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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, March 27, 2016

Weekly Wrap - March 27, 2016

Restroom Bill Revived

The restroom bill is a bill to ensure that male students use the boys room and that female students use the girls room.  Last week the Senate bill passed the committee but the House bill was sent to a study committee.  The next day the members had second thoughts and I was asked to put my bill back on notice so that they can reconsider their decision. 

The bill is meant to ensure privacy for students.  At the request of members the bill will allow for two accommodations that will ensure privacy for all students and avoid lawsuits. 

First, should a student that has chosen to cross-dress decide that they are uncomfortable using the restroom for their sex the school may of course make accommodations while still complying with the privacy rights of all of the other students. 

The bill also allows an intersex student to use the restroom of their emerging dominant sex.  Intersex is a very rare genetic defect also known as an hermaphrodite.  Last week in committee a state legislator brought what he said was an hermaphrodite student to committee but it turned out that he misspoke and the student actually has gender identity disorder (GID) meaning that he was actually born a healthy male but his appearance is now feminine due to early intervention with female hormone treatments by his physician father and his mother – he also dresses in women’s clothes.  The genetic disorder called intersex should still be addressed and a new amendment will take care of that issue.

There are several articles on healing children with gender identity disorder (GID) - this one is very thorough but if you're interested many others can be found;


Indulging the disorder is not recommended because most children will outgrow the disorder during puberty, with or without psychiatric intervention.   

As we are learning, there are groups these days that encourage allowing the child to indulge in their fantasy/confusion by cross-dressing, pursuing a lifetime of hormone treatments, and through surgeries.  These measures are advocated for by the ACLU, and our schools have been under great pressure to conform to the views of these groups. But by their own reports, such indulgences do not cure the underlying psychological issues of the GID including feelings of wanting to commit suicide.  

I hope you will read more on your own.  Regardless of the point of view, reports indicate that individuals with GID are sadly very troubled, and all articles suggest that the entire family needs psychiatric intervention no matter which route is taken. 

From this article;

"A loving and compassionate approach to these troubled children is not to support their difficulty in accepting the goodness of their masculinity or femininity, which is being advocated in the media and by many health professionals who lack expertise in GID, but to offer them and their parents the highly effective treatment which is available."

"Gender Identity Disorder in children is a highly treatable condition. The majority of children treated by those with expertise in this area are able to embrace the goodness of their masculinity or femininity."

Another report was just issued last week by the American College of Pediatricians and is very clear: 

Please remember, this bill is about privacy for all students.  

In the Senate testimony, the ACLU suggests that students who are uncomfortable with cross-dressing students in the restroom of the opposite sex should be the ones to use another bathroom.  And indeed, ACLU last week threatened a local school district with a lawsuit for their policy of making a third restroom available to the cross-dressing students.  I pasted the quotes here: http://susan-lynn.blogspot.com/2016/03/interesting-quotes-from-senate-testimony.html.  

Again, this bill is about protecting the privacy rights of all of our students.  

House Republicans Move Full Steam Ahead with Pro-Military, Pro-Veteran Legislative Package

So far this year, House Republicans have moved full steam ahead with multiple pieces of legislation designed to help military members and their families from across the state.

One of those bills, currently awaiting signature from Governor Haslam, will allow the five soldiers killed in the Chattanooga terrorist attack that occurred in July of last year to be eligible for the ‘Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal.’ Currently, the medal is awarded to honor residents of Tennessee killed while serving on active duty or engaged in military support operations involving a conflict with an opposing foreign force.

As passed, this new legislation expands on this criteria to also allow the honor to be bestowed on those military men and women killed on Tennessee soil during an attack specifically targeting service members.

The medal is awarded solely by the Governor or the Governor's designee to the immediate survivor of the recipient.

A second piece of legislation, the National Guard Force Protection Act, enhances protection at Tennessee National Guard facilities and military installations. The bill follows hearings regarding the safety of military installations by the state’s top leaders.

To fund the bill, the governor’s budget includes $1.6 million for emergency phone systems, window film, magnetic locks, security camera systems, privacy screens, and bollards to protect soldiers at state military installations.

Additionally, legislation passed the full House this week that will strengthen and make the Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) program available to private, non-profit institutions of higher education throughout the state.

Passed in 2014, the highly successful VETS program encourages colleges and universities to prioritize outreach to veterans and successfully deliver the services necessary to create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper while pursuing their education. Currently, there are 13 public institutions that claim VETS Campus Certification. The certification recognizes and promotes schools that make veteran enrollment a priority. Higher education institutions that satisfy veteran-friendly criteria, such as specialized orientation and the availability of mentoring programs, can receive the designation.

Also on the veteran front this year is House Bill 1491, which will make it easier for veterans across the state to obtain a handgun carry permit. Under the legislation, a carry permit applicant would not be required to comply with the mandatory classroom and firing range hours if the applicant is an active, honorably discharged or retired veteran of the Unites States Armed Forces. The person would have to present a certified copy of their certificate of release or discharge from active duty, a Department of Defense form 214 (DD 214), that documents a date of discharge or retirement that is within five years from the date of application for the permit. The legislation aims to eliminate an unnecessary burden on the state’s veterans in the permitting process.

Legislation to help support Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) counseling for combat veterans and their families is set to be heard next week before the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee. As introduced, the bill creates a specialty license plate which can be customized with a sticker to represent the veteran’s specific military branch with proceeds going to support these services.

Tennessee requires new specialty earmarked license plates to be subject to a minimum order of at least 1,000 plates prior to initial issuance. Any plate that does not meet the minimum order requirement within one year after passage of the authorizing act becomes invalid.

Under the bill, the money raised from these license plates is to be used exclusively in Tennessee to provide resources and support to veterans, service members, and their families, being equally allocated to Centerstone Military Services and SAFE: Soldiers and Families Embraced.

As the 2016 legislative session continues, House Republicans remain committed to helping veterans, their families, and all those involved with protecting Tennessee and the United States on a daily basis.

Lawmakers, Farmers Celebrate Annual ‘Ag Day On The Hill’ Event

House lawmakers joined with farmers and agriculture groups from across the state this week to celebrate Tennessee’s annual 'Ag Day on the Hill' event at the Legislative Plaza in Nashville. Governor Bill Haslam has also proclaimed the date 'Agriculture Day' as part of the annual national observance to recognize the important contributions of farmers and forestland owners provide to the state and nation.

This year, 'Ag Day on the Hill' activities included farm animals — horses, cows, goats, sheep, piglets, and chicks — and a variety of farming equipment on display at the entrance to the Legislative Plaza in Nashville. Representatives from agricultural organizations and agencies were also available to discuss programs and opportunities for those interested in farming and forestry in Tennessee.

In addition, a corn shucking and shelling contest between House and Senate lawmakers took place, with House Speaker Beth Harwell leading the House to a blowout victory over their Senate counterparts. Following the contest, the Farm & Forest Families of Tennessee organization presented a check to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee in honor of contest participants.

The day's events also included a sweet potato bagging project to benefit the Society of St. Andrew and a silent auction benefiting Second Harvest and the Ag in the Classroom program.

Tennessee has more than 67,000 farms representing 10.9 million acres in production. More than half of the state, 14 million acres, is in mostly privately owned hardwood forests. Tennessee’s top agricultural commodities include cattle, soybeans, corn, poultry, cotton, timber, greenhouse and nursery products, dairy products, wheat, tobacco, and hay. The industry has a $75 billion a year impact on the state’s economy and supports nearly 350,000 jobs.

Department Of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson Announces Retirement Plans

This week, Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson announced his official plans to retire at the end of April.

Johnson has led the Department of Agriculture since the beginning of the Haslam administration in 2011, and was Haslam’s first commissioner appointment. He has been instrumental in development of the Governor’s Rural Challenge: a 10 year strategic plan to grow Tennessee’s agricultural and forest industries. Under Johnson’s leadership, many goals of the plan have already been met and foundations laid for future projects. 

Johnson joined the Haslam administration after serving 37 years at the Tennessee Farm Bureau, 15 of those years as the Chief Administrative Officer. 

A native of Forbus, Tennessee, Johnson has served on the University of Tennessee Agriculture Development Board, the Maury County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Maury County United Way Board of Directors, the Maury County Vision 2020 Board of Directors and as president of the Maury County University of Tennessee Alumni Board. He was a Kiwanian and has served as past president of the Middle Tennessee Council of Boy Scouts. He has a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Johnson’s last day as Commissioner will be April 29.

House Legislation To Ensure Transparency And Accountability Now Awaits Senate Approval

Legislation to help ensure transparency and accountability in state government regarding contracts received unanimous approval this week on the House Floor.

As passed, the legislation requires vendors that are contracting with the state to notify state officials if the vendor’s business is being investigated by a law enforcement agency. These notifications will be submitted to the Chief Procurement Officer in the Office of General Services. Additionally, if a business fails to properly report any investigations, the Chief Procurement Officer can assess fines in excess of $10,000.

Supporters agree this legislation will add even more transparency to state government, a policy of great importance to House Republicans. By requiring notification from vendors, upon the occurrence of any investigation brought against that business, the state can better protect the investment of Tennessee taxpayer dollars.

Additional information regarding this legislation can be found on the General Assembly website at http://goo.gl/VvWNYF.

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