There was a lot of activity this week as most of the House committees and subcommittees have completed their business and several of the Senate committees are closing as well. However, there is still much left to be done.
This week the medical marijuana bills were officially deferred until 2020, while committees in both the House and Senate passed out their respective bills to authorized online sports betting in Tennessee. HB 1 by Representative Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) will next be heard in the House Government Operations Committee and its Senate companion, SB 16 by Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville), is headed to the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee.
There were mixed results this week on abortion-related bills. After the so-called “Trigger” bill, HB 1029 by Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet), failed in the House Public Health Subcommittee two weeks ago, Representative Ron Gant (R-Rossville), pursuant to House rule, gave notice of his intention to make a motion in the House Health Committee to recall the bill from the subcommittee, effectively by-passing the subcommittee’s action. The motion was heard on Wednesday and passed by a 12-4 margin, paving the way for the bill to be considered by the full committee next Tuesday. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Senate companion bill, SB 1257 by Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), this week and it will next be heard by the full Senate, although it has not yet been set.
The Senate Judiciary Committee also took action on the “Heartbeat” bill, SB 1236 by Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), voting to defer it for additional study during summer hearings, effectively killing the bill for this year.
Among the good news to report is that our School Protection Act, HB 1274 sponsored by Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden), passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on a voice vote. It next goes to the House Budget Subcommittee. The Senate companion bill, SB 1499 by Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald), will begin moving in the Senate soon. Additionally, the Senate State and Local Government Committee will consider our Business Protection Act, SB 364 by Senator Paul Rose (R-Covington), on Tuesday. The House approved its version of the bill earlier this year.
Will Burns is FACT’s Public Policy Director.