The House Public Health Subcommittee recommended passage of the “Heartbeat Bill,” House Bill 77, by Representative Micah Van Huss (R-Johnson City). It will prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill will be heard in the full House Health Committee on Tuesday. The subcommittee was also expected to hear House Bill 1029 by Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet), the so-called “trigger law.” It would make most abortions illegal but only in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade, or if the U.S. Constitution is amended to allow states to prohibit abortion. However, she chose to delay hearing on the bill at this time. We will keep you apprised of when the bill is placed back on the calendar.
Yesterday, the Senate, by a vote of 27–3, approved Senate Joint Resolution 1 that would limit the power of the state Supreme Court, which currently names the state’s attorney general and reporter by secret ballot, to only nominating a candidate and doing so in an open meeting and by recorded vote. Then the nomination would have to be confirmed by the state House and Senate. The Resolution will now move to the House for consideration. The matter will go before a vote of the people in November 2022 before it could become effective.
The House Business Subcommittee will take up House Bill 563 by Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) next Tuesday. This is one of the bills we told you about last week that Family Action of Tennessee is pursuing passage. The bill will ensure that there is one uniform standard across the state for businesses to meet in four areas, one of which includes the scope of anti-discrimination policies. It would prevent what happened last week in Nashville when the city decided to give preferences in awarding contract bids and grants to those businesses that went beyond state and federal law in making sexual orientation and gender identity a protected workforce class.
Also next week the House Departments and Agencies Subcommittee will hear two joint resolutions and one bill on gambling in Tennessee. Specifically, HJR 130 by Representative Larry Miller (D-Memphis) would amend the state’s constitutional prohibition on gambling to authorize casinos and games of chance; HJR 102 by Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) would amend the state constitution to allow charitable organizations to operate bingo games, which are deemed a form of gambling; and House Bill 1 by Representative Rick Staples (R-Knoxville) which will authorize sports betting in jurisdictions that authorize it through a local option election.
Finally, the House Finance Subcommittee will hear HJR 17 by Rep. Van Huss to amend the constitution to recognize that our liberties come from God and not the government.
Will Burns is FACT’s Public Policy Director.