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What We're Watching: Week of Feb. 25

Alyssa Hansen
22 Feb, 2019
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While the insensitive and thoughtless comments of House Speaker Glen Casada dominated local and national headlines this week, we continued to stay focused on the dozens of bills that we're watching this session. As we noted in our first legislative update that was sent out last Friday, over 1,500 bills have been filed in both chambers and we're watching over 200 of them. Next week is already shaping up to be both a busy and important week for several of our target pieces of legislation, including the "Save Tennessee Call Center Jobs Act of 2019," which has been introduced by our CWA brothers and sisters. A quick snapshot of our schedule for the week ahead is listed below, including committee meeting times. Since this is the first time we've listed a handful of the bills we're watching, please let us know if you have any additional questions. As a reminder, there is always an open invitation to join us at the Capitol and spend a day on the Hill in Nashville. We always enjoy it when members of our labor family make the trip uptown and get to participate in the legislative process.  As we've noted in our weekly calendars, there are a couple of important legislature-related dates that we'd like to share with you. On Wednesday, March 6th, our brothers and sisters from the United Campus Workers will be hosting their Day on the Hill in Nashville. If you will be in town, please join us to show your support for their hard work and the two pieces of legislation that they've filed this year to improve the lives of state employees throughout Tennessee. On Wednesday, March 27th, we will host our annual legislative reception at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Nashville. Additional details will follow over the next couple of weeks. This is a wonderful opportunity to speak with your legislator in a casual environment and discuss any concerns that you might have. If you plan on attending, please RSVP to let Pat know so that she can keep an accurate list. Special thanks to those of you who have already confirmed your attendance. 

Tuesday, February 26

House Business Subcommittee, 3:00 p.m., House Hearing Room III

House Bill 563 (SB 364): Nearly identical to a bill that was filed in 2017 by now-Congressman Mark Green, this harmful legislation deals with local control, specifically the legislature's desire to eradicate it. The bill prohibits state and local governments from taking discriminatory action against a business based on the business's internal policies. 

House Employee Affairs Subcommittee, 3:00 p.m., House Hearing Room IV

House Bill 273 (SB 461): As we highlighted in last week's update, this bill would enact the "Save Tennessee Call Center Jobs Act of 2019," the main goal of which is to stop companies from sending jobs overseas and keeping jobs in Tennessee.  

House Bill 986 (SB 758): This piece of legislation would enact the "Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act" and outlines reasonable accommodations that must be made for pregnant employees.

Wednesday, February 27

House TennCare Subcommittee, 12:30 p.m., House Hearing Room II

House Bill 1280 (SB 1428): This bill is the Republicans' answer to the continued failure to expand Medicaid in Tennessee and would provide health care coverage for those caught in the gap through a block-grant program. 

House Local Committee, 2:00 p.m., House Hearing Room I

House Bill 1273 (SB 1500): Causing some intra-party problems for Republicans, this piece of legislation would ban a person who is not affiliated with a statewide political party from voting in a primary election.  

Senate Education Committee, 2:30 p.m., Senate Hearing Room I

Senate Bill 482 (HB 564): Yet another repeat of legislation that we've seen in the past, this bill says that if  an LEA is going to make payroll dues deduction available for one professional employees' organization, it must do so for any and all professional employees' organizations that are available and request to be included. This would incorporate groups like PET (Professional Educators of Tennessee) and is yet another attempt to go after the membership of the Tennessee Education Association.