ALERT: Legislative Update, March 22, 2014

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).


"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."  Winston Churchill

The Nashville Post [Nashville's Premier Business Publication] published their In Charge '14: Government & Politics: "As is our annual tradition, the Post team presents In Charge, a compendium of Middle Tennessee's top business, political and civic leaders. The 450-plus women and men on our list - our fifth annual - make a positive impact not just on their individual sectors, but on the city in general. These folks are the best of the best - and always 'in charge.' "

To my shock and surprise I am included in this list of 51 men and women across the state in Government & Politics segment.  The names are in alphabetic order. I am very appreciative and honored to be included.  I feel like I am blessed beyond measure to get to do what I do and so grateful to God for His call on my life

As I said at the beginning of this legislative session, there has been (in my never-to-be-humble-opinion) way too much emphasis on speed. Well, here we are the middle of March and committees are already shutting down or on their 'Final Calendar'.  It is almost like a rock rolling down hill that gets faster and faster. Some committees have been holding marathon sessions of several hours on end which are exhausting to those of us sitting in the committee rooms and for the legislators.  Tired legislators don't always make wise decisions.  Please pray for energy and clarity for them to make wise and prudent decisions about the laws that impact all of our lives.

Tuesday. I sat in House Education committee where HB2491, the Tennessee Promise Scholarship, was presented.  As a high school senior, I have a slightly different perspective on this subject than many of the lawmakers.Here are some pros and cons:

If this bill passes I won't have a huge student loan debt when I graduate college and, meanwhile... I can party my ears off! (According to a national survey , students with lower financial responsibility do, in fact, party their ears off resulting in lower academic achievement, which is fine if your parents are wealthy and well connected... most aren't).  If this bill should pass, I intend to take full advantage of this "free" Associates degree program until such time as Lawmakers (who did not have the opportunity to study under Common Core) will be taught basic mathematics by their children and grandchildren and it will be discovered that we can not pay for this. Meaning that when I get out of my two years of "free" college, my life-long tax load will be ENORMOUS.  
SB 1266 by *Niceley ( HB 1129 by *Hill T)
Education, Curriculum - As introduced, requires emphasis on American foundational instruments and instruction in American historical achievement.
When HB1129 brought up on the floor calendar Thursday, March 13, sponsor, Rep. Timothy Hill,  'moved to substitute and conform to SB1266', then  the House adopted amendments 1 and 2 which 'make' the bill and requires that each student must be taught the documents, writings or records, etc.  Go HERE for details. 

Amendment 5, which would 'postpone any FURTHER implementation of Common Core Standards until July 1, 2016', adopted 80-6-2.
Amendment 7, which would 'postpone any further implementation of PARCC assessments until July 1, 2016', adopted 88-0-0. Then, SB1266, as amended, passed the House Floor 82-11.

STATUS:  Because of a $10 million fiscal note, SB1266 has been sent to Senate Finance Ways and Means, members found HERE.  We don't know when it will be on their calendar.

House Education Subcommittee was very long and exhausting this week. Rep. Rick Womick had multiple bills on the calendar.

SB 1985 by *Campfield ( HB 1825 by *Womick)
Education - As introduced, requires the state board of education and the department of education to postpone any further implementation of Common Core State Standards beyond those standards implemented as of June 30, 2013, until further implementation is approved by the general assembly
STATUS:  Because SB1985 had failed in Senate Education 2-7 (Sen. Campfield and Sen. Hensley voting YES; Senators Burks, Crowe, Dickerson, Gardenhire, Kelsey, Tate, Gresham voting NO), HB1825 was taken off notice.

SB 1986 by *Campfield ( HB 1826 by *Womick)
Education - As introduced, requires the general assembly to approve, by the general appropriations act, all state funding for any future assessment tests used to measure the educational progress of students.
STATUS:  Because SB1986 failed in Senate Education 3-6 (Senators Campfield, Crowe and Hensley voting YES; Senators Burks, Dickerson, Gardenhire, Kelsey, Tate, and Gresham voting NO), HB1826 was taken off notice.

Then we had the marathon session when more than three hours were spent on the two bills below.

HB 2332 by *Womick ( SB 2405 by *Beavers)
Education - As introduced, discontinues use of common core state standards.
Voting YES: Rep. Debra Moody and Rep. Dawn White.
Voting NO:  Reps. Harry Brooks, John DeBerry, John Forgety, Roger Kane, Harold Love, Joe Pitts, Mark White.

HB 1828 by *Womick ( SB 1984 by *Campfield)

Education - As introduced, prohibits adoption or use of PARCC assessments; requires the general assembly to make the decision as to the adoption of assessments to replace TCAPs; requires the state to withdraw from PARCC; prohibits state membership in any group that relinquished control over assessments to an outside entity.
Voting YES:  Rep. Harold Love, Rep. Debra Moody, Rep. Dawn White.
Voting NO:  Reps. Harry Brooks, John DeBerry, John Forgety, Roger Kane, Joe Pitts, Mark White.

Despite the long hours in both Education Committees, they did not get to our Parental Rights bill, so it is on the repsective calendars Tuesday, March 25 and Wednesday, March 26.

SB 2559 by *Bowling ,
Hensley, Bell, Tate, Green, Dickerson, Burks, Crowe, Gardenhire
HB 2453 by *Matheny, Holt, Dunn, Hill M, Moody, Butt, Womick, Casada, Faison, Carr J, Matlock, Shipley, White D, Carter, Doss, Pody, Weaver, Kane, Williams R, DeBerry J, Alexander, Spivey
Education - As introduced, requires every LEA to allow parents to review all instructional materials used in the classroom of the parent's child; mandates the LEA to allow parents access to review all surveys and evaluations administered to the parent's child

NOTE: So excited that this VERY important, NON-COMMON CORE bill is finally on the calendar in both bodies next week.  The bill came directly from complaints from parents about not having access to materials used in their child's classroom, their student not being allowed to take a textbook home, and surveys  being giving that actually violated federal law when permission was not sought prior to administering the survey.  School - minor children in the classroom by compulsion. Therefore, NOTHING should happen in the classroom that parents (or guardians) cannot have access to!! PERIOD!!The last section of the legislation (requiring review and an op-out for "surveys, analysis, or evaluations" took on increased importance and urgency as we learned about
All that being said, we don't expect it to pass easily, therefore, we REALLY NEED your support and engagement on this legislation.
ACTION:  Note the co-sponsors in RED above are members of the respective committees.  In the Senate please contact ,,
asking that they support this legislation.
In the House, please contact , , ,  asking they they support this legislation.

SB 1602 by *Bell , Gresham, Stevens, Yager, Johnson, Tracy, Hensley, Crowe, Tate

HB 2249 by *Casada,Womick, Butt, Dunn, Sargent, White D, Matheny, Evans
Textbooks - As introduced, restructures the textbook commission and the textbook selection process.
NOTE: This is an exceptionally important bill. Dozens of volunteers worked all summer to review textbooks and evaluated the textbook adoption process. This is our chance to improve the process and give more control to legislators and to parents.
STATUS:  So pleased to report that on March 17, SB1602, as amended, passed the Senate Floor 29-3-1. HOWEVER, we are expecting more opposition in the House.  HB2249 was voted out of House Education Subcommittee on March 11, with only Rep. Joe Pitts voting No. In the full Education on Tuesday, the committee got right to the bill just as time ran out for the meeting.
ACTION: It is on the calendar Tuesday, March 25. PLEASE, PLEASE contact members of the committee found HERE and URGE them to vote for this important legislation.

SB 1835 by *Gresham ( HB 1549 by *Dunn) Education - As introduced, establishes requirements for the adoption of educational standards; prohibits use of student data for purposes other than tracking academic progress and educational needs of students.
NOTE: I cannot begin to emphasize how important this bill is in order to protect our schools, students and the state from the imposition of the additional standards that we already know have been developed.  This bill will give Tennesseans control of what happens when any new standards are proposed.  They will be posted, reviewed with the House and Senate holding hearings, thus giving the public opportunity to be involved in this process.  It also puts significant restrictions on data collection and well as what can happen to the data that is collected
STATUS:  As you may recall, HB1549 passed the House floor on March 10, 81-9-2. So pleased to report that it passed the Senate Floor 31-2 on March 17.  There was a small change made on the Senate Floor and it will be on the House floor March 24th where they will vote to concur and then the bill will be sent to the Governor.

SB 1951 by *Gardenhire ( HB 1992 by *Floyd)
Education, Higher - As introduced, permits undocumented alien students who are Tennessee residents, who meet the academic requirements of HOPE scholarship and attend Tennessee schools for five years prior to graduating from high school, be charged in-state tuition at public institutions of higher education.
This legislation could incentivize illegal behavior. The laws of the United States prohibit illegal aliens from residing in our country. However, everyday illegal aliens make a conscious decision to ignore these laws. Should we be rewarding this behavior and, in addition, make TN a magnet for these students?
69% Oppose In-State Tuition To Illegal Immigrants
Providing In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens: A Violation of Federal Law
STATUS:  These bills have been postponed multiple times, but since both education committees are now on their 'final calendar' they should been heard this coming week. SB1951 is in Senate Education on Wednesday. Members found HERE.  HB1992 is in House Education Subcommittee on Tuesday. Members found HERE.
ACTION: Please contact committee members and urge them to vote against the legislation.

SB 2464 by *Watson ( HB 2371 by *Carter)
Annexation - As introduced, abolishes annexation by ordinance at the initiative of the municipality
Rep. Carter wins the award for persistence and tenaciousness, regardless of the opposition, in not giving up on providing folks with the right to vote on an annexation proposal.
STATUS:  On March 18th, SB2464 was voted out of Senate State and Local 9-0.  HB2371 is in House Finance Tuesday, March 25, members found HERE.
ACTION:  Please contact the members urging them to support this legislation.


Ramsey toying with veto override session