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SB 650 Moves to the Senate Floor, Ask Senators to Vote "NO"

Alyssa Hansen
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On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee passed SB 650 by a vote of 8-1.

Unsurprisingly, Senator Raumesh Akbari was the only legislator to speak out and vote against the bill.

For the second year in a row, the supermajority wants to tie the hands of 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.

Lawmakers have no right to manage private businesses and their employees, and there's a very real chance that SB 650 could jeopardize future investments in our state.

SB 650 will be heard on the Senate floor THIS MONDAY (March 27th) at 4:00 p.m. CT for a final vote. Keep in mind that the companion bill (HB 1342) has already passed in the House.

Click here and ask your senator to vote "NO" on SB 650!

As we noted yesterday, we need all of you to keep making your voices heard! We thank our Central Labor Councils for engaging members on the ground in their respective areas and helping to spread the word about this legislation.

The bottom line is this: discussions about worker representation should be left up to employers and employees without outside influence from politicians.

Tell your senator: stop trying to manage private businesses and their employees!

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

Note: Many committees and subcommittees are now closed or hearing their final calendars. We're continuing to watch caption bills closely for any late-filed amendments that impact working families.

-HB 329/SB 281: Another example of a bad (caption) bill that's filed almost every year, this would eliminate automatic payroll dues deduction for professional educators' organizations (like the Tennessee Education Association) and create an unnecessary financial burden. This year, however, a pay raise is deliberately included in the same bill.
Note: This will be heard on the Senate floor on Monday afternoon.

-HB 1197/SB 1335: Another attempt by the legislature to exert more control over Nashville, this piece of legislation would overhaul appointments to the Metro Nashville Sports Authority; the mayor would be allowed to appoint three directors, while all other appointments would come from the governor, the speaker of the House, and the speaker of the Senate.

-HB 1176/SB 1326: Similar to the previous bill, this would overhaul appointments to the Metro Nashville Airport Authority; the governor, the speaker of the House, and the speaker of the Senate would be allowed to appoint all members, while the mayor would serve as a voting ex officio commissioner.

-HB 747/SB 1511: A good bill, this would enact the "CEO Pay Disparity Tax Act" and impose a pay disparity surcharge on each company whose top executive is paid at least 100 times more than the average income of their employees. 

-SB 276/HB 324: After promising to enact a paid family leave program for state employees in his State of the State Address in February, this caption would enact Governor Lee's proposal. Those who are eligible would be given 12 weeks of paid leave. While other legislators are sponsoring similar measures, this one is the most likely to pass, simply because it's an administration bill.
Note: This bill has already passed in the Senate.

-HB 396/SB 97: This bill would increase the death benefit in workers' compensation claims to 75% of a person's average weekly wage and makes several other changes to death benefits.
Note: This bill has already passed in the Senate.

-HB 433/SB 12: Continuing to have a negative impact on public education across the state, this piece of legislation would expand Tennessee's school voucher program to include Hamilton County schools.
Note: This bill has already passed in the Senate.

-HB 806/SB 1475: Another repeat of legislation that we saw last year, 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 previous remarks on the bill do not appear to be targeting us, we will be monitoring this closely, especially given the strong anti-worker mentality amongst many lawmakers.

-HB 262/SB 405: An ongoing attempt to politicize traditionally non-partisan races across Tennessee, this would require state and local elections to be partisan and require judges to declare a party affiliation (or lack thereof) prior to their retention election.

-HB 1336/SB 1053: A good bill, this would enact the "Workers Need Child Care Act."

-HB 774/SB 681: This piece of legislation would enact the "Protecting Tennessee Businesses and Workers Act," but this doesn't actually benefit workers. The complete opposite of HB 278/SB 166 (which was voted down earlier this month), this would prohibit local governments from enacting policies regarding scheduling, wages, etc. that private businesses in their community would need to follow. Once again, the state is demonstrating its never-ending focus on preemption.

-HB 317/SB 269: Rather than classifying it as a day of special observance, this bill would make Juneteenth a legal holiday in Tennessee.
Note: This bill has already passed in the Senate.