Legislative Update – Lobby Day ’19

TSEA March 29, 2019 Comments Off on Legislative Update – Lobby Day ’19
Legislative Update – Lobby Day ’19

“I am going to do everything I can in leadership to make certain that you know how much you are appreciated for what you do and can live in a culture of work that allows you to be the very best at what you do.”

Gov. Bill Lee said during remarks to TSEA members at Lobby Day this week.

TSEA is thankful to Gov. Lee and House Speaker Glen Casada who both made time to speak to state employees in the House chamber on the morning of Lobby Day. We also appreciate all the state employees who came to Nashville to talk with their legislators about the challenges facing state employees, which is what Lobby Day is all about. Pictures and full coverage of Lobby Day will be available in the Mar/Apr Co-Worker, which will be out soon.

This week on the hill, two of our agenda bills, Burden of Proof and Longevity for All, were deferred one week due to time constraints in their respective committees. These are both set to be heard on Tuesday, April 2 (more details below).

TSEA Leadership will soon meet with DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols to discuss and begin planning a state-wide caseworker listening tour. We will let you know more details as plans take shape.

The Department of Correction presented their budget to the Senate State and Local Government committee Tuesday which included more details of their salary adjustment plan for Correctional Officers. However, during the discussion, Sen. Ken Yager voiced concerns over the plan and moved to defer consideration of TDOC’s budget until next week.

“I recognize and am really sympathetic to the leadership in [TDOC], they are trying to deal with the resources that they have,” Sen. Ken Yager said. “But, I just think we are going to create some very serious consequences. It’s going to have a worse impact on the morale of our senior employees, those who have been loyal to the state and stayed with us for years. I’d like to have the opportunity for us to work together to try to find solutions to get more equity in this proposal.”

The committee is now set to consider the TDOC budget on Tuesday, April 2.

TDEC also presented their budget which requests another $11M for “unanticipated costs” at Fall Creek Falls. The work on the new facility is currently on hold until July 1 when new appropriations will go into effect.

The department’s budget also requests additional dollars to increase the capacity of the new facility at Paris Landing. This request is based on a market study showing a higher demand for rooms than what was initially planned.

TDEC Commissioner David Salyers also told the committee he is unaware of any plans to privatize operations at this time.

We’ve also attended all the Higher Education budget presentations and had conversations with many of the University Presidents in Tennessee. There are many challenges to solving Higher Ed issues due to the new splintered structure of the FOCUS Act, but there are some common issues, and we are exploring options to standardize the approach to addressing these shared challenges.

Update on TSEA’s Legislative Agenda Bills

Longevity for All

SB0689 Sen. Jackson
HB0900 Rep. Sparks 
Senate: 03/26/19 – Senate State & Local Government Committee deferred to 04/02/19.
House: 03/12/19 – House State Committee recommended. Sent to House Finance.

Burden of Proof

SB0621 Sen. Hensley, Co-Prime Sponsor: Sen. Yager
HB0644 Rep. T. Hill
Senate: 03/26/19 – Senate State & Local Government Committee deferred to 04/02/19.
House: 03/26/19 – House State Committee deferred to 04/02/19.

For information on other bills in our legislative agenda, as well as other bills we are monitoring, please visit: