Bill Tracking

Tracking key Tennessee legislation from conservative, faith-based perspective

Every year during our state’s legislative session (January – April), FACT tracks bills making their way through the Tennessee General Assembly that concern marriage, the family, life, religious liberty, and more. Each bill that FACT tracks is listed by its individual Senate bill and House bill number within a specific category. If there is a certain bill you are particularly interested in, remember to contact your legislator about it, since your input can influence his or her decision.

Bills we are tracking

2020 marks the final session of a two-year legislative cycle. The 111th General Assembly, which began in 2019, reconvenes on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

What you are currently seeing are the bills we tracked during 2019's legislative session. Any new bills that we will be tracking in 2020 will be added to this section after bills are filed in the Tennessee General Assembly and we have had sufficient time to review them.

Bills with an asterisk (*) are bills that FACT is specifically lobbying.
Bills About Constitutional Government

Bills About Constitutional Government

*SB 316/HB 194 - Legislative Right to Intervene in Lawsuits

Allows the Speaker of the House and Speaker of the Senate, jointly, or a majority of the members of both houses to intervene in certain existing legal proceedings where the constitutionality of a state statute is challenged or in which “new” or novel interpretations to expand constitutional or statutory rights are being advocated.

Sponsors: Watson in the Senate, Dunn in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Talking Points

Status: No action taken by the House or Senate in 2019.

SJR 1 - Method of Selecting Attorney General

Identical to HJR 81. This resolution seeks to amend Article VI, Section 5 of the Tennessee Constitution regarding the selection of the state attorney general. Currently, the attorney general is appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court. This would provide that the Supreme Court shall submit a nomination to the General Assembly, which must then vote to confirm the nomination by a majority of both the House and Senate. The Supreme Court must vote on its nominee in open court. The resolution makes provisions for subsequent nominees if either body rejects a nominee.

Sponsors: Yager in the Senate

Full Text: Senate Joint Resolution

Status: Passed in both Senate and House in 2019. It must now pass by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and House during 112th General Assembly before it be placed on the November 2022 ballot.

Bills About Education

Bills About Education

SB 1373/HB 307 - Elective Religious Courses for Credit

This bill as passed will extend the current provisions of allowing students to receive release time to take non-credit religious courses to allow local boards of education to develop release time religious elective courses offered for credit. It further requires that teachers for elective credit courses must be licensed as a teacher by the state.

Sponsors: Yager in the Senate, Powers in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Public Chapter 272

*SB 1499/HB 1274 - School Protection Act

This bill will authorize the attorney general to represent a local board of education and/or its employees if either are sued due to the adoption and/or implementation of a policy that designates locker rooms, shower facilities, and bathrooms to be used based on biological sex. It provides that the board and/or employees may obtain outside counsel if the attorney general determines there is a conflict of interest in representing them. The bill also provides that the board and/or employees will not be entitled to representation if they are guilty of willful or malicious misconduct.

Sponsors: Hensley in the Senate, Holt in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Talking Points

Status: Passed the House; Passed Senate Judiciary Committee, referred to Senate State and Local Government Committee to be heard in 2020.

SB 1736/HB 1689 - Single-Sex Student Athletics

Any public school that provides single-sex interscholastic sports or athletic events must ensure that the student participants in each sport or event are all of the same biological sex. The student must provide his/her birth certificate or certified results of a DNA test before the student will be allowed to participate in the sport or activity.

Sponsors: Hensley in the Senate; Cepicky in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 1813/HB 1855 - Blocking Objectionable Material on School Computers

This bill will require each local school district to review its internet acceptable use policy and the technology it has installed to filter or block internet access to material it deems harmful to juveniles, child pornography and obscenity. This review must be performed no later than January 1, 2021, and at least once every three years thereafter.

Sponsors: Hensley in the Senate; Casada in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 2077/HB 1572 - Biologically Based School Athletic Competitions

Any publicly funded elementary or secondary school must ensure that each student participant in each sport is competing only against students of the same biological sex based on the student’s original birth certificate. It also provides that any school in violation of this provision would lose all state funding. Additionally, it authorizes the attorney general to bring a civil action against any state or local official who intentionally violates the provisions of this bill, who will be subject to a fine of no more than $10,000.

Sponsors: Pody in the Senate; Griffey in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 2089/HB 2135 - Prohibiting Advocacy for Abortion on School Property

This bill will prohibit any person on school property or at any local school board or school-sponsored event to make referrals for abortions or otherwise advocate or encourage abortion. This specifically includes LEA or school employees, persons on contract with, or otherwise providing services to the LEA or public school.

Sponsors: Haile in the Senate; Smith in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 2473/HB 2542 - Expanded Benefits for Moral Instruction

This bill will expand eligibility of release time to attend religious or moral instruction to include students attending public schools regardless of whether the local board of education has developed a policy allowing the practice as long as the criteria in the statute as to what the policy must entail are met. It will also allow transportation to and from the instruction to be provided by the LEA as long as the student(s) reimburse the LEA for the costs.

Sponsors: Yager in the Senate; Powers in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 2583/HB 2434 - Repeals Abstinence Requirement in Family Life Curriculum

This bill will repeal the state’s requirement that all family life curriculum be abstinence-based. It will specifically remove all requirements that instruction be abstinence-based, the prohibition on approving or condoning gateway sexual activities (e.g., oral sex, masturbation, etc.) and the provisions subjecting contract or volunteer entities brought in to provide the instruction to civil damages if an entity violates the abstinence-based standards.

Sponsors: Robinson in the Senate; Camper in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

Bills About Family

Bills About Family

SB 1282/HB 1369 - Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act

Declares that Tennessee will only recognize and give effect to marriages between one man and one woman and will not recognize any court decision that purports to strike down natural marriage.

Sponsors: Mark Pody in the Senate, Jerry Sexton in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: No action in either the House or Senate in 2019.

SB 1297/HB 1151 - Indecent Exposure Law in Single-Sex Restrooms

The bill as passed amends the indecent exposure criminal statute to include a restroom, locker room, dressing room or shower that is designated for multi-person, single-sex use in the definition of public place in which the offense of criminal exposure can occur.

Sponsors: Pody in the Senate, Ragan in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Public Chapter 251

SB 2215/HB 2576 - Minors and Sex Identity Change Therapy

This bill will address the administration of sexual identity change therapy to include puberty blockers, cross-hormone therapy or surgical procedures on a minor for the purpose of changing the sexual identity of the child. It will specifically prohibit the sexual identity change therapy on any minor who has not entered puberty, and also prohibit it on minors who have entered puberty unless the child’s parent or legal guardian provides a written statement recommending the procedure from three physicians, one of which must be a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Sponsors: Bowling in the Senate; Ragan in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

*SB 2290/Hb 2310 - Marital Contract at Common Law Recording Act

The Marital Contract at Common Law Recording Act (MCCLRA) would repeal the state’s law that is now being administered in a manner that allows marriage licenses to be issued without regard to the biological sex of the parties in violation of the Tennessee Constitution. A man and woman, however, could still enter into a marital relationship in accordance with the common law right of a man and woman to marry, and they could record the fact of their marriage with the county clerk. The federal government recognizes common law marriage, and the bill provides that government entities and other third parties could rely on the notice of the marital relationship in their dealings with the married couple.

Sponsors: Bowling in the Senate; Leatherwood in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Filed on February 4, 2020.

SB 2625/HB 2410 - Disentanglement Act

This bill establishes that marriage is a secular function and licenses for a marriage may only be issued for the marriage of one male to one female.

Sponsors: Bowling in the Senate; Ragan in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 2726/HB 2567 - Parents’ Bill of Rights

This bill provides that parental rights are reserved for the parent of a minor child without interference from the state and provides an extensive, non-exclusive list of areas that it covers. These include the right to direct the child’s education, upbringing, and moral or religious teaching, as well as the right to consent or direct the child’s medical procedures.

Sponsors: Southerland in the Senate; Faison in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 2852/HB2294 - Safer Internet for Minors Act

This bill will require internet service providers to provide consumers with online parental controls that block access to a specific website or website category to include pornographic websites or digital content.

Sponsors: Bailey in the Senate; Van Huss in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 2896/HB 2721 - Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act

This bill would require each public library to establish a parental library review board consisting of five adult residents of the public library’s geographic area. The various boards are required to determine whether any sexual material provided to the minors through the public library is age inappropriate. The boards must hold a public hearing to determine if the sexual material that is available to minors is age-inappropriate, and if so, it shall be removed from areas in which minors have public access. Each public library is subject to losing state funds if it allows minors to access age-inappropriate sexual material.

Sponsors: Bailey in the Senate; Holt in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

Bills About Life

Bills About Life

SB 1236/HB 77 - Fetal Heartbeat Bill

This bill as amended in the House subcommittee would prohibit abortions, except in extreme situations, once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The person performing the abortion would be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor; there is no penalty for the woman. If a baby survives an attempted abortion, the person performing the abortion is obligated to take steps to preserve the life and health of the baby.

Sponsors: Pody in the Senate, Van Huss in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Passed the House, Senate deferred the bill to a summer study.

SB 1257/HB 1029 - Human Life Protection Act

This bill would implement the Human Life Protection Act that would, except in extreme situations, prohibit abortion after fertilization or a pregnancy is confirmed. But the act would go into effect only if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade or if an amendment to the U.S. Constitution restoring to the states the authority to prohibit abortion is adopted. Exceptions would be made where the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or “prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” A person who performs an abortion in violation of the law would be guilty of a Class C felony. The pregnant woman would not be criminally liable.

Sponsors: Gresham in the Senate, Lynn in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Public Chapter 351

SB 1389/HB 966 - Commemorative Certificates of Nonviable Birth

This bill would authorize the issuance of a commemorative certificate of a nonviable birth by the Department of Health. A patient who experiences a nonviable birth prior to the twentieth week of gestation shall be notified by the attending healthcare provider or healthcare facility that the patient may request a commemorative certificate of a nonviable birth.

Sponsors: Bell in the Senate, Cochran in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Public Chapter 156

SB 1418/HB 1490 - Life Appropriation Act

This bill would enact the Life Appropriation Act to prohibit state appropriations or grants to entities that provide abortions. The bill links abortion to secular humanism and because the U.S. Supreme Court has deemed secular humanism as a religion, the bill establishes that it is a violation of the Establishment Clause for the state to appropriate funds or issue grants to entities that perform “convenience” or elective abortions. The bill exempts funding of a hospital, medical school, or university or funding available through Medicaid.

Sponsors: Jackson in the Senate, Ragan in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill

Status: Passed the House; Senate deferred the bill to a summer study.

*SB 1780/HB 1962 - Rule of Law Life Act

The Rule of Law Life (ROLL) Act arose out of the summer study conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is based on testimony presented by FACT and others that Roe v. Wade can best be challenged through legislation that utilizes the Ninth Amendment’s preservation of pre-political common law rights, which included the absolute right to life that extended to a “child in the mother’s womb.”

Sponsors: Bowling in the Senate; Howell in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: The Senate bill has officially been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

SB 2196/HB2263 - Governor Lee's Pro-Life Bill

This bill will be Governor Lee’s bill on abortion. It is currently only a caption bill and will be amended once the administration finalizes its proposal.

Sponsors: Johnson in the Senate; Lamberth in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Check back for summary once the details have been released.

SB 2465/HB 2568 - Chemical Abortion Reversal Information

This bill will require abortion providers to notify women seeking a chemical abortion involving a two-drug process of the possibility of reversing the process after the first drug is administered but before the second. Notice must be provided in the form of signs prominently posted in the facility, including rooms where the procedure will take place, verbal communication at least 48 hours before the abortion, and through written medical discharge instructions provided after the administration of the first drug. Information must also be included on the abortion provider’s website.

Sponsors: Gresham in the Senate; Faison in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

Bills About Marijuana

Bills About Marijuana

SB 360/HB 1284 - Prohibition of Minors Smoking Hemp

Utilizing the definition of industrial hemp, this bill amends the criminal statute on smoking tobacco and vapor products by minors to include hemp.

Sponsors: Southerland in the Senate, Mitchell in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Passed House and Senate; transmitted to Governor for action.

SB 486/HB 637 - Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act

This bill would create the Medical Cannabis Commission charged to regulate all aspects of the commerce in medical marijuana to include cultivation, processing, dispensing, and use of medical cannabis in any form. It will allow the dispensing of medical cannabis to individuals who are diagnosed with a qualifying condition and has qualified for a medical cannabis card. The bill provides a list of more than 20 qualifying conditions including four applicable to minors.

Sponsors: Bowling in the Senate, Travis in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: No action taken by the House or Senate.

SB 256/HB 235 - Decriminalization of Marijuana

This bill would specifically provide that possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is not a criminal offense.

Sponsors: Kyle in the Senate, Gloria Johnson in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 260/HB 234 - Use of Marijuana Authorized for Use by Another State

This bill would provide that possession of no more than one-half ounce of marijuana by a person with a valid medical marijuana patient identification card issued by another state is not a criminal offense. Identical to SB 1720/HB 2423.

Sponsors: Kyle in the Senate, Gloria Johnson in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: No action taken by either the House or Senate.

SB 1720/HB 2423 - Use of Marijuana Authorized for Use by Another State

This bill would provide that possession of no more than one-half ounce of marijuana by a person with a valid medical marijuana patient identification card issued by another state is not a criminal offense. Identical to SB 260/HB 264.

Sponsors: Kyle in the Senate; Beck in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 1849/HB 2389 - Commercial Sale of Marijuana

This bill would authorize the creation of businesses under state law for the purpose of growing, processing, manufacture, or sale of marijuana to persons who are 21 or older from a retail business. The quantity shall not exceed one-half ounce. The bill also provides for the taxation of such sales.

Sponsors: Akbari in the Senate; Camper in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 1850/HB 2034 - Marijuana Possession Penalty Reduction

This bill reduces the penalty for possession of one-half ounce or less of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor.

Sponsors: Akbari in the Senate; Love in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 1898/HB 1610 - County Approval of Marijuana Sales

This bill would authorize a county legislative body to call for a local option referendum on the growing, processing, manufacture, delivery, and sale of marijuana in the county.

Sponsors: Robinson in the Senate; Staples in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 2334/HB 2454 - Study on Cannabis for Medical Use

As drafted, this bill would direct the Department of Health, Division of Health Related Boards to perform a study on the licensure and regulation of cannabis for medical use.

Sponsors: Dickerson in the Senate; Terry in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 2441/HB 2741 - Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession for Valid IDs

This bill would decriminalize marijuana for persons possessing a valid marijuana identification card issued by another state and possession was obtained pursuant to a physician’s recommendation.

Sponsors: Kyle in the Senate; Miller in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

SB 2613/HB 2850 - Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

This bill would essentially decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.

Sponsors: Robinson in the Senate; Parkinson in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status:

Bills About Gambling

Bills About Gambling

SB 16/HB 1 - Tennessee Sports Gaming Act

This bill as amended would authorize online wagering on sporting events in Tennessee.

Sponsors: Dickerson in the Senate, Staples in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Public Chapter 507

SB 522/HB 1294 - Authorization of Racing of Certain Breeds of Horses

This bill would create the Tennessee Horse Racing Commission that would regulate the industry, license horse races, and regulate the associated pari-mutuel wagering activities to include wagering on simulcast races at other locations, both inside and outside of Tennessee. The bill would have statewide application.

Sponsors: Niceley in the Senate, Farmer in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: No action taken in either the House or Senate.

SB 817/HB 1421 - Authorization of Horse Racing

This bill would create the Tennessee Horse Racing Commission that would regulate the industry, license horse races, and regulate the associated gambling activities to include pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast races at other locations, both inside and outside of Tennessee. Pari-mutuel wagering on either live races or simulcast races will only be authorized where a locality has passed a local option referendum on the respective types of racing.

Sponsors: Akbari in the Senate, Towns in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: No action taken in either the House or Senate.

SB 1055/HB 666 - Sports Wagering for Stronger Schools Act

This bill would create the Tennessee Sports Wagering Commission that would regulate wagering on sporting events. Under the bill, sports gambling would be authorized in locations that pass a local option referendum. Wagers can be initiated only with cash by those 18 years of age or older. Proceeds would be earmarked and allocated for K-12 education funding and deposited in the Education Trust Fund.

Sponsors: Dickerson in the Senate, Staples in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: No action taken in either the House or Senate.

SB 1057/HB 1033 - March Madness and Fantasy Football Freedom

This bill would authorize sports gambling involving events such as fantasy football and tournament betting pools.

Sponsors: Dickerson in the Senate, Terry in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Public Chapter 126

SB 1463/HB 1012 - Economic Impact Study of Sports Gambling

This bill would require the secretary of state and comptroller to study the economic impact of sports gambling in the state. The findings of the joint report shall be delivered to both the House and Senate State and Local Government Committees.

Sponsors: Bailey in the Senate, Coley in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: No action taken in either the House or Senate.

SJR 97 - Constitutional Amendment to Authorize Bingo

This joint resolution would amend the Tennessee Constitution to authorize bingo games in the state if the proceeds benefit public and private schools.

Sponsors: Niceley in the Senate

Full Text: Senate Joint Resolution

Status: Passed Senate; no action in the House.

HJR 102 - Constitutional Amendment to Authorize Bingo

This joint resolution would amend the constitution to authorize bingo games in the state if conducted by an authorized 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) organization. The Secretary of State shall have sole authority in regulating the activity and the courts shall not have jurisdiction over any aspect of its authority or decisions.

Sponsors: Griffey in the House

Full Text: House Joint Resolution

Status: Failed in House Departments and Agencies Subcommittee of the State Government Committee.

HJR 130 - Constitutional Amendment to Authorize Casino Gambling

This resolution would amend the constitution to allow casino gambling in the state to be implemented and administered in the state as determined by the legislature.

Sponsors: Miller in the House

Full Text: House Joint Resolution

Status: No action in either the House or Senate.

HJR 814 - Constitutional Amendment to Authorize Bingo

This joint resolution would amend the Tennessee Constitution to authorize bingo games in the state if conducted by a congressionally chartered nonprofit veteran 501(c)(19) organization. The General Assembly would have the authority to ensure the uniform implementation and administration of the bingo games across the state.

Sponsors: Griffey in the House

Full Text: House Joint Resolution

Status:

SJR 893 - Constitutional Amendment to Authorize Bingo

This joint resolution would amend the Tennessee Constitution to authorize bingo games in the state if conducted by a congressionally chartered nonprofit veteran 501(c)(19) organization. The General Assembly would have the authority to ensure the uniform implementation and administration of the bingo games across the state.

Sponsors: Hensley in the Senate

Full Text: Senate Joint Resolution

Status:

Bills About Religious Liberty

Bills About Religious Liberty

*SB 364/HB 563 - Business Protection Act

This bill will ensure there is a single, uniform standard for businesses to meet regarding employee health benefit, wage, family leave, and anti-discrimination policies and ensure that a state or local government entity cannot discriminate against a business that meets the state and federal standards in those areas in the awarding of grants, contracts, or other benefits.

Sponsors: Rose in the Senate, Zachary in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Talking Points

Status: Passed in the House, 68-22. Deferred to 2020 in the Senate.

SB 1304/HB 836 - Conscience Provision for Child-Placing Agencies

This bill provides that a child-placing agency shall not be required to facilitate adoptions in a manner that conflicts with the agency’s sincerely held religious beliefs. Additionally, an agency of state or local government cannot take adverse action against such agency for declining to provide or facilitate adoption services that conflict with the agency’s sincerely held religious beliefs.

Sponsors: Rose in the Senate, Rudd in the House

Bill Info: Senate Bill/House Bill

Status: Passed House; deferred in Senate Judiciary Committee to 2020.

HJR 17 - Acknowledging God as the Source of Our Liberties

This joint resolution would amend the Tennessee Constitution to acknowledge that God is the source of our liberties.

Sponsors: Van Huss in the House

Full Text: House Joint Resolution

Status: Passed House; no action in Senate.

2017-2018 Bill Results

Want to print off our bill tracking information to share with your family, friends, Bible study, and prayer group? We have what you need.

Understanding How it Works

How Tennessee Bills Become Law

The following represents the normal procedure in the Tennessee General Assembly of transforming bills into law. The steps below describe the passage of general bills. The procedure for local bills, listed following general bills, is somewhat dif...
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Sometimes abbreviations used for tracking bills on the Tennessee General Assembly (capitol.tn.gov) website can be confusing, so let’s first go through the most used bill abbreviations and what they mean, and then we will track a sampl...
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Tracking Votes and Bill Passage

On our bill tracking section, we provide information about the bills related to marriage, family, life, and religious liberty that we believe are important to you as a conservative in Tennessee and that are particularly important to us as well.  ...
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