NASHVILLE, TN — Campaign finance reform comes to a Senate vote after FBI raids and indictments 

SB  1005 by Speaker McNally proposes several solid reforms to Tennessee’s campaign finance and ethics laws after a tumultuous few years at the General Assembly. 

Republicans resurrect effort to criminalize homelessness 

SB  1610 by Bailey would slap a Class C misdemeanor on people for camping alongside a highway ramp.

Akbari bill would ban practice of shackling incarcerated pregnant women 

SB  2769 by Akbari prohibits the use of restraints during active labor, while in transport to a medical facility, and during active delivery and postpartum.

Restraining incarcerated women at any time increases the potential for physical harm for a woman and her fetus, including the potential for miscarriage. During labor, delivery and postpartum recovery, shackling can interfere with appropriate medical care and can be detrimental to the health of the mother and her newborn child. [AMA Journal of Ethics, 2013]

Embarrassed Republicans prep bill to fix unconstitutional Senate map

SB0782 by Johnson will carry the legislative fix to the GOP’s Senate map, which was ruled unconstitutional last week by a three-judge panel.

It’s unclear whether Republicans will present a new map or wait until the Supreme Court settles the matter of the lower court’s injunction.

SJR0913 by Haile, Constitutional Amendments – Proposes an amendment to Article II, Section 31 of the Constitution of Tennessee authorizing the governing body or state official charged with carrying out the purpose or objectives of a fund or trust that is administered or invested by the Treasury and that contains state funds, in whole or in part, to adopt, with approval of the Treasurer and the Comptroller of the Treasury, an investment policy to authorize all or part of such fund or trust to be invested such that the state would become an owner, in whole or in part, of any bank or a stockholder with others in any association, company, or corporation.

SB 0882 *Stevens, White (HB 1188 by *Garrett, Curcio, Farmer, Russell, Griffey) DUI Offenses – As introduced, requires a court, in setting bail for a defendant charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicant or another offense in which alcohol was involved, to require the person to operate only a motor vehicle equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device unless such an order would not be in the best interest of justice.

SB  1005 *McNally, Haile (HB  1201 by *Sexton C, Whitson, Jernigan, Williams, Hazlewood) Campaigns and Campaign Finance – As introduced, revises various provisions relative to ethics and campaign finance laws.

 SB  1158 *Haile, Kelsey (HB  0751 by *Moody) School Vouchers – As introduced, expands the Individualized Education Act to allow a child with dyslexia to be eligible for the individualized education account program. – Amends TCA Title 49.

 SB  1165 *Massey (HB  1214 by *Ramsey, Powell) Criminal Offenses – Removes criminal exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from the list of violent sexual offenses that require an offender to register with the sexual offender registry (SOR). Authorizes an offender convicted of the offense of criminal exposure of another to HIV for an offense committed prior to July 1, 2022, to file a request with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) for termination of registration from the SOR. 

 SB  1610 *Bailey (HB  0978 by *Williams, White, Hicks T, Moody, Reedy, Todd, Littleton) Criminal Offenses – As introduced, creates a Class C misdemeanor offense, punishable by a $50 fine and community service work, for solicitation or camping along a controlled-access highway or entrance or exit ramp; expands Equal Access to Public Property Act of 2012 to apply the offense of unauthorized camping on state property to all public property. 

Bad bill. Further criminalizes homelessness. 

SB  1792 *Bell (HB  1855 by *Doggett, Griffey) Sexual Offenses – As introduced, revises the penalties for continuous sexual abuse of a child to clarify that an offense involving three or more violations of aggravated rape, rape, aggravated sexual battery, rape of a child, solicitation of sexual abuse of a minor, or aggravated rape of a child is a Class A felony; an offense involving two violations of such offenses is a Class B felony; and an offense involving one or no violations of such offenses is a Class C felony. 

SB  1866 *Jackson (HB  1913 by *Eldridge, Hulsey, Carr, Sherrell, Littleton, Helton) Correction, Dept. of- As introduced, revises the manner in which the department may dispose of the unclaimed body of an inmate who dies in a penitentiary, including by way of cremation.  – Amends TCA Title 41, Chapter 21.

 SB 1902 *Briggs (HB 2849 by *Kumar, Jernigan) Physicians and Surgeons – Allows for the Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Osteopathic Examination to short-term visitor clinical training licenses to eligible foreign physicians or medical graduates for up to 90 days.

SB  2071 *Johnson (HB  2096 by *Lamberth, Griffey) Welfare – As amended, requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to submit a report to the General Assembly by October 31, 2022, and each year thereafter, detailing the instances in which a waiver of, or exemption to, work requirements under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was sought, applied for, accepted, or renewed by the Department in the preceding federal fiscal year. Requires the report to include information on the number of recipients receiving SNAP benefits in the state, the amount of benefits received, the number of recipients subject to the work requirements of SNAP, and the number of recipients participating in the SNAP employment and training program. Prohibits DHS from providing discretionary exemptions to work requirements under the SNAP program to certain individuals.

Bad bill. Not as bad as the original, but still unnecessary political interference.

SB  2146 *Walley (HB  2616 by *Holsclaw) Lottery, Corporation- As introduced, prohibits disclosure of a lottery winner’s name and other personal information unless expressly authorized by the winner except in circumstances of debt due to a state claimant agency or in furtherance of other statutory or regulatory duties of government.

Unnecessary public record exemption.

 SB 2399 *Johnson, Bailey, Massey (HB 2146 by *Lamberth, Gant, Marsh, Howell, McKenzie) Driver Licenses – As introduced, establishes a third-party skills testing program administered by the department of safety for the purpose of facilitating the testing and licensure of commercial drivers; authorizes the department of correction to create a commercial driver license training program for purposes of training offenders who, upon release from incarceration, may be suitable for careers in the transportation industry.

Reduces the CDL eligible age to 18 from 21.

SB 2457 *Reeves (HB 2660 by *Sexton C, Lafferty, Russell, Eldridge, Reedy, Todd) Administrative Procedure (UAPA)- As amended, authorizes the Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) to promulgate rules to effectuate the purposes of policies regarding pharmacy benefits and pharmacy benefits managers. Requires the rules to implement audits, provide for additional requirements of PBMs, implement a complaint and administrative hearing process.

SB  2487 *Briggs (HB  2483 by *Zachary, Reedy, Crawford, Ogles, Sherrell, Cochran, Todd, Powers, Cepicky, Terry, Moody, Howell, White, Lafferty, Lynn) Election Laws- As introduced, requires certain state officials to consult with the speaker of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives prior to entering into consent decrees to change state election laws or rules; gives the general assembly legal standing to file an action against such state officials for violating election laws.

Appears to insert unnecessarily the legislature into election-related litigation. 

SB  2489 *Briggs (HB  2600 by *McKenzie, Whitson) Purchasing and Procurement- As introduced, authorizes a local governmental entity having a non-centralized purchasing authority to, by resolution or ordinance of its governing body, increase the threshold over which public advertisement and sealed competitive bids or proposals are required to an amount not to exceed $25,000 for nonemergency, nonproprietary purchases.   – Amends TCA Section 12-3-1212.

SB  2672 *Kyle (HB  2723 by *Miller, Parkinson, Camper) Salaries and Benefits – As introduced, grants state employees up to five days of leave to care for a minor child that is required to stay home as the result of a COVID-19 infection or school closure; prohibits counting such leave from against the employee’s accumulated sick or annual leave.

SB  2692 *Briggs (HB  2534 by *Hicks T) Planning, Public- Changes the maximum number of lots that a plat of subdivision may divide a tract into and gain endorsement without the approval of the planning commission.

Preemption / state interference against planning commissions. 

SB  2695 *Briggs (HB  2597 by *Hodges) Taxes, Ad Valorem – Effective January 1, 2023, authorizes an assessor of property (Assessor) to display “UNLISTED” for the first and last name in the ownership field of an online database of property upon written request. Provides that an Assessor is not prohibited from responding to an open records request regarding the subject property or from providing other information otherwise available for public inspection through such a request. 

Creates anonymity for property owners in some circumstances.

1 SB  2769 *Akbari (HB  2875 by *Camper) Jails, Local Loc-ups – As introduced, prohibits a corrections official from using restraints on a prisoner or detainee known to be pregnant, including during labor, transport to a medical facility, delivery, and postpartum, unless the corrections official makes an individualized determination that the prisoner or detainee presents an extraordinary circumstance; establishes other restrictions on the manner in which a pregnant prisoner or detainee may be restrained under certain circumstances. – Amends TCA Title 41.

SB  2819 *Roberts (HB  1760 by *Curcio) Public Records – As introduced, clarifies that certain personal information of public employees maintained by an employing governmental entity or person is confidential.

Appears to close some personnel records.

 SB  2204 *Walley, Rose, Jackson, McNally (HB  2659 by *Sexton C, Rudd, Williams, Smith, Sexton J) Regional Authorities and Special Districts- As introduced, requires that all contracts entered into by the Megasite Authority of West Tennessee be reviewed by the state building commission.

Bad bill. Political overreach. 

 1 p.m.        

Judiciary Committee,

Judicial Confirmations: 

• Tom Greenholtz 

• Kyle Hixson 

• Jeffrey Usman

1. SJR 1528 by Bell

General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position – Directs the District Attorney General of the Tenth Judicial District to bring a quo warranto action against Troy Weathers and Rodney Dillard for forfeiting elected office as members of the Bradley County Board of Education.

Moot point. The board members resigned on April 5. [NewsChannel9.com, 4/9/22]

4. SB0782 by Johnson (HB1036 by Johnson C)

Redistricting, Legislative – caption

Watch. GOP legislation to prepare a court-ordered fix to the unconstitutional Senate map approved in January.