A Dose of Reality

  As the saying goes, "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." Despite strong lobbying against HB 2229/SB 1707 by the Tennessee Education Association and an initial committee vote against the bill, this legislation is back on Wednesday's calendar. While there's always a chance that nothing may happen at all, there's a strong possibility the committee may choose to reconsider its action on this bill and take a second vote. If that happens, the legislation is essentially as good as passed in both chambers. Even though this bill primarily affects dues deductions for employees of school districts and state special schools, it would give anti-Labor lawmakers a symbolic "green light" to go after all of us next year. Be sure to keep a close eye on our Twitter account on Wednesday at 3 p.m. as we send out live updates of the committee meeting! You can also watch the live video stream by clicking here. This is the time during session where times can change at a moment's notice, so we will let you know if that committee has been moved to another day or time.

  On a better note, our resolution that encourages employers to give holiday time on Veterans Day for employees who are veterans passed unanimously on the House floor and is headed to the Senate Calendar Committee! This may pale in comparison to other legislation, but the fact that we have gotten something (almost) passed by both chambers says a lot in the current environment! Once the resolution is placed on a Senate agenda, we will be sure to spread the word and let all of you know. This success gives us the confidence to hopefully pursue even more worker-friendly legislation next year! 
Monday, April 4th

House Floor Session, 4 p.m.

House Bill 2125 (SB 2101): According to this bill, Rutherford County would be allowed to participate in a pilot project for establishing convenient election day voting centers.

Senate Floor Session, 4 p.m.

Senate Bill 2093 (HB 2407): This piece of legislation enacts the "Public-Private Transportation Act of 2016." Some of our affiliates have concerns about this legislation and have provided some great talking points, which you can find here.
Note: This bill will also be heard in the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee on Wednesday in LP 29. 

Senate Bill 2481 (HB 2512):   While originally making several changes to unemployment benefits, this bill quickly turned into an attack on pregnant women who have to leave their jobs. According to the House sponsor (Rep. Andy Holt), there is an amendment that is being prepared for this bill. The Nashville Scene breaks it down here.
Note: This bill will also be heard in the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee on Wednesday in LP 29. 

House Bill 615 (SB 1108): Brought back from last year, this is the bill that would make the Holy Bible the official state book of Tennessee. It failed to pass on the Senate floor in 2015.  
Tuesday, April 5th

Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee, 8:30 a.m. AND Wednesday at 2 p.m., LP 12

Senate Bill 1626 (HB 1742): A very good bill, this would establish an online voter registration system that would take effect on July 1, 2017. 
Note: This bill will also be heard in the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee on Wednesday in LP 29. 

House Business & Utilities Committee, 10:30 a.m., LP 16

House Bill 2201 (SB 2469): This bill would enact the "Right to Earn a Living Act" and is not a good piece of legislation. 
Wednesday, April 6th

There will be both House and Senate floor sessions at 9 a.m. We will keep you informed about any crucial legislation that may appear on those agendas! 

House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee, 1:30 p.m., LP 29

Please see the notes above for details about HB 2512/SB 2481, HB 1742/SB 1626, and HB 2407/SB 2093! 

House Bill 1797 (SB 1926): This is a good bill that would require the Fiscal Review Committee to analyze and approve any state service contracts greater than $1 million. This is a subtle dig at the Haslam administration's privatization plans.

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

House Education Administration & Planning Committee, 3 p.m., LP 29

House Bill 2229 (SB 1707):  This is a very  BAD  bill that goes after the Tennessee Education Association (TEA). It would ban dues deduction for employees of school districts and state special schools. 
Alyssa Hansen, Communications Director
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