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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee, a member of the Finance Ways and Means Committee and the Ethics Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Weekly Wrap - February 28, 2016

Republican Lawmakers Move Forward with Legislation to Help Those Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

House Republican lawmakers voted unanimously this week to move forward with legislation designed to help those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

As introduced, House Bill 1206 will create the Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder — a dedicated committee that will focus solely on aiding those with special needs and their families.

Along with establishing a long-term plan for a system of care for individuals with ASD, the Council will also make recommendations and provide leadership in program development regarding matters concerning all levels of ASD services in health care, education, and other adult and adolescent need areas.

Specifically, the Council will be charged with seven tasks, including:

·       Assessing the current and future impact of Autism Spectrum Disorder on the residents of Tennessee;

·       Assessing the availability of programs and services currently provided for early screening diagnosis and treatment of ASD;

·       Seeking additional input and recommendations from stakeholders that include providers, clinicians, institutions of higher education, and those concerned with the health and quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder;

·       Developing a comprehensive statewide plan for an integrated system of training, treatment, and services for individuals of all ages with ASD;

·       Ensuring interagency collaboration as the comprehensive statewide system of care for Autism Spectrum Disorder is developed and implemented;

·       Coordinating available resources related to developing and implementing a system of care for autism spectrum disorder; and

·       Coordinating state budget requests related to systems of care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders based on the studies and recommendations of the Council.

The Council itself would serve under the Tennessee Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities and would be made up of the Commissioner of Health, the Commissioner of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Human Services, the Commissioner of Commerce & Insurance, the Deputy Commissioner of TennCare, the Commissioner of Mental Health & Substance Abuse, and six adult individuals who are either family members or primary caregivers of individuals with ASD.

The Autism Society currently estimates that about one percent of the world population has ASD, affecting over 3.5 million Americans. The organization also notes that Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.

The legislation is set to next be heard in the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee.

This week, my House Joint Resolution 528 moved forward in the committee process after receiving unanimous support from state lawmakers. The resolution now proceeds to the House Calendar and Rules Committee, the last stop it must make before reaching the full House floor for a final vote.

As introduced, the legislation affirms Tennessee’s authority over matters of the state, in accordance with the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Additionally, it calls for the federal government to halt its practice of overreaching into the affairs of state government.

Supporters cite the resolution is a direct result of concerns shared by constituents regarding the federal government’s heavy-handed involvement in the State of Tennessee.

Once HJR 0528 is signed, a certified copy of the resolution will be distributed to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker and the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation.

Student Testing Transparency Bill Receives Support From House Republicans

House Republicans moved forward this week with legislation that would put into law recommendations of an assessment taskforce made up of educators, legislators, parents, and other key representatives that worked for six months to study and identify best practices in testing for Tennessee students.

As introduced, House Bill 1537 acts on three main recommendations from the education task force, including:

  • Eliminating two unnecessary high school tests, reducing the overall number of tests given to students;

  • Allowing students to retake the ACT or SAT free of charge, giving them an opportunity to increase their scores and their options for postsecondary education; and

  • Renewing Tennessee’s commitment to test transparency by annually releasing statewide assessment questions and answers. This change in assessment procedure will provide parents, teachers, and students more information about the tests students take and more information about ways to best support students in their goals.

This legislation builds on the efforts of House Republicans to heavily invest in the future of education in Tennessee, working to ensure teachers have the tools they need and that students have the freedom and ability to reach their full potential.

In addition to this legislation, Republicans have also proposed investing 261 million in new dollars for Tennessee public education this year, including $104.6 million for teacher salaries — the largest investment in K-12 education without a tax increase in state history.

Legislation To Help Protect Consumers From Deceptive Advertising Practices Passes House With Bipartisan Support

Have you ever received a letter in the mail that looks just like a letter from the government telling you that you owe money, or that you have to purchase a copy of your deed, or a summons?

I am really proud to co-sponsor legislation to help curtail these deceptive advertising practices.  The bill passed on the full floor this week with bipartisan support from state lawmakers.

As passed, the ‘Government Impostor and Deceptive Advertisements Act’ prohibits mail advertisements that look like a summons or a judicial process notification. It also prohibits advertising that looks like a government document, whether it is through the use of language, seals and logos, or if it implies an unauthorized endorsement by a government entity. The bill prescribes a fine of up to $100 per advertisement for violation of the proposed law.

The purpose of the legislation is to help protect consumers from possible identity and monetary theft.

In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission received 4,175 complaints of identity theft from Tennesseans, and that number has steadily increased each year. Nationally, financial losses due to personal identity theft in 2012 totaled $24.7 billion, over $10 billion more than the losses attributed to all other property crimes.

Rectifying this problem is also why the Governor decided to requisition a new state logo.  Legally, the three-star logo is in such wide use by so many businesses the state cannot obtain a trademark.  A trademark would serve to restrict its use to the state of Tennessee only.  Therefore, the only solution was to create a new logo; one whose use can be restricted and one that can be defended in court.

Sex Trafficing Bill Advances

HB1693 by Chairman Coley is scheduled to be heard in the Calendar and Rules Committee this week – the last House committee before advancing to the House floor.  The bill will strengthen our laws to combat sex slavery by taking away certain defenses that defendants have previously relied upon. Specifically, it will no longer be a defense to prosecution that the child who was victimized consented to the act committed or was a member of law enforcement posing as a child. 

I have filed a bill to ensure that students use the restroom that is assigned to the sex on their birth certificate. I initially received quite a few hostile phone calls and emails from transgender activists but perhaps they realized that we are on firm legal ground as courts have recognized a constitutional right to privacy that includes a right not to be compelled by the Government to undress or be unclothed in the presence of members of the opposite sex... please read the bill by clicking above.

Past Issues of the Wrap

Weekly Wrap - January 24, 2016
Weekly Wrap - January 31, 2016
Weekly Wrap - February 7, 2016
Weekly Wrap - February 15, 2016
Weekly Wrap - February 21, 2016


Mr. Jackson said...

You are disgusting, Madam. Trying to hide her clear bigotry and transphobia behind some vague, wholly subjective reading of the law. If you had any compassion for the struggle of transgender children and youth, you would instead be focusing your efforts on helping these individuals live an authentic self, as opposed to making them feel even more alienated from the majority society. SHAME ON YOU!

... said...

A little dramatic are you not?

You think nothing of the girls who might be and no doubt will be unwillingly exposed to male anatomy?

The law is squarely on my side; This bill is in full compliance with Title IX and recent federal court decisions. Title IX specifically allows schools to "provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex" without committing sex discrimination.

The US DOE did issue a "significant guidance document" in 2014 that states that "Title IX's sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity..." However, this does not change the analysis for several reasons:

1) Federal regulations make clear that significant guidance documents issued by executive agencies are "non-binding in nature" and should not be "improperly treated as legally binding requirements." (72 Fed. Reg. 3432, 3433, 3435). --- in other words, a guidance document cannot unilaterally change Title IX's regulations, which specifically allow schools to have sex-specific restrooms.

2) In 2015, a federal court in Virginia explicitly rejected the argument that the guidance document has the force or effect of law or regulation superseding Title IX's rules. Here is a link to the case in which the court upheld a school board's decision requiring students to use restrooms corresponding to their biological sex. It may be worthwhile to read and review to help you feel more comfortable with this bill.


The other important case is a federal decision out of Pennsylvania. The court held that a "University's policy of requiring students to use sex-segregated bathroom and locker room facilities based no students' natal or birth sex, rather than their gender identity, does not violate Title IX's prohibition of sex discrimination."


The Second Chance Sheepdog said...


You and your colleagues in the General Assembly could do us all a great service by passing legislation to ban internet trolls, such as "Mr. Jackson".