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What We're Watching: Week of February 24

Alyssa Hansen
24 Feb, 2020
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This upcoming week proves to be a very critical one for the labor movement in Tennessee. As you have probably seen on social media and in e-mail updates from both our office and your respective CLCs, SJR 648 (aka The "Kelsey Amendment") will be heard in the House Employee Affairs Subcommittee this upcoming Tuesday (February 25th) at 4:30 p.m. CT. While this will likely end up being a multi-year process, Tuesday's committee meeting is the best (and easiest) place to potentially stop this dangerous and unnecessary resolution, which seeks to add Tennessee's Right to Work law to the state constitution. Given this, we'll get right to a very important call to action that we ask of all of you.  Many of you have done so already (and we thank you for it!), but we need all of our brothers and sisters throughout Tennessee to call and/or e-mail the six legislators who are on this committee and ask them to vote "NO" on SJR 648. To make it even easier, a Facebook page has been created with additional information about the resolution and Senator Kelsey's background. You can also click here to send an e-mail urging legislators to vote against SJR 648 or access a list of direct phone numbers for the members of this committee here. While it's important that all of the legislators who are on the House Employee Affairs Subcommittee hear from labor, we are paying particular attention to Representative Charlie Baum and Representative Rush Bricken. As you make your calls and send your e-mails, please keep in mind that legislators typically leave Nashville around noon on Thursdays to go home and usually don't return until late Monday afternoon.  If the resolution does pass out of committee on Tuesday, it will likely head to the full House Consumer & Human Resources Committee. Regardless, we will keep you posted as to what happens next week. In the meantime, please share this information with your locals, CLCs, families, friends, etc....anyone who supports working families! Let's flood these lawmakers' phone lines and inboxes between now and Tuesday afternoon by asking them to stand up for the hard working constituents in their districts by voting "NO" on SJR 648! 
Tuesday, February 25th Senate State & Local Government Committee, 10:30 a.m., Senate Hearing Room ISenate Bill 1752 (HB 1801): This legislation seeks to make state correctional officers (who are members of the state retirement system) eligible for service retirement after 25 years of creditable service. Note: This bill will also be heard in the House Public Service & Employees Subcommittee on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.Senate Bill 1773 (HB 2045):  According to this bill, the amount that the state will match to an employee's optional retirement plan would increase to $75.Note: This bill will also be heard in the House Public Service & Employees Subcommittee on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. House State Committee, 10:30 a.m., House Hearing Room I House Bill 1615 (SB 1578):  Focused on correctional employees, this bill authorizes the Department of Corrections to contribute state funds toward the funeral expenses of any of its employees who are killed in the line of duty.  Senate Commerce & Labor Committee, 1:00 p.m., Senate Hearing Room I Senate Bill 1796 (HB 1862): This piece of legislation allows marketplace contractors to keep their tips and prohibits marketplace platforms from taking them.  House Employee Affairs Subcommittee, 4:30 p.m., House Hearing Room V SJR 648: As we noted above, this is the dangerous "Kelsey Amendment," which seeks to enshrine Tennessee's Right to Work law in the state constitution. House Bill 2708 (SB 2520): A good bill that we are actively supporting and helping to lobby, this would enact the "Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act." House K-12 Subcommittee, 4:30 p.m., House Hearing Room IIIHouse Bill 1648 (SB 1822):  This good bill requires Local Education Agencies to provide an opportunity for enrollment in a pre-K program to all children who are four years old by the end of each September. 
Wednesday, February 26thHouse Education Committee, 9:00 a.m., House Hearing Room IHouse Bill 1589 (SB 1593):  This legislation enacts the "Tennessee Anti-Lunch Shaming Act" and prohibits a school from taking action against a student who can't pay for a meal or who has an outstanding meal debt. 

House Elections & Campaign Finance Subcommittee, 10:00 a.m., House Hearing Room IVHouse Bill 2862 (SB 2266):  Attempting to make it easier to vote, this good bill allows any Tennessean who is registered to vote to do so absentee for any reason after verifying his or her identity.

House Bill 1002 (SB 837): Another good bill, this legislation requires that anyone who applies for a driver's license or photo ID card be automatically registered to vote after their 18th birthday. Senate Education Committee, 2:30 p.m., Senate Hearing Room ISenate Bill 1982 (HB 2460):  According to this legislation, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development would be required to establish a three-year pilot program to help adults over the age of 19 earn their high school diploma.

House Public Service & Employees Subcommittee, 3:30 p.m., House Hearing Room IVHouse Bill 1994 (SB 2203):  This bill deals with executive branch employees who are engaged in executive service and prohibits them from lobbying for 12 months after leaving state service.

House Bill 1707 (SB 2739): This piece of legislation would allow the state to seek an injunction against someone who commits harassment against a state employee.Note: This bill will also be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.House Judiciary Committee, 3:30 p.m., House Hearing Room IHJR 779:  This absurd resolution from Representative Micah Van Huss condemns CNN and the Washington Post and classifies them as "fake news."