Legislative Update, April 2, 2016

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 we are not committed to certain truths, ambiguity will replace absolutes, tentativeness will replace truth, regulations measured by the pound instead of by principles will replace liberty, a tenured bureaucracy will replace democracy, and hesitancy will replace heroismOnce society loses its capacity to declare that some things are wrong per se, then it finds itself forever building temporary defenses, revising rationales, drawing new lines—but forever falling back and losing its nerve. A society which permits anything will eventually lose everything!" --Neal Maxwell, Ensign, October 1978

Please continue to pray for Rep. Rick Womick and his family. His mother is still under hospice care. Thank you for your prayers for my husband.  On March 29th, we got him moved from the hospital to a skilled care facility in order for him to continue receive IV antibiotics and wound care.  Thankfully the wound is healing.  This week saw more committees closing and the longer floor sessions started as the bills from committees flow onto the respective floors.  Much attention and wisdom is needed for good decisions.

WHAT A TREAT!! Because I could not be at the Plaza on Tuesday (getting Ron moved from hospital to skilled care) my "Tuesday" intern, Noah McKay, joined me and my "Wednesday" intern Mary Turnage today. We had the MOST fun!! it was just great having them both with me on this beautiful spring day in Nashville!! See the 'three amigos' to the left!

Due to some circumstances beyond our control this week I had the chance to go to the Legislative Plaza on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. It was a great experience to be there with both Mrs. Patray and Mary, and it was interesting to have another intern to talk to. We had a fairly laid back day as thankfully the bills we were interested in were defeated on Tuesday in committees. The session is coming to a close and legislators are finishing up their important business. I am interested to see what new things develop in this final stretch.


Mrs. Bobbie’s other intern Noah joined us for the day because Mrs. Bobbie was unable to get to the legislature on Tuesday. We started off by going to the house floor session which we haven’t done all year. It was quite a long session too with numerous announcements and over 40 bills on the calendar. Because of the lengthy session most of the committees were moved to one time slot. We decided to sit in on the house health committee which had some unexpected controversy. Even though the day was full of sitting and listening it was done in good company, we all had some wonderful conversations.

I am very honored and flattered to be included in the Nashville Post Magazine Political list the last two years.

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."
42. Bobbie Patray -- State President, Tennessee Eagle Forum: Leader of the religious far right and head of the state affiliate of the organization Phyllis Schlafly founded. Advocates for "conservative and pro-family men and women to participate in the process of self-government and public policy making."

In Charge 2015: Government & Politics
One of the anchors of our annual Leaders issue is the In Charge list, the definitive who's who of Middle Tennessee's business, political and civic leaders. The roughly 450 women and men on our sixth installment of this list are helping drive progress across Nashville and setting the stage for the rest of us to succeed. They truly are "in charge."
34. Bobbie Patray -- State President, Tennessee Eagle Forum: Leader of religious far right and head of the state affiliate of the organization Phyllis Schlafly founded. Prevailed in long-fought Yes on 1 campaign unraveling certain abortion protections.

SB 1657 by *Tracy,(HB 1728) by *Sexton C
Election Laws - As introduced, adopts the interstate compact to elect the president by national popular vote.

FINALLY:  After months of hard work, continually 'counting votes', and the excellent testimony of our well spoken NPV experts, the Senate and House sponsors of the National Popular Vote legislation realized that they did not have the votes to get either bill out of the respective committees and both men pulled the legislation:
SB1657 Actions  March 30, 2016 - Assigned to General Subcommittee of Senate State and Local Government Committee
HB1728 Actions  March 29, 2016 - Taken off notice for calendar in Local Government Committee
NOW,  don't get too comfortable because I can almost assure you, with all the money behind this national endeavor
that we will have to fight this same battle in January 2017.  So in the meantime, please use the information found HERE to educate yourself, your friends and family, and ESPECIALLY any candidate for the General Assembly you speak with during this campaign season.

SB 2387 by *Bell, (HB 2414) by *Lynn
Students - As introduced, requires students in public schools and public institutions of higher education to use restrooms and locker rooms that are assigned to persons of the same sex as that shown on the students' birth certificates.
The political intrigue and maneuvering surrounding SB2387-HB2314 has been challenging.
This is the bill as it has been re-written.
 STATUS: SB2387 passed the Senate Education Committee 7-2: Senators voting aye were: Tracy, Kelsey, Hensley, Haile, Gresham, Gardenhire, Crowe -- 7. Senators voting no were: Tate, Dickerson -- 2.
SB2387 will be on the Senate Finance Ways and Means Committee calendar on Tuesday.
HB2414 in the Education Administration & Planning Committee where it was 'sent to summer study' which is a euphemism for a nice way to kill.  However, the Family Action Council was able to use a procedure to get it back on the calender and it will be heard on Tuesday also.
ACTION:  Neither of these committees will be easy, but if YOU contact the members of both committees to voice your support that will make the difference.

SB 1738 by *Niceley  (HB 2029) by *Faison
Racing and Motor Sports - As introduced, creates the state horse racing advisory committee to develop recommendations for legislation related to the establishment of horse racing in this state.

NOTE: I am troubled to see this legislation even appear.  Back in the last 1990s, Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey was in the senate as a member of the Government Ops committee along with Tom Leatherwood, Rosiland Kurita and others.  We worked hard to get rid of the Horse Racing Commission.  Do we really need to start down this road again?  I was assured that this is 'just a study' but why take the time and energy to study something unless it is going to be pursued??

The committee shall complete a comprehensive report that includes, but is not limited to, all recommendations for legislation on the establishment of horse racing in this state and shall file the report with the governor, the chair of the government operations committee of the house of representatives,and the chair of the government operations committee of the senate prior to July 1, 2018


According to Gural, horse racing hasn’t been able to appeal to young people. “Frankly there’s so many other things for people to do today that racing other than the big events like the Derby and Triple Crown and harness racing at the Hambletonian, by and large it just doesn’t appeal to younger people,” he said.
Gural said casinos are keeping horse racing alive since most racetracks have a casino component. He said tracks in Pennsylvania and New York have slot machines, which helps the racetracks.
Gural would like to have a racino — a combination racetrack and casino — in the Meadowlands. “I think what it really will help is we just built a $120 million building and it’s a cool place, but people need various options,” he said. He said a racino would let people in the same party participate in different activities, for example a husband who likes to watch races could do that while his wife who likes slot machines can gamble that way.
Here's more: Interest in Horse Racing Continues to Decline in North America, and

STATUSAs amended, SB1738 was voted out of the State and Local Govenment  6-2: Senators voting aye were: Yager, Norris, Johnson, Jackson, Harper, Briggs -- 6; Senators present and not voting were: Ketron, Dickerson -- 2. It is now headed for the Senate Floor.
HB2029 passed out of the State Government Committee on a Voice Vote where the Ayes Prevailed-- Rep(s). Lamberth, Sanderson requested to be recorded as voting No.  It was sent the the Government Operations Committee.
ACTION: Please contact YOUR SENATOR and urge him or her to vote NO on SB1738. Please contact the members of the House committee and let them know that there is no good reason to start down this road again.

SJR 0467 by *Ramsey , Norris, Ketron, Beavers, McNally, Roberts, Green, Bailey, Bell, Bowling, Briggs, Gardenhire, Haile, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Niceley, Southerland, Stevens, Tracy, Watson, Yager, Hensley
General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position - Urges the commencement of legal action, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, from the federal government's mandated appropriation of state revenue and noncompliance with the Refugee Act
We are getting close and closer to VICTORY.  SJR467 passed out of State Government Committee with just three no votes. It is in Finance Ways and Means Subcommittee on Wednesday.

Refugee resettlement resolution advances
Joel Ebert, jebert@tennessean.com 1:02 p.m. CDT March 29, 2016
A resolution that seeks to require the state to sue the federal government over refugee resettlement passed another key hurdle on Tuesday.
With a voice vote, the House State Government Committee approved the measure that seeks to force Attorney General Herbert Slatery to sue the federal government over the Refugee Act of 1980. In the event that Slatery refuses to sue the feds, the resolution includes a provision that would allow the legislature to hire outside counsel.
Proponents of the measure have argued a lawsuit is necessary because the federal government has failed to consult with Tennessee on the continued placement of refugees. In addition they say the feds have shifted the cost of administering the program to the state without lawmakers specifically authorizing the appropriation of funds, while also pointing to security concerns.
Gov. Bill Haslam has said he is not concerned about the safety issue, noting that those who come to the state through the refugee resettlement program are properly screened, while adding that he is concerned that hiring outside counsel could set a bad precedent.


SB 2109 by *Johnson,(HB 2105) by *Marsh
AMENDMENT #2 rewrites this bill and establishes licensing requirements for fantasy sports operators.
SB2109-HB2105 is now composed of these:
Amendment # 2 that is 20 pages long.
Amendment # 4 that is a half page.

STATUS: While we have been very busy with other legislation, I am surprised to report that SB2109 has already worked its way through the senate committee system and passed the senate floor 29-1 WITHOUT a single question or any discussion:  Senators voting aye were: Yarbro, Yager, Watson, Tracy, Tate, Stevens, Southerland, Roberts, Overbey, Niceley, Mr. Speaker Ramsey, McNally, Massey, Kyle, Ketron, Kelsey, Johnson, Jackson, Harris, Haile, Gresham, Gardenhire, Dickerson, Crowe, Briggs, Bowling, Bell, Beavers, Bailey -- 29.  Senators voting no were: Harper -- 1.
HB2105 will be in the Finance Ways and Means Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION:  Please review THIS PAGE, this from PBS: How Fantasy Sports Got Around Online Gambling Laws
and Eric Schneiderman: Why Daily Fantasy Sports is Gambling
then please contact the members of this committee and urge them to take the time to read the 20 page bill, ask informed questions, and urge them to carefully investigate the details of this proposal: rep.curtis.johnson@capitol.tn.gov. rep.david.alexander@capitol.tn.gov,   rep.karen.camper@capitol.tn.govrep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov, rep.david.hawk@capitol.tn.gov, rep.gerald.mccormick@capitol.tn.gov, rep.steve.mcdaniel@capitol.tn.gov, rep.charles.sargent@capitol.tn.gov, rep.curry.todd@capitol.tn.gov.

Shipley eyes run for Ramsey's state senate seat
J. H. Osborne • Mar 28, 2016 at 9:00 PM
BLOUNTVILLE — The field of would-be candidates continues to grow in the race to replace Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who earlier this month announced he will not seek another term
Would-be successors began lining up the next day for the 4th District seat Ramsey will vacate in the Tennessee Senate.
By Monday, they numbered at least seven, based on a late afternoon check of public records at the Sullivan County Election Office. Among the latest hats in the ring: Kingsport-based lawyer Alice Alexander, who mounted a failed run for county attorney two years ago; and Tony Shipley, former state representive who lost a reelection bid two years ago.
Alexander and Shipley joined Brad Baker and Steve Godsey (former county mayor and state representative) as would-be candidates who have picked up, but not yet filed, the qualifying paperwork.
State Rep. Jon Lundberg filed his qualifying petition on March 18, followed by Neal Kerney on March 21 and John Paul Blevins on Monday.

List of bills signed by the gov (through March 24)
Following is a long list of bills signed by the governor as provided by his communications office — the third listing posted on this blog for the 2016 session. The last list was reported as covering bill signings as of March 14, but apparently some were omitted then and are included here. This list is said to cover signings through March 24.