Tennessee Legislature Kicks Off Second Half Of 109th General Assembly
The Second Regular Session of the 109th General Assembly kicked on January 12th in Nashville.
We will face many issues again this year - so please email or call me with your concerns.
NATURAL MARRIAGE ACT
Last week a very hot topic of concern was the Liberty Counsel's Natural Marriage Act in the House Civil Justice Committee sponsored by Rep. Pody.
Please watch the video on the link above - the debate is gripping. Republican Rep. Carter explains should a lawsuit be filed to challenge the imposition of gay marriage in Tennessee, passing the Natural Marriage Act would render the lawsuit moot - because should the TN law change, the current law would no longer exist.
LAWSUIT FILED IN WILLIAM COUNTY COURT - LEGISLATURE SUPPORTS
A Williamson County lawsuit that asks the court for a declaratory judgment on whether the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated all of Tennessee’s marriage licensure law with the Obergefell decision in June of last year. Rep. Susan Lynn has fled a resolution to support the citizens.
The plaintiffs contend that the SCOTUS' decision clearly said that Tennessee’s marriage licensure law was invalid and also that Tennessee must now marry same sex couples. However the plaintiffs contend that a law cannot be both invalid and valid at the same time. The court cannot decide that Tennessee’s marriage licensure law is invalid because it mandates that marriage is between a man and a woman – therefore striking that provision – and then go on to decree that what this now means is that Tennessee must from hence forth marry same sex couples. Doing so violates the doctrine of severability (elision in state court).
To violate severability or elision means that a court cannot strike one part of the law if it would give a new meaning to the law that the legislature never intended for the law to have. In such a case, the court must strike the entire law leaving the legislature free to either reenact the law without the unconstitutional provision or choose not to act at all.
Tennessean article on lawsuit.
NEWLY PROPOSED STATE EDUCATION STANDARDS
Please review and comment on the newly proposed math and English / language arts state education standards. These new standards were created pursuant to Public Chapter 423 which repealed the Common Core standards and directed the state Board of Education to create new math and ELA standards for grades K-12. A video is also available on the link in this title.
PROPOSED MATH STANDARDS
PROPOSED ENGLISH / LANGUAGE ARTS STANDARDS
THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE IN FURTHER JEOPARDY BY THE COURTS
Two lawsuits are challenging Amendment 1 and another is challenging our new clinic licensure law, facility inspection, hospital admitting privileges for abortion providers and informed consent provisions for women and girls considering abortion.
Further, a Texas lawsuit is challenging Texas abortion regulations. If successful, the Texas lawsuit could impact Tennessee's abortion laws. I have become a part of the defense of the Texas lawsuit by signing my name to an Americans United for Life amicus brief in support of keeping Texas abortion regulations.
BILL TO REPEAL THE RETAIL ACCOUNTABILITY PROGRAM FILED
The Retail Accountability Program was created in 2012 and expanded in 2015. The Act mandates wholesalers and retailers of beer and tobacco to electronically report all of their sales and purchase transactions between each other to the Department of Revenue. The 2015 expansion now includes ALL Tennessee businesses selling other categories of tangible personal property. This means that the Department of Revenue can force any wholesaler and any retailer to report their sales and purchase transactions between each other to the department. An extraordinary over reach of government equipped with fines if the report is not submitted!
I was not in the General Assembly in 2012 or else I would have sounded the alarm on this unprecedented bill which virtually allows a revenue agent a seat inside each business on a daily basis. I was one of only 4 House members to vote no last year. Hopefully this will be repealed.
REP LYNN NAMED TOP CONSERVATIVE IN TENNESSEE
The American Conservative Union, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization, announced this week that Rep. Susan Lynn has been awarded the coveted ACU Award For Conservative Excellence for being among the top conservatives in the State of Tennessee.
“I’ve always fought for conservative values, and I have done so since first elected.” says Lynn. “I’m truly honored to have this award and recognition.”
The award, which is presented to those members of the Tennessee General Assembly who scored between 90 and 100 percent on the ACU State Legislative Rating scorecard, is the organization’s highest and most revered honor available to lawmakers. Lynn's score for 2015 was 100%. All ratings can be found at acuratings.conservative.org.
REP LYNN'S LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
Enacts the "Fans Anti-Counterfeit Ticket (FACT) Act"
Enacts the "Charitable Vehicle Prep Tag.
Permits a parent of a newborn to opt out of a antibiotic ointment at birth.
|Dept. of Health|
Requires a report from the commissioner of health if the commissioner accessed to Tennessean's medical records.
Requires students to use restrooms and locker rooms that are assigned sex shown on the students' birth certificate.
Requires the Tennessee office for refugees to notify the state of any refugee resettled in this state who has lived in a country that is a state sponsor of terrorism.
Revises various workers' compensation and drug-free workplace provisions.
Requires removal of members for failure to attend at least 50 percent of all regularly scheduled board meetings.
Authorizes local governments to prepare biennial budgets.
Increases number of members on some boards of zoning appeals.
Prohibits certain flame retardants in children's products and residential upholstered furniture.
Revised curriculum in textbooks and instructional materials regarding founding documents.
Revises provisions governing fetal tissue obtained as a result of a medical or surgical abortion.
Revises reports due from utility districts.
Urges Congress to recognize Tennessee's sovereignty under the 10th amendment to the Constitution.
|General Assembly Statement|
Expresses disagreement with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
A total of 42 bills have been filed on behalf of the administration, but the above pieces of legislation represent the governor’s priorities;
Fetal Remains Act - Addressing concerns regarding the selling of fetal remains.
Efficiency in Handgun Permit Process - Improving the process and lowering the fee.
FOCUS Act - Organizing, supporting and empowering public colleges.
Higher Education Authorization Act - Drive to 55 and for-profit higher education.
Public Safety Act of 2016 - Governor’s Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism.
As always, please call or email me if I can help you: 615-596-2363.