Legislative Update, May 14, 2011

May 14, 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).

The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence." John Adams, A Defense of the American Constitution, 1787

We received word this week that the goal of the leadership is to work through next week and into the weekend if needed to complete the first session of the 107th General Assembly. That means that things will move at ‘warp’ speed, producing a lot of anxiety as bills move quickly through the process. Please pray for focus and full attention of the lawmakers so that good decisions are made. Also, please a lobbyist friend of mine whose wife has terminal cancer. They have young children.

*SB 1028 by *Ketron Tracy, Beavers, Gresham, Johnson ( HB 1353 by *Matheny) Todd, Womick, Dean, Shipley, Dennis, Faison, Rich, White, Gotto, Holt, Hurley, Weaver, Watson, Powers, Wirgau, Hawk, Alexander, Sargent, Butt, McDaniel, Eldridge, Sanderson, Carr, Miller D, Marsh, Johnson P, Matlock, Pody, Coley, Williams R, Hensley, Niceley, Lollar, Keisling, Floyd, Ragan
Homeland Security - enacts the "Material Support to Designated Entities Act of 2011."
STATUS: First, please notice the number of co-sponsors we have now on this proposal. We are very grateful for the support we are getting. 
Both the Senate and House bills are on the respective Finance Committee Calendars on Wednesday. We are still working on some details about the content of the legislation that will not be finalized until Monday.
ACTION: Please be attentive Tuesday morning. You will be receiving a special ALERT with specific information and directions. In the meantime, please go HERE and send an email to your State Senator and State Representative.

SB 1670 by *Tracy ( *HB 1632 by *Dunn)
Immigration - As introduced, codifies federal regulations to ensure that local absorptive capacity is evaluated at regular intervals in consultation between local governments and local resettlement agencies before commitments are made for refugee resettlement in any particular community.
STATUS: HB1632 had already passed the State House
86-10. As amended, on Thursday, May 12, 2011, SB1670 passed the Senate Floor 22-9-1.
VOTING YES: All the Republicans plus Sen. Henry and Sen. Tate.
VOTING NO: Democrats Barnes, Berke, Burks, Finney, Ford, Haynes, Herron, Marrero, Stewart.
PRESENT, NOT VOTING: Democrat Harper.
NOT VOTING: Democrat Kyle
This important bill will now go to the Governor for his Signature.

SB 0632 by *Beavers ( *HB 0600 by *Casada)
Business and Commerce - As introduced, enacts the "Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act." This pro-business and pro-taxpayer legislation provides that no local government can impose on any business or person, other than a local government’s own employees, any personnel practice, definition or provision relating to discrimination or discriminatory practices that deviates from the requirements of state law. It also makes null and void any nonconforming requirements imposed prior to the legislation’s effective date. The legislation does not affect anti-discrimination policies that businesses voluntarily adopt for the operation of their business.
STATUS: On May 12, SB632 passed the State Senate
Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Bell, Burks, Campfield, Crowe, Faulk, Gresham, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, McNally, Norris, Overbey, Roberts, Southerland, Summerville, Tracy, Watson, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey -- 20.
Senators voting no were: Berke, Finney L, Ford, Harper, Haynes, Marrero, Stewart, Tate -- 8.
Senators present and not voting were: Henry -- 1.
HB600 passed the House last month
SB 632/HB 600 is a first-in-the-nation kind of law.  So far no other states have had the courage to protect private business owners and their own intrastate commerce from local government regulations affecting the internal operations of businesses. Congratulations to David Fowler, President of Family Action Council on passing this historic legislation.

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.
 As was noted on Thursday’s email, following this bill would give one significant whiplash.
STATUS: As amended, SB113 passed the Senate on May 2,
Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Bell, Campfield, Crowe, Faulk, Gresham, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, McNally, Norris, Roberts, Summerville, Tracy, Watson, Woodson, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey -- 18.
Senators voting no were: Barnes, Berke, Burks, Finney L, Ford, Harper, Haynes, Henry, Herron, Kyle, Marrero, Overbey, Stewart, Tate -- 14.
As amended, on May 11, HB130 passed the Finance Committee 13-12-1:
Representatives voting aye were: Alexander, Brooks H, Brooks K, Carr, Eldridge, Hall, Hawk, Johnson C, Matheny, McCormick, McDaniel, Sargent, Harwell -- 13.
Representatives voting no were: Armstrong, Brown, Campbell, DeBerry L, Fitzhugh, Harrison, Miller L, Naifeh, Odom, Roach, Shaw, Tindell -- 12.
Representatives present and not voting were: Coley -- 1.
Harwell Casts Vote to Save Collective Bargaining Bill From Defeat
On May 12, HB130 passed Calendar and Rules on a voicevote:  Voice Vote - Ayes Prevail Rep.(s) Fitzhugh, Naifeh, Towns, Turner M requested to be recorded as voting No
HB130 is scheduled on the House Floor Monday evening.
ACTION: You can find your House member

*SB 0016 by *Ketron ( HB 0007 by *Maggart) Election Laws - As introduced, requires a voter to present qualified photographic identification before voting; voters without proper identification shall be allowed to cast provisional ballots.
STATUS: In February, SB16 passed the Senate
21-11; on April 14th, HB7 passed the House 57-35-2
. It is on the Senate Floor Monday evening for that body to concur in a change the House made.

SB 0254 by *Tracy ( *HB 0151 by *Marsh)
Criminal Offenses - As introduced, provides that venue and territorial jurisdiction for the offense of identity theft may be where the victim resides or is located.
STATUS: HB151 passed the House
; SB254 passed the Judiciary Committee (no vote posted) and is on a Senate consent calendar.

*SB 0352 by *Norris ( HB 0324 by *Todd)
Election Laws - As introduced, requires citizenship status to be proven prior to registration to vote and requires certain procedures to ensure identity and citizenship status prior to voting.
This bill provides for qualified voters registering by mail by use of registration forms, instead of postal card forms. This bill requires that the matters included in these forms be selected by the coordinator of elections, as described above, but in consultation with the secretary of state. These forms must additionally include a statement that the applicant must submit evidence of United States citizenship with the application and that the registrar will reject the application if no evidence of citizenship is attached.
STATUS: SB352 passed Senate floor 32-0; HB324 passed the House 94-0 and is on the way to the Governor for his
SB 1638 by *Campfield ( *HB 1874 by *Niceley)
Safety, Dept. of - As introduced, prohibits Tennessee from participating in the implementation of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which mandates a national identification card for each citizen of the United States.
STATUS: Because is has a huge fiscal note, HB1874 is in the Budget Subcommittee on Wednesday.
ACTION: Committee members can be found
Background information:
 Nullify REAL ID or Get Ready for a Global ID Card

SB 1745 by *Ketron ( *HB 1747 by *McDaniel)
Employees, Employers - As introduced, enacts certain provisions concerning labor practices including right to secret ballots.
          Legislation designed to protect the rights of employees to vote on whether or not they want to unionize by a secret ballot was approved in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee this week.  The legislation is a counter measure to dangerous federal card check legislation that has been proposed in Congress.  That proposal would subject employees to intimidation by allowing unions to organize simply by persuading a majority of employees to sign a union representation card.
STATUS: As amended, HB1747 passed the House
96-1; SB1745 passed the Commerce Committee 7-2: Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Burks, Faulk, Gresham, Johnson, Southerland, Woodson – 7; Senators voting no were: Stewart, Tate –2.
SB 1745 is scheduled on the Senate floor Monday evening.

SB 1646 by *Gresham ( *HB 1733 by *Casada)
Teachers, Principals and School Personnel - As introduced, prohibits LEAs from denying equal access to LEA employees to all domestic professional employees' organizations offering membership to all certificated personnel and removes prohibition against LEAs prohibiting communications on school premises.
STATUS: SB1646 passed Senate Finance
8-2; HB1733 passed House Finance on a Voice Vote - Ayes Prevail Rep.(s) Armstrong, Brown, DeBerry L, Fitzhugh, Miller L, Naifeh, Shaw, Tindell requested to be recorded as voting No. Both will be on the respective floors for a vote this week where they are expected to pass,
*SB 1522 by *Norris ( HB 2008 by *McCormick)
Civil Procedure - As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011."
So, can we say Governor Haslam – 1; Fred Thompson – 0?
Senate Joins House in Approving Haslam's Tort Reform Bill
Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to limit lawsuit damages in Tennessee passed the Senate on Thursday despite passionate arguments from opponents that the measure would unfairly target victims. The legislation (HB2008) carried by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville was approved
21-12 after nearly four hours of debate. The House passed the companion bill 72-24 earlier this week. Minor differences must now be worked out between the two chambers before the legislation goes to the Republican governor for his signature. Read more here.