Legislative Update, January 25, 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).


"Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense.  Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure."  Thomas Jefferson, 1823

Briggs Goforth was just 8 months old when he was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully when the 'lump' was first discovered his parents quickly sought medical help for him.  So pleased to report that Lt. Gov. Ramsey's grandson is cancer free!!!  That is such a HUGE Praise the Lord.
Please continue to remember Sen. Doug Henry (D-Nashville) for his complete healing.  Please pray for the legislators in general.  Some of the viruses and other 'bugs' that are so prevalent this time of year are beginning to make their way into that closed environment at the Plaza.   Also, some of our lawmakers live long distances from Nashville that they have to drive every Monday and Thursday, regardless of the weather.  Pray for traveling mercies.


I would like to open by congratulating Representative Timothy Hill on his education bill which recently passed the Education Subcommittee.  I would also like to thank Chairman Mark White, Rep. Harry Brooks, Rep. John Deberry, Rep. John Forgety, Rep. Roger Kane, Rep. Harold Love Jr., Rep. Debra Moody, Rep. Joe Pitts, and Rep. Dawn White for unanimously passing this bill in subcommittee on Tuesday, and ask that they continue their support of this bill while it is in the Education Committee.

    Representative Timothy Hill's bill, should it become law, will require emphasis of the American foundational instruments and instruction in American historical achievement in public schools.  Appropriate education shall also include descriptions of religious, ethnic and cultural values that took America on a different course from other nations.  As a homeschool student I have been educated in American and World history in the manner set forth in this bill.  I believe that having been educated in this manner has made me more accepting towards those of differing faiths, as well as more understanding of their worldviews.  This functional education has also yielded an understanding of how history impacts modern events.  It is my hope that all students have a similar educational opportunity in order that the American political process can continue to be a light of freedom to the world.


We just completed the SECOND week of the legislative session and it feels more like the middle of March.  The pace is breathtaking and with the bill cut off date (February 5) fast approaching, everyone is rushing around getting sponsors, putting last minute touches on bills, getting them ready to file. Every legislative session seems to have a 'personality'. Although there are other prominent issues, I think it is safe to say that for many of us, the second session of the 108th General Assembly will be known as the EDUCATION SESSION.  
With all the opposition to Common Core and some of the other issues related to Race To The Top application, the bills are flying fast and furious.  If YOU want to make your voice heard, you will have to be attentive to alerts and updates, and be ready to respond immediately.  In think one of the ways that will be used to thwart the CC opposition will be to move things so fast that opponents won't have time to respond. So this is your 'fair warning'!  Also, I hope you will encourage others to sign up for our email network so that they can stay on top of legislative schedule as well as other state and national issues. Urge your friends to go to tneagleforum.org and click on the 'REGISTER HERE' button to join us.

SJR 0493 by *Kelsey
Constitutional Conventions - Makes application to the U.S. Congress to call a constitutional convention for the sole purpose of proposing a federal balanced budget amendment.
STATUS:  SJR493 in scheduled on Senate Judiciary on Tuesday afternoon.

Do we have a deficient Constitution or a derelict Congress??
While we certainly support a balanced budget, we have concerns about using an Article V Constitutional Convention to get there.  This proposal, as well as others I have seen, contains language that would, under certain circumstances ("in the absence of a congressional declaration of war or an economic recession, the total of all Federal appropriations made by the Congress for any fiscal year may not exceed the total of all estimated Federal revenues for that fiscal year.") Constitutional permission to raise taxes.  Who gets to define "economic rescission"?
Eagle Forum has long been an opponent of an Article V Constitutional Convention (Con-Con).  Our opposition is based on the uncertainty of how such a Con-Con would be  conducted. There are no laws, regulations or policies to follow once 34 states pass such calls and Congress accepts them.  Read Article V very carefully: ". . . on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, [Congress] shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments . . .".  That is all the direction we have.
These efforts have been around a long time -- the last thing I worked on in Kentucky before leaving in 1986 was defeating a call for a Con-Con. Through my years in TN there have been three or four 'calls' offered, but thankfully they did not get out of committee.  In addition, in 2010, we were successful in passing a resolution rescinding the three 'calls' that were passed in the 1970s.
Because of the depth of frustration we ALL share about the federal government (scary for sure)  and Mark Levin's book and radio show, it has once again become a hot topic.  However, the facts have not changed.
I urge you to read the piece I wrote in 2010,
Why the Tennessee Legislature Should Rescind Its Calls For a Federal Constitutional Convention, as well as the letter from retired Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court to Phyllis on the dangers of a Federal Con-Con.
With all due respect, we don't need to change our Constitution, we need to elect people who will actually ABIDE by the Constitution!!
ACTION:  Please contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and urge them to VOTE NO on SJR493. As a reminder, please be polite and mannerly.

SB 0804 by *Kelsey ( HB 0937 by *Durham)
TennCare - As introduced, prohibits Tennessee from participating in any Medicaid expansion authorized under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
STATUS:  HB937 is in the Banking and Insurance Subcommittee on Wednesday. See: Medicaid expansion burdens state budgets
ACTION: Members of that committee can be found HERE. Please urge them to VOTE YES on HB937

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
STATUS:  In the House Education Subcommittee HB1129 passed on a 9-0 vote WITH a caveat.  Rep. Hill recognized that some parts of the text of the bill as passed needed to be rewritten. He committed to do that prior to bringing it to the full committee for a vote. It is scheduled on the full committee on Tuesday.

POLL: Should Tennessee delay the implementation of Common Core standards and its companion test?


SB 1882 by *Niceley ( HB 1696 by *Butt)
Education, Curriculum - As introduced, mandates that the state board of education and department of education shall immediately withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and common core state standards.

SB 1984 by *Campfield ( HB 1828 by *Womick)
Education - As introduced, prohibits adoption or use of PARCC assessments; requires the general assembly to make the decision as to 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.

SB 2057 by *Niceley
Education - As introduced, requires the department of education to reimburse LEAs for the costs of implementing and the ongoing costs to use common core state standards and PARCC assessments

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

SB 1881 by *Niceley ( HB 1697 by *Butt)
Education - As introduced, requires cursive writing to be taught in the third grade

The Tennessee Secretary of State's office (Thank you Tre Hargett) has produced an amazing video that I URGE you watch and to make sure that your children see.  It is SO WELL done and you will enjoy learning about your State Capitol.
Tennessee State Capitol: Grounded in Tradition - A documentary on the building and grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol.

No Copeland Cap Changes Recommended in State's Review
22 Jan 2014,by Editorial Staff
Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson told lawmakers Tuesday that the state's constitutional spending cap is actually designed more to improve political accountability in the Legislature than it is to restrain government budget growth.
Wilson delivered a report from the State Funding Board, which was tasked with studying the effectiveness of the so-called "Copeland Cap."
"It's not my position at all that you should never exceed the Copeland Cap," Wilson said at a meeting of the state House Finance, Ways and Means Committee. "It is my position that you should know exactly what you're doing and why you're doing it if you decide to do that.

Amazon tax collection bill, 15 others, became law on New Years Day

Governor's Children's Cabinet Launches New Website For Families
Led by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam, the Governor's Children's Cabinet announced this week they have officially launched a new website, www.kidcentraltn.com, aimed at helping families across the state more easily find and navigate information and resources related to state government.
The website, described as a "one-stop shop" for families, gathers important information from across different state agencies, making it more convenient for families to find exactly what they need. It also gives individuals a platform to search for various state-related content areas, especially programs related to children's health, education, and development.
Through www.kidcentraltn.com, parents can receive recommendations for relevant articles and services that might benefit their family. In addition, the website offers families the ability to download a mobile app to search for needed services as well as a directory of all state services available.