State Legislative Round Up – 4.12.12
Posted: Friday, April 13, 2012 7:00 pm
Horse slaughter bill stalls in Legislature
Nashville (AP) — The sponsor of a state Senate proposal that seeks to encourage the commercial slaughter of horses in Tennessee withdrew the measure Wednesday, but said he likely will revive it if a similar bill makes progress in the House.
Republican Sen. Mike Faulk of Kingsport took the legislation off notice in the Senate Commerce, Labor and Agriculture Committee. A House floor vote on the companion bill has been delayed until Monday evening.
Faulk said the proposal is intended to encourage Tennessee to develop rules and regulations in case a commercial slaughter operator wants to locate in the state and “properly, humanely … dispose of horses.”
“I don’t care for the notion of a horse slaughter plant,” he said. “But it’s one of those parts of the cycle of life that is necessary. As repugnant as it may seem to someone who has a horse that is a pet, the fact of the matter is, that animal is eventually going to die.”
Opponents of the bill argue that it would unfairly discourage legal challenges of horse slaughter or processing plants by requiring plaintiffs to submit a deposit worth 20 percent of the facility’s worth.
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper issued an opinion earlier this month that requirement is constitutionally suspect. He said the measure would conflict with state constitutional provisions forbidding “unreasonable and arbitrary barriers” to using the courts to settle disputes.
House delays bill to lift laws for schools
Nashville (AP) — The House has delayed a vote on a bill to give the state’s education commissioner the power to waive state laws to grant public schools more flexibility.
Republican Rep. Art Swann of Maryville said Wednesday that his bill is designed to emulate the leeway granted to charter schools.
But he agreed to put the measure on hold after members of both parties raised concerns over a provision in the bill to give an unelected official the ability to ignore statutes enacted by the Legislature.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville questioned whether it’s constitutional to grant anyone the power to ignore state laws.
Republican Rep. Mark Pody of Lebanon said if education officials need changes in the law, they should go through the legislative process to accomplish them.
Bill to allow self-evaluation for parents
Nashville (AP) — A proposal that would allow parents to do a self-evaluation of how involved they are in a student’s school performance is headed for a vote on the Senate floor.
The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown was approved 5-3 in the Senate Education Committee. The companion bill is also awaiting a vote on the House floor.
The legislation would set up a four-year pilot program involving six of the state’s struggling schools. Kelsey says the proposal is another tool to encourage parents to be more involved and begins a conversation between them and teachers.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Louisiana is currently considering legislation to grade parent participation.
Utah passed legislation last month that creates an online survey where parents can evaluate their own involvement, but the school does not assign them a grade and it’s voluntary.
Change to cosmetic procedures
bill draws protest
Nashville (AP) — Opponents of a bill to change legal requirements for cosmetic procedures have staged a protest at the legislative office complex in Nashville.
The group waved signs at the entrance to Legislative Plaza on Wednesday morning to urge lawmakers to abandon the measure sponsored by Rep. Mike Sparks of Smyrna and fellow Republican Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville.
The protesters say the bill would cost jobs at beauty salons and spas by requiring cosmetic and aesthetic procedures involving lasers and intense pulse light machines to be performed under the supervision of a physician.
The bill has yet to be scheduled for a full Senate vote, while the companion bill was awaiting consideration in the House Health and Human services committee.
Bill does away with early
Nashville (AP) — A proposal to do away with the state’s early graduation program is advancing in the House.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin was approved Tuesday on a voice vote in the House Education Committee. The companion bill unanimously passed the Senate 30-0 last week.
Under the so-called Move on When Ready Act, a student who scores 27 on the ACT is only required to obtain 18 hours of specific classes to get a diploma. Casada’s proposal would require students to complete 22 hours before moving on.
Democratic Rep. John Deberry of Memphis said he voted against the legislation because he thinks students should benefit from the law’s requirements if a “child’s aptitude and all-around fitness” show they have the ability to advance.