Legislative Update

Legislative Update

The members of your Legislative Committee have been organizing over the last two weeks will be reporting on significant legislation from our local governments, as well as select bills from the Tennessee Legislature and Congress. Of course there are too many pending bills to report on them all, so we intend to concentrate on bills that may not have received sufficient coverage from traditional media sources. We would also like you to share your interests.

Today, we remind you of two pending bills in the Tennessee Legislature which demonstrate the difference between our parties and the divisive nature of many Republican policies.

The members of your Legislative Committee have been organizing over the last two weeks will be reporting on significant legislation from our local governments, as well as select bills from the Tennessee Legislature and Congress. Of course there are too many pending bills to report on them all, so we intend to concentrate on bills that may not have received sufficient coverage from traditional media sources. We would also like you to share your interests.

Today, we remind you of two pending bills in the Tennessee Legislature which demonstrate the difference between our parties and the divisive nature of many Republican policies.

House Bill 356 // Senate Bill 404

The Tennessee Legislature continues to promote policies and procedures to discourage labor organization and representation. The bill, which has received attention across the state and from labor organizations, would allow Local Education Agencies to refuse to deduct union dues from payroll. In order to encourage LEAs to do just that, the bill would mandate that any LEA deducting union dues would also have to deduct dues for any other professional employee organization. Employees would also be required to request the deduction and could rescind authorization at any time. The fate of this legislation is unclear at this time.

House Bill 91 // Senate Bill 1172

The Tennessee Legislature, in an exceedingly cynical and uninformed move, is attempting to place onerous requirements on families receiving food assistance (food stamps) under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The plan (which would likely violate federal requirements) would require:

  • Employment of at least 20 hours/week;

  • Community service of at least 24 hours/month;

  • Participation in employment center classes for at least 20 hours/week; or

  • Enrollment as a full time student.

Please remember that SNAP benefits are for the most part limited to families with minor children. Adults without dependents have very limited benefits. Beneficiaries already must register for work, participate in employment training if offered; accept employment offers and not quit a job. In fact, most SNAP beneficiaries are already working at least part time. While meager, SNAP benefits often make the difference between a family with children having enough to eat and keeping the lights on or not. Study after study also demonstrate that families using these benefits come in and out of the program depending on employment/business cycles. For families with very young children, day care is an enormous issue. In our estimation, the legislation is uninformed, counterproductive, and punitive.

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