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TN AFL-CIO Achieves a Victory on the Hill, Successfully Passes Legislation

Alyssa Hansen
08 Apr, 2022
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It's rare that we get to discuss such positive news in a legislative update, so we won't miss an opportunity to do so. This past week and with bipartisan sponsors and support, the Tennessee AFL-CIO successfully passed a piece of legislation.

As amended, HB 2733/SB 2879 requires employers to allow their employees who are veterans to take Veterans Day as a non-paid holiday if the employee provides notice, shows proof of their veteran status, and the absence doesn't impact public health, safety, or cause the employer a significant disruption in their day-to-day operations. Under the bill, employers do have the option of allowing Veterans Day to be taken as a paid holiday.

While there are aspects of the legislation in its original form that we wish would have remained, a victory is still a victory. 2022 is the first year in quite some time that we have run proactive legislation of our own, and we hope that this accomplishment is the first of many on Capitol Hill!

We are proud of this achievement but are still very mindful of the fact that session is not over, and there is still much work to be done.

In fact, we are back with another call to action this week...but this time, it's for a good bill!

Over the course of the legislative session, we've briefly discussed SB 2383/HB 2397, which requires that contracts for the construction, maintenance, etc. of public buildings contain a provision that the iron and steel used for the project be made in the United States. Or, in other words, the legislation requires that some taxpayer-funded projects use products that are "Made in America" whenever possible.

Reinvesting Tennessee's tax dollars back into our state's workers and businesses is good for the economy AND supports products made right here at home.

Please take a few minutes to send a quick note to your legislators and ask them to support HB 2397/SB 2383. The message is pre-written and will be sent directly to your respective lawmakers; all you have to do is enter your address. While it is not on the calendar for this upcoming week, the legislation is waiting to be heard in the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee and the Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee.

Thank you for taking action to support good jobs and American workers!

As the General Assembly prepares to take up the budget (which could happen as soon as the week of April 18th), we'll continue to keep all of you updated. Please note that because our office will be closed in observance of Good Friday and the fact that there are only a handful of major items that we're still monitoring, there likely will not be a legislative update sent out next week. However, if that changes, we will let you know.

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

-SB 2204/HB 2659: A sneaky caption bill, this is yet another dig at the strong working relationship between Ford and the UAW. The House version seeks to prohibit organizations that contract with the Memphis Regional Megasite from giving any preference to union-friendly contractors AND requires them to report how much is spent on work performed by union members.
Note: This bill has passed both the House and Senate. However, as we noted last week, the Senate's version is different than what the House passed on Thursday. We expect this to go on a "message" calendar at some point next week. If the two chambers can't resolve their differences between the two bills, the next step would be for the legislation to go to a conference committee.

-HB 2143/SB 2396: The caption to this legislation carries Governor Bill Lee's proposed overhaul of Tennessee's K-12 school funding formula.

-SB 2383/HB 2397: This piece of legislation requires that contracts for the construction, maintenance, etc. of public buildings contain a provision that the iron and steel used for the project be made in the United States. Click here to take action and tell your lawmakers to buy American!

-SB 1610/HB 0978: A bill that passed the House last year, the sponsors had claimed that the intent was to curb panhandling and camping around highway entrance and exit ramps, but are watching this for any unintended consequences that could potentially impact where folks are located during strikes.

-HB 2246/SB 2077: A piece of legislation that has made headlines in recent weeks, this would preempt local governments' ability to regulate the location of oil and gas pipelines.
Note: This bill has already passed the Senate.

-HB 1201/SB 1005: In light of the ongoing federal investigation into several lawmakers, this piece of legislation seeks to sharpen disclosure requirements and make additional ethics changes.

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SB 2766/HB 2829: Different from what passed both chambers early in session, this bill creates a program that incentivizes first responders to live within the boundaries of a local government.