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HB 1856/SB 1796 & HB 2111/SB 2142 Officially Taken Off Notice

Alyssa Hansen
18 Mar, 2022
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This past week, working families scored two major victories at the Capitol as HB 1856/SB 1796 and HB 2111/SB 2142 were officially taken off notice in their respective committees.

As a reminder, these are the two identical bills that would tie the hands of private businesses that may want to locate in Tennessee in the future by making them ineligible to receive state monies or be required to return them if any votes on worker representation are not held by a secret ballot election.

In short, the legislation was yet another attempt by anti-worker lawmakers who couldn't resist taking a shot at the longstanding, productive relationship between the UAW and Ford during the October special session to insert themselves into matters that should be left up to businesses and workers.

We've been discussing these two bills in this space for weeks and cannot thank all of you enough for the calls and e-mails that you made to your lawmakers asking them to vote "NO." These actions undoubtedly played a major role in slowing the legislation with working families sending a clear, unified message: stop trying to manage private businesses and their employees.

While we celebrate this win, it's also a good reminder that this is not the time to let our guard down. Until lawmakers adjourn sine die (which could be in about a month from now), legislation can be brought back at any time and with little-to-no warning. Committees can quickly reopen, and bills can move through a process that normally takes at least a few weeks in the span of just several hours.

We'll continue to monitor all developments closely and keep you in the loop about any new calls to action that are needed. Shortly, we'll turn the majority of our focus to updates around budget discussions and Governor Bill Lee's proposed K-12 funding formula.

Even though there is no specific call to action this week, we are still closely monitoring several pieces of both good and bad legislation that are listed below. Specifically, we draw your attention to SB 2204/HB 2659. As we noted last week, this bill is yet another dig at the strong working relationship between Ford and the UAW and would prohibit organizations that contract with the Memphis Regional Megasite from giving any preference to union-friendly contractors. Additional details are outlined below.

As we prepare to enter what is likely to be the final month of this legislative session, we thank all of you for continuing to contact your lawmakers when called upon and helping to spread the word about what working families are facing. Your advocacy is an important part of our efforts at the Capitol.

A Brief Look at Some of the Additional Legislation That We're Watching Next Week

Special note: On Monday, March 21st at 3:00 p.m. CT, the House Appropriations Subcommittee will hear a presentation on Blue Oval City at the Memphis Regional Megasite. This was supposed to take place late last month but was rescheduled at the last minute. You can watch the discussion live here on Monday.

-SB 2204/HB 2659: Another sneaky caption bill that will be heard on the House floor in just over a week, this is yet another dig at the strong working relationship between Ford and the UAW. This prohibits organizations that contract with the Memphis Regional Megasite from giving any preference to union-friendly contractors.
Note: This bill will be heard on the House floor on Monday evening at 5:00 p.m. CT and in the Senate State & Local Government Committee on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

-SB 2042/HB 2078: This bill removes the subminimum wage exception for employees who are impaired by age, physical or mental disability, or injury.

-SB 2383/HB 2397: This piece of legislation requires that contracts for the construction, maintenance, etc. of public buildings contain a requirement that the iron and steel used for the project be made in the United States.

-SB 2073/HB 2097: A piece of legislation that will be watched closely, this seeks to expand the definition of racketeering activity outlined in the "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization" (RICO) Act.
Note: While unions are already included in the original law and early remarks do not appear to be targeting us, we will be monitoring the intent of the legislation, especially given the strong anti-worker mentality amongst many lawmakers.

-HB 2733/SB 2879: This piece of legislation requires employers to give their employees who are veterans an unpaid holiday on Veterans Day.

-HB 1274/SB 958: According to this bill, certain employers could submit plans to reduce employee work hours in exchange for access to a specific level of unemployment benefits.

-HB 2569/SB 2440: As reported recently, this piece of legislation seeks to eliminate affirmative action programs from state and local governments.

-HB 2489/SB 2064: Among other positive goals for voting rights in this bill, high schools would be required to notify seniors once they turn 18 years old that they are eligible to vote and provide them with information on how to register.

-HB 2339/SB 2345: This is a good piece of legislation that raises the wages of preferred service employees in the Department of Correction by 15%.

-SB 2766/HB 2829: The complete opposite of what recently passed the House, this bill creates a program that incentivizes first responders to live within the boundaries of a local government.