Tennessee Legislative Update, March 16, 2019

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)

“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.”  — President Ronald Reagan

FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST:

One of our number was out having tests this week.  Please remember this one in prayer.  Rep. Tim Rudd continues to make progress and we are all glad.  He has had a long road!!

HALEY’S CORNER:

This Tuesday, I continued familiarizing myself with the atmosphere and the lobbying process. The greater part of the day was spent sharing updated information on the FGM bill, and expressing our concerns regarding the numerous gambling bills. Additionally, it was Tennessee Agriculture Day on the Hill.  It was a day well spent celebrating Tennessee’s #1 industry along with lawmakers, farmers, agriculture stakeholders, and of course, farm animals. As Senator Bo Watson said, ”It is part of our soul in Tennessee. It always has been and I suspect it always will be…” It was was also extremely entertaining as a crosscut saw competition took place. In the end, Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Farm Bureau President, Jeff Aiken, came in first competing against the two chambers. Overall, Tuesday was an amusing, yet productive day.

JAIMIE’S CORNER: 

The highlight of my day was HB0029. The bill creates the requirement to vacate the offices of the secretary of state and coordinator of elections if either election officer qualifies as a candidate for any public office. Representative Crawford moved to amend this bill to also apply to legislators. This bill raises some red flags. For example, take this past legislative session. Tennessee had numerous legislators leaving the general assembly, and even more running for open seats and other positions. If the law required every single one of those legislators to resign when they plan to run for a new position, the capitol would have received a major blow. There would have been need for special elections or appointments. Not only would it be a hassle for the general assembly, but it could potentially place a financial burden on local government to have a second election. On the flip side of the issue, Representative Carter presented the argument that this bill would weed out people that are only using the legislator as a stepping stone for their political career. There’s definitely a lot to consider within this legislation.

Just for fun – Haley wrote about the activities of the Ag Day so I thought I would include some pictures:

STRENGTHENING TN’S FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION PROHIBITIONS:


SB 1166 by *Hensley, Gresham, Bell, White, Roberts, Briggs, Stevens, Bowling, Haile, Crowe, Bailey, Pody (HB 1364) by *Weaver, Casada, Littleton, Farmer, Griffey, Faison, Sanderson, Ogles, Garrett, Zachary, Cepicky, Sexton J, Holt, Kumar, Moody, Hill T, Sherrell, Hawk, Carter, Gant, Ragan, Smith, Carr, Boyd, Reedy, Haston, Doggett, Howell, Powers, Leatherwood, Hall, Cochran, Rudd, Johnson C, Moon, Eldridge, Windle, Coley, Hulsey, Todd

Criminal Offenses – As introduced, rewrites the criminal offense of female genital mutilation; extends the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions or civil actions for female genital mutilation

The CDC found that approximately 513,000 women and girls in the United States were at risk for FGM/C or its consequences in 2012, which was more than three times higher than the earlier estimate, based on 1990 data.

The CDC report and the fact that the federal law was recently struck down makes it all the more important for states to act and make their laws as strong as possible: Genital mutilation must be banned – A long-standing U.S. ban on the practice was struck down

You can learn what the bill will do HERE.

STATUS:

I could not be happier to report that SB1166, with three ‘friendly’ amendments added, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 8-0 with no debate. It will be on the Senate floor Monday evening where I believe we have the votes for passage.

HB1364 is scheduled in House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Wednesday afternoon.

ACTION:

Would you please send emails of support to rep.karen.camper@capitol.tn.gov and rep.antonio.parkinson@capitol.tn.gov asking that they vote YES on HB1364.

LEGALIZING SPORTS BETTING:

SB 0016 by *Dickerson, (HB 0001) by *Staples

Gambling – As introduced, authorizes sports betting in this state only in jurisdictions that approve sports betting by local option election; imposes a 10 percent tax on gaming revenue; distributes 40 percent of the tax to the general fund for general appropriations, 30 percent to Tennessee colleges of applied technologies and community colleges for equipment and capital projects, and 30 percent to local governments for education and infrastructure; establishes the Tennessee gaming commission to regulate sports betting; authorizes the commission to collaborate with the Tennessee bureau of investigation for purposes of enforcement

Sports betting will be no home run for state budgets .

Former Bama star Rep. Rich Wingo: Sports gambling ‘scares me to death’ .

STATUS: HB0001 will be in House State Committee on Wednesday.

ACTION:  There is absolutely no way to know what LEGALIZING sports gambling with do to sports.  The NFL even has concerns about its impact.  Please click on the committee link above, then on ’email legislator’ and urge the members to vote against HB0001.
HORSE RACING – PARIMUTUEL BETTING:

SB 0817 by *Akbari, (HB 1421) by *Towns

Gambling – As introduced, enacts the “Horse Racing Control Act of 2019,” authorizing and regulating parimutuel wagering on horse racing.
“Throughout the country, attendance at racetracks is down. Revenues and profits have fallen. Trainers, sometimes desperate to win, increasingly drug their animals to make them run faster or run through pain, threatening the safety of horses and riders alike.

” ‘I personally don’t see a reason for the racing industry to exist when I look 10, 20 or 25 years out,” says Susan Kayne, the team manager of Unbridled Racing who has spent 25 years owning, raising and breeding horses. “The way it’s funded, the disarray, the lack of respect for the horse itself — which is the reason why there is a horse industry. I see it imploding upon itself ‘.”

STATUS:  HB1421 is in the  House Departments & Agencies Subcommittee on Wednesday

ACTION:  Please click on the subcommittee link above, then on ’email legislator’ and URGE the members to vote NO on this proposal. Horse racing doesn’t make it on its own any longer.  Most tracks now function as casinos with lots of machines on the premises to gamble on.

MORE GAMBLING-FANTASY SPORTS LEAGUES, ETC:

SB 1057 by *Dickerson (HB 1033) by *Terry

Gambling – As introduced, decriminalizes, under certain circumstances, wagers on fantasy sports leagues and sports pools

STATUS: I am sad to say that both bills are headed for the respective floor votes. I want to thank Reps. William Lamberth and Clay Doggett and Sen. Mike Bell voting against this proposal in the respective committees.

ACTION: I hope you will contact your Senator and your House member and urge him or her to oppose this legislation.  I know ‘everybody is doing it’ or so we are told, but let’s be reminded: WHATEVER you legalize, you get more of – legal and illegal.

END FEDERAL ASSET FORFEITURE?

SB 0362 by *Niceley, (HB 0340) by *Daniel, TODD, LAFFERTY, STAPLES, FAISON, TERRY, HOLT, HILL T, HILL M, RUDDER, HALL, PARKINSON, SEXTON J, DEBERRY, JERNIGAN, HULSEY, HARDAWAY, LAMAR, HODGES, POTTS, THOMPSON, HAKEEM, CALFEE, DIXIE, BRICKEN, RUDD, DUNN, CEPICKY, CRAWFORD, ELDRIDGE, BYRD, WRIGHT, LOVE, KUMAR, CHISM, COOPER, MILLER

Forfeiture of Assets – As introduced, makes various changes to civil forfeiture procedure, including requiring the district attorney general to review the underlying circumstances of a seizure to determine if probable cause exists to justify forfeiture and, when appropriate, file a motion to dismiss the application for forfeiture warrant, upon which the court shall dismiss the application and return the seized property.

Civil asset forfeiture in Tennessee criticized, some warn of policing for profit .

NOTE: This is an issue that has been worked on for several years and it seems that its time has come as is evident from the number of co-sponsors.  However, those numbers never guarantee passage.

STATUS: HB340 is in House Civil Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday.

ACTION: You will want to click on the link above, find ’email legislator’ and ask the members to support this legislation.

GUARDRAILS FOR OVERSIGHT BOARDS:

SB 1407 by *Bell, (HB 0658) by *Curcio

Law Enforcement – As introduced, limits the authority of a community oversight board to the review and consideration of matters reported to it and the issuance of advisory reports and recommendations to agencies involved in public safety and the administration of justice.

STATUS:  SB1407 was amended to allow a process for obtaining subpoenas and is on the Senate Floor Monday evening.
HB658 passed the House floor 66-27:

Representatives voting aye were: Baum, Boyd, Bricken, Byrd, Calfee, Carter, Cepicky, Cochran, Crawford, Curcio, Doggett, Eldridge, Faison, Gant, Garrett, Griffey, Halford, Hall, Haston, Hawk, Hazlewood, Helton, Hicks, Hill M, Hill T, Holsclaw, Holt, Howell, Hulsey, Hurt, Johnson C, Keisling, Kumar, Lamberth, Leatherwood, Littleton, Lynn, Marsh, Moody, Moon, Ogles, Powers, Ragan, Reedy, Rudd, Rudder, Russell, Sanderson, Sexton C, Sexton J, Sherrell, Smith, Terry, Tillis, Todd, Travis, Van Huss, Vaughan, Weaver, White, Whitson, Williams, Windle, Wright, Zachary, Mr. Speaker Casada — 66.

Representatives voting no were: Beck, Camper, Chism, Clemmons, Cooper, Daniel, DeBerry, Dixie, Dunn, Freeman, Hakeem, Hardaway, Hodges, Johnson G, Lafferty, Lamar, Miller, Mitchell, Parkinson, Potts, Powell, Shaw, Sparks, Staples, Stewart, Thompson, Towns — 27.

As amended, SB1407 passed Senate Judiciary 7-2  Sens. voting aye were: Bell, Bowling, Gardenhire, Lundberg, Roberts, Stevens, White — 7.  Sens. voting no were: Kyle, Robinson — 2. It is now headed for the Senate floor.

GOP bill to take away subpoena power from Nashville’s police oversight board clears House .

MORE NEWS OF NOTE:

Education voucher plan by Tennessee’s governor generates more questions than answers .
Some participants in legislative pre-meetings say they undermine the democratic process .
Bill letting faith-based entities decline adoptions advances .
Buoyed by successful strikes in other states, new Tennessee teacher group readies for a fight .
[Note:  It is illegal in TN for teachers to strike.] Democrat supporting heartbeat bill says ‘personal responsibility’ by women could prevent abortions .
Legislation Bolstering The Volunteer Public Trust Fund For The State’s K-12 Public Schools Receives Unanimous Approval By The State Senate .

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