter of Rep. Joey Hensley M.D. (R-Hohenwald) was to be moved Stallworth Rehab Center. Jenna still has some problems and while she is showing improvement, she has a long journey ahead of her to restored health. Please continue to remember this precious 8-year-old and her family in your prayers. Also, please continue to remember Rep. (Lt. Col.) John Mark Windle (D-Livingston) as he serves in Iraq.
HJR 0030 by Sen. Mark Norris
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.
          After being on the Senate floor calendar four times, on Thursday evening, I am thrilled to report that HJR30 passed 29-1-1. We are VERY grateful to Republican Leader Mark Norris, Collierville, for agreeing to be the sponsor of this very important resolution. Sen. Norris does a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ regarding the budget negotiations for the Republican Caucus as well as having many other responsibilities as Leader. We were honored that he agreed to take on yet one more responsibility. Thank you Sen. Norris!! BTW, congratulations are in order -- Sen. Norris is the Chairman Elect of the Southern Legislative Conference, just one of his many national activities.

Oh dear, it appears that adjournment may not be as imminent as we thought.
Near the close of each General Assembly session the Freshmen Senators, better known as “The Green Horn Caucus”, are called on to do some type of presentation for their colleagues. I never ceased to be amazed at how clever some of these can be. Very late on Thursday evening, Senators Ken Yager (R-Harriman, Chairman of the ‘caucus’), Mike Faulk (R-Church Hill) and Dolores Gresham (R-Sommerville) took to the ‘well’ (the lectern facing the senate floor) to do a very funny and clever “Twas the Night Before Adjournment” – a take-off on “Twas the Night Before Christmas” – in which each of the senators were mentioned in some humorous or sometimes, ‘pointed’ way. To see the ‘poem’ go HERE, scroll down to the final bill, click there, the presentation follows the debate on that bill. [Thanks to Sen. Norris’ for his Twitter picture.]
PLEASE NOTE: Some of the votes included in today’s Legislative Update are not linked to the Legislative website because while the vote is known, the website has not been updated with the detailed vote. During the final days of a session, things are happening so fast that there is a lag in getting some of the information posted on the website. Frankly, I don’t know how the legislative staff does as well as they do as things change minute by minute. Especially during the final days of the session, the staff works very long hours doing a remarkable job.
The House voted 94-0 for the annual spending bill earlier today. Senators approved it Thursday night on a 30-3 vote. The House and Senate had squabbled over details for weeks.
Senate passes hurdle budget
OUT – fish hatchery, tax hikes, Clover Bottom extension.
IN – Tax breaks for flood victims, funding for Governor’s Office of Children’s Care Coordination, buyout of state employees. 
Tennessee budget slides in with no tax hike.
SB 2560 by *Black ( *HB 2622 by *Lynn , Maggart, Swafford)
Health Care - As introduced, prohibits the legislature from requiring any person to participate in any health care system or plan.
STATUS: As I understand it, last evening on the Senate Floor, Sen. Black was successful in recalling SB2560 from committee 22-10 and it will be on the Senate floor today. HB2622 is scheduled for the House floor calendar. In looking at the amending language, it appears that that this text was lifted directly from the Rep. Mike Bell’s bill, HB3433 that was defeated in House Budget Subcommittee on the single vote of Speaker Kent Williams.
ACTION: You can go HERE to send an email of support to your Senator and Representative.
*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: Passed the State Senate 25-7; this proposal was finally on the House Budget Subcommittee on Wednesday where Rep. Tony Shipley (R-Kingsport) waited for hours to present it. However, despite inquiries from Rep. Shipley, Republican Leader Jason Mumpower, and Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, Committee Chairman Harry Tindell (D-Knoxville) would not bring it up and adjourned the committee. Then the fireworks began:
SB 2392 by *Jackson , Black, HB 2693 by *Shepard , Evans, Fincher, Barker, Hardaway, Lynn, Bone, Naifeh, Pitts, Sontany, Montgomery, McDaniel, McCormick, Williams, Todd, Litz, Winningham, McDonald, Dean, Haynes, Ferguson, Hensley, Hill, White, Towns, Rich, Faulkner, Swafford, Favors, Sargent, Weaver, Eldridge, Campfield, Hackworth, Brooks K, Shipley, Maddox, Curtiss, Johnson P, Bass, Cobb T, Niceley, Fraley, Watson, Roach, Coleman, Maggart, Johnson C, Brown, Harrison, Lundberg, Moore, Stewart, Ramsey, McManus, Yokley, Brooks H, Lollar
Capital Punishment - As introduced, adds murder committed against a pregnant woman as an aggravating factor for purposes of imposing death sentence in first degree murder cases.
STATUS: Passed the House 90-1-1; passed the Senate 28-1.
This was a bit of a ‘sleeper’ bill, but in reality is very important as it recognizes the personhood of the unborn baby.
SB 2753 by *Johnson , Tracy, Black, Gresham *HB 2685 by *Hill , Evans, Lollar, Maggart, Bass, Ford , Carr, Campfield, Hensley
As introduced, authorizes employers to require English be spoken in the workplace if necessary to conduct the employer's business.
STATUS: Because the Senate and the House could not agree on language, this legislation was sent to a conference committee. The Committee Report HERE was passed by the Senate 30-0 and the House 89-0. English-in-the-workplace passes senate.
*SB 3012 by *Jackson , Bunch, Gresham, Tracy, Ramsey, Black HB 3125 by *Todd , Dennis, Evans, Fincher, West, Eldridge, Faulkner
An amendment rewrites this bill and present law concerning possession of firearms in establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold for on-premises consumption. Under this amendment, it will be a Class A misdemeanor offense for any person to possess a firearm within the confines of an establishment that is open to the public where alcoholic beverages are served for consumption on the premises and such person is consuming any such beverages.
STATUS: On May 27, the State Senate voted 23-10 to override the Governor’s veto; then it went to the House. Yesterday: "I have a speech prepared here, but ladies and gentlemen, I'm not going to read it," the bill's sponsor, Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville, said when offered the chance to speak. "You know how you're going to vote." House members voted 61-30 for the override as they tried to wrap up business for the night. The override was expected — the legislation had cleared both chambers by wide margins — and lawmakers held no debate before voting.
SB 1141 by *Gresham , Beavers, Tracy, Southerland, Watson, Crowe, Ramsey, Johnson, Ketron *HB 0670 by *Dennis , Rich, Evans, Watson, Carr, Bell, Haynes, McCormick, Coley, Casada, Shipley, Fincher, Campfield, Hensley, Hill, Coleman, Hawk, Eldridge, Swafford, Lynn, Brooks H, Faulkner, Matlock, Halford, Williams
          An amendment was adopted that rewrites the bill to require the Tennessee peace officer standards and training commission to develop a standardized written procedure for verifying the citizenship status of persons who are arrested, booked, or confined in a county or municipal jail or detention facility and report to the appropriate federal officials those persons who are determined to be in the country illegally or for whom the citizenship status cannot be determined. This amendment requires the keeper of a jail to use such procedure to verify the citizenship status of each arrested, booked, or otherwise confined person and report those persons who are determined to be in the country illegally to the appropriate federal officials. This amendment would not apply to any county or municipality that has entered into and is operating under a memorandum of understating with the U.S. department of homeland security concerning enforcement of federal immigration laws or any county or municipality that is participating in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Criminal Alien Program (CAP) or the state Criminal Alien Assistance Program.
STATUS: This proposal is going back and forth on message calendars at the moment.    
HJR 1253 by *Carr , Campfield, Dean, Maggart, Lundberg, Matheny, Eldridge, Shipley, Swafford, Casada, Hensley, Johnson C, Weaver, Watson, White, Niceley, Brooks H, Matlock, Ford , Lollar, Dennis, Todd, Floyd, Bell, McManus, Faulkner, Evans, Bass, Hawk, Halford, Brooks K, Lynn, Rich, Cobb J, McDaniel, Roach, Harrison, Montgomery, Fincher
          Commends the State of Arizona and its elected officials as it approaches its centennial celebration.
STATUS: After extended debate, HJR 1253 passed the State House 67-27; on Friday the State Senate concurred 17-7.
*HJR0704 by *Lynn, *Campfield, *Lundberg, *Todd, *Hensley, *Swafford, *Rich, *Sargent, *Maggart, *Hill, *Evans, *Johnson C, *Faulkner, *Brooks K, *Johnson P, *Eldridge, *Lollar, *Weaver, *Niceley, *Shipley, *Halford, *Carr, *White
Memorials, Congress - Expresses opposition to the institution of new federal review, oversight, or preemption of state health insurance laws, the creation of a federal health insurance exchange or connector, and the creation of a federal health insurance plan (public plan) option.
STATUS: On April 12, HJR704 the State House 69-29-1; on Thursday, the State Senate followed by concurring 24-4.