Legislative Update, February 11, 2012


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 legislative 'beast' is now 'well fed' (proposed bills in motion) and the pace of the process is picking up.  Lots of hurrying and scurrying to see the committee members prior meeting times. Please remember the legislators as they make all these important decisions about your future and mine, their staff as they juggle all those responsibilities, and their families as many of the lawmakers are away from them all week.
Tuesday is Valentine's Day -- go HERE for the Legend of St. Valentine.

COMMENT:  One of the frustrations of the legislative process is that things frequently don't go as planned. Because of a some time consuming presentations on the Senate Education and the House Education Subcommittees, neither committee got to our very important bill and we are still in these committees next week.  Please be faithful in making the appropriate lawmakers.  Please understand that YOUR participation makes all the difference in the world in how bills are viewed and handled.

*SB 3178 by *Bell ( HB 3539 by *Matheny)
Schools, Charter - As introduced, makes charter schools subject to open meetings law; requires charter schools to maintain a web site and post certain notices and information on the web site; makes charter school records open records to the same extent as records of public schools operated by LEAs.  This important  bill will provide for families interesting in a Charter School the same information available on the Public School in that LEA.  Information IS power and that information should be made as accessible as possible.
STATUS: SB3178 will be in Senate Education on Wednesday. Please contact these members and urge them to vote for SB3178:  sen.andy.berke@capitol.tn.gov and  sen.brian.kelsey@capitol.tn.gov

STATUS: HB3539 will be in House Education Subcommittee on Wednesday. Please contact these members and urge them to vote for HB3539: rep.john.deberry@capitol.tn.gov, rep.lois.deberry@capitol.tn.gov , rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov, and rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov

SB 2613 by *Tracy ( *HB 2547 by *Hill)
Driver Licenses - As introduced, requires visible full face color photograph of a licensee.
This TN Eagle Forum proposal is a simple bill that, as a safety measure, puts into state law the same photo requirements used for passports.
STATUS: HB2547 Passed the subcommittee this week and will be in the full committee on Tuesday. Please contact these members and urge them to vote for this bill: rep.bill.harmon@capitol.tn.gov, rep.karen.camper@capitol.tn.gov, rep.michael.mcdonald@capitol.tn.gov, rep.john.tidwell@capitol.tn.gov and rep.mike.stewart@capitol.tn.gov.

COMMENT:  I have frequently said that for the price of parking and lunch, Legislative Plaza is the best show in town.  Tuesday did not disappoint.  When the 'Occupy' bill was in the respective committees, a number of the occupiers/homeless people took their place in the committee rooms and some were allowed to testify before the committees.  It was quite a show with people doing the famous Occupier 'hand waving' (fingers up for approval; fingers down for disapproval). The House committee was especially interesting -- equal parts entertainment and frustration.  Advocates for the homeless opposing the bill (I truly wanted to stand up and scream: "What does this have to do with the homeless.")  To watch the House committee, go HERE, scroll down the index to HB2633; the see the Senate Committee, go HERE, scroll down the index to SB2508.
The surrounding activities make it all the more important that this bill passes and that the Legislative Plaza be returned to the clean, beautiful place the people of the state have previously enjoyed. See update below for action information.
TNReport: Occupy Bill Occupies Legislators
Ramsey: Occupy Nashville Disgraces War Memorial Plaza

Plotters side with Occupiers, who deny role
State lawmakers and their staffers were warned this week about potential cyber attacks by a notorious hacker group protesting against the legislation to evict Occupy Nashville protesters from the state Capitol.
Steve Kriegish, who is the director of Legislative Information Systems, sent an email warning on Tuesday alerting officials that “malicious groups” were interested in conducting the attack on the General Assembly.
A separate email from Legislative Information Systems indicated the hacker group Anonymous was plotting the attack in protest of a bill to ban camping at the state Capitol, which would effectively evict Occupy Nashville protesters. Anonymous has targeted government officials and agencies with cyber attacks in the past.  Read more here.


SB 2508 by *Gresham ( *HB 2638 by *Watson) Criminal Offenses - As introduced, prevents people from living on publicly-owned property not designated for residential use and prohibits people using publicly-owned property from posing a health hazard or threat to the safety and welfare of others.
STATUS: SB2508 Passed Senate Judiciary on Tuesday 7-1-1:
Senators voting aye were: Barnes, Beavers, Bell, Campfield, Kelsey, Overbey, Yager -- 7.
Senators voting no were: Marrero -- 1.
Senators present and not voting were: Ford -- 1.
ACTION:  If your Senator was not on the committee and voted 'yes', please find him or her HERE, and urge a 'yes' vote this important bill.

STATUS:HB2638 passed House Judiciary Tuesday 13-2:
Representatives voting aye were: Bass, Coley, Dennis, Elam, Faison, Gotto, Lundberg, Maggart, Matheny, Rich, Sontany, Watson, Womick -- 13.
Representatives voting no were: Camper, Stewart -- 2.
ACTION:  If your House member was not on the committee and voted 'yes', please find him or here HERE and urge a 'yes' vote. 

SB 3408 by *Beavers ( *HB 3572 by *Womick)
As introduced, defines "private property rights" to clarify meaning of unwarranted government interference with such rights.
        US Constitution, Amendment V:  ".....nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Anyone paying attention to what is happening around them today can see clearly that there is nothing less than an assault on the right to control our private property.  This bill would provide comprehensive protection from the onslaught of 'sustainable development' policies, smart growth, wetlands project, etc., that may sound reasonable, but are intended to give the government more and more control.
Contrast Between Freedom 21 and Agenda 21 in Attaining Sustainable Development and Land Use and Property.

STATUS:  HB 3572 is scheduled in House Judiciary Subcommittee on Wednesday. Please contact these committee members and urge them to pass this very important bill: Jim Coley, Vance Dennis,Eddie Bass, Karen Camper, Jon Lundberg, Barrett Rich, Janis Sontany, Eric Watson.

SB 2770 by *Burks ( *HB 2703 by *Turner M)
Lottery, Corporation - As introduced, allows Tennessee lottery tickets to be purchased with debit cards in addition to cash
            For those who were not involved when the lottery enabling legislation was passed, there was an intense debate about how the tickets would be purchased.  In the end, those of us who fought hard for CASH ONLY, won and so it has been since then.  Now there is an effort to permit gamblers to use debit cards. On the practical side, this would cost the merchants a 'transaction fee' and for the buyer make it a little less 'real' than having to put the cold hard cash on the counter.

STATUS: HB2703 is in the State and Local Subcommittee on Wednesday.   Please contact the members and urge them to oppose this measure. Ryan Haynes,Tommie Brown, Jim Cobb, Gerald McCormick, Larry Miller, Bob Ramsey, Curry Todd,  Mike Turner,
Kent Williams

*SJR 0523 by *Ketron
With Israel under attack on many fronts, I am so pleased to report that the State Senate has expressed strong support for this tiny country that at times, really does seem to be the center of the Earth.  SJR523 passed the Senate 30-0 and will now go to the House for action there. I hope you will take time to read the text.

When a Dallas man who was in town for his company’s national sales meeting had a seizure at a downtown hotel Wednesday evening, a state legislator took charge of the situation until the Nashville Fire Department arrived.

Max Carter, a vice president of Franklin-based Passport Health Communications Inc., said state Rep. Tony Shipley, a Kingsport Republican with training as a paramedic, may have saved the life of a 34-year-old Passport employee. Carter wrote in an email that he and two other employees managed to catch their co-worker before he hit the ground, but they weren’t sure what else to do besides calling 911 and turning him on his side so he wouldn’t choke.

“As a result of Representative Shipley’s quick action what could have been a truly horrible situation was averted,” Carter wrote. “Moreover, in a time when many healthcare professionals, and just people in general, are afraid to assist in similar situations due to fear of lawsuits, etc, I thought Mr. Shipley’s actions should be noted. I have no idea what his training or background is but he was relaying vitals to 911 like a pro and telling us exactly what to do.” Read more here.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today lauded the approval by U.S. Department of Education officials of Tennessee's waiver request from certain portions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Tennessee was the first state to request a waiver and was one of only 10 recipients of the first round of waivers. The Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) accountability model under NCLB has been an ongoing obstacle for schools and districts because it does not fully account for schools' growth.
"Tennessee schools have continued to make progress over the past decade that NCLB has been law, but the rigid and unrealistic AYP accountability model labeled some of these schools as failures despite meaningful improvement," Haslam said. "We've implemented rigorous standards in Tennessee, and Tennessee received this waiver because of our commitment to improving education for all of our students." Read more here.