The Good News & The Bad News

  This past week was something of a "mixed bag" at the Capitol. Committees really started getting into the meat of their calendars, and we got a better idea of what bills we'll be up against. That being said, we bring you some good and bad news from the past few days. 

  Let's get the bad news out of the way first. HB 1674/SB 1621 (Marsh/Johnson) passed in both the House and Senate and will be heard on the Senate floor on Monday afternoon. This is the bill that's an outright attack on Amendment 3, which was approved by Nashville voters last year. While we unfortunately expect it to pass in both chambers, we are hopeful that it will not go down without a fight!

  Now onto the good news. Earlier this week, we received official confirmation from the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee that HB 997/SB 721 (Durham/Green) has been taken off notice and will not be heard this year. We're very excited about this development, but we're also making sure that we don't get ahead of ourselves. As some of you know, just because a bill is taken off notice, that does not mean that it's completely gone or "dead." More or less, it's on "legislative life support." If one of the sponsors decides to put it back on notice for whatever reason, we will be sure to let you know immediately. 

  Our upcoming agenda for the week of February 8th is listed below. As we've always done for the past couple of years, this is simply a quick snapshot of legislation that we'll be watching. Once again, if you are interested in joining us on a particular day, please let a member of our legislative team know (A.J., Adren, Alyssa, or Jerry) and they will provide you with more details.  
Monday, February 8th

Senate Floor Session, 1 p.m.

Senate Bill 1621 (HB 1674):  An attack on Amendment 3, which was approved by Nashville voters in August, this bill "prohibits the state or any local government from requiring a company bidding on a state or local construction project to employ individuals who reside within the jurisdiction of t he state or local government." 
Note: This bill will also be heard in the House Business & Utilities Committee on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Senate Transportation & Safety Committee, 4 p.m., LP 12

Senate Bill 1953 (HB 2022): This bill authorizes the Department of Transportation to build and run a mass transit system on the side of a stat e interstate or highway. 
Note: This bill will also be heard in the House Transportation Subcommittee on Wednesday at 12:00 p.m.

House Floor Session, 5 p.m.

House Bill 1049 (SB 999):  This piece of legislation is the school voucher bill, which has already passed in the Senate. It's a bad bill that we strongly oppose.
Capitol Reflection
Tuesday, February 9th

Senate Finance Ways & Means Committee, 8:30 a.m., LP 12

SJR 88:  This resolution asks the federal government to allow the state to "opt out" of TennCare and enact a "catastrophic benefits health insurance program." 

Senate State & Local Government Committee, 10:30 a.m., LP 12

Senate Bill 1593 (HB 1663): This bill lowers the early voting period for a municipal election in cities with 750 or less registered voters.

Senate Bill 1446 (HB 1426): This bill gives Davidson County the authority to issue bonds for affordable housing projects.
Note: This bill will also be heard in the House Finance Committee at 3 p.m. in LP 16.

Senate Bill 2408 (HB 2356): This piece of legislation allows full-time state employees to take a day off from work each year to participate in community service. 

Senate Bill 1607 (HB 2042): This bill specifies that if a person pays for certain political communications with their personal money, they do not have to disclose that information. 
Note: This bill will also be heard in the House Local Government Subcommittee on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

House Education Instruction & Programs Committee, 12:00 p.m., LP 16

House Bill 294 (SB 151): This bill would ban dues deductions for members of organizations that engage in political activity. In short, this has the potential to wipe out the TEA.

Senate Commerce & Labor Committee, 1:30 p.m., LP 12

Senate Bill 1846 (HB 1637): This bill would enact the "Tennessee Workers Protection Act," which deals with illegal immigration. 

Senate Bill 2556 (HB 1552): This piece of legislation deals with seasonal employment practices. 
Wednesday, February 10th

House Consumer & Human Resources Committee, 10:30 a.m., LP 30

House Bill 1497 (SB 1444): This bill extends employment protections to certain members of the armed services of other states. 

House State Government Subcommittee, 12:00 p.m., LP 29

House Bill 1494 (SB 1656): Under this piece of legislation, any teacher who is a part of the TCRS program must forfeit his or her retirement benefits if convicted of any misdemeanor sexual offense related to employment.

House Bill 1969 (SB 2267): Similar to the "Tennessee Workers Protection Act," this bill would enact the "Protect Tennessee Citizens and Workers Act."

House Bill 2442 (SB 2440): This is a good bill that prohibits a state employer from asking about a potential employee's criminal history on an initial application.

House Transportation Subcommittee, 12:00 p.m., LP 16

House Bill 1027 (SB 1370): A good piece of legislation from last year, this bill creates the "Public Construction Contractor Safety Act."

House Local Government Subcommittee, 1:30 p.m., LP 30

House Bill 1475 (SB 1671): This bill seeks to eliminate early voting for a special general election if there is no opposition for any office.

House Bill 1842 (SB 1959): This piece of legislation calls for more early voting sites for counties with a population that's greater than 62,000.

House Consumer & Human Resources Subcommittee, 3:00 p.m., LP 29

House Bill 1830 (SB 1965): This bill makes changes to the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act.

House Bill 1904 (SB 1726): One of our bills this year, this piece of legislation encourages employers to provide employees who are veterans paid or unpaid time off for Veterans Day.

House Bill 997 (SB 721): This is the infamous Workers' Comp "Opt Out" bill from last year. We spoke with the committee secretary, and the only reason this bill is on the agenda is so that it can be officially taken off notice.  
Alyssa Hansen, Communications Director
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