What We're Watching: Week of March 2
Our journey to defeat SJR 648 (aka The "Kelsey Amendment") continues this week as the legislation heads to the full House Consumer & Human Resources Committee. While the resolution passed out of the House Employee Affairs subcommittee this past Tuesday on a 4-2 vote (Representative Bob Freeman and Representative Harold Love voted against it), we cannot thank all of our brothers and sisters throughout the state enough for your efforts. So many of you put the concept of solidarity into action by calling or e-mailing lawmakers and asking them to vote "NO" on SJR 648. Make no mistake, while this week's vote was disappointing, it is by no means an indication of failure. In fact, several lawmakers and their assistants commented that they had received a lot of communication from labor on this issue! These are just the first steps in what will be a marathon for the labor movement in Tennessee. We will have quite a few chances over (possibly) the next two years to stop this, and we are treating every single one as an opportunity to do just that.
Now onto this week's call to action! As we noted above, SJR 648 will be heard by the full House Consumer & Human Resources Committee this Monday (March 2nd) at 2:30 p.m. CT. Unfortunately, that means that we lose a little bit of time to contact legislators, but they can still return to Nashville with full inboxes and voicemails! Similar to last week, we need all of our brothers and sisters throughout Tennessee to call and/or e-mail all of the lawmakers on this committee and ask them to vote "NO" on SJR 648. As a reminder, a Facebook page has been created with additional information about the resolution and Senator Kelsey's background. If you haven't already, check out the post highlighting the more than two dozen lawmakers who have pledged to vote against this legislation! You can also click here to send an e-mail urging legislators to vote against SJR 648 or access a list of direct phone numbers for the members of this committee here. This week, we are paying particular attention to contacting Representative Mike Sparks and Representative Rush Bricken. However, it's important that all of the legislators who are on the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee hear from labor, including the Democrats. All lawmakers need to be held accountable for their votes on this critical issue.
In the meantime, please pay close attention to our Facebook page, the Kelsey Amendment page, and e-mail alerts from your respective CLCs for updates after Monday. If the resolution does pass out of committee, we will share as many details about the legislation's next stop as we know. We ask that you continue to share this information with anyone who supports working families...the more that we continue to educate folks on the dangerous of this resolution and Right to Work, the better. Let's keep the calls and e-mails coming...ask lawmakers to stand up for the hard working constituents in their districts by voting "NO" on SJR 648!
Monday, March 2nd
House Consumer & Human Resources Committee, 2:30 p.m., House Hearing Room II
As we noted above, this is the dangerous "Kelsey Amendment," which seeks to enshrine Tennessee's Right to Work law in the state constitution.
House Bill 2708 (SB 2520):
A good bill that we are actively supporting, this would enact the "Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act."
Note: This bill will also be heard in the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 3rd
Senate State & Local Government Committee, 10:30 a.m., Senate Hearing Room I
Senate Bill 741 (HB 1207):
This legislation authorizes state agencies to provide child care services for state employees.
Senate Bill 1773 (HB 2045):
According to this legislation, the amount that the state will match to an employee's optional retirement plan would increase to $75.
This bill will also be heard in the House State Committee at 10:30 a.m.
Senate Bill 2299 (HB 2364): This is a caption bill that seeks to penalize anyone who intends to deceive or distribute incorrect information regarding a person's voter registration status, qualifications to vote, etc. Because an actual intent to deceive can be difficult to prove, this is a bad piece of legislation.
House State Committee, 10:30 a.m., House Hearing Room I
House Bill 1707 (SB 2739): This piece of legislation would allow the state to seek an injunction against someone who commits harassment against a state employee.
House Bill 1801 (SB 1752): This bill seeks to make state correctional officers (who are members of the state retirement system) eligible for service retirement after 25 years of creditable service.
House Curriculum, Testing & Innovation Subcommittee, 12:00 p.m., House Hearing Room IV
House Bill 1550 (SB 1787): Attempting to fix the mess created last year by Governor Bill Lee, this good piece of legislation would delete Tennessee's school voucher program.
This bill will also be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.
House Employee Affairs Subcommittee, 4:30 p.m., House Hearing Room V
Note: This committee will be hearing all workers' compensation bills today. Some of the ones that we are tracking and are calendared are listed below.
House K-12 Subcommittee, 4:30 p.m., House Hearing Room III
House Bill 1648 (SB 1822):
This good bill requires Local Education Agencies to provide an opportunity for enrollment in a pre-K program to all children who are four years old by the end of each September.
House Bill 2460 (SB 1982): According to this legislation, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development would be required to establish a three-year pilot program to help adults over the age of 19 earn their high school diploma.
House Property & Planning Subcommittee, 4:30 p.m., House Hearing Room IV
House Bill 2638 (SB 2751): This is a bad bill pushed by the Beacon Center that seeks to cap property tax increases to 5% without being approved by voters.
Wednesday, March 4th
House Elections & Campaign Finance Subcommittee, 10:00 a.m., House Hearing Room IV
House Bill 2435 (SB 2832):
This good piece of legislation seeks to remove requirements that went into place last year that, among other things, encouraged
voter suppression and penalized voter registration groups if deficient forms were submitted.
House Bill 2035 (SB 1837): According to this bill, county election commissions would be required to hold additional voter registration drives at public and private high schools every fall and spring.
House Corrections Subcommittee, 11:00 a.m., House Hearing Room IV
House Bill 1877 (SB 1757): This legislation would create the corrections oversight committee.
House Bill 2468 (SB 2706): Continuing to crack down on the Department of Corrections, this bill requires the comptroller to review the death of any inmate housed in a state correctional facility and provide a detailed report to legislative leadership.
House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee, 11:00 a.m., House Hearing Room III
House Bill 1615 (SB 1578): Focused on correctional employees, this bill authorizes the Department of Corrections to contribute state funds toward the funeral expenses of any of its employees who are killed in the line of duty.
House Bill 1589 (SB 1593): This legislation enacts the "Tennessee Anti-Lunch Shaming Act" and prohibits a school from taking action against a student who can't pay for a meal or who has an outstanding meal debt.
Note: This bill will also be heard in the Senate Education Committee at 3:00 p.m.
House Public Service & Employees Subcommittee, 3:30 p.m., House Hearing Room IV
House Bill 2715 (SB 2282):
After completing 40 hours of in-service training, this bill provides a $1,000 pay supplement to emergency medical professionals.
House Bill 2429 (SB 2514):
This good piece of legislation requires governmental bodies to give members of the Tennessee General Assembly two weeks' notice if their district includes all or part of a county in which a meeting is being held.
House Bill 2094 (SB 1784):
This bill would require public notice and input on a redistricting committee and on considering final approval of a redistricting plan.