Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga
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News from the Women's Fund

Our 2019 Legislative Priorities

Below are the bills that the Women’s Fund has designated as legislative priorities for this session of the Tennessee General Assembly. This list includes bills that touch on each of the 49 to One report priority areas, as well as some that continue the work that the Women’s Fund has prioritized in previous years (Maintaining Past Gains). This year’s list also includes a number of bills that are being led by our partner organizations across the state - if we want to move Tennessee from 49 to One, it’s going to require the collaborative efforts of all of the women working so hard to improve lives in Tennessee. This list of bills certainly doesn’t include every bill impacting women and girls in our state, so we will be watching all of the action in our legislature and providing updates to keep you informed about actions you can take to help make progress for women in our state. It’s going to be a big year in Nashville. As always, if you have any questions or if you want to join our efforts to move Tennessee from 49 to One in the Status of Women, please reach out - we’d love to meet you!

Women’s Fund’s Proactive Legislative Priority

Post Conviction Relief for Survivors of Human Trafficking (Expungement)

HB193/SB577 - Expunction - This bill permits an eligible survivor of human trafficking to have multiple, nonviolent convictions for offenses that resulted from his/her status as a victim of human trafficking expunged, easing access to basic necessities like employment, education, and housing. (Aligns with Poverty & Opportunity, Violence & Safety, and Employment & Earnings measures from 49 to One report.)

Partner Organizations’ Proactive Legislative Priorities

Intimate Partner Violence Emergency Screening - led by AWAKE

HB682/SB826 - Health Care - This bill requires facilities that employ licensed healthcare providers and deliver emergency care to patients to adopt protocols requiring training in the detection and treatment of victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking; it also provides immunity from liability for the failure to detect, identify, or refer victims to local resources. (Aligns with Violence & Safety and Health & Wellness measures from 49 to One report.)

Handgun Permit Surrender by Domestic Violence Offenders - led by AWAKE

HB1447/SB865 - Domestic Violence - This bill requires a handgun carry permit holder convicted of domestic assault to surrender the permit to the court within 48 hours of conviction to be forwarded to the department of safety for revocation. Currently offenders are asked to transfer possession of guns only. (Aligns with Violence & Safety measures from 49 to One report.)

Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act - led by A Better Balance

HB986/SB758 - Employees/Employers - This bill prohibits public employers from discriminating against applicants and employees with pregnancy-related conditions by not providing them with reasonable accommodations. (Aligns with Work & Family measures from 49 to One report.)

Improving the Health Outcomes of Incarcerated Women and Their Pregnancies - led by Healthy & Free Tennessee

HB1240/SB1150 - Prisons and Reformatory Institutions - This bill restricts the use of physical restraints on pregnant inmates, requires regular prenatal and postpartum medical care for pregnant inmates, and prohibits the use of solitary confinement for pregnant inmates and inmates who have given birth within the past eight weeks. (Aligns with both Health & Wellness and Reproductive Rights measures from 49 to One report.)

Maintaining Past Gains

Ending Child Marriage in Tennessee

HB189/SB1376 - Marriage - This is simply a clean-up bill clarifying the definition of parent in the 2018 legislation eliminating child marriage and removing obsolete language about the marriage of minors from the code.

Combating Suicide in Tennessee

HB159/SB1465 - Health Care - As introduced, extends the Suicide Prevention Act of 2018 indefinitely; requires the department of health to compile data on the medications that were prescribed to those dying from suicide; requires that a report be made to the health committee of the house of representatives and the health and welfare committee of the senate no later than June 30, 2020, and by June 30 every two years thereafter.

Supporting Victims of Human Trafficking

HB397/SB447 - Public Funds & Financing - As introduced, establishes a victims of human trafficking fund in the state treasury to provide comprehensive treatment and support services to victims of human trafficking.

49 to One Strategic Priorities

Firearms Restrictions for Offenders

HB1119/SB1415 - Firearms and Ammunition - As introduced, creates a Class A misdemeanor of possessing a firearm if a person has a prior conviction of stalking. This was the number one priority issue in our 2018 Advocacy survey. (Aligns with Violence and Safety measures from 49 to One Report.)

HB1224/SB1025 - Domestic Violence - This bill requires the court to order that a defendant convicted of domestic violence who transfers possession of firearms to a third party must have the third party complete and return to the court an affidavit certifying that the third party is not prohibited from possessing firearms, acknowledges receipt of firearms from the defendant, and accepts their responsibility under this section. This was our Voices priority issue. (Aligns with Violence and Safety measures from 49 to One report.)

Sexual Harassment Protections for Contract Workers

HB387/SB380 - Employees,Employers - This bill makes it a discriminatory practice for a person who is paying a non-employee for labor or services to engage in harassment of the non-employee because of the non-employee's sex; holds such persons liable for the actions of their employees in engaging in such harassment under certain circumstances. (Aligns with both the Employment and Earnings and Violence and Safety measures from 49 to One report.) (Follow also: HB81/SB986.)

Sexual Harassment in Tennessee Government

HB594/SB1262 - Tort Liability and Reform - This bill declares settlement agreement provisions that have purpose or effect of concealing details relating to claim of sexual harassment or sexual assault as void and unenforceable and contrary to public policy of this state if settlement agreement is entered into by governmental entity; maintains confidentiality of victim's identity. (Aligns with Violence and Safety measures from 49 to One report.)

Equal Pay for Tennessee Women

HB216/SB255 - Sex Discrimination - 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. (Aligns with both the Employment & Earnings and Poverty & Opportunity measures from 49 to One report.)

Family Leave Legislation

HB514/SB647 - Employees, Employers - As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee State Family Leave Act." (Aligns with Work & Family measures from 49 to One report.)

Preventing Suspension of Drivers Licenses

HB839/SB1143 - Driver Licenses - This bill prevents suspension of a driver license for failure to pay fines or costs imposed for a driving offense if the person is indigent or enters into payment plan; requires person be issued restricted driver license until moneys owed the court are fully paid. (Aligns with Poverty and Opportunity measures from 49 to One report.)

Childcare Expenses for Candidates for Public Office

HB7/SB86 - Campaigns and Campaign Finance - This bill authorizes the use of campaign funds for the child care expenditures of a candidate that are incurred by the candidate as a direct result of the candidate's participation in campaign-related events and activities. (Aligns with both Work & Family and Political Participation measures from 49 to One report.)

Restrictions on Public Vaping

HB97/SB26 - Tobacco, Tobacco Products - This bill limits the places in which one may use vapor products. (Aligns with Health & Wellness measures from the 49 to One report.)

Additional Priority

Removing Statutes of Limitations on Child Sexual Assault Victims

HB286/SB368 - Statutes of Limitation and Repose - This bill removes the statute of limitations for prosecution of certain Class A or Class B felony sex offenses committed against a child on or after July 1, 2019, and deletes a provision that sets a lower statute of limitations for aggravated rape, rape of a child, rape, and aggravated rape of a child if notice of the offense is not given to law enforcement within three years of the offense. (Follow also HB285/SB18; HB112/SB592; HB140/SB1131; HB660/SB545; HB1035/SB954.)

Jeannine Carpenter