Legislative Update, April 5, 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).


"All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government...Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them, or a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet." Robert Winthrop, U.S. Speaker of the House, 1847-49

As the old song goes "....and the days dwindle down to a precious few."  At the end of Thursday's House floor session the Clerk of the House advised the members to bring extra clothes next week and to plan to be flexible. That usually signals the possibility of approaching the final week of session. Many very important decisions need to be made and votes taken.  Wisdom and discernment are desperately needed as laws are passed that each of us much live under.

Mrs. Patray and I spent most the morning Tuesday meeting with the  members of the House Education Committee to inform them of HB 2453. HB 2453 is a bill which provides parental access to textbooks, surveys and all other school materials taught in the classroom. This bill grew out of the philosophy that nothing should happen in the classroom that parents don't have access to. As we met with these legislators it was impressed upon me once again just how respected Mrs. Patray is by members of both parties. I firmly believe that her desire to remain ethical and moral while building lasting relationships lends itself  greatly to the success and respectability of Eagle Forum.



26 incumbent state legislators face primary challenges - 20 Republicans, 6 Democrats

Senator Doug Henry presented what is probably his last piece of legislation on the Senate Floor Thursday where he received a standing ovation from his colleagues.  He passed his first bill in 1955! Sen. Henry, who is not running for re-election, is the consumate Southern Gentleman, conservative, pro-life, pro-family.  His excellent institutional memory will be missed. We certainly wish him well and hope that he will enjoy his well-earned retirement.
SB 2423 by *Henry ( HB 2115 by *Brooks H)
Education, Higher - As introduced, prohibits the board of regents and the University of Tennessee's board of trustees from adopting policies that substantially burden students' free exercise of religion.
STATUS:  SB2423, as amended, passed 32-0.  HB2115 passed the House Floor 91-0.

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.
FINALLY:  On March 27, SB2464, as amended, passed the Senate Floor 27-1-2.  On April 2nd, HB2371, as amended, passed the House Floor 85-4-5!! Now the bill has been sent to the governor for his signature!!! Congratulations to Rep. Mike Carter, the faithful activists, and many others who persevered to protect the property rights of Tennessee citizens!!

                                                        House sends bill banning 'forced annexation' to the governor

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. - Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 2 and Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 70.
STATUS:  As you may recall, SB2559 has already passed Senate Education and is awaiting assignment to the Senate Floor. HB2435 was heard in House Education Tuesday, but because we needed to make a minor change, it was rolled to Tuesday April 8.

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 legislators and parents.
STATUS:  HB2249 was voted out of Government Operations and will be in Finance Subcommittee on Tuesday.  This can be the 'killer' committee, members found HERE.
ACTION:  Please contact the members of this committee and urge them to support this important bill.

SB 2404 by *Hensley ( HB 2167 by *Butt)Education - As introduced, requires dissemination by the department of education and LEAs to parents of information concerning state and LEA mandated tests
STATUS: So pleased to report that on Thursday, SB2402, as amended, passed the Senate Floor 30-0. HB2167 is scheduled on the House floor on Wednesday, April 9. 
ACTION:  You will want to let your House member know that you support this excellent bill.

SB 1427 by *Green ( HB 1367 by *Sargent)
Taxes, Income - As introduced, beginning January 1, 2015, annually reduces the rate of the Hall Income Tax and increases the portion of taxes distributed to cities and counties in which the taxpayers are located; beginning January 1, 2018, requires 100 percent of the tax revenue collected by the state be distributed to the cities and counties.
STATUS:  Officially, SB1427 is on the Senate Finance Calendar on Tuesday with the recommendation for a Summer Study.  (It has already BEEN studied).  Since this is an election year, one does wonder if such a 'study' will really take place.  We shall see if the Finance Committee will agree with that recommendation.
Picture of almost 100 members signatures supporting the bill by Chairman Charles Sergeant and Sen. Mark Green to repeal the Hall Tax.]
National groups debate TN tax cut; senator targeted with attack ad
In a radio ad running on Knoxville and Nashville stations last week, Americans for Prosperity declared that Sen. Doug Overbey "is blocking tax relief that would help those who need it most." Overbey, R-Maryville, says that's not true at all and he is "not losing any sleep" over the ad, which he first heard about from a friend who sent a joking text message: "Why do you hate old people?"
"It does point out how little these outside groups understand about what our situation is here in Tennessee," he said in an interview.
The ad was inspired by Overbey proposing in a Senate Tax Subcommittee to put off until next year any action on a bill to repeal the state's 6 percent Hall income tax on investment income over a period of years. It is one of several pending measures to eliminate or reduce the tax, projected to produce $260 million in revenue in the coming fiscal year - $169.5 million going to state government and $90.5 million to local governments.


State Rep. Barrett Rich Annnounces Retirement:
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
State Representative Barrett Rich (R-Somerville) announced on Wednesday he will not seek reelection to the Tennessee House of Representatives this year.
Rep.Rich said, "After much thought and discussion with family and friends, I have decided I will not seek reelection after serving three terms as state representative of House District 94.
Without a doubt, I love the people of our community and I love serving as the voice of our district in Nashville. However, at this point, I have decided to devote the majority of my time to my little girl, Alexis. She was born two years after I began my service, and I have spent a large portion of her formative years on the road to Nashville. She now has two more years to go before entering school, and I want to be there for her in every way I possibly can.

FROM LT. COL. (RET) COURTNEY ROGERS: General Ken Takesaki came down to swear in a few more legislators into the Tennessee State Guard! Here is Rep. DeBerry, Rep. Spivey, and Rep. Moody! The Tennessee State Guard is a completely volunteer force, made up primarily of prior military service personnel, though they do accept civilians. Not even their uniforms are provided. We are 'Tennesseans for Tennesseans.'  It is good, because those legislators without military service will learn more about it! The purpose of the Tennessee State Guard is to provide a professional complement of personnel to support the State mission of the Tennessee National Guard, by assisting the Tennessee Army National Guard as a force multiplier, and at the direction of the Adjutant General, to assist civil authorities with disaster relief, humanitarian causes, ceremonial service, religious and medical support for the well being and safety of the citizenry of Tennessee. Congratulations Representatives!

Representatives Debra Moody, John DeBerry and Billy Spivey take the oath.

Left: Representatives Judd Matheny, Courtney Rogers, Tony Shipley, John Ragan and Rick Womick.

List of bills signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam, 4/4/2013