Greetings Fortieth District!
Now that the first half of the 110th is adjourned, “The Loop” going forward will contain various bills covered this legislative session, topics of interests and perhaps updates not only here in the 40th, but the great state of Tennessee and Our Nation.
This Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer season at area state parks, lakes, swimming pools and all things outdoors. As we make plans for this weekend with family and friends, make it a point to reflect and be grateful for the many souls who were ready to guard, ready to defend and who ultimately gave their lives for the liberties we experience today. Memorial Day is remembering and honoring all Americans who died while in Military Service. Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend wherever it may take you.
Every year Senator Mae Beavers and I take the valedictorians and salutatorians out to dinner. Thank you to all the seniors that put the hard work in and graduated this year. I look forward to seeing you all around the 40th.
Tennessee’s Lawsuit Challenging the Refugee Resettlement Program Filed
In light of the oral arguments taking place dealing with President Trump's blocked executive order from countries that pose a high terror risk, an update on Tennessee’s Lawsuit Challenging the Refugee Resettlement Program is a discussion of merit indeed.
With activist judges in the state of Washington, Hawaii, and Maryland using politics instead of law to stop President Trump’s Executive Order regarding the refugee resettlement program, Tennessee’s constitutional challenge to the program could not come at a better time.
Just to recap SJR467, the joint resolution that I sponsored in the House and Sen. Mark Norris sponsored in the Senate, it was the first step in securing legal representation to address an issue, which I believe exemplifies the extent to which Tennessee’s sovereignty has been eroded by federal intrusion. While our state’s Attorney General Slatery declined to file a lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of this great state, he did agree to delegate his constitutional and statutory authority to the legislature to sue on behalf of Tennessee.
I was part of the team that interviewed and selected the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest firm, chosen to represent our state without cost. Our lawsuit was filed on March 13, 2017. Like many of you, I had plenty of questions about the status of our lawsuit after reading that the Department of Justice will try to have the suit dismissed.
Attorney Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, forewarned us that the federal government would try to dismiss the suit, a move which I now understand is almost like standard operating procedure for the federal government. I checked in with Mr. Thompson recently about the process of our suit and here is what he told me:
“The lengthy legal process has started. As predicted, the Federal Government is following its standard operating procedure in cases like ours. Its motion to dismiss our case must be filed by June 1, 2017. We will then have 28 days to respond. After that, the Government has 7 days to reply to our response and we have 10 days to file what is called a sur-reply. Once all these initial pleadings are filed, the court will most likely schedule oral arguments on the motion to dismiss.”
I have full confidence that Thomas More brings the same commitment and passion as I do for asserting our state’s sovereign rights pursuant to the Tenth Amendment. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court said that, “states are separate and independent sovereigns - sometimes they have to act like it.”
And that is exactly what we are working to do.
To stay the course, should this case come before The Supreme Court, is work worth doing and one we must not grow weary in doing. I will continue to keep you in the Loop on this very important case.
Bill Highlight of the Week
House Bill 287, among other things requires schools to teach principles of freedom from our nation’s founding documents. HB287 designates September 17, Constitution Day, as “Celebrate Freedom Week” in our public schools. Hopefully students will learn more about the original intent of our Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, plus the lives, fortunes and sacred honor forfeited for the cause of freedom. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And that’s the truth!
Lancaster Independence Day Parade - Parade line-up time is 5:00pm; start time is 6:00pm.
Coffee Conversations will resume in September.
I will see you out and about in the Fabulous Fortieth District!
Greetings Folks of the Fortieth!
Wednesday around 1:30 pm we adjourned after completing the first half of the 110th General Assembly. The House and the Senate will recess until noon, January 9th, in the year of our Lord, 2018. Today after completing “The Loop”, my yard and my home will have my attention for the remainder of this week and Sunday. I am looking forward to serving my family as we all gather at the Weaver Farm in Smith County. Though this mom will be preparing, it will be therapy well-welcomed for this homebody as the perfect mother’s day gift for me. Staying in the Holler!!
First, allow me to mention how grateful I am that you entrust me to be your representation on the Hill in Nashville. I make it imperative to know your heartbeat on the issues that affect us in Tennessee and D.C., as well. Though this session was a turbulent one, I believe it made me even stronger to stand on the principles you elected me to uphold. So “I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” Philippians, Chapter Three.
A true Conservative believes and takes action on keeping taxes low and defining what the role of government is. LESS IS MORE. LESS GOVERNMENT MORE FREEDOM. Both Transportation and Education were hot topics that wore me out serving as chair in transportation sub and as a member of the education committee. Though I fought the good fight, we won some and we lost some. HB863 that exempts certain students from paying out-of-state tuition (undocumented students, meaning not citizens) at state institutions of higher education, and its partner bill HB660 that would allow public institutions’ governing bodies to determine who and how many students attend their schools, got my big fat heck no vote. Tennessee cannot afford to pay for illegal immigrants to go to college! And the cost of higher education is over the top!! Wonder if they thought that could be the reason the classrooms are lacking students? Just saying. The eyes of the education committee must remain the decisive oversight, not an unelected board at some institution. Those bills will raise their ugly head again next year, as well as seat belts on school buses and school vouchers, to which I remain another Heck NO on all!
Though the so called “Improve Act” passed, it is unfortunate the tax increase will be felt by those living on fixed incomes, as well as working families. For those who have done pretty well, as usual, they feel it less than anyone.
What I am most proud of, are the 37 of us in the House that proved you can redirect funds already in the piggy bank for our roads--without a tax increase. We stood our ground and would not vote for the budget in order to prove a point. By standing and not backing down, we won. Our request of how $55 million will come back to the people was granted for infrastructure needs in our districts. This is extra dollars for counties and cities. It is the General Assembly who was given the authority over the checkbook. We are working to get that back!
Oh, by the way, did you just get your “assessment change notice” in the mail, as well? No surprise, another tax increase. Again, as I mentioned in my last Loop about the addiction problem in our state, and not just opiates, but government never seeming to have enough of our pocketbook. Ugh!
Legislation such as HB1149, which prohibits abortion of a viable fetus except in a medical emergency, passed and made Tennessee the 21st state to protect life inside the womb. That was a huge victory and one that made heard the cries of children inside the womb.
HB529, known as The Tennessee Broadband Accountability Act, mentioned by some as “the simplistic approach to a complicated issue,” was created by a report revealing the dire need to provide internet services to rural Tennesseans. Fact of the matter is, 34% of rural residents are without the basics compared to the 2% urban citizens who are underserved. Open up the competition, and I assure you underserved communities will have affordable internet service, which is one as vital as water, electricity and roads. . .HB529 will blaze the trails for work going forward.
I’ve just skimmed the top of the bills passed this session. I intend to “Loop” you when I have had the opportunity to recap and digest all that was accomplished on the Hill.
In a scene of Lord of the Rings where Frodo makes a comment saying, “I wish the ring had never come to me,” Gandalf, his friend, replies, “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for you to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time given to you.”
The time given to me to represent you honestly is taxing and tiring; however, that being said, I believe strongly in my heart I am called to this task for such a time as this. Though our course of travel to our destination may differ, one thing we all can agree upon is making District 40 a better place to live, raise our families, do our jobs, and enjoy our great state of Tennessee.
Now that the gavel remains silent until 2018, I intend to see you in the district in order to be ready when session resumes. But for now, enjoy your family this Mother’s Day weekend and be glad!
Much respect and Blessings to you, Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth,
Greetings, Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth.
With the first half of the 110th General Assembly only a few days away from standing in recess, to say that session has been a whirlwind is a tremendous understatement, indeed! No other time in my working for District 40 can I recall the enormous amount of tension on the backs of all who were involved in the political landscape in Nashville. Both of the committees on which I served, Transportation and Education, had TV cameras every week ready to report on such topics as: The GasTax, Seatbelts on School Buses, School Vouchers, and In-State Tuition for Illegals. Now that committees are closed until 2018, it truly is a little easier to breathe.
However, I confess to you, and ask your forgiveness for, the lack of weekly “LOOPS” that were to be in your inboxes during Legislative session. Many of you commented on the numerous news reports you saw in which I made my stance on those hot-topic issues of the day very apparent. The Coffee Conversations throughout the district also kept me on the same page with those whom I am honored to serve. But the halls of the Plaza are a little quieter today and thus, the opportunity to share with you my thoughts about the up and coming budget that we, as a legislative body, are required by our state constitution to pass. We are expected to vote on it as early as Thursday of this week.
Herein lies the rub. According to Article II Section 24 of the Tennessee Constitution, it says, “In no year shall the rate of growth of appropriations from state revenues exceed the estimated rate of growth of the state’s economy as determined by law.” In other words, the State Budget cannot grow more rapidly than the Tennessee economy. We measure the Tennessee economy by the average personal income growth by the citizens of the state. The Copeland Cap is a fiscal restraint that will keep government spending in check, and I gave an oath—my word—to uphold the Tennessee Constitution.
I voted against the Gas Tax because I saw it as a burden on those whom I represent. The working poor to middle class (me included) who drive up to and beyond 600 miles per week in their cars will pay the brunt of this tax, not to mention the small businesses who deliver goods who will not be exempt from any of those “historic tax cuts” given to the big guys. The “biggest tax decrease in Tennessee history” gimmick only gives permission to spend without restraint instead of using the existing revenues to meet the needs of priorities. And Yes, transportation is and must be treated as a priority! There most certainly is an addiction problem in our state, and it is not just opiates, but government never having enough of the people’s purse.
So, I will stand in support of protecting the Constitution by upholding the Copeland Cap, because I gave my word to do just that, even if I stand alone!
Greetings Folks of the Fortieth!
What is it about “snow” that every time it happens it is simply magical? My only regret is that we just did not get enough of that “winter white” this season. So while a big pot of vegetable stew is simmering, and the music of snap-crackle-pop of the glowing fireside warms me, perhaps I just may get that “winter white” wish yet, even in the face of springing forward to daylight savings time!
“Advice is like snow—the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon and the deeper it sinks into the mind.”
Committees are full-speed ahead. I must admit, legislation I filed thus far has been neglected, due to the enormous task at hand, funding transportation with or without a permanent gas tax. I heard it said that a former legislator, before my watch, made it his policy that for every bill he passed, he repealed or removed one! Now that is one way to downsize and shrink the scope of government that has far overreached its original purposes.
As Chairlady of Transportation Sub, sending clean, concise policy forward to the Full Standing Committee is paramount to me. Subcommittee is the gateway where the vetting, discussions, life or death of legislation takes place. What was passed out of my committee last week were numerous amendments all under the Improve Act!!! Unfortunately, that is how the sausage is made and it is not a pleasant process! New amendments will be timely filed in Transportation Full this week. Those of us on a mission to provide funding without a permanent gas tax, are working to do just that. Please see the letter and sign on, and pass it on!!!!!
As your representative, it is my duty to do the hard thing first--find a solution without a tax. Taxing Tennesseans is the broad and easy way to go. I am confident there is a simple way to fund our roads and bridges, remain debt-free, and use the revenue you and I have already put in the kitty!
Education Administration and Planning is the other committee on which I serve. Vouchers are a big topic for which there are three main bills I am aware of: HB0126, HB0460, HB0336. One is a pilot program for Shelby County only, and the other two would open vouchers state-wide. Vouchers have always been suspect to me. And let me be clear, I am all about what is best for the child. We homeschooled our son. My concern has always been how to protect the private Christian schools who currently have their religious freedom to operate as they choose. Using tax dollars that follow the child could be the Trojan horse to bring Christian schools under the footprint of the Department of Education. Parents still have choice. You may work extra jobs to provide for private school, but to me, it seems if we eliminated the Federal DOE first, then we could have real level playing fields and competition where children would then be the drivers of their education and travel to all and every option to meet their needs.
I close with this thought, even in our darkest moment we can find something to laugh about if we try hard enough.
“A good laugh is sunshine in the HOUSE!!!!!!!!”
Terri Lynn Weaver
Greetings, Amazing Folks of the Fortieth!
The deadline for members to have filed bills was Thursday, February 9th. As you know, the limit of 15 bills for each member can prime-sponsor has been the rule for quite some time, and I can tell you Amen to that! Truly we need to focus on enforcing the laws already in the books. While in the quietness of my study tonight, I am reaching out to you who read this Loop, and asking you for your prayers, and for Wisdom from above.
.....Already at the genesis of the legislative session there is such an intensity of antagonism. Not so much in our members, but as the elevator arises from the tunnel on Monday nights, I can hear the angry shouts of protesters in the capitol rotunda. When the doors open, all one can see is a mob of protestors shouting, shoulder to shoulder, as every member is escorted to the House Chamber to do the people's work. Our Tennessee Highway Patrol is to be commended for giving me, one of 99 members, assurance that all is OK.
Now for the big issue at hand. Governor Haslam came to my home county of Smith Friday to present his plan on transportation funding.
There was a good turnout for a Friday lunch crowd. It is no secret to my district that because of the majority of those for whom I work asking me to oppose a tax on fuel, I believe wholeheartedly that we can achieve the objective of meeting the needs for roads and bridges BUT WITHOUT A TAX!! The HAWK PLAN is one many of us are leaning on. So with that being said, I invite you to the discussion presenting both sides of this heated issue.
The IMPROVE Act, presented by the Administration, and my special guest, Art Laffer (Rich State Poor State), will speak to the Transportation Sub on Wednesday at noon, February 15th. Folks, if you cannot watch live on the the General Assembly website, watch us at your convenience later; but watch and hear the conversation, for it is important that you know why low taxes and broad base bring record revenues. Tennessee is experiencing that now--why fix what ain't broke?! As long as taxes remain low and government is reined in, we will always have more than enough to meet the need for our roads and bridges. Transportation must be a priority!!!! Establishing needs from wants is a basic discipline in every budget, whether home or government. Living within your means must apply in every checkbook. So stay tuned as we vet and discuss these next few weeks, then take action on March 1st.
As always, it is such a joy to have folks from my district join me for the day. Really, it is the responsibility of a REPUBLIC to be engaged in the preserving of how the machine works on the hill in Nashville.
Call my office, 615-741-2192, and Grace will get you scheduled.
Fuel tax has been my world here of late, but there are some other hefty issues as well. Again, use the Tennessee General Assembly website to navigate bills of interest to you. During my tenure in office, the Division of Unclaimed Property within the Treasury Department has returned $9,966,321.18 to the rightful owners in district 40. Yet, still the work is not complete, for there is currently $13,263,724.55 in unclaimed property that needs to find its rightful owner. I encourage you to go to http://www.claimittn.gov/, to check and
see, at no extra charge, if you are the owner or a legal heir to claims.
In closing, the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. Isaiah 32:17
02/11/2017 BULLETIN Response to intent of HB1406
A couple of months ago, the state's Attorney General filed a brief in a lawsuit related to this statute in which he said that the law, as written and enacted, was unconstitutional. It is not unusual for the legislature to repeal a law that is unconstitutional.
Thankfully, there is another statute still on the books that makes it clear that when a child is born to a married woman, the child is presumed to be that of her husband. So, the repeal of the law does not de-legitimize a child conceived by insemination and, to be honest, the law that will remain on the books is less intrusive into the relationship of a husband and wife than the statute being repealed. Unlike the law being repealed, the remaining law that will now govern the situation does not have the government inquiring into the means by which the couple¹s child came into existence or whose sperm, the husband's or a donor¹s, was used.
I hope that helps explain the overall situation.
Terri Lynn Weaver
Greetings, Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth,
With the holidays, my annual vacation to Florida, the 110th General Assembly organizational week (which consisted of being sworn in, plus our committee assignments), and the 45th Presidential inaugural festivities all behind us, this last month certainly has not been lacking in “activity” in any shape, form, or fashion. Oh, and I forgot to mention the highly-attended Tennessee Call to Prayer, to which my dear friend Ricky Skaggs came to participate while we positioned our hearts to seek Wisdom from above as we begin this new chapter called the 110th General Assembly.
Currently, we are on our last week of a two-week pause--in other words, no comnmittees or House Session. However, beginning January 30, it is full steam ahead.
May I, again, express my sincere gratitude that you have entrusted me to serve and work for you in Nashville. Taking my oath to protect and preserve the U.S. and the Tennessee Constitution against any overreach by the feds or the state, I aim to be your voice, and your watchman on the wall to keep government at bay and out of our way. It is a solemn duty.
Keeping my Transportation Subcommittee chair, I must admit it was quite a surprise that leadership placed me on full Education Administration and Planning. Perhaps a silver lining in there somewhere? We shall see, indeed.
Define Infrastructure. According to Webster’s, infrastructure is the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area such as transportation and communication systems. Bringing Broadband to the rural areas which I serve has been a long endeavor. The need for high-speed, wireless internet in this 21st century is as basic as water and electricity was in the 20th century. My Constituency, including me, have small businesses operating out of our homes. We want to take online college courses, do homework, download files, video-stream lectures and movies; but BIG corporations, and various internet co-ops have and continue to prevent service. The only ones that suffer—the unserved residents who are not “in the zone”--and that is inexcusable for this day and age. One of the tech schools in Hartsville cannot operate courses properly because of poor internet service. There have been numerous meetings, calls to awareness, and attempts to resolve the issue. This year, I have some hope that we will indeed begin to connect rural Tennessee and light her up! Stay tuned, and continue to send your kind requests to the Governor’s office and your state representatives. They are hearing you!
Roads and Bridges are a fundamental necessity, as well. Numerous tours and discussions all across this state--from the Governor’s office, to my Friday Coffee Conversations--all agree that Transportation funding is paramount! However, the funding mechanics that will pan out—well, that is where the real work is currently being done. The Governor rolled out his plan, over which he has labored hard. But I also believe it is the duty of the legislators to bring their comprehensive plan to the table, as well; and, I would submit, a plan that does not bring a tax. Watch for bills being filed that have a consistent funding mechanism in place that will bring money to the counties. We all need to go forward together if it is going to work--and this is work worth doing!!!!
As a matter of update, the lawsuit concerning the Refugee Resettlement issue is moving forward. Meeting with our selected law firm, Thomas More Law Center, last week, the process of getting their ducks in a row to file that lawsuit here in Tennessee is looking good! We believe we have a strong 10th Amendment standing. It is time the bureaucrats who run the resettlement program listen to the voice of the people. We are a nation under law. We, the people, are the true sovereign—we are not ruled by a distant palace! Tennessee wants our 10th Amendment back! I will keep you posted on the progress of our lawsuit.
I close with this quote from President Trump: “Today we’re transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving back to you, the people.” Let us continue to pray for our leaders!!!
Greetings, Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth,
Holding up TLW signs at various County Seats in District 40 since Wednesday, I see early voters are turning out in record numbers! As I recognize numerous friendly smiles, those that wave or give a thumbs up, I cannot help but wonder, what kind of government will “We the People” get on November 8th? Because really, there is a battle for America’s soul!
Thinking long and hard about this presidential election, it occurred to me that I am not voting for the candidate, but voting for the cause with hopes that swing the pendulum back to the laws of nature and of nature’s God, to the side of appointing judges who recognize the Constitution’s original intent, including the limited role of the judicial system. Whomever “We the People” elect most certainly will affect this America for decades to come.
As the final touches were completed last week on the retainer agreement with Thomas More Law Firm, SJR467 is now set to sail toward the Constitutional Challenge against the federal government on the issue of Tennessee’s State Sovereignty. Overwhelmingly, the folks of Tennessee are very concerned that our nation’s borders are wide open, resulting in illegal immigration grossly unchecked. Clinton and Kaine have publicly embraced bringing 65,000 Syrian refugees annually, and have not rejected calls by the Refugee Council USA--the lobbying arm of the profitable moneymaking refugee resettlement business—to resettle 200,000 refugees annually in the United States! That will affect us in Tennessee, because guess who pays for the foodstamps, housing, health, and education? “We the People” of this great state! According to the Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980, that is the federal government’s responsibility. But federal government has passed the costs to the states. “We the People” have no say, just pay the tab! Our Tenth Amendment has been violated. This lawsuit will reveal where the states stand concerning the relationship with the federal government. It will be a long, hard fight, but we either have Tenth Amendment standing, or we do not.
When my father and his family entered Ellis Island in 1952 as refugees from Yugoslavia, there was a process to follow called the rule of law. It works when it is obeyed! To embrace the American ideology and our Constitution as the Founders intended it to be is why others such as my family longed to come to America and be productive citizens. The United States remains the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known, and I, for one, want to keep it that way! We must reverse the course in our classrooms and our courtrooms, and return to the foundations that created this nation. There are many battles raging to destroy our way of life, but as the saying goes, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” I’m in! How about you?
Today I had the pleasure to join some seniors for lunch at the Hartsville Senior Center. Some members had moved here from other states such as Florida, New York, and California. It always intrigues me what their reasons are for coming to Tennessee, and their answers are consistently the same: “Joining our families,” “Love the beautiful, lush green hills,” “The people are just so friendly and the cost of living is affordable,”—those, indeed, are reasons enough to relocate. Of course, I just had to add, “Yep, we repealed the gift tax, phased out completely the Death tax, reduced the Hall tax to eventually go away entirely, reduced taxes on businesses, reduced tax on food, and saved taxpayers more than $510 million!” But the cool thing is that I had the honor to vote for every one of those reductions during my legislative tenure, and we ain’t done yet! These tax cuts help retirees who rely on their savings to make ends meet. Taxing citizens on their hard work and savings is NOT the Tennessee way! We have some of the lowest taxes in the country and that brings new folks, businesses, jobs, and revenue—keeping the Volunteer State rockin’-n-rollin’!
Remember my Coffee Conversations every Friday; I really love hearing from you!
It is truly an honor to work for you. I ask that you will give me the privilege to serve you for the next two years. Go cast your vote and make your voice be heard—because your vote matters!
THE FOLLOWING FILES ARE IN PDF FORMAT.
Past Loop Reports