Thank you to everyone who made a phone call, sent a postcard, wrote a letter, visited a legislator, emailed a legislator or spread the word about the important issues that we prioritized this legislative session. This is the final week of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly, and as of this afternoon, all of our priority bills have completed their moves through the House and Senate.
The Women's Fund had three significant wins this year, and we also have a number of bills that were not written into law, but that we anticipate returning to the General Assembly stronger and with greater public awareness next year.
Below is the final update on our priority list organized by 49 to One areas.
HB2372/SB1488 - Election Laws - This bill lengthens the voter registration period to 15 days before an election instead of 30 days before an election. Position: Support
Update: HB2372 was assigned to the Local Government subcommittee and SB1488 was assigned to the general subcommittee of State and Local Government. Neither bill saw movement after committee assignment.
VIOLENCE & SAFETY
HB1984/SB2130 - Sexual Harassment - This bill allows a contract employee to bring a sexual harassment action against the entity to which the person is under contract in certain situations. (Also aligns with the Employment and Earnings measures from 49 to One report.) Position: Support
Update: HB1984 was taken off notice in the Consumer and Human Resource subcommittee on March 14 because it did not have the support to pass this year. We are hopeful it will be reintroduced next year.
EMPLOYMENT & EARNINGS
HB1904/SB1863 - Tennessee Pay Equality Act - This bill forbids discrimination by an employer on the basis of sex by paying any employee a wage rate less than than that paid to any employee of the opposite sex for comparable work, performance, skill and responsibility in similar working conditions. (Also aligns with Poverty & Opportunity measures from 49 to One report.) Position: Support
Update: HB1904 was taken off notice in the Consumer and Human Resource subcommittee on March 14; We do not anticipate any movement for the Tennessee Pay Equality Act this session. This bill likely will be introduced every year until it passes.
HB 1861/SB1769 - Employment Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence - This bill establishes employment protections for people who are victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault to attend court, meet with law enforcement, attend counseling, or find new housing. Position: Support
Update: SB1769 failed in Judiciary Committee.
WORK & FAMILY
HB1985/SB2092 - Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act - This bill prohibits public employers from discriminating against applicants and employees with pregnancy-related conditions by not providing them with reasonable accommodations. Position: Support
Update: HB1985 failed in State Government Committee. We anticipate that it will continue to be introduced each year until it passes.
HB2164/SB1510 - Family Life Curriculum - This bill requires instruction on the detection, intervention, prevention, and treatment of child sexual abuse as part of a family life curriculum and extends immunity from a cause of action to instructors or organizations providing such instruction. Position: Support
HB1506/SB1491 - Infant Mortality Reduction Program Act - This bill enacts the "Infant Mortality Reduction Program Act," which creates a program for the distribution of baby boxes to parents at the birth of their child. Position: Support
Update: HB1506 was taken off notice in the Health subcommittee on March 7; We anticipate this bill being reintroduced next year with a decreased fiscal note and increased public awareness.
HB 2627/SB2185 - Insurance Coverage/Access to contraception - This bill requires all health benefit plans to provide coverage for contraception and other women's preventive health services (Also aligns with Health & Well-Being measures from 49 to One report.) Position: Support
Update: HB2627 failed in the House Insurance and Banking subcommittee.
HEALTH & WELL-BEING
HB1961/SB1949 - Suicide Mortality Review and Prevention Act - In accordance with the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention as issued by the office of the U.S. Surgeon General, this bill forms and implements the recommended state-based suicide mortality reviews to institute the systemic changes needed to decrease suicide mortality. Position: Support
Marriage Age Amendment attached to HB2134/SB2268- This amendment restricts marriage to persons 17 years of age or older and restricts the age of the person marrying a 17 year-old to 21 or younger. This amendment also annuls forced or coerced marriages and implements a cause of action against those who forced or coerced a person into marriage. Position: Support