Will only three public safety bills pass? If yesterday’s Senate floor session is any indication, yes. The body only passed three bills pertaining to safety on final reading, plus SB7089, which covers the tab of the special session.
SB7086 would codify the governor’s Executive Order 100. This EO was established to streamline the Tennessee Instant Check System, ensuring up-to-date information for firearm background checks. This bill would require recent court rulings, arrests, and hospital discharges to be put into the system within 72 hours, making the information available to the TBI.
SB7085 would provide free firearm locks to Tennessee residents, require handgun safety courses to touch on storing firearms safely, and create a tax break on firearm safes and safety devices.
SB7088 would require the TBI to issue an annual report on human trafficking crimes and trends in the state, the first to be submitted by December.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
In order for a bill to be passed into law, identical copies of it—including added amendments— must make it through both the House and the Senate. As of this writing, the Senate has only passed the above bills. Therefore, unless something changes, they’re currently the only bills with a chance of making it through both chambers.
HIDDEN POWER STRUGGLES
During yesterday’s House’s Civil Justice Committee meeting, Lamberth alluded that “someone, somewhere” may be behind the Senate’s unwillingness to pass any bills beyond the three listed above:
So, there are 37 bills that are still moving through the House. Many of you that are here today… are advocating for several of those bills. Those bills are sponsored by members of the House and, as far as I’m concerned, every single one of [them] should continue moving forward. There are apparently only three that I have been told by someone in the Senate that someone, somewhere, decided that only three would move forward there. In my humble opinion, that is not acceptable.
This morning, after being prodded by John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville), Lamberth broached the subject again. “The Senate has clearly indicated that they are not here to do the work,” he said during the House Government Operations Committee meeting.
AUTOPSY BILL MAY STILL BE IN PLAY
Among the bills the Senate tabled yesterday was SB7090, which would have allowed autopsy reports of child victims of violent crime to be blocked from public release.
Its companion bill, HB7007, is still alive in the House, and was discussed this morning during Government Operations Committee. Mary Joyce, a friend of the Scruggs family and Covenant parent Erin Kinney, testified on their behalf in support of the autopsy bill. According to Joyce, the autopsies of the three children murdered in the Covenant shooting are currently being held by media outlets, and will be released if HB7007 goes unpassed.
Leader Lamberth, a bill sponsor, called HB7007 a strong bipartisan bill meant to protect not just Covenant victims, but all victims: “There is no reason for people to want to look at these autopsies.” He referred to the notion of wanting to do so as a morbid curiosity.
WILL THE SENATE ADD ANY MORE BILLS?
Though the Senate floor session was scheduled for 9 a.m., no one showed up. Since there was no quorum, Leader Randy McNally gaveled in and gaveled out. Instead, they met at 11 a.m.—but no new committee meetings have been added to the calendar. This means that, for now, the Senate isn’t passing any more bills on final reading. Instead, there was a motion for the Senate to reconvene on Monday at 4 p.m., during which they’ll consider any amendments added onto the House companion bills.