Democratic View On State Senate Issues - April 18, 2024

  • Thursday, April 18, 2024
  • Brandon Puttbrese

Dems offer budget amendments focused on working families, education

  • 8:30 a.m. Senate Regular Calendar — When the budget bills come up for a vote, Senate Democrats will offer three amendments focused on families.
  • ONE-YEAR GROCERY TAX HOLIDAY. Sen. Charlane Oliver filed amendments to reassign Gov. Bill Lee’s $1.6 billion corporate handout to a year-long grocery tax holiday.
  • DOUBLE STATE PRE-K SPACES. Sen. Heidi Campbell filed an amendment to reassign the Lee’s school voucher funding to Tennessee’s pre-kindergarten program, which could double the number of open seats for early education.
  • RESTORE MATERNAL HEALTH FUNDING. Sen. Raumesh Akbari filed an amendment to restore $3 million to a maternal health service program by axing a line item for anti-abortion centers that provide little or no healthcare.

Senate takes up $53 billion budget with corporate tax handout unsettled

  • 8:30 a.m. Senate Regular Calendar — The centerpiece of Gov. Bill Lee’s $53 billion state budget won’t be for working families, students or healthcare. Not even a private school voucher scam.
  • The governor’s biggest initiative this year is a $1.6 billion cash handout and $4 billion tax break ($400M annually) for 100,000 property-rich corporations over the next decade.

GOP vs. flags: Addressing exactly nobody’s priorities, Republicans move to limit flag displays on government property

  • 8:30 a.m. Senate Regular Calendar — SB 1722, by Sen. Joey Hensley, would restrict the kinds of flags that can be displayed at public schools in Tennessee. The US flag, state flags, city & county flags, school flags, country flags, university flags, armed forces flags are all protected as well as flags that are authorized under Tennessee’s Heritage Protection Act, which likely includes Confederate flags.
  • Similar to the previous bill, SB 0918, by Sen. Paul Rose, would restricts flag displays on all government buildings, including local governments and colleges, to the U.S. flag, state flag, and flags representative of the entity. P.O.W. & M.I.A. flags get a pass too.
  • What’s barred by both bills? Rainbow flags and Black Lives Matter flags would be banned. Pirate flags and joke flags, too.
  • In the TNGOP’s brain, symbolic flags (they don’t like) are a bigger problem than shuttered hospitals, gun violence, underfunded schools, child care deserts, climbing commute times, housing affordability, etc.

NASHVILLE: Legislation creates agency to oversee East Bank development

  • 8:30 a.m. Senate — SB 2968, by Sen. Heidi Campbell, creates the East Bank Development Authority to oversee the multi-billion dollar redevelopment of the area surrounding the new Tennessee Titans stadium.

4/18, 8:30 a.m. Senate Message Calendar

1. SB 0795 by Gardenhire. (HB1259 by Vital.)

Real Property - Amends TCA Title 29 and Title 66. As introduced, removes ambiguous language and clarifies that a transfer of a possibility of reverter or right of entry by a holder other than the original grantor is invalid unless the validity of the future interest was determined by a final judgment in a judicial proceeding, or by a settlement among interested persons, prior to July 1, 2015.

The House version is now an “anti-squatter” bill – a complete change from the original intent of the bill.

2. SB 2041 *Rose (HB 2159 by *Barrett, Capley, Todd)

Obscenity and Pornography- Establishes that a person or entity that is convicted of producing, selling, sending, or distributing obscene matter may be held civilly liable for damages to an injured party and reasonable attorney fees as ordered by the court.

House version exempts schools from civil liability.

4/18, 8:30 a.m. Senate Regular Calendar

1. SB 1055 *Rose (HB 0587 by *Gant, Doggett, Moody, Davis, Carringer, Sherrell, Gillespie, Howell, Hulsey, Lamberth, Russell)

DUI Offenses- As introduced, lowers the threshold for enhancing the minimum sentence of a person convicted of driving under the influence of an intoxicant, from a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20 percent or more to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or more. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 13; Title 55, Chapter 10, Part 4 and Title 69, Chapter 9, Part 2.

2. SB 1972 *Rose (HB 2692 by *Doggett, Hardaway, Towns, Lamberth, Moody, Russell, Gillespie, Davis, Howell, Hulsey, Johnson G, Farmer, Carringer, Fritts)

Domestic Violence- As introduced, requires the court to order an offender to wear a global positioning monitoring system device under certain circumstances unless the court finds the offender no longer poses a threat to the alleged victim or public safety; specifies that a cellular device application or electronic receptor device provided to the victim must be capable of notifying the victim if the offender is within a prescribed proximity of the victim's cellular device or electronic receptor device; requires a county or municipality utilizing global positioning monitoring system devices to enter into a written agreement with a qualified contract service provider; removes civil and criminal liability under certain circumstances.

3. SB 2112 *Niceley, Campbell, Crowe (HB 2244 by *Farmer)

Local Government, General- Allows a mixed-use development including a sports facility to be added to the tourism development zone located in Sevierville. It must be adopted by a 2/3s vote of the local government. It permits a privilege tax up to 5% of sales within the mixed-use development and allows more than one rate to be charged within the qualified public use facility.

4. SB 2427 *Jackson (HB 2607 by *Carringer)

Alcoholic Beverages- As introduced, authorizes retail package store licensees and beer permittees to sell hemp-based products; prohibits retail package store licensees from charging certain fees. - Amends TCA Title 57, Chapter 3 and Title 57, Chapter 5.

5. SB 2690 *Southerland (HB 2793 by *Faison, Carr)

Taxes, Sales- As introduced, extends the deadline by which a distressed rural county must apply to be eligible to retain the sales and use tax generated from a commercial development district from December 31, 2024, to December 31, 2030.

6. SB 2703 *Southerland (HB 2158 by *Davis, Cepicky)

Local Education Agencies- Encourages each local education agency (LEA) to use the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) funds to employ or contract for at least one school nurse for every 750 student members of the LEA. If an LEA does not employ or contract for the number of school nurses recommended for the 2024-25 school year, or for a subsequent school year, then the LEA's director of schools is required to submit a report to the Department of Education (DOE) by May 1 of the respective school year that includes certain school nurse information and an explanation for the decision.

7. SB 2770 *Bowling (HB 1872 by *Fritts, Barrett, Keisling, Todd, White, Russell, Hurt, Capley, Butler, Warner, Lamberth, Stevens)

Criminal Offenses- As introduced, authorizes the enhancement of criminal penalties up to life in prison without parole upon conviction of violent crimes by illegal aliens; conviction of possession of a firearm or deadly weapon by an illegal alien; or conviction of a violent crime on the property of a school by any person.

Unconstitutional. Anti-immigrant. Mass incarceration.

8. SB 2801 *Massey (HB 2921 by *Sexton)

TennCare- As introduced, requires all TennCare health benefit plans to provide coverage and reimbursement for mental health services and treatment to the same extent that the plans provide coverage and reimbursement for the treatment of alcoholism and drug dependence.

9. SB 2877 *Kyle (HB 2961 by *Hardaway)

Evidence- As introduced, directs the Tennessee advisory committee on intergovernmental relations (TACIR), with the assistance of the Tennessee bureau of investigation, the district attorneys general conference, and the department of safety, to study the feasibility of a Shelby County crime lab and the impact of such a crime lab on public health, safety, education, housing, and the economy for citizens and visitors of Shelby County, the city of Memphis, this state, and the Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi tri-state region; requires TACIR to submit a report of the study findings to the general assembly by January 14, 2025. - Amends TCA Title 4; Title 8 and Title 38.

10. SB 2940 *Johnson

Budget Procedures- Budget implementation act.

11. SB 2941 *Johnson

Bond bill- Authorizes the state to issue and sell bonds up to $87.7 million.

12. SB 2942 *Johnson

Appropriations Act- Authorizes the governor and legislature’s $52 billion budget spending plan

13. SB 2968 *Campbell

Davidson County - Subject to local approval, creates the East Bank Development Authority for the metropolitan government of Nashville and Davidson County.

14. SB 2020 *Reeves (HB 1695 by *Alexander, Lamberth, McCalmon, Hicks T, Eldridge, Crawford, Williams)

Autopsies- As introduced, specifies that reports of county medical examiners and autopsy reports of victims of violent crime who are minors are not public documents; allows a parent or legal guardian of a minor victim of a violent crime to consent to the release of the report of the county medical examiner or autopsy report of the minor victim if the parent or legal guardian is not a suspect in the circumstances of the minor's death.

Covenant death records.

15. SB 2797 *Rose (HB 2809 by *Hulsey, Powers, Reedy, Carr, Russell, Fritts)

Firearms and Ammunition- As introduced, expands the definition of a law enforcement officer to include retired law enforcement officers who are carrying a firearm pursuant to certain state laws for purposes of when a law enforcement officer may carry a firearm. - Amends TCA Title 38 and Title 39.

16. SB 1260 *Akbari (HB 0351 by *Hardaway)

Industrial Development- authorizes industrial development corporations to be established and operated solely to assist and benefit minority-owned businesses, locally owned businesses, businesses that have 50 or fewer employees and annual gross revenues of $5,000,000 or less ("small businesses"), and commercial businesses for which fifty-one percent of the ownership interest is owned or held by women ("women-owned businesses). This bill provides that a commercial entity does not qualify as a locally owned business unless the subject business has conducted a majority of its operations under the jurisdiction of a local government's industrial development corporation for at least five years.

17. SB 1722 *Hensley (HB 1605 by *Bulso, McCalmon, Powers, Todd, Warner, Sherrell, Barrett, Hill, Richey, Grills, Moon, Wright, Vaughan, White, Capley)

Flags- As introduced, prohibits LEAs and public charter schools from displaying in public schools flags other than the official United States flag and the official Tennessee state flag.

18. SB 1936 *Massey, Yager (HB 2366 by *Carringer, Towns)

Health Care- As introduced, changes the application requirements for international medical school graduates applying for special licenses. - Amends TCA Title 63.

19. SB 2007 *Campbell (HB 1960 by *Powell, Behn, Jernigan)

Hospitals and Health Care Facilities- authorizes Nashville General Hospital to establish a state employee and retiree healthcare incentive program that will allow for the waiver of applicable out-of-pocket expenses associated with medical, surgical, or mental health care at the public hospital, including deductibles, except those deductibles associated with a high deductible plan, copays, and co-insurance, for state employees and retirees and their covered dependents participating in the State Group Insurance Plan.

20. SB 2730 *Akbari (HB 2820 by *Camper)

Public Defenders- As introduced, requires a supplemental adjustment to state funding for public defender offices in the twentieth and thirtieth judicial districts for pay parity purposes. - Amends TCA Title 8, Chapter 14.

21. SB 2897 *Bailey (HB 2677 by *White)

County Officers- As introduced, increases the annual continuing education requirement for county commissioners from seven to eight hours; requires that the training be obtained by CTAS meetings; extends a $600 stipend to county commissioners for completion of annual training requirements.

22. SB 0918 *Rose (HB 1319 by *Kumar, Cepicky)

Flags- As introduced, requires the United States flag and the official state flag to be displayed continuously on property owned, operated, or controlled by this state or a political subdivision of this state, including educational institutions and public school buildings; restricts the display of flags other than the United States flag and the official state flag on said property to only those periods of time for which an entity represented by the flag is meeting or performing an authorized function on the property, with certain exceptions. - Amends TCA Title 4; Title 5; Title 6; Title 7; Title 15; Title 49 and Title 58.

Prohibits ANY unauthorized flag from being flown on state property.

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