Legislative Update, March 17, 2012


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).

"I ought unceasingly to give thanks to God who often pardoned my folly and my carelessness, and on more than one occasion spared His great wrath on me, who was chosen to be His helper and who was slow to do as was shown me and as the Spirit suggested." Saint Patrick, Confessio, translated from Latin
St Patrick is traditionally associated with the Shamrock plant, which he used to explain the concept of the Trinity.
St Patrick's value doesn't really come from the historical details but from the inspiration of a man who returned to the country where he had been a child slave, in order to bring the message of Christ. 
Read more here.

Conner, nephew of Rep. Tim Wirgau (R-Paris) is continuing to make progress. This 18-year-old young man who was nearly killed in an automobile accident (Feb 25th, I think) was moved from Vanderbilt to Stallworth for rehab this week. Even this is a wonderful victory, but Conner still has a very long way to go.  The goal is that he will be able to join his classmates and 'walk' in his high school graduation ceremony this Spring.  Please pray for Conner and his family.  You can follow his progress here.
As the Legislature begins to move a 'break neck' speed (committees are beginning to shut down), please pray for wisdom and understanding to make good decisions. 
My husband, Ron, is scheduled for an echocardiogram at Vanderbilt on March 27th, then we will visit with the heart surgeon.

A Legislative Session is intense, combative, frustrating and exhausting.  However, sometimes it is just plain FUN and the victories are SWEET.  This week contained all of the above but the week to come will see some EXTREMELY important issues brought before the lawmakers and YOUR involvement WILL make the difference, just as it did the past week.

*SB 3178 by *Bell ( HB 3539 by *Matheny)
Schools, Charter - As introduced, makes charter schools subject to open meetings law; requires charter schools to maintain a web site and post certain notices and information on the web site; makes charter school records open records to the same extent as records of public schools operated by LEAs.
STATUS:  So pleased to report that HB3539,
as amended, passed the House Floor Thursday 98-0! SB3178 is scheduled on the Senate floor Thursday, March 29th, where it is expected to pass.

*SB 2835 by *McNally ( HB 3197 by *Ragan)
Adoption - As introduced, states that either party to an adoption may enforce contract provision providing for open adoption or visitation; allows certain adopted children to be issued new certificate of birth upon reaching age of majority
STATUS:  After HB3197 being on the committee calender for about three weeks and encountering a huge push back, this week it was 'taken off notice" - meaning that it will not be acted on.  This is a HUGE victory for all families with adopted children all across the state.

*HJR 0587 by *Brooks K , Faison, Carr, Womick, Floyd, Miller D, Maggart, Rich, Weaver, Hill, Niceley, Lollar, Johnson P, Halford, Gotto, Matheny, Campbell, Evans, Casada, Sparks, Butt, Dean, Hensley, Harrison, Williams R, Matlock, Cobb , Alexander, White, Forgety, Sexton, Ragan, Hurley, Watson, Holt, Hall, Swann, Todd, Powers, McCormick, Eldridge, Marsh, Elam, Ford , Pody, Dennis, Keisling, Montgomery, Wirgau, McDaniel, Brooks H, Shepard, Shipley, Sanderson, Coley
General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position - Recognizes the destructive and insidious nature of United Nations Agenda 21
STATUS: Okay, this was just plain fun when it was on the House Floor Thursday morning.  When Rep. Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland) took 'the well' to present the resolution, he asked all the co-sponsors to join him.  It made quite a scene (see list of co-sponsors above).
    You really should watch the debate for the entertainment value.  Go HERE,  then click on House Session, 61st day video; then scroll down and click on HJR587.
    It started out by Democrat Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (D-Nasvhille) asking that the resolution be read in its entirety then he continued by saying he had read about it and could not find anything wrong with it, however, he said he was able to find something about it on the dreaded John Birch Society website. (He could have found a lot of material on the Eagle Forum and TN Eagle Forum websites.)
    Then Rep. Glen Casada (R-College Grove) rose and was really prepared as he immediately pointed his colleagues to Democrats Against Agenda 21. He went on to explain the problems with 'caring capacity' (limiting the number of people the planet can support); 'sustainability resources' (can only use resources at the rate that they can replenish themselves). "Land cannot be treated as an ordinary asset controlled by individuals" - self explanatory.  Rep. Rick Womick (R-Rockville) as added great comments. Much was made about the fact the both Presidents Clinton and Bush were signatories to Agenda 21. This is correct -- Agenda 21 is 'bipartisan BAD."
    A number of other legislators chimed in for the nearly hour long debate. When the dust finally settled, it passed with a bipartisan vote of 72-23.  It will now go to the Senate where Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) will be the sponsor.
For background information, go HERE; and see link to article below.
ACTION:  Please go HERE, find your senator and urge him or her to support this important resolution.The Difference between Planning and Social Engineering

SB 1024 by Burks ( *HB 1302 by Shepard)
Election Laws - As introduced, enacts the "Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote."
STATUS: HB1302 is in the House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday. This proposal MUST BE DEFEATED. You will find a great deal of information on the NPV HERE.  Destroying state's rights by circumventing the Constitutional genius of our Founders' creation of the Electoral College should not be a partisan issue and we hope it will not be here in Tennessee.  The RNC has passed a Resolution opposing the NPV, as has the TN Republican Party.
How the National Popular Vote Compact Attempts to Circumvent the US Constitution and Why it Should be Opposed by Governors and Legislators in All Fifty States
Some of the problems include:
Votes of Americans in about 25 states would be rendered irrelevant because candidates would zero in on piling up votes in large-population states. Election efforts would be largely urban. Rural states’ issues wouldn’t matter as much; big city populations and urban issues would become the focus of campaigns; thus, the character of campaigns and presidents would change. Democratic factionalism would increase, resulting in a multicandidate/multiparty system, instead of the two-party system we currently have. Direct election would lead to weaker presidents, since the winner only needs the highest percentage of votes, no matter how small. In any direct national election, there would be increased election fraud concerns.

ACTION:  Please contact the committee members and urge them to REJECT this effort to remove state's rights rep.ryan.haynes@capitol.tn.gov, rep.jim.cobb@capitol.tn.gov, rep.gerald.mccormick@capitol.tn.gov, rep.bob.ramsey@capitol.tn.gov, rep.curry.todd@capitol.tn.gov, and rep.kent.williams@capitol.tn.gov.

SB 3345 by *Ketron ( *HB 3540 by *Matheny)
Schools, Charter - As introduced, regulates charter schools' relationships with foreign entities and the use of non-immigrant foreign workers by charter schools.
          We would like to see as many teaching and staff jobs go to Tennesseans as possible before Charter Schools go overseas to import people to fill these positions.  Since these are still public schools funded with taxpayer money, we think it is important that taxpayers and parents know the sources of the additional funding.
          As amended, this bill would require disclosure of all sources of funding, allow for non-approval of a charter application if staffing utilizes more than 3.5% non-immigrant foreign worker visas, allows revocation of a charter prior to expiration should the use of non-immigrant foreign worker visas exceed the 3.5% cap during the term of the charter, and makes an exception to the cap for a small school to  bring in a foreign language instructor.
STATUS:SB3345 is scheduled in Senate Education on Wednesday.  Please urge these committee members to support this bill: sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov, sen.andy.berke@capitol.tn.gov, and sen.stacey.campfield@capitol.tn.gov.
HB3540 is scheduled in House Education subcommittee on Wednesday.  Please urge these committee members to support this bill: rep.john.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov, and  rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov.

*SB 3310 by *Johnson ( HB 3621 by *Gotto)
ducation, Curriculum - As introduced, requires that a family life education curriculum comply with certain restrictions.
NOTE:  The very first bill I worked on starting in 1987 was the present family life education law. It took a three-year battle to make sure the present statue was 'family friendly, before it was finally passed.  Well, as we all know, times have changed -- dramatically -- and this year, our good friend, former Sen. David Fowler,
Family Action Council of TN, has proposed an update and we are very supportive of this effort.
For Background:
A Good Sex Ed Law in Tennessee Makes Sense
STATUS: An amended version of HB3621 will be heard in House Education Subcommittee on Wednesday.
Please let these members know you support this bill: rep.harry.brooks@capitol.tn.gov, rep.john.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov, and rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov
The amended version of SB3310 will be heard in Senate Education on Wednesday. Please let these members know you support this bill: sen.reginald.tate@capitol.tn.gov, sen.brian.kelsey@capitol.tn.gov, sen.andy.berke@capitol.tn.gov, sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov, and sen.stacey.campfield@capitol.tn.gov.

SB 3018 by *Beavers ( *HB 3175 by *Shipley)
Criminal Offenses - As introduced, implements various procedures concerning controlled substance analogues in the same manner in which those procedures are carried out concerning controlled substances. This is a HUGE problem here in Tennessee and really needs to be addressed.
STATUS:  SB3018 is in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday.  Find members HERE to offer your support.
HB3175 is in House Judiciary Subcommittee on Wednesday. Find member HERE to offer your support.

Statement from Cynthia Bundren Jackson:
I am announcing today, that I will be a Republican candidate for State Senate for the 4th Senatorial District, consisting of Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock,Hawkins, Jefferson and Union counties. My decision to enter this race comes after the announcement made by Senator Mike Faulk to not seek reelection to the Senate seat.Since Senator Faulk's announcement last week, I have been contacted by many people throughout the district encouraging me to offer myself as a candidate.
After much discussion and deliberation with my family and friends, I have decided to proceed.
Read more here

State Rep. Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains said today he will seek the Republican nomination as successor to Sen. Mike Faulk of Church Hill."After 12 years in the House, I would like to serve in the Senate. Maybe I can do more for the district," said Niceley. Faulk announced last week that he will not seek reelection to the Senate District 8 seat, which covers Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson and Union counties.
Read more here.

The cost to clean up and restore War Memorial Plaza after the five-month Occupy Nashville protest will reach more than $60,000, state officials said Friday.
Maintenance staff at the state Capitol estimate they spent $23,525 more than usual on powerwashing, repairs and removing trash and graffiti on War Memorial Plaza during the protest, according to figures released by the Department of General Services. Cleaning and fixing the plaza after the protest ended earlier this month will cost an additional $37,500, the department said.
A breakdown of the costs provided by the state is available
The figures were
first reported by WSMV and picked up Thursday by the Cleveland Daily Banner, the hometown newspaper of state Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, who sponsored legislation to ban unauthorized camping on public grounds. The bill caused Occupy Nashville to break up its overnight protest voluntarily last week. Read more here

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Opponents of Republican-drawn lines for the Tennessee Senate are suing for the redistricting plan to be thrown out on the basis that it ignored proposals made by the Legislature's Black Caucus, their lawyer said Friday.
Bob Tuke, attorney for the opponents and a former state Democratic Party chairman, told The Associated Press the lawsuit to halt the plan was filed in chancery court in Nashville.
Read more here.