Legislative Update, March 26, 2011

LEGISLATIVE ACTION  ALERT                   
March 26, 2011                                                                            

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).

Whenever a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it—without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud—to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated: that an act of plunder is committed.               ~~Claude Frédéric Bastiat 1801-1850

I Timothy 2:1-2 says, "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  The footnote following this verse in the
Spirit-Filled Life Bible says: "We must pray for those who are in authority over us if we wish to reap the benefits of good government, which is a prized gift from God for the church’s welfare and advancement of the Gospel."
On a personal note: My husband Ron developed a large open wound on his shin under the cast. Ron is diabetic and to facilitate treatment the cast had to be removed and he was put into a short ‘boot’. X-Rays revealed that there has been little new bone growth in the break, which was six weeks ago. We would really appreciate your prayers for total healing.

*SB 1028 by *Ketron ( HB 1353 by *Matheny)
As introduced, enacts the "Material Support to Designated Entities Act of 2011."
There has been a string of terror cases involving U.S. citizens in recent years. Justice Department data obtained by Fox News shows there has been a "class-one" terrorism case -- the highest designation for a terrorism case -- involving a U.S. citizen every two weeks, on average, since January 2009. An August 2010 background report showed 21 U.S. citizens were charged in such cases in 2009 and another 20 were charged in 2010 between January and August. Source
       One of the legitimate responsibilities of government is our security. As re-written, SB1028-HB1353 will provide local law enforcement with the tools they need in today’s new climate to enable them to identify and have designated those people who would do us harm. The focus of this legislation is to provide for the prosecution anyone who would knowingly provide any type of support to a designated entity. Remember – potential terrorists only have to be successful once; we have to be successful every time in order to protect our citizens.
ACTION: Please go
HERE to send your State Senator and State Representative an email of support.  For additional information, please go HERE.

*SJR 0127 by *Beavers
, Kelsey, Bell, Norris, Ketron, Crowe, Southerland, Yager, Campfield, Johnson, Woodson, Ramsey, Overbey, Tracy, Gresham, Summerville, Faulk, Watson
 Constitutional Amendments - Proposes new provision to Article I to provide that nothing in Constitution of Tennessee secures or protects right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion; states that the people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.
STATUS: SJR 127 is scheduled in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday where it is expected to pass
SB 0113 by *Johnson ( *HB 0130 by *Maggart)
Teachers, Principals and School Personnel - As introduced, abolishes teachers' unions ability to negotiate terms and conditions of professional service with local boards of education.
STATUS: HB 130, as amended, was in the full House Education Committee on Tuesday.
        Even though the amendment did not completely eliminate the right to collective bargaining, the measure still sparked a contentious one-and-a-half-hour debate in the Education Committee over just how much of a compromise the new version offered.
        The bill as sent forward does allow teachers' associations to negotiate with local school boards on salaries, benefits and some other items.
        But it limits the unions' abilities to negotiate on issues like merit pay and working conditions.
It was voted out along party lines 12-6: Representatives voting aye were: Brooks H, Brooks K, Carr, Dunn, Forgety, Hensley, Lollar, Maggart, Montgomery, Powers, Ragan, Williams R -- 12.
Representatives voting no were: DeBerry J, DeBerry L, Fitzhugh, Naifeh, Pitts, Windle -- 6.
          The debate has generated an interesting ‘Facebook Faceoff’:
Ramsey, Haslam in Facebook Faceoff (With Some Wiggle Room)
HB 130 is scheduled in the House Finance Subcommittee on Wednesday. The members can be found HERE. Please urge them to support this proposal.
Interesting reading:
Greg Johnson: Teachers union silences dissent

SB 1468 by *Bell ( *HB 1631 by *Dunn)
Schools, Home - As introduced, makes various changes to home school requirements, including testing requirements for home school students. Summary can be found
         The updating and revising of Tennessee’s Home School guidelines has long beenneeded. Over the years, various parts of the code have been changed and amended leaving some ‘piecemeal’ laws on the books. This legislation will establish a coherent home schooling law.
STATUS: SB 1468 was postponed last week and was rescheduled in Senate Education on Wednesday morning.
ACTION: Please email these members and urge them to support this important legislation:
sen.reginald.tate@capitol.tn.gov, sen.andy.berke@capitol.tn.gov, sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov.

*SB 1528 by *Norris ( HB 2012 by *McCormick)
Teachers, Principals and School Personnel - As introduced, changes date by which assignments for the following school year and notices of termination must be sent to school personnel from May 15 to June 15; specifies that director of schools must decide if a teacher is qualified for an open position; changes various requirements for obtaining tenure.
STATUS: On March 10, SB 1528 passed the Senate Floor
21-12. After an extended discussion and debate on Thursday, March 24th, the House passed HB 2012 65-32. There are some minor differences in the two versions, but it is expected they will be resolved quickly then it can go to the Governor for his signature.
[Earlier on another bill Rep. Mike Turner and Rep. David Hawk had a confrontation that was eventually taken out into the hall. A number of House members trailed after them. Thankfully tempers were calmed.]
Haslam's education reforms near first victory as TN House passes tougher teacher tenure

*SJR 0018 by *Kelsey Berke, Beavers, McNally, Ramsey, Tracy, Southerland, Watson, Crowe, Johnson, Yager, Gresham, Ketron, Bell, Haile, Campfield, Summerville, Faulk, Norris, Stewart, Woodson, Overbey, Roberts
 Constitutional Amendments - Proposes an amendment to clarify the constitutional language that currently prohibits the levying of a tax on any class of income, other than income derived from stocks and bonds, and to prohibit any tax levied on or measured by employer payrolls.
STATUS: SJR 18 definitely hit a speed bump in Finance Subcommittee on Wednesday:
      “In a comical bit of political theater Wednesday, state House Democrats may have found a way to foil Republican efforts to amend the Tennessee constitution to ban the state income tax.
       With the help of a couple of Republicans, who doubtlessly will hear from party leaders about this, Democrats on the House Finance Subcommittee managed to change the anti-income tax resolution to prohibit any increases in the sales tax as well. That, of course, would hamstring state government’s taxing capacity and leave lawmakers without much way to plug budget holes if necessary in the future.
         With a straight face, Rep. Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, offered the amendment. As House speaker in 2002, Naifeh tried and failed to enact an income tax as part of reform legislation that would have lowered the sales tax. The resulting furor led to the defeat of some Democrats in the next elections.
“This is a friendly amendment,” Naifeh deadpanned as he made his motion, pointing out that Tennessee’s maximum sales tax rate is the nation’s highest at 9.75 percent.” Read more here.
            NOTE: Never underestimate the creativity of opponents. The Democrats, aided and abetted by Republicans McDaniel and Roach came up with a way to possibly thwart the will of Tennesseans clearly demonstrated by the anti-income tax battle we went through a few years back and over which a number of incumbent legislators were handily defeated.
The Naifeh amendment was adopted and the resolution was sent to the full House Finance Committee which meets on Tuesday.
ACTION: You will want to contact
rep.dennis.roach@capitol.tn.gov and rep.steve.mcdaniel@capitol.tn.gov about their vote. You can find all the committee members HERE and urge them to strip off the Naifeh amendment and pass SJR 18 as it was.

SB 0893 by *Watson ( *HB 0368 by *Dunn)
Teachers, Principals and School Personnel - As introduced, protects a teacher from discipline for teaching scientific subjects in an objective manner. Summary can be found
STATUS: SB 893 is in Senate Education on Wednesday; HB 368 is in House Education on Tuesday.
ACTION: Contact these Senators and urge their support:
sen.andy.berke@capitol.tn.gov, and sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov.
Contact this House member and urge him to support this bill:

The very important bills below were postponed last week and are scheduled in the Subcommittee once again on Wednesday, 3:30 in room 30. Despite the large number of co-sponsors, word has it the getting these bills out of the subcommittee may be difficult.   

*SB 0780 by *Ketron ( HB 1380 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the "Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act."
HERE to read the detailed summary.
STATUS: HB1380 is scheduled in House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday.

SB 1669 by *Tracy ( *HB 1378 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act.
HERE to read detailed summary.
STATUS: HB 1378 is in House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday.

SB 1325 by *Johnson ( *HB 1379 by *Carr)
Immigration - As introduced, enacts the "Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act."
HERE to read detailed summary.
STATUS: HB 1379 is also in House State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday

If you can attend the meeting, please do. However, please take the time to contact the committee members HERE and urge them to support all three of these measures.