Tennessee Capitol Building

School Protection Act Slated for House Civil Justice Subcommittee Next Week

We expect next week to be quite busy as two bills initiated by Family Action of Tennessee are set to be heard by the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.

The first is HB 194 by Representative Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville). It was originally scheduled to be heard this week, but it was deferred for one week to address questions about how best to word the bill. The bill would require state court judges to let the two Speakers intervene into certain lawsuits to protect the people from de facto lawmaking by activist judges.

The second, HB 1274 by Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden), will protect local school boards from vexatious and expensive lawsuits over policies regarding the use of locker rooms/restrooms based on biological sex. The bill would allow the school to have the state’s attorney general represent them or, if representation is declined, be reimbursed by the state for its defense costs.

None of the other bills we told you about last week were favorably acted upon. Specifically, HB 1029 by Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet), referred to at the Trigger Bill because it would operate to ban most abortions in Tennessee if Roe v. Wade is overturned, failed in the House Public Health Subcommittee by a vote of three in favor and four against. The Senate companion bill, SB 1257 by Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), is on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar next week, although it would be unusual for the Senate to act given the action of the House subcommittee.

Also on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for next week is SB 1236 by Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), which is the heartbeat bill prohibiting most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Finally, after discussing HB 1 by Representative Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) for more than an hour, the House State Committee delayed action on it for at least another week. This is the bill that would authorize sports betting. Meanwhile, the Senate companion bill, SB 16 by Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville), passed out of the Senate Government Operations Committee with a negative recommendation. It is scheduled to be heard in the Senate State and Local Government Committee next week.

Read about all the bills we are tracking


Will Burns is FACT’s Public Policy Director.

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Tennessee Capitol Building

Business Protection Act Passes Full House

We are pleased to report that the full House approved our Business Protection Act (House Bill 563) on Thursday by a vote of 68-22 and we are grateful to Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) for his leadership in shepherding this bill through the House. We anticipate it will begin moving in the Senate in a couple of weeks.

Another bill initiated by the Family Action of Tennessee, House Bill 194 by Representative Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), is set to be heard next week in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee. The bill will allow the General Assembly to intervene in some existing legal proceedings in certain situations.

To learn more about these two bills and other bills, go to the Bill Tracking page. Also, watch our State Legislative Issues Briefing held earlier this month.

Among the other bills scheduled to be heard are:

  • House Bill 1029 by Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet), also referred to as the “Trigger Bill” because it would operate to make almost all abortions illegal in Tennessee if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade.
  • House Bill 1 by Representative Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) to legalize sports betting. While this has been scheduled each of the last two weeks, there are indications that it will be heard in the House State Committee on Tuesday. The Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 16 by Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville), is again scheduled to be heard by the Senate Government Operations Committee on Wednesday.

Will Burns is FACT’s Public Policy Director.

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Tennessee Capitol Building

Business Protection Act Delayed in House

The General Assembly is moving rapidly this session with some House subcommittees already closing. While the most optimistic projection is that the legislature will remain in session for another seven to eight weeks, it is moving at an efficient pace. That does not mean that everything moves quickly as a couple of items that were scheduled to be heard this week have been delayed.

Of specific interest is the Business Protection Act, House Bill 563, initiated by Family Action of Tennessee, and sponsored in the House by Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville). It was to be heard by the full House yesterday. However, as sometimes happens with bills of this nature, questions were raised that required a delay. As policy director for Family Action of Tennessee, I will be meeting with those who raised new questions to assure them that the bill is worded properly and will accomplish its intended purpose. It is now scheduled to be heard next Thursday.

Also delayed a week is House Bill 1 by Rep. Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) that would authorize sports gambling in the state. One related bill that is proceeding is House Bill 1033 by Rep. Brian Terry (R-Murfreesboro) and its Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 1057 by Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville), that would decriminalize wagering in fantasy sports leagues and sports pools. Both bills passed out of their chamber’s respective Judiciary Committees and will soon be before the full House and Senate.

For the status of this bill and others discussed previously, go to the Bill Tracking page.


Will Burns is FACT’s Public Policy Director.

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Tennessee Capitol Building

Business Protection Act Scheduled for Full House Next Thursday

There was legislative activity this week in addition to the heartbeat bill discussed in today’s blog post. Specifically, the Business Protection Act, House Bill 563, by Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) passed out of the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday. It is now scheduled to be heard by the full House on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the House Departments and Agencies Subcommittee was scheduled to hear House Bill 998 by Representative Bill Beck (D-Nashville) that, as amended, would have been a first step toward establishing sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in Tennessee. Sensing the subcommittee’s resistance to his bill, Rep. Beck took the bill off notice. We are grateful to those subcommittee members who expressed their concerns with the bill.

Of the bills mentioned last week, Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) took off notice his two bills, House Bill 1151 to apply indecent exposure law to activity in restrooms and locker rooms and House Bill 1152 to provide conscience protection to faith-based adoption agencies. However, Representative Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro) will present a nearly identical conscience protection bill, House Bill 836, to the Children and Families Subcommittee on Tuesday.

Also scheduled for next week are the following:

  • House Bill 307 by Representative Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) that would extend the current law that allows students to receive release time to take non-credit religious courses to allow local boards of education to develop release time religious elective courses offered for credit.
  • House Bill 1 by Representative Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) that would authorize sports wagering will be in the House State Committee.
  • House Bill 1033 by Representative Brian Terry (R-Murfreesboro) and its Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 1057, by Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) that would decriminalize wagering in fantasy sports leagues and sports pools will be heard in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, respectively.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will also hear SJR 97 that would authorize the operation of bingo games to benefit public and private schools. A similar measure, HJR 102, by Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) was defeated in the House Departments and Agencies Subcommittee last week.
  • Senate Bill 1389 by Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) that would authorize the development and issuance of a commemorative certificate of a nonviable birth by the Department of Health will be heard by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

To see more about the Business Protection Act, click on the plus sign next to SB 364/HB 563 under the “Bills About Religious Liberty” section on our Bill Tracking page.


Will Burns is FACT’s Public Policy Director.

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Tennessee Capitol Building

The Latest on Legislative Action This Week and Next

This week HB 77 by Rep. Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough), known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” passed out of the House Health Committee on a 15-4 party line vote and is now scheduled to be heard by the full House on Thursday.

Additionally, the House Business Subcommittee recommended HB 563 by Rep. Jason Zackary (R-Knoxville) for passage. It will ensure that businesses are not disadvantaged in bidding on contracts or receiving benefits from a state or local government entity by either going beyond or only conforming to state law regarding minimum wages, employee civil right protections, employee health care coverage, or family leave policies. This bill will be heard by the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday.

Of the three gambling related bills covered last week, only one cleared the subcommittee process. HB 1 by Rep. Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) that would authorize sports wagering was amended and recommended for passage by the House Departments and Agencies Subcommittee. It was referred to the House State Committee, but has not yet been set for a hearing.

Among other bills scheduled to be heard next week are the following:

  • HB 1152 by Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) provides conscience protection for child-placing agencies exercising sincerely held religious beliefs. It will be heard by the House Children and Families Subcommittee.
  • HB 1151 by Rep. Ragan applies the criminal standards on indecent exposure to actions taken in a single-sex facility where the offender is a member of the opposite sex than the sex the facility is designated for use. It will be heard by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
  • SJR 1 to amend the constitution relative to the appointment of the attorney general, having passed the Senate, will be heard by the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.

You can read more about these and 25 other bills that we thought you might find of interest and track their current status through the bill tracking section of our website.


Will Burns is FACT’s Public Policy Director.

Read more “This Week at the Capitol” articles