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What We're Watching on the Hill

Alyssa Hansen
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Our first legislative update of 2019 is finally here! While committee schedules are still fairly light, bills have started moving and several important pieces of legislation that we're watching have been put on notice. As of today, over 1,500 bills have been filed for the first year of the 111th General Assembly. Very few of these will actually be heard in the various committees, and even fewer will actually become law.  As we've done in the past, we've compiled a master list of all of the bills that we're tracking this session. These deal with issues including pay equality, voting rights, affordable housing, and everything in between. Right now, we are monitoring over 230 bills (238, to be exact) that we expect to have an effect on working families throughout our state. Obviously, this is a very diverse and wide-ranging list. We ask that you please look over it carefully and let us know if there are any pieces of legislation that you're aware of that we might have missed. As we move through the session, this list will likely shrink a bit as bills are taken off notice and we learn more details about certain pieces of legislation. We'll continue to let you know about major changes to this main list in our weekly legislative updates.  We've also compiled quite a few other tracks that are broken down by subject (education, political, public employees, etc.) Some of these contain a couple of bills that we did not include in the main list if they're very subject-specific, or we were simply interested in them. If you are interested in one of the other tracks, please let us know so that we can send you a copy of that list. 

What Has Changed Since Last Year While very little has changed in the Senate, the House is nearly unrecognizable. Many new subcommittees (in some cases as many as four per full committee) have pushed the total number of committees and subcommittees to over 40. Several meetings are now held on Mondays and Thursdays, and others do not even begin until 5 p.m.

There have also been a few rules changes, which have the potential to be particularly damaging. In the past, bill-filing deadlines were just that--the last day that a member could file legislation. Now, committee chairmen have the ability to file a bill at any time during session, as long as the subject matter is relevant to the committee that he or she chairs. This means that there could easily be some late-session fires that we might need to put out on issues such as dues deduction or collective bargaining. We'll be keeping a close eye on this throughout the session and watching out for any dangerous bills that legislators might try to sneak in at the last minute.

What We're Watching Next Week

As the House and Senate calendars begin to grow each week, there is one particular bill that we'll be following closely on Tuesday. HB 273/SB 461 would enact the "Save Tennessee Call Center Jobs Act of 2019." This bill would require companies with 50 or more call center employees to notify the commissioner of labor and workforce development when 30% of the work is being done out of the country. It would also claw back tax breaks and incentives that a company receives from the state. The main goal is to stop companies from sending jobs overseas and keeping jobs in Tennessee.  

This piece of legislation is one of our top good bills this year and has been introduced by CWA. On February 19th, the bill will be heard in the House Employee Affairs Subcommittee at 3 p.m. A list of legislators on the committee can be accessed by clicking here. We encourage you to contact these representatives and ask them to support HB 273 when it is heard on Tuesday afternoon.