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Business Protection Act Passes Committee

Senate Bill 127  was approved by the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday. The bill protects businesses from discrimination by a state or local official or a local government on the basis of their personnel policies, such as employee benefits, so long as the business’ policies comply with state and federal law. The bill now heads to the Senate floor. Sen. Paul Bailey, Sen. Todd Gardenhire, Sen. Bill Ketron, Sen. Jack Johnson, Sen. Ed Jackson, and Sen. Mark Norris voted for the bill. Sen. Jeff Yarbro voted no, and Sen. Richard Briggs and Sen. Ken Yager chose not to vote.

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Tennessee Senators Vote for Travel Ban Resolution

Tuesday six legislators from the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee, including Sen. Thelma Harper (D-Nashville), voted in favor of Senate Joint Resolution 111 sponsored by Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) that urges state officials to consider banning state-sponsored travel to states that have banned such travel to Tennessee. The resolution is an attempt to discourage California and other like-minded states from banning travel based on whether they like Tennessee’s public policies. California’s statutory travel ban came as a result of last year’s counselor’s bill that FACT tracked. The resolution will be before the full Senate next week.

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TN Legislative Prayer Caucus Focuses on Religious Liberty

Started midway through last year’s legislative session, the Tennessee Legislative Prayer Caucus is a nonpartisan weekly prayer group open to all lawmakers. As part of the national Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the group at the state Capitol boasts about 30 members and is focused on preserving religious liberty, upholding the nation’s Christian values, and prayer.

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Fetal Heartbeat Bill Pushed Back a Week

House Bill 108, sponsored by Rep. Van Huss, which would make it illegal to abort a baby once a fetal heartbeat is detected through ultrasound, has been pushed back a week in the House Health Subcommittee after an amendment was not filed in a timely manner. This bill would change the viability of the fetus from the current 24-week gestational period set from the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision to the first trimester, between six and 12 weeks.The attorney general opined this week that parts of the bill would be “institutionally suspect” under current Supreme Court interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. The companion bill in the Senate is Senate Bill 244, sponsored by Sen. Beavers.

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Motion to Intervene in Knoxville Insemination Case Denied

This week, Judge Greg McMillan of Knoxville ruled that 52 state legislators would not be allowed to argue that a state statute referring to children born by insemination to a husband and wife should not be interpreted in a way that would substitute the word “spouse” for the word “husband.” The court said that interpreting the statute to treat children in a mother-mother family the same as a mother-father family was not a “policy” issue. Sadly, the attorney general of Tennessee believes that the judge should rewrite the statute, too.

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