Healthy and Free Tennessee's 2018 Legislative Watch List

 

The 110th General Assembly began in 2017 and ends in 2018. Many of the bills introduced last year are still moving or have the possibility to move this year. 

To search for bills by keyword, you can visit the Tennessee General Assembly's website.

For detailed information on your legislators and their news offices in the Cordell Hull building, you can download the new 110th Tenn General Assembly app available for $0.99 cents from Apple and Google Play.


Fetal Personhood

SB 0754 sponsored by Senator Beavers / HB 0895 by Rep. Williams codifies that human life and legal personhood begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent:

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing. 

Fetal Assault 

SB 1381 sponsored by Senator Tate with no House co-sponsor, provides that a woman may be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug. (Please note, babies are not "born addicted" they are born dependent; to understand the difference, read more here.)

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Bill did not have a House co-sponsor so it did not move forward.

SB 2674 sponsored by Senator Bailey / HB 2348 by Rep. Williams this bill has been amended. We opposed the original version of the bill because it mandated that a prescribers who prescribes more than a five-day supply of opioids to a non-pregnant fertile women must counsel her to use a particular type of birth control rather than provide the full range of options, which we believe is coercive and wrong. Though that mandate has been removed in the amendments, we do not support targeting a certain group of women for birth control counseling. Further, not all fertile women will become pregnant or want to become pregnant, so there is no need to educate all fertile women on the adverse effects of opioids on a fetus that does not exist. We wholeheartedly support educating women on the effects of opioids on their own health and wellness, but this bill goes further than that and so we are opposed.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Scheduled for a House floor vote on 4/16/2018. Passed the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on 3/7/2018.

SB 1385 sponsored by Senator Tate / HB 0620 by Rep. Favors requires reporting to the commissioner on geographic distribution and program adequacy of treatment resources for people affected by substance abuse.

  • Stance: Watching

  • Status: Taken off notice in House subcommittee in 2017. This is a broadly captioned bill so there was some concern that it could be used to reintroduce fetal assault. 

SB 475 sponsored by Senator Crowe / HB 614 by Rep. Johnson requires the commissioner of health to report to the health committee of the house of representatives and the health and welfare committee of the senate by January 1, 2018, on the impact of the treatment guidelines developed pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 63-1-401, on the abuse of opioids in this state; the commissioner shall also make appropriate recommendations for any needed additional legislation to address issues raised by opioid abuse. 

  • Stance: Watching

  • Status: Taken off notice in 2017. 

SB 1413 sponsored by Senator Briggs / HB 1120 by Rep. Ragan requires the commissioner of mental health and substance abuse services to report to the health committee of the house of representatives and the health and welfare committee of the senate on or before January 15, 2018, concerning any restrictions and requirements from the federal department of health and human services imposed by federal law on substance abuse treatment programs that the department of mental health and substance abuse services contracts with or operates in order to provide treatment services.

  • Stance: Watching

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing. 

Anti-Sterilization

SB 1638 sponsored by Senator Yarbro / HB 1554 by Rep. Gilmore prohibits a court from accepting a plea agreement or imposing a sentence in a criminal case that is in whole or in part conditioned upon the defendant submitting to some form of sterilization, regardless of whether the defendant voluntarily consents to sterilization.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: This bill was withdrawn in the House on 3/1/2018.

SB 2133 sponsored by Senator Kelsey / HB 2520 by Rep. Akbari prohibits a sentencing court from making a sentencing determination based in whole or in part on defendant’s consent or refusal to consent to any form of temporary or permanent birth control, sterilization, or family planning services, regardless of whether the defendant’s consent is voluntarily given. The bill was amended to add that no guilty plea agreement or plea of nolo contendere shall be accepted by the court nor shall any criminal sentence be imposed by a judge if any part of the plea or sentence is in whole or in part conditioned or based upon the criminal defendant submitting to any form of temporary or permanent birth control, sterilization, or family planning services, regardless of whether the defendant's consent is voluntarily given.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: This bill passed a Senate floor vote on 3/1/2018. Scheduled for a House floor vote on 4/16/2018.

Primary Caregiver Sentencing Reform

SB 0919 sponsored by Senator Dickerson / HB 0825 by Rep. Gilmore requires a court to sentence a person who was convicted of a nonviolent offense and is the primary caretaker of a dependent child to an individually assessed sentence based on community rehabilitation with a focus on parent-child unity and support. This would largely affect mothers, who are more often the primary caregiver.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/3/2018. 

  • HFTN coalition partner Free Hearts took the lead in introducing and lobbying this bill. 

Abortion Restrictions and Penalties

SB 0766 sponsored by Senator Pody / HB 0101 by Rep. Weaver prohibits abortions after 20 weeks except to preserve the life and health of the mother.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing.

SB 0244 sponsored by Senator Pody / HB 0108 by Rep. VanHuss requires fetal heartbeat testing prior to abortion and prohibits abortions from the point a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill was amended to be an ultrasound and heartbeat reporting bill. 

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: The bill passed as amended through the House on 2/12/2018. Scheduled for a Senate floor vote on 4/17/2018.

HB 0663 sponsored by Rep. Hill with no Senate sponsor amends tort law to create a cause of action for emotional distress resulting from an abortion.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Status: Bill did not have a Senate sponsor so it did not move in 2017 or 2018.

SB 1962 by Senator Pody / HB 1893 sponsored by Rep. VanHuss clarifies that the required notice in facilities and physician offices regarding the illegality of being coerced to have an abortion must be written and displayed in such a manner that a reasonable person to whom it applies should have noticed it.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Introduced in 2018. 

SB 2365 the "Physician Intimidation Bill" sponsored by Senator Crowe / HB 1746 by Rep. Hill requires that physicians who perform abortions provide information to patients prior to performing an abortion. This bill is intended to intimidate and shame abortion providers, and does nothing to increase the safety of women or people seeking abortion.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing.

Defunding Health Clinics That Provide Abortions

SB 2148 sponsored by Senator Bell / HB 2251 by Rep. Matlock establishes that it is the policy of the state to avoid the use of state funds to promote or support elective abortions; instructs the commissioner of finance and administration to seek a waiver from the federal centers for medicare and medicaid services to require the exclusion of a provider from the TennCare program if inclusion of the provider in the program would result in the direct or indirect use of state funds to promote or support abortion. Read more here.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Signed by the governor 4/12/2018. 

Abortion Shaming and Stigmatization

SB 2227 sponsored by Senator Southerland / HB 2381 by Rep. Sexton requires the state capitol commission to develop and implement a plan for the commissioning of the Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children; requires that the monument be funded by non-state sources and placed on the capitol grounds upon completion.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Scheduled for both a House and Senate floor vote on 4/16/2018.

Contraception Access

SB 2185 sponsored by Senator Yarbro / HB 2627 by Rep. Turner enacts the “Women's Health Equity Bill” requires all health benefit plans to provide coverage for contraception and other women's preventive health services; provides exemptions for certain religious employers. 

SB 1142 sponsored by Senator Kyle / HB 0721 by Rep. Powell enacts the “Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act” which requires all health insurance policies to cover contraception with some exceptions.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Taken off notice in House subcommittee in 2017. 

SB 0883 sponsored by Senator Yarbro / HB 1320 by Rep. Stewart enacts the “Long-Acting Birth Control Information Act” which requires family planning centers to provide information and access to LARCs Long-Acting Birth Control which includes implants and IUDs. It has been amended to say that the department of health shall administer a program to improve access to LARCs for women and that program shall include: education and outreach to the public to inform women about alternatives to abortion, including adoption services, and the numerous public and private agencies and services that are available to assist women during pregnancy and after the birth of the child. 

  • Stance: Watching

  • Status: Signed by the governor 4/9/2018.

SB 2494 sponsored by Senator Johnson / HB 2262 by Rep. Dunn revises the manner in which family planning funds may be disbursed by the department of health. 

  • Stance: Watching

  • Status: Signed by the governor 4/9/2018.

TennCare Work Requirements

SB 1728 sponsored by Senator Bell / HB 1551 by Speaker Harwell imposes work requirements upon able-bodied working age adult enrollees in TennCare without dependent children under the age of six. 

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Passed a House floor vote on 3/19/2018. Scheduled for a Senate floor vote on 4/18/2018.

SB 2456 sponsored by Senator Roberts / HB 2542 by Speaker Harwell directs that a waiver be submitted to allow for health savings account options, a cost sharing or co-pay initiative, and reasonable work requirements upon certain adult enrollees. 

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing.

SB 2464 sponsored by Senator Roberts / HB 2124 by Rep. Williams requires the commissioner of finance and administration to seek a waiver amendment to the TennCare II waiver to require participation in work or related activities by certain enrollees and to make certain benefit changes.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Taken off notice in the House Health Subcommittee on 3/14/2018.

Menstruation Hygiene Access

SB 0741 sponsored by Senator Yarbro / HB 0804 by Rep. Fitzhugh eliminates the sales tax on over-the-counter medicine, diapers, and menstruation products and reduces sales and use tax rate on food and food ingredients by 0.5% each year beginning on January 1, 2018.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Taken off notice in the House subcommittee in 2017. 

SB 1118 sponsored by Senator Kyle / HB 0833 by Rep. Jones reduces the state sales and use tax rate on retail sales of diapers, feminine hygiene products, and nonexempt over-the-counter drugs from 7 percent to 5 percent.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Assigned to committee but did not move forward in 2017. 

SB 1115 sponsored by Senator Kyle / HB 0832 by Rep. Jones requires all public high schools to provide free feminine hygiene products.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Taken off notice in House subcommittee in 2017. 

Preventing Unintended Pregnancy in Higher Education

SB 0521 sponsored by Senator Massey/ HB 1388 by Rep. Jernigan requires the commission to develop a plan, in collaboration with the boards of public universities and community colleges, to address the prevention of unintended pregnancies among older teens and single students.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Taken off notice in the House in 2017. 

End Barriers to Teaching About Sex Abuse in Public Schools

SB 1510 sponsored by Senator Massey / HB 2164 by Rep. Moody requires instruction on the detection, intervention, prevention, and treatment of child sexual abuse be provided as part of Family Life Curriculum, the state's sex education curriculum. Removes liability for instructors of child sexual abuse for teaching about sexual activity as related to sexual abuse. Read more here.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Signed by the governor 4/2/2018.

Pregnant and Parenting Worker Rights 

SB 1141 sponsored by Senator Kyle / HB 1184 by Rep. Powell requires that all employers give their employees six weeks of paid leave for adoption, pregnancy, childbirth, or nursing an infant.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Taken off notice in the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee 3/14/2018.

SB 1029 sponsored by Senator Yarbro / HB 0834 by Rep. Jones requires employers to provide notice of a pregnant employee’s right to a reasonable accommodation and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees upon request.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing.

SB 2092 sponsored by Senator Yarbro / HB 1985 by Rep. Gilmore prohibits public employers from discriminating against applicants for employment and employees with pregnancy-related conditions by not providing the applicants and employees with reasonable accommodations.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Failed in House State Government Subcommittee on 3/7/2018.

SB 2379 sponsored by Senator Yarbro / HB 2590 by Rep. Powell as written, deletes the authority of an appointing authority to layoff or furlough state employees or reduce such employees' hours of employment for purposes of efficiency or any other material change in duties or organization. This bill has been amended to include parental leave policy.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Passed a House floor vote on 4/12/2018. Scheduled for a Senate floor vote on 4/16/2018.

Tennessee Anti-LGBTQ Marriage Act

SB 0752 sponsored by Senator Pody / HB 0892 by Rep. Pody enacts the “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act” which defines natural marriage as between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Taken off notice House Civil Justice Subcommittee on 1/17/2018.

Anti-LGBTQ Parent Bills

SB 1153 sponsored by Senator Hensley / HB 1406 by Rep. Weaver repeals the statute that deems a child born as a result of artificial insemination to be the legitimate child of the parents.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing.

SB 0300 sponsored by Senator Bowling / HB 0033 by Rep. Ragan requires that words “husband” “wife” “mother” “father” apply in Tennessee code to only heterosexual cisgendered parents.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing.

AG to Defend Public Schools Who Discriminate Against Transgender Students

HB 1488 sponsored by Rep. McCormick directs the TN Attorney General to defend school districts that discriminate against people based on their gender identity by requiring them to use the bathroom that corresponds to their birth certificate. Read more here

SB 2480 sponsored by Senator Hensley / HB 2620 by Rep. Holt expands the attorney general and reporter's duties to include representation of an LEA or certain LEA employees in a legal proceeding arising out of the LEA's adoption of a policy or practice designating multi-person restrooms, locker rooms, or other facilities for use based only on one's biological sex.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Failed in Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/3/2018. Taken off notice in House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee on 4/9/2018.

Business Right to LGBTQ Discrimination

SB 0127 sponsored by Senator Green / HB 0054 by Rep. Zachary prohibits discriminatory action against businesses based on their internal policies, including discriminating against LGBT employees or customers, among other discriminatory practices.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Taken off notice in House State Government Subcommittee on 3/28/2018. 

  • Coalition partner Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) is leading efforts to defeat this bill.

Add Gender Identity to TN Hate Crime Law to Include Protections for Transgender People

SB 1943 sponsored by Senator Kyle / HB 1982 by Rep. Jones adds gender identity to the list of victim characteristics in hate crime as an enhancement factor in sentencing.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Failed in Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/13/2018.

Ensuring Protection from Harassment, Bullying in the Workplace re: Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

SB 2088 sponsored by Senator Kyle / HB 2392 by Rep. Miller rewrites the Healthy Workplace Act to designate certain acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying as unlawful employment practices and to require employers to adopt policies prohibiting those acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. The purpose of this bill is to ensure legal protection from harassment, intimidation, or bullying in the workplace motivated by race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, age, or any constitutionally protected classification.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Taken off notice in the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee on 3/14/2018.

SB 2130 sponsored by Senator Yarbro / HB 1984 by Rep. Gilmore allows a person providing services pursuant to a contract to bring a sexual harassment action against the entity for which the person is under contract in certain situations. In other words, this bill would provide the same protections against sexual harassment for contract employees as regular staff employees. 

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Taken off notice in the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee on 3/14/2018.

Aggravated Prostitution (HIV+ Sex Work)

SB 2505 sponsored by Senator Ketron / HB 2032 by Rep. Coley allows a court to expunge the records of a person convicted of prostitution or aggravated prostitution if the conduct upon which the conviction is based was found to have occurred as a result of the person being a victim of human trafficking. A person commits aggravated prostitution when, knowing that such person is infected with HIV, the person engages in sexual activity as a business or is an inmate in a house of prostitution or loiters in a public place for the purpose of being hired to engage in sexual activity. TCA Title 39, Chapter 13, Part 5, 516.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Passed a Senate floor vote on 2/26/2018. Passed the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee on 4/9/2018.

Female Genital Mutilation

SB 2533 sponsored by Senator Ketron / HB 1594 by Rep. Butt expands the offense of female genital mutilation; creates a civil cause of action for victims of female genital mutilation; expands the offenses of child abuse and endangerment to include female genital mutilation. 

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing.

  • Healthy and Free TN does not support genital mutilation, period. And yet, we are concerned that this bill targets immigrant communities of color. It is our belief that the movement to end genital mutilation must be led by those who are directly affected and not be rooted in Islamophobia. Moreover, this particular bill as written would expand the definition of female genital mutilation to include genital piercing and would apply to adult women, not only minors. In other words, this bill would criminalize vaginal piercings for consenting adult people. Therefore, we cannot support this bill.

SB 1800 sponsored by Senator Ketron / HB 2240 by Rep. Faison requires healthcare practitioners to report incidents of female genital mutilation to the department; requires the department to issue an annual report on the incidence of female genital mutilation in the state. This bill has been amended to remove the responsibility for reporting instances of female genital mutilation to the General Assembly from hospitals, facilities, and healthcare practitioners and place that responsibility on District Attorneys. In essence, this bill adds a reporting requirement to a 2012 bill HB 2664 / SB 2559 sponsored by Senator Ketron and Rep. Faison that specifies that heath care facilities and health care providers must report incidences of female genital mutilation to local law enforcement. In proceedings, Rep. Faison references the 1996 bill HB 2491/ SB 2394 that made FGM a felony in Tennessee, sponsored by Senator Harper and Rep. DeBerry.

  • Stance: Watching

  • Status: Signed by the governor on 4/02/2018.

Eliminating Child Brides/Marriage

SB 1790 sponsored by Senator Yarbro / HB 1785 by Rep. Jernigan requires each applicant be at least 18 years of age before a county clerk can issue a marriage license. 

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Failed in Senate Judiciary Committee 3/27/2018. Taken off notice for House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee calendar on 3/28/2018.

  • David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee worked to defeat this bill because he was worried it might interfere with his legal challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 positive ruling on same-sex marriage. Read more here and here

SB 2548 sponsored by Senator Tate / HB 2521 by Rep. Akbari restricts marriage to persons 16 years of age or older by removing age waivers for marriage certificates.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Taken off notice in House Civil Justice Subcommittee on 4/3/2018.

Easier Path to Restoration of Voting Rights

SB 1978 sponsored by Senator Dickerson / HB 1590 by Rep. Gilmore enables a person who has been disqualified from exercising right to vote due to felony conviction to apply for restoration of voting rights if making payments in accordance with payment plan for court costs, restitution, or overdue child support. This would enable more low-income people to restore their voting rights.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Taken off notice in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on 3/6/2018.

Creation of a Domestic Violence Registry

SB 1574 sponsored by Senator Watson / HB 1940 by Rep. Ragan requires persons committing domestic assault or violating an order of protection to be placed on a domestic abuse registry maintained by the TBI for a period of 10 years from the date of conviction. 

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Failed in House Civil Justice Committee on 4/10/2018. Placed on Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee calendar for 4/17/2018.

Removal of White Supremacist Symbols

SB 2592 sponsored by Senator Yarbro / HB 1466 by Rep. Gilmore requires the state capitol commission to transfer possession and control of the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest located at the state capitol to the new Tennessee state museum.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing.

SB 1857 sponsored by Senator Kyle / HB 1878 by Rep. Miller deletes the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act of 2016; authorizes a public entity exercising control over a memorial to remove, rename, relocate, alter, or rededicate a memorial under certain conditions.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing.

SB 2109 sponsored by Senator Niceley / HB 2146 by Rep. Hill enacts the "Tennessee Historic Properties Act." This would greatly expand the state's eminent domain powers, allowing the state to seize and take part ownership of any privately owned monuments once under a 2013 state historic preservation law. The legislation would also force the city that owned the statues to cover the state's expenses from the seizure and threatens city officials who sell statues or do anything "negatively impacting the historic recognition of such property" with "ouster from office." Read more here.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Failed in s/c cal State Government Subcommittee on 3/28/2018.

SB 2279 sponsored by Senator Pody / HB 2554 by Rep. White prohibits a public entity from selling, donating, or transferring a historical memorial for purposes of circumventing the waiver requirements or a commission action under the Tennessee heritage protection act; deems such memorials subject to the act upon sale, donation, or transfer to a private party. Reporting here and here.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Passed House State Government Committee on 3/6/2018

SB 2519 sponsored by Senator Ketron / HB 1572 by Rep. McDaniel requires proponent of a suit terminating land use as a cemetery to file notice with the historical commission prior to any hearing on the suit; requires the historical commission to establish a historic cemetery advisory committee. Read more here.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Scheduled for House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee on 4/18/18. Scheduled for Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee on 4/17/2018.

SB 2710 sponsored by Senator Bowling / HB 2131 by Rep. VanHuss withholds state funds to be received by a local government for the next subsequent fiscal year if the local government sells, removes, relocates, or destroys a historical memorial after the denial of a waiver to remove or relocate the memorial by the Tennessee historical commission. Read more here.

  • Stance: Oppose

  • Status: Taken off notice for calendar in House State Government Subcommittee on 3/28/2018.

Reduction in Time of Life Sentence for Minors

SB 2298 sponsored by Senator Bowling / HB 2226 by Rep. White resets the floor for life with possibility of parole from 51 to 25 years. It applies to everyone, juveniles and adults alike. If you decide to review the bill online, please note that the amendment will make the bill; meaning, this bill HB 2226 has been amended to reflect HB 135.

  • Stance: Support

  • Status: Never scheduled for a hearing.

 

 

*These are often referred to as "TRAP" laws or Targeted Restrictions of Abortion Providers. Read more here.


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