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Addition and Subtraction in Race for Governor

Though the date for the Republican gubernatorial primary is still 14 months away, the race for governor is underway. While other possible candidates consider entering the race, we’ve seen one candidate join the race and another drop out over the last week.

Last week, state Sen. Mae Beavers officially kicked off her campaign while state Sen. Mark Green officially announced that he was withdrawing from the race and will concentrate on ways he can serve in Washington, D.C. In withdrawing, Green said, “The very difficult task of electing a true conservative to be the fiftieth governor of Tennessee when the vote will clearly be split among several candidates harms that cause.”

Meanwhile, it was reported this week that Republican candidates Bill Lee and Randy Boyd recently had fundraisers that brought in $1.3 million and $1.2 million, respectively.

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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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Tennessee flag logo and words life bills

Personhood at Fertilization (SB 743 / HB 895)

BILL SUMMARY

Declares that life begins at conception and all the rights of personhood attach at that point.

BILL ANALYSIS

This bill would not survive a constitutional challenge under existing Supreme Court precedent, as states can ban abortion after “viability” which, legally is considered to occur at 24 weeks.

BILL SPONSORS

Beavers in the Senate, Pody in the House

TRACK THIS BILL

Full Text: Senate Bill / House Bill

BILL STATUS

No action taken in the House or Senate.

Tennessee flag logo and words life bills

Fetal Heartbeat Bill (SB 244 / HB 108)

BILL SUMMARY

Also known as the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, it bans abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

BILL ANALYSIS

It is questionable whether this would survive a constitutional challenge under existing Supreme Court precedent, as states can ban abortion after “viability” which, legally, is considered to occur at 24 weeks.

Passage of the bill could result in a lawsuit that would reach the U.S. Supreme Court and provide a context in which Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

As amended, if an ultrasound is performed prior to an abortion, requires the reporting of certain information related to whether a heartbeat was detected and requires woman/patient be given the option to be informed of the results.

BILL SPONSORS

Pody in the Senate, Van Huss in the House

TRACK THIS BILL

Full Text: Senate Bill / House Bill

BILL STATUS

Signed by the Governor 5/3/18. Public Chapter 862.

Tennessee flag logo and words life bills

20-Week Abortion Ban Bill (SB 766/ HB 101)

BILL SUMMARY

Prohibits abortion after 20 weeks with exceptions for the life and health of the mother.

BILL ANALYSIS

Sixteen states currently ban abortion after 20 weeks. It is questionable whether this would survive a constitutional challenge under existing U.S. Supreme Court precedent, as states can ban abortion after “viability” which, legally, is considered to occur at 24 weeks.

Passage of the bill could result in a lawsuit that would reach the U.S. Supreme Court and provide a context in which Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

BILL SPONSORS

Beavers in the Senate, Weaver in the House

TRACK THIS BILL

Full Text: Senate Bill / House Bill

BILL STATUS

No action taken in the House or Senate.