Legislative Update, April 23,2011

April 23, 2011                                                                              

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).

This passage from Isaiah was written several hundred years prior to the birth of Christ: Isaiah 53:5-12.
       ”Lead me to the cross and show me His wounds, the hateful nature of evil, the power of Satan; May I there see my sins ad the nails that transfixed Him, the cords that bound Him, the thorns that that tore Him, the sword that pierces Him. Help me to find in His death the reality and immensity of his love. Open for me the wondrous volumes of truth in His, “It is finished.” Increase my faith in the clear knowledge of atonement achieved, expiation completed, satisfaction made, guilt done away, my debt paid, my sins forgiven, my person redeemed, my soul saved, hell vanquished, heaven opened, eternity made mine. O Holy Spirit, deepen in me these saving lessons. Write them upon my heart, that my walk be sin-loathing, sin-fleeing, Christ-loving; And suffer no devil’s device to beguile or deceive me.” Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions          He is not dead,
                                   Resurrection Sunday Dance, Budapest, Hungary


A number of very important bills are ‘in motion’ this week at the Capitol, including our counter-terrorism legislation. Please pray for wisdom, focus, TRUTH, and discernment as the lawmakers make their decisions.
        For those who have expressed concern about my husband, Ron, and his broken foot I wanted you to know we finally saw the new doctor at Vanderbilt. It was a bit of a roller coaster ride. The resident came in first.  He began to talk about possible surgery, putting a screw in the close the break, a cast for six weeks, boot for I don't know how long -- actually my mind just stopped at the word "surgery'.  He left and while we were waiting for Dr. Thomson, I was trying not to absolutely panic, thinking about having 'wasted' 10 weeks, getting out my calendar looking at when the surgery could be scheduled, where the six-weeks mark would put us, etc., etc.
           Dr. Thomson arrived -- we liked him immediately -- young, confident, good personality. He talked to us, asked Ron about pain ---other than some discomfort the first day or two after the break, Ron has never had in pain.  He told us that it was his custom to treat the patient not the x-ray. He also said that x-rays on broken bones are 'behind the curve' on healing -- i.e., they don't always show all the new bone growth and that this particular break is the most difficult to heal of any break in the foot.  His recommendation was that Ron go home, put his shoes on and come back in two months for evaluation. Honestly, we just sat there looking at each other and speechless.  In the period of about 15 minutes, we went from the Valley of 'surgery' and a long recovery to FREEDOM! Thank you so much for your prayers and I ask that you pray for continued healing with no set backs.

*SB 1028 by *Ketron ( HB 1353 by *Matheny)
Homeland Security - enacts the "Material Support to Designated Entities Act of 2011."
       It was a very interesting week regarding our bill. HB1353 was in the House Judiciary Committee. A large group of Muslims and their supporters showed up at the Plaza to oppose this counter-terrorist proposal. (Just a thought: We frequently hear from ‘moderate’ Muslims that a few ‘radicals’ are high jacking their peaceful religion. If they believe that, then they should be supporting this legislation. Silly me, I guess I am just too logical.)
       Once again, please don’t believe what you are reading in the media. Sen. Ketron and Rep. Matheny have met repeatedly with groups of Muslims. One of the things they asked was that the bill be changed to apply evenly across the board to any group meeting the detailed, multi-stepped criteria. We did just that -- the present bill was written by an attorney in Legislative Services (the original bill no longer exists). The paper quoted CAIR saying the change was a ‘win for Muslims’. Rep. Matheny even received messages expressing appreciation for the change in the legislation. Then, it seems, the ACLU got involved….
       Among those testifying against HB1353 were Sabina Mohyuddin, youth coordinator for the Islamic Center of Nashville, ACLU Executive Director Hedy Weinberg and a couple of others. The TRUTH was no where to be found in their testimony.
See the Frequently Asked Questions HERE.
STATUS: HB1353 will be voted on in House Judiciary on April 26th, meeting at 10:30 in Room 16; SB1028 will be voted on in Senate Judiciary on April 26th meeting at 3:30 in Room 12.
ACTION: We expect the opponents to show up in large numbers again. Please come for both committee meetings if at all possible to support the bill and our sponsors. Go HERE to send an email of support to your State Senator and State Representative. Would you also please send email of appreciation our sponsors:
sen.bill.ketron@capitol.tn.gov and rep.judd.matheny@capitol.tn.gov. (You can learn a little more about our courageous sponsors at these links: Sen. Bill Ketron and Rep. Judd Matheny.)

*SJR 0127 by *Beavers, Kelsey, Bell, Norris, Ketron, Crowe, Southerland, Yager, Campfield, Johnson, Woodson, Ramsey, Overbey, Tracy, Gresham, Summerville, Faulk, Watson Constitutional Amendments - Proposes new provision to Article I to provide that nothing in Constitution of Tennessee secures or protects right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion; states that the people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother. For additional information, go HERE.
STATUS: On April 18th, after defeating hostile amendments, the State Senate passed SJR127
24-8. Senators voting consistently pro-abortion (8): Barnes, Berke, Ford, Harper, Haynes, Herron, Marrero, and Tate Senators voting first for hostile amendments but ultimately voting in support of SJR 127 (3): Burks, Finney, and Stewart. SJR 127 now moves to the State House.

SB 1670 by *Tracy ( *HB 1632 by *Dunn)
Immigration - As introduced, codifies federal regulations to ensure that local absorptive capacity is evaluated at regular intervals in consultation between local governments and local resettlement agencies before commitments are made for refugee resettlement in any particular community. This is our other important bill this session. For more information, go
STATUS: HB 1632 passed the subcommittee and is scheduled in House State and Local on April 26. 
ACTION: Please go
HERE and urge members to support this legislation.

SB 0632 by *Ketron ( *HB 0600 by *Casada)
Business and Commerce - As introduced, enacts the "Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act." This pro-business and pro-taxpayer legislation provides that no local government can impose on any business or person, other than a local government’s own employees, any personnel practice, definition or provision relating to discrimination or discriminatory practices that deviates from the requirements of state law. It also makes null and void any nonconforming requirements imposed prior to the legislation’s effective date. The legislation does not affect anti-discrimination policies that businesses voluntarily adopt for the operation of their business.
STATUS: HB600 passed out of House Calendar and Rules on Tuesday and will be on the House floor, April 25th.
ACTION: House Bill 600 would protect private businesses from local governments imposing on them anti-discrimination policies that go beyond the protections provided by state law. Please find your State Representative
HERE and urge him or her to support this legislation.

SB 0113 by *Johnson ( *HB 0130 by *Maggart)
Teachers, Principals and School Personnel - As introduced, abolishes teachers' unions ability to negotiate terms and conditions of professional service with local boards of education.
        This has been a ‘hot button’ issue with no agreement between the Senate and House on the provisions of this legislation.
STATUS: SB 113 was re-referred to Senate Education where it was
amended. Tennessee teacher collective bargaining bill advances in Senate Committee. HB 130 is scheduled in House Finance on May 3rd.

SB 1638 by *Campfield ( *HB 1874 by *Niceley)
Safety, Dept. of - As introduced, prohibits Tennessee from participating in the implementation of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which mandates a national identification card for each citizen of the United States.
STATUS: HB1874 was voted out of the subcommittee and is on the calendar for House Transportation on Tuesday.
ACTION: You can find members
HERE and urge them to support this legislation.

SB 1468 by *Bell ( *HB 1631 by *Dunn)
Schools, Home - As introduced, makes various changes to home school requirements, including testing requirements for home school students.
As amended, SB 1468 passed the Senate Education Committee 9-0; HB 1631 is scheduled in House Education Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Please find your Senator
HERE and urge him or her to support SB 1468; please find subcommittee HERE and the members to support HB 1631.

SB 0485 by *Kelsey ( *HB 0388 by *Dunn)
Education - As introduced, enacts the "Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act."
STATUS: SB485 passed the Senate Floor
18-10-4; HB388 is scheduled in House Education Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Subcommittee members can be found

Tennessee Senate approves first school-voucher bill
NASHVILLE -- The state Senate has approved a school-voucher bill that would allow lower-income students to take some taxpayer funding and transfer to a private, church-related or other independent school that would accept them or to a public school with room.
The vouchers, which would total $5,400 a year in Memphis at first, would be available to students in Shelby, Davidson, Knox and Hamilton counties whose household income qualifies them for free or reduced-price school lunches only.
For a family of four, income up to $41,348 in the year before initial receipt of a voucher would qualify. The bill puts no limit on income in subsequent years, and assets are not counted.
A student need only attend public school in the semester preceding receipt of the voucher or be starting school in Tennessee for the first time to qualify.
Read more here.