2020 Legislative Watchlist

Update: Due to Concerns Around COVID-19, the legislature has decided to prioritize passing a budget the week of March 16th and then recessing indefinitely.

We are uncertain about what this means for our bills and the bills on this watchlist, but we are monitoring the situation closely and are vigilant about amendments to the budget that may affect our issues. Committees are closed and focusing solely on the budget now. While the Capitol remains closed to everyone who is not a member, staff person, or media, you can watch the budget discussions at capitol.tn.gov .

Each session the Tennessee General Assembly puts out thousands of pieces of legislation, and we sort through them to bring you a condensed list of bills that touch on a number of reproductive freedom issues. Why do some bills make the cut while others do not? There are so many reasons! Most importantly, there are too many bills to include them all. We also try to highlight bills that have an impact on racial justice and may not get the attention they deserve on other watchlists. We are in the process of rethinking how we pick bills to track, so please let us know if you think something is missing or have questions. 

A note on terminology, we have divided the list into bills that impact a person's decision if and when to have children and bills that impact a person's right to live and thrive in safe and healthy communities. You may notice that some bills are labeled as a "caption bill" or "broadly captioned." Legislators file caption bills by the filing deadline with the intent to change the text of the bill later in the session through an amendment. Unlike a normal amendment which would just alter the existing bill language, caption bills generally rewrite the entire bill and are a great way to wait until a committee meeting before revealing the full text. 

We are monitoring these bills and will regularly update this list, but you can always look up bills here. Last updated: Tuesday March 17th.

 

The Right to Choose (Not) to Have Children:

SB 2465/HB 2568: Requires abortion providers to post signage and instruct abortion patients in advance about abortion pill reversal options. Creates class E felony and $10,000 fine for providers. 
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for House floor; Passed House Health Committee; Recommended by Public Health Subcommittee with minor amendment (2/25/20); Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee (1/27/20); Referred to House Public Health Subcommittee (2/11/20); 

SB 1780/HB 1962: Abortion Ban: “Rule of Law Life Act”: Bans abortion after 6 weeks. Would make a physician culpable for a Class C felony if found to violate the law and culpable for a Class A misdemeanor if the physician fails to perform tests for viability of the fetus and performs a procedure resulting in an abortion. Medical providers who violate law lose their medical license. Exempts pregnant person from criminal culpability.
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for Senate Judiciary Committee; Set for House Public Health Subcommittee 3/10/20; Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee (1/27/20); Referred to House Public Health Subcommittee (1/30/20)

SB 1907/HB 1967: Mandates court appointed guardian (guardian ad litem) for infants, who test positive for drugs and illicit substances after delivery (among other circumstances). This bill is broadly captioned, which means that a legislator can add an amendment later in the session altering the text and intent of the bill. 
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for Senate Judiciary; Set for House Children and Families Subcommittee; Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee (1/29/20); Referred to House Children and Families Subcommittee (1/29/20)

SB 2889/ HB 2009: Fetal Assault: Class A misdemeanor for endangering a child through use of controlled substances. Becomes Class D felony for children under age 8, including infants exposed to controlled substances prior to birth.
Position: Oppose
Status: Passed Senate Judiciary Committee; Set for House Judiciary Committee; Introduced in the Senate (2/6/20); Referred to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee (2/4/20)

SB 2143/HB 2212: Removes the “adoption contact veto.” Historically, a biological parent could choose not to disclose their contact information to the child, if the child was the concieved by rape. This bill would eliminate that option.
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for Senate Judiciary Committee; Set for House Judiciary Committee; House Children and Families Subcommittee Recommended (2/26/20); Referred to the House Children and Families Subcommittee (2/10/20); Introduced in the Senate (2/6/20)

SB 2591/ HB 1585: Requires chemical castration as a condition of parole for anyone convicted of a sexual offense against a minor under 13 years old.
Position: Oppose
Status: Deferred to Summer Study in House Criminal Justice Subcommittee (Bill has failed)

SB 1725/HB 2081: Terminates the rapist’s parental rights, if convicted of or found by clear and convincing evidence that the child was concieved by rape.
Position: Support
Status: Set for Senate Judiciary CommitteeSet for House Judiciary Committee; Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee (1/23/20); Referred to House Children and Families Subcommittee (2/6/20)

SB 2008/ HB 1991: Reserves at least two marked parking spots for pregnant people or people with infants.
Position: Support
Status: Set for House Safety and Funding Subcommittee; Referred to Senate Transportation (2/3/20); Referred to Safety and Funding Subcommittee (1/31/20)

SB 2069/ HB 2296: Fetal personhood measure. Permits counties to take their own census outside of the official census, including fetuses in the count. The state would then use these numbers to allocate funding.
Position: Oppose
Status: Failed in House Cities and Counties Subcommittee

SB 2070/HB 2297: Abortion Product Disposition Bill. Current text describes lengthening time period for disposition of fetal remains. Likely a caption bill. 
Position: Oppose
Status: Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee (2/6/20); Caption bill held on House Clerk’s desk (2/6/20)

SB 2196/HB 2263: Governor’s Abortion Bill. Caption Bill. Current text provides for additional time to determine a physician’s medical license status after convicted under abortion laws. Proposed amendment would implement a progressive abortion ban from 6-24 weeks, as a court would allow, require mandatory ultrasound and playing of the "fetal heartbeat" prior to an abortion, and prohibit an abortion where the provider knows the patient is seeking an abortion because of the fetus' race, sex, or a fetal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. 
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for House Public Health Subcommittee; Passed Senate Judiciary Committee (3/3/20); Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee (2/10/20); Caption bill held on House Clerk’s desk (2/6/20)

SB 2254/HB 2484: Department of Health is required to keep records of fetal remains for 10 years. Likely Caption Bill.
Position: Oppose
Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee (2/10/20); Referred to House Public Health Subcommittee (2/11/20)

SB 1418/HB 1490: "Life Appropriation Act:" Amended. Would make all organizations that counsel or provide abortions ineligible for state funds to the extent federal law allows.
Position: Oppose
Status: Taken off notice in Senate Judiciary Committee (2/18/20); House passed with Amendment (4/08/19)

 

Safe and Healthy Communities:

 

Access to Healthcare:

SB 2267/HB 2498: “Recovery Program for Pregnant Women and Women with Newborns Act:” Authorizes the Department of Mental Health to provide a recovery program for pregnant and parenting people.
Position: Support
Status: Set for Senate Health and Welfare; Set for House Health Committee; Passed House Mental Health and Substance Abuse Subcommittee; Referred to Senate Health and Welfare Committee (2/10/20); Referred to House Mental Health and Substance Abuse Subcommittee (2/11/20)

SB 2295/HB 2522: “Plan to Ensure That Women Have Access to Prenatal Care:” Authorizes the Department of Health to create and present a plan to ensure access to prenatal care for 90% of pregnant Tennesseans. Caption Bill.
Position: Support
Status: Set for Public Health Subcommittee; Set for Senate Commerce and Labor Committee; Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee (2/10/20); Caption bill held on House Clerk’s desk (2/10/20)

SB 2435/HB 2709: “Prohibits the Classification of Pregnancy as a Preexisting Condition:” Mandated insurance coverage requirement must not list pregnancy as a preexisting condition.
Position: Support
Status: Set for House Life and Health Insurance Subcommittee; Set for Senate Commerce and Labor Committee; Referred to House Life and Health Insurance Subcommittee (2/12/20); Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee (2/10/20); Negative recommendation from Joint Council on Pensions and Insurance.

SB 2526/HB 2529: Expands medicaid through the block grant process while also maintaining the work and community involvement requirements. 
Position: Watching
Status: Taken off notice in Tenncare Subcommittee; Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee (2/10/20); Referred to House Tenncare Subcommittee (2/11/20)

SB 2640/HB 2795: Requires a special insurance enrollment period for pregnant people in any health plan upon medical certification.
Position: Support
Status: Taken off notice in House Life and Health Insurance Subcommittee; Joint Council on Pensions and Insurance gave unfavorable comment (3/2/20); Introduced in the House and Senate (2/6/20)

SB 2110/HB 2203: Expands licensing and practice authority for Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners. Allows prescribing and removes costly requirements of physician supervision.
Position: Support
Status: Taken off notice in Senate Health and Welfare; Taken off notice in Facilities, Licensure and Regulations Subcommittee 3/11/20Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee (2/10/20); Referred to House Facilities, Licensure, and Regulations Subcommittee (2/10/20)

SB 2776/HB 2609: Forbids a healthcare provider or entity from discriminating against a potential organ transplant recipients based on disability. This bill is broadly captioned so while we support the current text of the bill we will be monitoring for further updates.
Position: Support and Watching
Status: Set for Senate Commerce and Labor Committee; Set for Public Health Subcommittee; Joint Council on Pensions and Insurance gave favorable comment (3/2/20); Referred to House Public Health Subcommittee (2/11/20); Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee (2/10/20)

 

Criminal Legal System:

SB 1847/HB 2141: Requires a parent or guardian be present when a juvenile is interrogated under suspicion of breaking the law and that juvenile is under threat of being removed from their home.
Position: Support
Status: Set for House Children and Families SubcommitteeSet for Senate Judiciary Committee; Referred to House Judiciary Committee (2/6/20)

SB 1899/ HB 1901: Requires the Department of Corrections to provide mental health screenings and services, substance use treatment, and assistance for learning disabilities to incarcerated people through the Department of Mental Health or the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Position: Support
Status: Failed in Corrections Subcommittee

SB 2021/ HB 2066: Requires all correctional facilities to allow free phone calls between an incarcerated minor and their parent or guardian
Position: Support
Status: Failed in Corrections Subcommittee

SB 1781/HB 1814: Increases penalties for possessing a telecommunications device in a correctional facility and adds sentencing enhancement for offenses committed with the aid of the telecommunications device.
Position: Oppose
Status: Placed behind the budget (3/4/20); Passed in House Criminal Justice Subcommittee with Amendment 1 [increasing penalties for crimes committed using prohibited device] (2/11/20); Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee (1/27/20)
[See also SB 2149/ HB 2218 - Governor’s Caption Bill]
[Resolution encouraging correctional facilities to purchase phone jamming technology passed out of Corrections subcommittee (3/11/20)]

SB 958/HB 1184: Prohibits solitary confinement for pregnant incarcerated people and limits transfer of local incarcerated pregnant people to state facilities unless medically necessary.
Position: Support
Status: Failed in Corrections Subcommittee

 

Education:

SB 2089/ HB 2135: Prohibits staff and volunteers in public schools from making “abortion referrals” while on school property or at school-sponsored events. Expands the number of counties targeted for abstinence-based sex education by expanding the age range used to tally teen pregnancy rates of 19.5 per 100,000 people from 15-17 to 15-19 years of age.
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for Senate Floor; Set for House Education Committee; Referred to Senate Education Committee (2/10/20); Referred to House Education Committee (2/6/20)

SB 823/HB 379: Requires pregnancy be considered approved medical or personal leave for Tennessee HOPE Scholarship.
Position: Support
Status: PASSED

SB 1822/ HB 1648: Requires all school districts to provide pre-kindergarten program for all 4 year old children in the district.
Position: Support
Status: Failed in House K-12 Committee

SB 2583/ HB 2434: “Reworks Sexual Education Curriculum in LEAs and Public Charter Schools:” Demands schools adopt medically-accurate and age-appropriate sexual education curriculum for K-12 students.
Position: Support
Status: Set for Senate Education Committee; Set for Curriculum, Testing, and Innovation Subcommittee; Referred to House Education Curriculum, Testing, and Innovation Subcommittee (2/10/20)

 

Environment:

SB 2024/HB 2017: Requires Department of Education to establish guidelines about lead contamination in the water of schools and childcare programs. Requires 15 parts per billion (in place of 20) lead to water to remove water source. Parents must be notified within 24 hours.
Position: Support
Status: Set for House Education K-12 Subcommittee; Set for House Education K-12 Subcommittee; Referred to Senate Education Committee (2/6/20); 

 

Family:

SB 1603/ HB 1609: Authorizes the Department of Human Services to compensate relative caregivers if the child does not enter the foster care system, a court awards them full custody of the child, the caregiver is willing to seek child support, and complies with department rules and regulations lowering risks of children entering the foster care system. This compensation is not allowed when the parent of the child resides with the caregiver.
Position: Support
Status: Set for Senate Judiciary; Set for House Children and Families Subcommittee

 

Finance:

SB 1905/ HB 2032: Removes the sales tax on diapers and wipes.
Position: Support
Status: Set for House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee; Assigned to General Subcommittee (failed) in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee; Referred to House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee (2/4/20)

SB 1949/ HB 2538: Removes the sales and usage tax on residential water utilities
Position: Support
Status: Placed Behind the Budget; Assigned to General Subcommittee (failed) in Senate Finance Revenue Subcommittee (2/11/20); Referred to House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee (2/11/20)

SB 2700/HB 2346: “Medical Debt Protection Act:” Provides consumer protection rules for medical debt collections including signature requirements on legal complaints, a prohibition on arrests of and wage garnishment for people making 400% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Position: Support
Status: Taken off notice in Civil Justice Subcommittee; Set for Senate Commerce and Labor Committee; Referred to House Civil Justice Subcommittee (2/10/20)

 

Food Justice:

SB 1856/ HB 1613: Provides for the establishment of urban agricultural zones and sets up committees to oversee their administration. Prioritizes minority and low-income farmers.
Position: Support
Status: Referred to Senate Government Operations Committee (1/29/20); Referred to House Cities and Counties Subcommittee (1/15/20)

SB 2421/HB 2571: Eliminates the sales tax on fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables.
Position: Support
Status: Assigned to General Subcommittee (failed) in Senate Finance Revenue Subcommittee; Taken off notice in House Finance Committee (3/4/20); Referred to Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee (2/10/20); Referred to House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee (2/11/20)

SB 2906/HB 2891: “Student Healthy Outcomes Act:” Prohibits schools from engaging in predatory or shaming behavior to collect lunch debts from students. Imposes $50 fine/ violation of the law
Position: Support
Status: Set for Senate Education Committee; Set for House K-12 Subcommittee; Introduced in the House and Senate (2/6/20)

 

Housing:

SB 2135/ HB 2344: “Tennessee Source of Income Protection and Fair Access to Housing Act:” Prohibits landlords from discriminating against a tenant based on their source of income. 
Position: Support
Status: Set for House Business Subcommittee; Set for Senate Commerce and Labor Committee; Referred to the House Business Subcommittee (2/10/20)

SB 2443/HB 2544: “Notice of Termination of Rental Lease Agreement:” Demands landlords give 60 days notice of termination of lease. 
Position: Support
Status: Taken off notice in House Business Subcommittee (2/25/20)Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee (2/10/20); Referred to the House Business Subcommittee (2/11/20)

SB 2712/ HB 2807: Requires landlords owning more than 25 units offer alternatives to security deposits for tenants. 
Position: Support
Status: Set for Senate Commerce and Labor CommitteeSet for House Business Subcommittee; Introduced in the Senate (2/6/20); Referred to House Business Subcommittee (2/12/20)

 

Immigration:

SB 1567/HB 1578: Ban on refugee resettlement in Tennessee. Local governments to ban resettlement unless otherwise authorized.
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for Department and Agencies Subcommittee; Referred to Senate State & Local Government Committee (1/16/2020); Referred to House Department & Agencies Subcommittee (1/15/2020)
[See also SB 2003/HB 2016; SB 2730/HB 1929]

 

Labor and Employment:

SB 2520/HB 2708: “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:” Requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and provides liability for employers found to violate the law.
Position: Support
Status: Set for Senate Floor; Set for House Government Operations Committee; Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee (2/10/20); Referred to House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee (2/10/20)

SB 1721/ HB 1588: “Tennessee Pay Equality Act:” Requires that employees of different sexes be compensated equally for the same work. Includes requirement for Labor Department to publish information about objective qualifications and liability for employers found to violate the law.
Position: Support
Status: Taken off notice in House Employee Affairs Subcommittee; Set for Senate Commerce and Labor Committee; Referred to House Employee Affairs Subcommittee (1/14/20)

SB 1858/ HB 1872: “Tennessee Family Insurance Act:” Requires 12 weeks paid family medical leave for all state employees and teachers employed at least one year. Reasons for leave include: birth of a child, placement of child for adoption or foster care, spousal care, a serious health issue or an emergency or serious injury with the employee or teacher's child, spouse or parent serving in the military.
Position: Support
Status: Failed in Employee Affairs Subcommittee

SB 1832/ HB 1546: “CROWN Act of 2020:” Prohibits discrimination based on race, which includes protective hair styles and hair texture, in the workplace.
Position: Support
Status: Set for Senate Commerce and Labor Committee; Referred to House Employee Affairs Subcommittee (1/15/20)

SB 741/ HB 1207: Provides that state agencies shall provide childcare for state employees offset by costs and fees.
Position: Support
Status: Set for Senate State and Local Government CommitteeSet for Public Service and Employees Subcommittee

 

LGBTQ:

SB 2215/ HB 2576: Classifies providing gender affirming medical care to trans young people as child abuse unless two physicians and one board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist certifies this care.
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for House Criminal Justice Subcommittee; Referred to House Criminal Justice Subcommittee (2/12/20); Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee (2/10/20)

SB 2290/HB 2310: Requires the Attorney General to defend any government employee who chooses not to issue a marriage license because of their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Likely a Caption Bill.
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for Children and Families Subcommittee; Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee (2/10/20); Referred to House Children and Families Subcommittee (2/10/20)
[See also SB 2625/ HB 2410] - Set for Children and Families Subcommittee

SB 1736/HB 1689: Requires that students participate in athletic teams consistent with their biological sex listed on birth certificate.
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for House Education Committee; Set for Senate Education Committee; Passed House Education K-12 Subcommittee (3/10/20)
[See also SB 2077/ HB 1572- Set for House Education K-12 Subcommittee]

SB 2896/ HB 2721: Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act: Includes in list of material open for censorship for minors, literature about sexuality. Concerns about using this authority to censor young adult books about LGBTQ youth. 
Position: Oppose
Status: Set for House Cities and Counties Subcommittee; Passed Senate Government Operations Committee (3/11/20); Introduced in the Senate (2/6/20); Referred to House Cities and Counties Subcommittee (2/12/20)

 

Please email Nina at nina@healthyandfreetn.org with any questions or concerns.


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