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The Tennnessee House GOP Review

The House GOP Review is a weekly feature that gives Tennesseans an in-depth look at what our Republican state legislators have been working on this week, and a glimpse into what’s planned for the coming week at our state house. This week’s highlights:

  • Sanctuary cities
  • Recognizing home school & church diplomas
  • Guns in restaurants
  • Unemployment trust fund
  • Tennessee statehood day

Sanctuary Cities immigration measure approved by House of Representatives

House Republicans successfully passed an immigration measure in the House Thursday morning that the caucus has been working on for several years. House Bill 1354 aims to curb illegal immigration by prohibiting local governments from enacting “sanctuary” policies, or policies that make it difficult for law enforcement and other local government employees to comply with federal immigration law.

Map of Sanctuary cites in the United States from the English Language Wikipedia
A map of Sanctuary cites in the United States from the English Language Wikipedia

After the legislation passed with an overwhelming 80-8 vote, House leaders announced that they were pleased with the passage of the bill, which they said was a pre-emptive strike to guard against the adoption of sanctuary policies by cities in the state, and curb policies that protect illegal immigrants.

A “sanctuary city” is a term given to a city in the United States that follows certain practices to protect illegal aliens. Thirty-eight cities in the U.S. have been recognized as sanctuary cities, but many sources have identified over 200 city or county governments nationwide as having practiced such policies.

Home school diplomas to be recognized by state

Republican-sponsored legislation that aims to give home schoolers equal footing with public school students was signed into law by the Governor late last week. Senate Bill 433 requires the state, along with local governments, to recognize home school and church-related diplomas, giving them the same rights and privileges extended to those who earn public school diplomas.

Diploma's like this one are available for $5 online at freeprintablecertificates.net

Having long been advocates for home schoolers, House Republicans felt the move was needed to put home schoolers on equal footing with public school students. The sponsor of the legislation argued throughout the process that earning a home school diploma should not be diminished simply because the mode of teaching is different than that of a traditional public school.

Tennessee General Assembly votes overwhelmingly to override Governor’s veto of restaurant carry bill

concealed-carryLawmakers were notified late last week that the Governor was planning to veto House Bill 962, which would allow legal carry permit holders to carry firearms into restaurants, provided they did not drink alcohol. The bill had originally passed by over two-thirds in both chambers of the legislature.

The Governor stated in his veto message that “guns and alcohol do not mix.” The House Republican sponsor fired back, responding that the bill prohibited carry permit holders from drinking alcohol and carrying a firearm, much as it was illegal to drink and drive. The sponsor said the legal carry permit holders of this state had proven themselves to be responsible individuals, and the bill was simply an attempt to expand their Second Amendment rights.

Thirty-six states have some form of restaurant carry, including seven of the eight states that border Tennessee. The General Assembly exhaustively debated the subject, with a supermajority determining that legal carry permit holders were responsible individuals who should be able to protect themselves. With both chambers having overridden the Governor’s veto, the bill will now become law on July 14, 2009.

Legislature votes to save unemployment trust fund from federal intervention

The House voted this week to save Tennessee’s unemployment trust fund from federal intervention, saying that the move was necessary to keep the federal government from completely taking over the nearly insolvent fund. The fund was approaching insolvency this year after the state unemployment rate approached 9.9 percent. With the highest unemployment in decades, the fund began to be drained of its resources.


The legislation that eventually passed the House will ensure that the unemployment trust fund remains solvent, and creates a series of automatic “triggers” that allow unemployment taxes to decrease if the fund’s balance reaches a certain threshold.

The trust fund dropped to about $120 million after the number of unemployed receiving benefits continued to grow. Without action by the legislature, the federal government would step in to shore up the fund, but with significant strings attached, and wrest away control from the state. This week’s move by the legislature will prevent that from happening.

Tennessee celebrated “Statehood Day” June 1st

Tennessee celebrated “Statehood Day” this week, a holiday that marks the anniversary of the state’s official admission into the Union. On June 1, 1796, Tennessee was the 16th state admitted after ratifying the Constitution. In honor of Statehood Day, some Tennessee trivia facts are listed below.

  • When Tennessee became a state in 1796, the total population was 77,000.
  • Andrew Johnson, who hailed from Greeneville, held every elective office at the local, state, and federal level, including President of the United States. He was elected alderman, mayor, state representative, and state senator in Greeneville. He served as Governor of Tennessee, Military Governor of Tennessee, and was elected to Congress and then to the U.S. Senate. He served as Vice-President of the United States until the assassination of President Lincoln, which elevated him to the Presidency.
  • Hattie Caraway (1878-1950) was born in Bakersville, Tennessee (Humphreys County) and became the first woman United States Senator when her husband died and the seat was passed to her. She won re-election several times, before losing a primary and being appointed to the Employees’ Compensation Commission by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry is the longest continuously running live radio program in the world. It has broadcast every Friday and Saturday night since 1925.
  • Coca-Cola was first bottled in 1899 at a plant on Patten Parkway in downtown Chattanooga after two locals purchased the bottling rights to the drink for $1.00.
  • Cumberland University, located in Lebanon, lost a football game to Georgia Tech on October 7, 1916, by a score of 222-0. The Georgia Tech coach was George Heisman—the man for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.


The Week Ahead…

*All meetings will be held in Legislative Plaza Room 16 unless otherwise noted*
*Study Sub will meet, TBA*

Monday, June 8, 2009:

  • Budget Subcommittee, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

  • Budget Subcommittee, 10:00 a.m.
  • Finance, Ways and Means Committee, 11:00 a.m.
  • Calendar and Rules, 12:30 p.m.
  • Session, House Chambers, 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

  • Joint Convention, House Chambers, 9:00 a.m.
  • Further schedules TBA

Thursday, June 11, 2009

  • TBA

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