2024 Watchlist

Welcome to Healthy and Free Tennessee’s 2024 Legislative Watchlist. This list includes bills we think are important for all Tennesseans to know about and include the broad scope of reproductive justice issues. We try to update this list once a week with information about the progress of each bill. This list is not exhaustive, but we believe it creates a good snapshot of what we’re facing in Tennessee this year. If you are moved to take action on any of these bills, please go to our Advocate page, where you can find tools to help you communicate with legislators. Please also check out the legislative watchlists of our partner organizations: Disability Rights TN (disability and juvenile justice issues) and Tennessee Equality Project (queer and trans justice issues).

Did we miss a bill? Do you have questions about what this terminology means? Please reach out to Nina at [email protected]

 

HFTN’s Proactive Bills:

SB 2777 / HB 2495: Removes a positive test for cannabinoids at birth as a form of child abuse.
Sponsors: Senator Janice Bowling; Representative Chris Hurt
Position: Support
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 Senate Judiciary Committee
Advocacy Toolkit coming soon!

SJR 351: First of its kind resolution in the country that reaffirms the legislature’s intent that the laws of Tennessee are not used to criminalize people for their or their loved one’s pregnancy outcomes.
Sponsors: Senator London Lamar; Representative Torrey Harris
Position: Support
Latest Action: Set for 3/12 Senate Judiciary Committee
Link to Advocacy Toolkit

SB 1739 / HB 2225: Allows TennCare to cover doula services
Sponsors: Senator London Lamar; Representative Harold Love
Position: Support
Latest Action: Set for 3/6 Senate Health and Welfare Committee
Advocacy Toolkit coming soon!

 

Statewide Repro Coalition Bills:

The statewide repro coalition is a group of advocates and organizations convened and led by Healthy and Free Tennessee. We are introducing our first slate of bills this year.

SB 1590 /HB 1626: North Star Abortion Bill: We are putting forth the vision we have for abortion justice in our state. A Tennessee where everyone has the right to decide to continue or end a pregnancy and the right to use or refuse the contraception of their choosing. We’re also repealing all the harmful anti-abortion laws on the books.
Sponsors: Senator London Lamar; Representative Aftyn Behn
Position: Support
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 House Population Health Subcommittee
Link to Advocacy Toolkit

SB 1804 / HB 1943: Freedom to Birth Control: This legislation requires the state to recognize our fundamental human right to use or refuse the contraceptive method of one’s own choosing. It also requires insurance carriers and the state to make contraception accessible to all Tennesseans by covering the method they want to use.
Sponsors: Senator Charlane Oliver; Representative Gloria Johnson
Position: Support
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 House Population Health Subcommittee
Link to Advocacy Toolkit

SB 1919 / HB 2635: Requires health insurers to cover and pharmacists to dispense a 12 month supply of birth control at one time.
Sponsors: Senator Raumesh Akbari; Representative Sam McKenzie
Position: Support
Latest Action: Passed Senate Commerce and Labor Committee unanimously; Set for 3/5 Insurance Subcommittee

SB 1918 / HB 2227: Clarifies that Tennessee’s abortion ban does not apply to the provision of birth control or fertility care.
Sponsors: Senator Raumesh Akabrari; Representative Harold Love
Position: Support
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 House Population Health Subcommittee; Set for 3/12 Senate Judiciary Committee

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The Right to Choose Not to Have a Child

SB 1971 / HB 1895: Youth Travel Ban: Creates criminal and civil penalties for any non parent or guardian who helps a minor access abortion care out of state.
Sponsors: Senator Paul Rose
Position: Oppose
Latest Action: Passed House Health Committee, awaiting calendar in House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee; Set for 3/12 Senate Judiciary Committee
Planned Parenthood Action Toolkit

SB 2482 / HB 2773: Requires that parents have access to all children’s medical records, including record of prescriptions.
Sponsors: Senator Paul Rose; Representative Mark Cochran
Position: Oppose 
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 House Health Subcommittee

SB 2747 / HB 2935: Allows healthcare providers to skirt the ethical, criminal, and civil consequences of failing to provide the care they are required to provide their patients.
Sponsors: Senator Ferrell Haile; Representative Jeremy Faison
Position: Oppose - This would impact the ability to hold medical professional accountable for failing to provide life-saving reproductive and sexual healthcare
Latest Action: Introduced

 

The Right to Choose To Have a Child

SB1797/ HB 1986: Prohibits DCS from receiving anonymous reports of child abuse and neglect.
Sponsors: Senator Joey Hensley; Representative Jody Barrett
Position: Support - Multiple studies have found that anonymous reporting does not make kids and their communities safer. Similar laws have passed in Texas with wide support.
Latest Action: Introduced

SB 2888/ HB 2965: Expands the definition of child endangerment to include committing an act of domestic violence in the home of a child. 
Sponsors: Senator Sara Kyle; Representative G.A. Hardaway
Position: Oppose - This law can and will be used against survivors of domestic violence who are defending themselves and their children.
Latest Action: Set for Final Senate Judiciary Committee Calendar

SB 2571 / HB 1930: Fines parents $1,000 per incident their child is delinquent. 
Sponsors: Senator Brent Taylor; Representative John Gillespie
Position: Oppose - Charging families money or requiring community service only exacerbates systemic problems that lead to youth being involved with the juvenile justice system.
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 House Criminal Justice Subcommittee; Sent to Senate Finance, Ways, and Means after passing Senate Judiciary Committee

HJR 856: Recognizes the impact on children of having a parent incarcerated.
Sponsors: Representative Susan Lynn
Position: Neutral - While it is important to recognize the impact of incarceration on both parents and children, we fear this might be setting the stage for punishing parents, up to and including loss of parental rights, for being incarcerated. That’s why we’re watching this bill closely.
Latest Action: Introduced

SB 2349 / HB 2404: Redefines the criteria for a dependency and neglect case for child’s mental health or substance use issues even when the parent is not at fault.
Sponsors: Senator Ferrell Haile; Representative William Slater
Position: Oppose - This bill makes it easier to separate disabled kids from their families and communities.
Latest Action: Set for 3/6 House Civil Justice Committee; Set for 3/12 Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 2662 / HB 1817: Expands definition of child endangerment and increases child endangerment from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Sponsors: Senator Dawn White; Representative Mary Littleton
Position: Oppose - the definition of child endangerment is much too broad and can include things like witnessing domestic violence in the home. When criminal laws are broad, we know they are enforced in a way that disproportionately impacts Black and brown and poor people.
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 House Criminal Justice Committee

SB 1587 / HB 1727: Creates a specific crime for a parent or guardian knowingly allowing their child to be in the presence of someone on the sex offender registry. 
Sponsors: Senator Ferrell Haile; Representative Ron Gant
Position: Oppose - Laws that criminalize parents disproportionately impact women and domestic violence survivors. There are many reasons people may be required to be listed on the sex offender registry, and this law will be used to further harass and criminalize parents.
Latest Action: Placed behind the budget - meaning that the state will first evaluate the budget for the year before considering whether to allocate additional funds required by this bill

SB 2660 / HB 1808: Among other changes, lowers the amount of time to six months where a parent must be substantially compliant with a parenting plan before DCS can file for termination of parental rights.
Sponsors: Senator Dawn White; Representative Ed Butler
Position: Oppose - 6 months is not enough time for parents to meet the often onerous and demanding parenting plans set forth by the department.
Latest Action: Passed the Senate; Set for 3/5 House Children and Families Subcommittee

SB 1832 / HB 2226: Creates the Maternal Health Equity committee to report on and make recommendations to improve maternal health in minority communities
Sponsors: Senator London Lamar; Representative Harold Love
Position: Support
Latest Action: Set for 3/6 Senate Health and Welfare Committee

 

The Right to Raise Children in Safe and Healthy Communities

SB 2065 / HB 2234: Creates a program of universal pre-kindergarten for all Tennessee kids.
Sponsors: Senator Charlane Oliver; Representative Aftyn Behn
Position: Support
Latest Action: Set for 3/6 Senate Education Committee

SB 2097 / HB 1891: Requires social media companies to require photo identification in order to use them. 
Sponsors: Senator Jack Johnson; Representative William Lamberth
Position: Oppose - This bill is something we have seen across several states and is part of a larger campaign to limit access to the internet for youth, undocumented people, sex workers, and queer and trans people.
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 House Commerce Committee

SB 1926 / HB 1869: Creates a task force to study and propose a plan for reparations for African Americans.
Sponsors: Senator Raumesh Akbari; Representative Justin Jones
Position: Support
Latest Action: Introduced

SB 2078 / HB 1886:  Makes various changes to TANF funds including deleting the exception for the work requirement and increasing penalties for suspected fraud. 
Sponsors: Senator Jack Johnson; Representative William Lamberth
Position: Oppose - While this bill does make a modest change when it comes to pregnant people on TANF, overall it makes it harder for those receiving assistance to get the assistance they need.
Latest Action: Set for 3/4 House Calendar; Passed Senate

SB 1823 / HB 1971: Makes administrative changes that make it easier to dispense the Tennessee Opportunity Grants, which is how the government has decided to spend down the TANF surplus they withheld from beneficiaries. 
Sponsors: Senator Bo Watson; Representative David Hawk
Position: Oppose - We have always opposed the grant program model for spending down the TANF surplus. We believe that payments through TANF should increase and limitations and restrictions should be removed.
Latest Action: Set for 3/6 Senate Health and Welfare Committee; Set for 3/6 House Health Committee

SB 2125 / HB 2557: Creates the presumption of continuous eligibility for children under six who are enrolled in TennCare.
Sponsors: Senator Sara Kyle; Representative Johnny Shaw
Position: Support
Latest Action: Set for 3/6 Senate Health and Welfare Committee

SB 2387 / HB 2500: Prohibits a utility company from shutting off utilities for non payment in a heat advisory.
Sponsors: Senator Sara Kyle; Representative Justin Jones
Position: Support
Latest Action: Introduced

SB1754 / HB 1947: Expands criminal penalties when fentanyl is detected.
Sponsors: Sen. Adam Lowe; Representative Dan Howell
Position: Oppose - Laws that criminalize drug use do more harm than good and contribute to our state’s overdose crisis.
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 2572 / HB 1931: Nullifies any local ordinance or policy that could limit law enforcement’s ability to conduct a criminal investigation.
Sponsors: Senator Brent Taylor; Representative John Gillespie
Position: Oppose - Impacts the ability of local governments to fund their safety programs and deprioritize certain offenses.
Latest Action: Set for 3/4 House Calendar; Set for Senate Calendar Committee

SB 2043 / HB 2572: Expands crime of aggravated rape to include rape while HIV+
Sponsors: Senator London Lamar; Representative Ronnie Glynn
Position: Oppose - Laws that specifically criminalize behavior while HIV+ do nothing to promote public health and safety and stigmatize all people living with HIV in our state.
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 House Criminal Justice Subcommittee; Passed Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 2566 / HB 1718: Rolls back efforts from grassroots advocates to improve bail systems in Tennessee. Will require release monitoring.
Sponsors: Senator Brent Taylor; Representative John Gillespie
Position: Oppose
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 House Criminal Justice Subcommittee; Set for 3/5 Senate Judiciary Committee 

SB 2728 / HB 2207: Use the taxes collected from the sale of menstrual hygiene products to pay for all Tennessee schools to provide these products free of charge to their students
Sponsors: Senator Raumesh Akbari; Representative Elaine Davis
Position: Support
Latest Action: Set for 3/5 House K-12 Subcommittee

SJR 805: Resolution that condemns the use of the phrase "From the River to the Sea" and organizations and individuals speaking out about Israel's human rights abuses in Palestine. 
Sponsors: Senator Mark Pody
Position: Oppose - Reproductive justice calls on us to recognizes the human rights of all people. Especially, when the U.S. government is providing support to a government committing human rights abuses, we must speak out. Vilifying those speaking out about these injustices harms us all. 
Latest Action: Introduced

 


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