Democratic View Of Top State Senate Issues - March 4, 2024

  • Monday, March 4, 2024
  • Brandon Puttbrese

Will there be a cost for partially privatizing building safety, health permit inspections?

  • 4:30 p.m. Senate Regular Calendar — SB 2100, one of the governor’s initiatives, requires local governments to process building and codes permits within 30 days. To comply, the law authorizes, but essentially forces, local governments to hire third-party, for-profit inspectors.
  • The preemption law will only apply to local governments that have adopted building safety standards beyond the state’s bare bones building codes.
  • Good for the goose, but not for the gander. The law specifically says state buildings and schools are exempt and will not be inspected by third-party examiners.
  • Note: This bill was on the calendar last week but delayed until today. It’s rumored that the governor’s office is catching a lot of heat from local government officials over this aggressive state interference.

GOP bill would bar credit unions from acquiring banks after a Memphis credit union acquired a bank

  • 4:30 p.m. Senate Regular Calendar – SB 1293, by Sen. Paul Bailey, creates a law that says banks assets can only be acquired by another bank, effectively blocking future credit union-bank deals.
  • This legislation comes after the state sued unsuccessfully to block Memphis-based Orion Federal Credit Union from acquiring the assets of Financial Federal Bank.
  • A Tennessee appeals court ruled in December that state law permits a credit union to acquire the assets of a bank, ending a two-year legal battle. But maybe not for long.

Scandal-plagued DCS would get new oversight under Sen. Oliver bill

  • 4:30 p.m. Senate Regular Calendar — SB 1806, by Sen. Charlane Oliver, would create new oversight for the Department of Children’s Services by requiring agency officials to submit summaries of new policies and guidelines to the legislature every two months.
  • Policies at the department have attracted plenty of negative attention recently. In addition to chronic understaffing and staff morale issues, WPLN reported that juvenile detention centers were violating state law while NewsChannel 5 reported that a 12-year-old boy at a transitional home was hog-tied by a masked security guard.
  • Last, the department inexplicably withdrew updated rules for juvenile detention and restraints.

Sen. Akbari bill would make birth control refills easier for people on TennCare

  • 4:30 p.m. Senate Regular Calendar — SB 1919, by Sen. Raumesh Akbari, would allow women and girls enrolled in TennCare to get a 12-month refill of birth control.
  • In 2016, a Time opinion writer advocated for ending the “paternalistic policy” of requiring doctor’s visits for birth control altogether, saying it is “essentially making (women) pay a toll—a doctor’s office visit—for contraception.”

Threatened ‘Bog Turtle’ becomes an official state reptile

4:30 p.m. Senate Regular Calendar


1. SJR 0919 *Johnson

Constitutional Amendments- Proposes an amendment to Article I, Section 15 of the Constitution of Tennessee to remove the right to bail for the following offenses when the proof is evident or the presumption great: act of terrorism; second degree murder; aggravated rape of a child; aggravated rape; grave torture; and any other offense, as of November 3, 2026, for which a defendant, if convicted, could not be released prior to the expiration of at least 85 percent of the entire sentence imposed.

Republicans look to gut the constitutional right to bail.

3. SB 1293 *Bailey (HB 1241 by *Powers)

Financial Institutions, Dept. of- Authorizes banks and savings institutions chartered by the state of Tennessee, with the approval of the Commissioner of the Department of Financial Institutions (Commissioner), to sell or transfer most of, if not all, its assets and liabilities to another bank, banking institution, savings institution or other entity approved by the shareholders if the buyer or transferee is a financial institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

4. SB 1612 *Roberts (HB 1755 by *Ragan)

Sunset Laws- As introduced, extends the department of labor and workforce development to June 30, 2028.

5. SB 1667 *Johnson (HB 1921 by *Lamberth)

County Government- As introduced, specifies that the county mayor is not a member of the county commission for purposes of compliance with the Open Meetings Act.

6. SB 1791 *Massey (HB 1973 by *Hawk)

Health Care- As introduced, requires all infants born in this state to be screened for specific genetic, metabolic, or other heritable conditions, including, but not limited to, conditions listed on the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP); allows the department of health to require newborn screening for conditions not listed on the RUSP; requires certain implementation and reporting requirements regarding such newborn screening. - Amends TCA Title 68, Chapter 5, Part 4.

7. SB 1806 *Oliver (HB 2046 by *Chism)

Children's Services, Dept. of- As introduced, requires the department to submit written summaries of policies and guidelines adopted by it to the chairs of the government operations committees of each house, with the policies and guidelines to be posted on the subsequent joint rule review committee agenda for the month following the submission of the summaries. - Amends TCA Title 4 and Title 37.

8. SB 1919 *Akbari (HB 2635 by *McKenzie)

Insurance, Health, Accident- As introduced, requires a health benefit plan that amends, renews, or delivers a policy of coverage on or after July 1, 2024, and that provides coverage for prescription contraceptives, to provide coverage for a 12-month refill of contraceptives obtained at one time by an insured person, unless the insured requests a smaller supply or the prescriber instructs that the insured must receive a smaller supply. - Amends TCA Title 56, Chapter 7.

9. SB 1947 *Lundberg (HB 2058 by *Hicks T, Raper)

Education, State Board of- As introduced, requires the board, in collaboration with the department of education, to identify math courses that may be substituted for Algebra II for purposes of satisfying high school graduation requirements and to submit a report to the education committees by October 15, 2024. - Amends TCA Title 49.

10. SB 1987 *Swann (HB 1613 by *Powell, Whitson, Lamberth)

State Symbols- As introduced, designates “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee as the official state holiday song. - Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3.

11. SB 2021 *Reeves (HB 2020 by *Marsh)

Alcoholic Beverages- As introduced, expands postsecondary academic programs in fermentation authorizing students to taste alcoholic beverages as part of the program.

12. SB 2024 *Reeves (HB 2048 by *Martin B)

Insurance Companies, Agents, Brokers, Policies- As introduced, changes from three to one the number of incorporators or organizers a captive insurance company that is incorporated or organized in this state must have when being organized; deletes the requirement that the incorporator or organizer of the captive insurance company must be a resident of this state when being organized. - Amends TCA Title 56.

13. SB 2100 *Johnson (HB 1892 by *Lamberth, Cochran, Vaughan, White, Davis)

Safety- As introduced, authorizes the use of certain third-party examiners, inspectors, engineers, and professionals in lieu of a local or state examiner, inspector, engineer, or professional for certain permitted processes and requirements; establishes procedures and requirements for the use of a third-party examiner, inspector, engineer, or professional.

14. SB 2227 *Rose (HB 1993 by *Stevens)

Guardians and Conservators- As introduced, allows the clerk of court to waive an in-person oath by a fiduciary if the fiduciary files with the clerk a written fiduciary oath that contains certain language and is sworn or affirmed by the fiduciary in the presence of a notary public or signed and dated under penalty of perjury; specifies certain language that a fiduciary oath must contain under various circumstances. - Amends TCA Title 34, Chapter 1.

15. SB 2909 *Bailey (HB 2306 by *Vaughan)

Commerce and Insurance, Dept. of- Enacts the Tennessee Self-Insurers' Guaranty Association Act (Act). Creates a nonprofit unincorporated legal entity to be known as the Tennessee self-insurers' guaranty association (Association). The Act is established to provide a mechanism for the payment of self-insured workers' compensation claims to avoid excessive delay in payment and to avoid financial loss to claimants because of the insolvency of a self-insured employer, and to provide an Association to assess the cost of the protection among self-insured employers doing business in this state.

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