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Tennessee flag logo and words education bills

Partisan School Board Elections (SB 582 / HB 1039)

BILL SUMMARY

Requires school board elections to be partisan races.

BILL ANALYSIS

Important bill for transparency and voter education. Since Tennessee is mostly Republican, many Democrats have focused on non-partisan elections (school board, municipal office) to assert influence on the local level. They are able to be elected because it is difficult to ascertain the full extent of their beliefs through campaign mailers, etc. This bill will require school board candidates to run as partisan, party candidate.

BILL SPONSORS

Gresham in the Senate, Smith in the House

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Full Text: Senate Bill / House Bill

BILL STATUS

No action taken in the House or Senate.

Tennessee flag logo and words education bills

Prohibits Social and Emotional Learning (SB 4 / HB 357)

BILL SUMMARY

Prohibits the state board of education from adopting or providing standards or competencies for social and emotional learning (SEL).

BILL ANALYSIS

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a process by which students are taught to apply their knowledge in social, emotional, and relational contexts.

Last summer, Tennessee joined a national pilot program (CASEL) implementing SEL standards but was forced to withdraw following concerns from citizens and legislators.

This bill would prohibit the state from introducing or requiring SEL. It does not address whether local school districts can choose to implement SEL.

BILL SPONSORS

Gresham in the Senate, Dunn in the House

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Full Text: Senate Bill / House Bill

BILL STATUS

No action taken in the House or Senate.

VIDEO

TN flag logo and words constitutional government bills

Solicitor General Bill (SB 1240/ HB 690)

TN Senate Bill 1240 / TN House Bill 690

BILL SUMMARY

Also known as the Solicitor General Bill, this bill creates the office of solicitor general to be appointed by the Legislature and transfers all the current duties of the attorney general (except the reporting of Supreme Court cases) to the office of solicitor general. The solicitor general can be removed by a vote of 2/3 of the members of the General Assembly.

BILL ANALYSIS

In Tennessee, the attorney general is not elected. He is appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court, whose members are also unelected. As a result, the attorney general is essentially unaccountable to the people or their representatives.

This bill provides accountability within the state’s legal department for the defense of the Constitution, separation of powers, and federalism by allowing the policy-making body, the General Assembly, to appoint and remove the solicitor general on 2/3 vote.

BILL SPONSORS

Norris in the Senate, Goins in the House

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Full Text: Senate Bill / House Bill

BILL STATUS

Passed the House Civil Justice Committee. No action taken in the Senate.

VIDEO

TN flag logo and words constitutional government bills

Legislator Standing Bill (SB 436 / HB 558)

BILL SUMMARY

Also, known as the Legislator Standing Bill, this bill allows the Legislature, either by the majority of both chambers or by approval by both Speakers, to do the following:

  • Initiate lawsuits against local governments to challenge local ordinances that violate state law or compel compliance with state law
  • Initiate lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality or application of federal laws
  • Intervene in lawsuits in which the constitutionality or interpretation of a state or federal law is at issue.

Any action taken under this bill will be indemnified by the state.

BILL ANALYSIS

Currently, the Legislature has no voice in the courtroom if the attorney general:

  • Refuses to take legal action to enforce a state law or challenge a federal law or,
  •  In a pending action in which private parties are seeking to have current law held unconstitutional or reinterpreted, takes a position inconsistent with or contrary to the will and intent of the Legislature.

The Legislator Standing Bill will help the Legislature defend and enforce its laws and protect itself from unconstitutional mandates under federal law or require the federal government to comply with its mandates.

BILL SPONSORS

Watson in the Senate, Carter in the House

TRACK THIS BILL

Full Text: Senate Bill / House Bill

BILL STATUS

No action taken in the House or Senate.