Nashville, Tenn. (TN Tribune)–After less than 24 hours and nearly $700 million of changes, senators will take up the budget today. Here is a helpful document for understanding the changes made by Senate Finance yesterday:
Pg 1-2 is legislation funded in the Senate budget
Pg 3-4 are budget requests that received funding
Pg 5 is the Senate’s changes to the governor’s budget, i.e. Titans stadium, school flood plain relocation program OUT

Top Senate Stories
Thursday, April 21, 2022

10:30 a.m. Senate Regular Calendar 2
GOP set to approve ‘$90 million’ sentencing bill blasted by national conservatives
SB 2248, by McNally and Lundberg, would increase prison sentences for certain crimes – despite there being no evidence that longer sentences do anything to reduce crime or improve rehabilitation.
In fact, the opposite is true, according to the American Conservative Union, organizers of CPAC.
In a letter to Republican senators, the ACU said it opposed the bill because it abandons conservative policies on criminal justice reform that are working elsewhere.
Senate GOP’s state budget proposal up for a vote less than 24 hours after $623M of changes
SB2897, by Johnson, is the appropriations act for fiscal year ‘22-’23.
SB2898, by Johnson, is the budget implementation act. This has been the legislative vehicle for tax breaks in past budget years.
SB 2899, by Johnson, authorizes the General Assembly to bust the Copeland Cap in our current fiscal year, 2021-22.
SB 2901, by Johnson, is the bond bill, which authorizes the state to issue and sell bonds, or loans, to pay for projects.
Some budget coverage:
Governor vs. supermajority: Failed policy “truth in sentencing” funding [Tennessean, 4/20/22]
Titans stadium funding [NewsChannel 5, 4/20/22]
$200 million for flood-prone schools vs. rainy day fund [Chalkbeat, 4/20/22]

10:30 a.m. Senate Regular Calendar 1
Akbari bill could expand bail payment options
SB 1472 by Akbari authorizes a defendant to pay a bail bond with a debit card, or internet or mobile cash application, in addition to cash payments.
Overreach: GOP bill criminalizes most distribution of birth control-abortion medication
SB 2281, by Bell, is another example of GOP lawmakers overreaching into private medical decisions. This bill would criminalize Tennesseans trying to access birth control-abortion medication via telemedicine, through the mail or via physician assistants and nurses.
Under the bill only doctors can provide birth control-abortion medication.
But the bill also criminalizes prescription fulfillment of birth control-abortion medication at campus health clinics.
GOP crusade against librarians continues
SB 2292, by Bell, broadens the definition of content that is deemed “harmful to minors.”
The GOP’s overreach into school library collections and demonizing of librarians ignores the fact that school libraries are already doing the work to keep inappropriate material out of student’s hands.
Bill to allow medical marijuana for quadriplegia
SB1877 by Yarbro would add quadriplegia as a qualifying medical condition for the lawful possession of cannabis oil.

10:30 a.m. Senate Regular Calendar 2 (Sentencing & Budget Calendar)

1. SB 2248 *McNally, Lundberg (HB 2656 by *Sexton C, Lamberth, Hulsey, Griffey, Sherrell, Sexton J, Hawk, Russell, Howell, Gillespie, Gant)
Sentencing- As introduced, requires that a person convicted of certain offenses serve 100 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release.

Bad bill. Arbitrary penalty enhancement with disregard for evidence-based best practices.

2. SB2897 by Johnson (HB2882 by Lamberth)
Appropriations – As introduced, makes appropriations for the fiscal years beginning July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2022.

Watch. The Appropriations Act, i.e. the budget bill.

3. SB2898 by Johnson (HB2883 by Lamberth)
Budget Procedures –

Watch. Budget Implementation Act.

4. SB 2899 *Johnson (HB 2884 by *Lamberth, Gant, Hazlewood, Hicks G, Williams, Garrett)
Appropriations- As introduced, authorizes the index of appropriations from state tax revenues for 2021-2022 fiscal year to exceed the index of estimated growth in the state’s economy by $2,997,600,000 or 16.08 percent.

Watch. Budget index bill ‘21-’22

5. SB 2901 *Johnson (HB 2886 by *Lamberth, Gant, Hazlewood, Hicks G, Williams, Garrett)
Bond Issues- As introduced, authorizes the state to issue and sell bonds of up to $83.5 million; cancels the bonds authorized by Chapter 758, Public Acts of 2020.

Watch. Bond bill. Without funding for a Titans stadium.

10:30 a.m. Senate Regular Calendar 1

1. SB 0890 *Massey (HB 1018 by *Halford)
Handgun Permits- As introduced, requires the department of safety to conduct a name-based criminal history record check every four years after a person is issued a concealed handgun carry permit; permits the department to revoke the permit if the person is ineligible to possess a firearm; implements a $50 fee for renewal of the permit.

Good bill.

2. SB 1472 *Akbari (HB 0457 by *Thompson, Harris)
Bail, Bail Bonds- As introduced, authorizes a defendant for whom bail has been set to pay the bail bond with a credit card, debit card, or internet or mobile cash application, in addition to with cash.

Good bill. Expands the types of payment options for defendants to pay bail.

3. SB1685 by Briggs (HB1689 by Holsclaw)
Alcoholic Beverages – As introduced, deletes an expired pilot project related to revocation and suspension of licenses and permits held by liquor-by-the-drink licensees and beer permittees.

Not controversial. Premier resort omnibus bill.

4. SB 1872 *Yager (HB 1719 by *Reedy, Keisling, Johnson C, Cepicky, Thompson, Ragan)
TennCare- As introduced, extends the expiration date for the ground ambulance provider assessment from June 30, 2022, to June 30, 2023; requires, if the quarterly transport data is not adequate or available for the calculation of Medicaid ambulance provider assessments, that the bureau of TennCare use total transports submitted to the office of emergency medical services for calendar year 2021, instead of using such data for calendar year 2020.

Not controversial.

5. SB2281 by Bell. (*HB2416 by Moody.)
Abortion – As introduced, enacts the “Tennessee Abortion-Inducing Drug Risk Protocol Act.” States that an abortion-inducing drug may be provided only by a qualified physician and sets the procedures that must be taken by that physician prior to and following providing an abortion-inducing drug. Bans abortion-inducing drugs from being provided on elementary, secondary, or postsecondary school grounds. Creates a Class E felony for anyone who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly violates this act. States that failure to comply with this act provides a basis for a civil malpractice action against a healthcare provider.

Bad bill. Criminalizes safe, appropriate telemedicine prescriptions for birth control-abortion medication and bans distribution at campus health clinics.

6. SB2292 by Bell. (HB2454 by Weaver.)
Obscenity and Pornography – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17 and Title 49, Chapter 1. As introduced, redefines “obscene” to include material that has educational value; makes various changes to the internet acceptable use policy LEAs are required to adopt; requires providers of digital and online resources to ensure that users cannot access certain obscene material; requires a local board of education to establish a mechanism for parents, legal guardians, or students to report failures of the technology selected by the LEA to filter, block, or otherwise prevent access to pornography or obscenity through online resources and to submit an annual report to the state board of education regarding same.

Watch. Unnecessary political intrusion exaggerating the existence of any real obscenity problem in our schools.

7. SB2313 by Gilmore. (HB2448 by Beck.)
Taxes, Privilege – Authorizes Davidson County to levy a privilege tax of five percent or less on admission tickets, and all other sales, at the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM).

Not controversial.

8. SB 2484 *Southerland (HB 2614 by *Faison)
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, 2020, to December 31, 2024. – Amends TCA Title 67, Chapter 6.

Not controversial.

9. SB 2646 by Gardenhire (HB 2674 by Williams)
Appropriations – Revises state law related to the estimation of incarceration costs.

Not controversial, seemingly.

10. SB 2678 *Massey (HB 2706 by *Howell)
Treasurer, State- As introduced, expands the authority of the state treasurer to settle claims filed with the division of claims and risk management within the department of the treasury; requires the state treasurer, in conjunction with the commissioner of transportation, to develop, implement, and administer a centralized information system for the reporting of alleged dangerous conditions on state-maintained highways and the repair of such conditions.

Not controversial. Allows the Treasurer to settle claims made to TDOT for cars damaged by potholes on state-maintained highways.

11. SB 2675 *Johnson (HB 2585 by *Rudd)
Election Laws- As introduced, revises and expands the manner in which the secretary of state and county election commissions must audit state and local elections.

Not controversial.

12. SB 2884 *Bailey (HB 2542 by *Williams)
Motor Vehicles, Titling and Registration- As introduced, increases, from $5.50 to $8.50, the fee paid to county clerks for receiving and forwarding to the motor vehicle division of the department of revenue each application for certificates of title; allocates $3.00 of the fee to be used by the county for the provision of services directly related to titling and registration.

Watch. Fee increase on Tennesseans. $7.5 million for county governments.

13. HJR0652 by Powers
Memorials, Congress – Urges Congress to complete a secure border wall on the U.S. southern border.

Unnecessary political grandstanding.

14. SB1877 by Yarbro (HB1747 by Jernigan)
Controlled Substances – As introduced, adds quadriplegia as a qualifying medical condition for the lawful possession of cannabis oil.

Good bill. Would be a reasonable expansion of marijuana decriminalization.