House Democrats list their top ten good bills passed, top ten bad bills killed in 2017

The House Democratic Caucus has come up with two “top ten” listings for the 2017 session – one for “dangerous” bills that were killed with Democratic assistance and one for bills “that improve the quality of life for people all across the state” that were approved with Democratic sponsors.

The news releases:


NASHVILLE—TN House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart has released a list of ten bills that were bad for Tennesseans that Democratic lawmakers killed or postponed during the 2017 Legislative Session.  The bills, all sponsored by Republicans, would have adversely impacted the lives of people across the state.

“These bills were not in line with the principles that most Tennesseans believe in,” according to Chairman Stewart. “These bills are dangerous and people around the state and the country would have been disappointed in the Legislature if we had allowed these bills to become law.”  Here is a list with a brief synopsis:

  • HB0040—the “Open Firearms Freedom Act” would have allowed anyone to carry a gun out in the open anywhere in Tennessee. The bill failed in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.
  • HB0108—would have prohibited abortions from the point a fetal heartbeat is first detected.  The bill was deferred to 2018.
  • HB0126—the “Opportunity Scholarship Pilot Program” – this year’s school voucher bill. The bill is on hold in the House Finance subcommittee until next year.
  • HB0222—would have required the Department of Safety to print the words “Non U.S. Citizen” or “Alien” on driver licenses, permits or other forms of identification issued to persons who are not full United States citizens. The bill was deferred to 2018.
  • HB0668—this bill would provide civil immunity for a driver to hit a protestor who is blocking traffic with their car if the driver was exercising “due care”. It failed in the House Civil Justice subcommittee.
  • HB0739—the “Tennessee Student Free Expression Act” was also called the “Milo bill”. It was named after former Breitbart Senior Editor Milo Yiannopolous, notorious for his statements defending pedophiles and promoting racism.  After public outcry, the bill was never put on notice.
  • HB0892—the “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act” states that the policy of Tennessee is to defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary. Deferred to 2018.
  • HB0888—commonly referred to as the “Bathroom Bill”, this would require students in public schools and universities to use restrooms and locker rooms that are assigned to persons of the same gender on their birth certificate.
  • HB1139—as amended, this bill would have allowed legislators who reside within a 50-mile radius of Nashville to be reimbursed for lodging during the legislative session.
  • HB1406—this bill would have declared that a child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination would not be considered legitimate.

The bills are featured on the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus Facebook page and can be found on TN House Democrats Twitter feed with the #WeWorkforYou


NASHVILLE—TN House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart has released a list of ten bills passed by members in 2017 designed to help Tennesseans.  The list includes bills from Democrats from Knoxville to Memphis that improve the quality of life for people all across the state.

Chairman Stewart said “some of these bills got a lot of attention this year, some didn’t—but they all show how hard our representatives are working and fighting for all Tennesseans and we wanted to make sure people knew about them.” Here is the list with a brief synopsis of each:

  • HB0044—Sponsored by Representative John Mark Windle (District 41-Livingston). “The Help Find the Missing Act” requires police to enter all missing persons into a national database to improve the chances of solving missing persons cases. Tennessee is the third state in the nation to pass such a law.
  • HB0128—Sponsored by Representative Dwayne Thompson (District 96-Cordova). This bill helps non-violent ex-offenders become productive citizens by allowing them to apply for a certificate of employability in an easier and less-costly manner.
  • HB0165—Sponsored by Representative Joe Pitts (District 67-Clarksville). This bill makes it easier for private companies to give special hiring preferences to veterans.
  • HB0191—Sponsored by Representative John DeBerry (District 90-Memphis). Provides greater safety for amusement park rides by increasing both inspections and ride standards.
  • HB0277—Sponsored by Representative G. A. Hardaway (District 93-Memphis). Increases the death benefit for a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty from $25,000 to $100,000. The bill also requires that records about officer-involved shootings deaths be open to the public after the investigation and any prosecution is completed.
  • HB0418—Sponsored by Representative Raumesh Akbari (District 91-Memphis). This new law will lower the expunction fee from $350 down to $180, (not including court costs and related fees).  Two related bills passed by Rep. Akbari are also worth noting: HB0636 makes it easier for juveniles to get criminal records expunged and HB0873 allows a person who has two convictions to get a one-time expunction of both.
  • HB0463—Sponsored by Representative Rick Staples (District 15-Knoxville). Legislation that allows a member of the armed forces stationed in another county to apply for a marriage license.
  • HB0720—Sponsored by Representative Antonio Parkinson (District 98-Memphis). This would allow a school counselor to refer or help facilitate a referral of a student to a counselor or therapist for mental health assessments or services.
  • HB0844—Sponsored by Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh (District 82-Ripley). Requires a yearly report issued on how many new jobs are created by businesses that receive tax breaks making them more accountable.
  • HB1402—Sponsored by Representative John Ray Clemmons (District 55-Nashville). Increases the punishment for desecrating a place of worship or burial.

The bills are featured on the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus Facebook page and can be found on TN House Democrats Twitter feed with the #WeWorkForYou.

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