State legislative round-up 4.05.12
Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012 7:00 pm
Haslam drug bills
headed to his desk
Nashville (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposals to crack down on the sale or manufacture of certain drugs are headed to him for his signature. Both bills are part of the Republican governor’s crime package and have been unanimously approved in the House and Senate. One proposal that was sent to the governor on Wednesday after passing the House 98-0 would add and remove certain substances from the list of controlled substances in order to put it in compliance with the federal schedule. The other measure that was sent to Haslam after being approved in the House 95-0 earlier this week revises certain provisions regarding someone who knowingly attempts to sell or purchase a product with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
Rep. Curry Todd tells House he has cancer
Nashville (AP) – State Rep. Curry Todd has decided to go public about being diagnosed with cancer. The Collierville Republican informed colleagues about his condition during a House Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday on a proposal to require insurance companies to pay for oral chemotherapy treatments. The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin is opposed by Gov. Bill Haslam and the insurance industry on the basis that it creates a government mandate.
“How many have you walked into the doctor’s office and he’s told you you’ve got cancer?” Todd said. “This is a subject that’s close to my heart, period.”
Todd later told reporters that he was diagnosed more than four years ago with macroglobulinemia, a form of slow growing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“It was not to get any type of sympathy from anyone,” Todd said. “We had all the cancer folks in the audience, and I felt I had to make a statement.”
Governor says he may sign evolution bill
Nashville (AP) – Tennessee, where the nation’s first big legal battle over evolution was fought nearly 90 years ago, is close to enacting a law that critics deride as the “monkey bill” for once again attacking the scientific theory. The measure passed by the Tennessee General Assembly would protect teachers who allow students to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global warming. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said this week he would likely sign it into law. Haslam said the State Board of Education has told him the measure won’t affect the state’s current scientific curriculum for primary, middle or high school students. Louisiana enacted a similar law in 2008.
“I think the one thing about that bill is this: Nothing about the curriculum of the state of Tennessee will change, and the scientific standards won’t change,” he said. “So I think some of the discussion about its impact has probably been overblown.” The bill says it will encourage critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique “scientific weaknesses.” Scientists in Tennessee and the American Association for the Advancement of Science are asking Haslam to veto the bill, saying that evolution is established science that shouldn’t be taught as a controversy.
Haslam, Ramsey wary of guns in parking lots bill
Nashville (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey are among the prominent Republicans trying to put the brakes on a bill seeking to guarantee employees the right to store their firearms in vehicles parked at work.
The bill advanced to the full Senate last week. It would allow people with state-issued handgun carry permits to store their weapons in their cars. The Judiciary Committee rejected efforts to exclude schools and colleges and added a provision to extend the measure to anyone over age 21 with a hunting license.
“That’s a little bothersome to us to be honest with you,” Haslam told reporters last week. “The hunting license is of particular concern to us.” The state’s 350,000 handgun carry permit holders must undergo background checks and take safety courses. Nearly 700,000 people have hunting licenses, though the TWRA doesn’t keep track of how many of those are younger than 21.