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List of Tracked Legislation Starts to Shrink as Lawmakers Focus on Personal Priorities

Alyssa Hansen
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By now, you've probably noticed that we're highlighting many of the same pieces of legislation each week as our list gradually starts to shrink.

At this point in session, many bills have either been put behind the budget (meaning that they likely won't be funded due to a fiscal note), voted down, taken off notice by the sponsors, or roadblocked by one of many procedural maneuvers.

Unfortunately, we've seen this happen with several good proposals this year, including the legislation that sought to eliminate the sales tax on groceries and another one that aimed to increase Tennessee's minimum wage.

It's a trend that we're used to seeing with the supermajority in control, but the extreme, partisan antics-fueled environment over the past year at the Capitol makes those defeats sting a little bit more.

In spite of the numbers often working against us (for the time being, at least), we'd like to extend our thanks to the small but mighty group of lawmakers who are always willing to stand up for working families.

We've said it over and over again, but it's true: to change the legislation that gets filed and passed, voters need to change who they send to Nashville to represent their interests.

Tennessee's political climate can be incredibly frustrating, and we know that many of you are as hungry for new representation as we are.

That power lies with us, and we've got some great opportunities to start to make that change a reality this fall.

Refocusing our attention on the present, we are now entering budget season.

This week, the administration's budget amendment is scheduled to be heard in both chambers, and we'll be keeping an eye out for any items that have the potential to impact working families.

Remember, passing a budget is the one item that lawmakers are constitutionally-obligated to complete each year before they can adjourn.

These upcoming weeks are often the most tedious of the entire session but also incredibly important.

On a brief administrative note, please keep in mind that because our office is closed next Friday (March 29th) in observance of Good Friday, our weekly legislative update will be in your inbox on Monday.

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

-HB 1893/SB 2103: One of the most-discussed bills this session, this proposal seeks to give businesses a $2 billion tax cut. However, the House version of the legislation will likely not be the same, which means that this could go to a conference committee in the coming weeks.

-HB 2031/SB 2570: Potentially having major implications for strikes or rallies, this piece of legislation would increase the penalty for blocking a highway, street, etc. from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony.

-HB 2610/SB 2503: This bill seeks to terminate the human rights commission later this year.

-HB 1892/SB 2100: This piece of legislation authorizes the use of third-party examiners or inspectors instead of local ones for certain processes.
NOTE: This bill has already passed in the Senate.

-HB 1010/SB 707: A proposal from last year that was monitored by our UA affiliates, this bill deals with the use of private inspectors (rather than one employed by a local government) for building code inspections. 

-HB 2113/SB 2017: As we learned recently, this proposal shortens the amount of time that someone has to begin a cause of action for unpaid wages for hours worked, overtime, etc. to three years.
NOTE: This bill has already passed in the House and will be heard on the Senate floor soon.

-HJR 797: Nearly-identical to a bill that has already passed the House and will be heard in the Senate next week, this resolution would prohibit a legislator who is expelled from the Tennessee General Assembly from being reelected to, reappointed by, or employed by the body.

-HB 2080/SB 1968: A bill that has generated lots of headlines, this would block an individual who currently holds elected office from holding another elected office in Tennessee at the same time. At least one Republican representative already does what the legislation is trying to prevent, but Democrats have said that they believe this is specifically-targeted at Representative Gloria Johnson, who is currently running for both the U.S. Senate and her Tennessee House seat.

-HB 1616/SB 2631: Similar to a bad piece of legislation from last year, this would outline the process of declaring a statewide political party affiliation before voting in a primary election.