General Assembly Considering ‘Tennessee Election Integrity Act’ to Regulate Outside Funding for Election Officials, Require Official Watermarking for Absentee Ballots

Big Tech and Corporate America may face more difficulty funding the elections process under the “Tennessee Election Integrity Act.” In part, the act would require funding from nongovernmental entities to be approved by the Tennessee General Assembly if in session, or the Governor, House and Senate Speaker, Secretary of State, Comptroller of Treasury, and the General Assembly Treasurer. Additionally, an amendment to the act announced on Tuesday would make it more difficult to produce fraudulent absentee ballots.

In short, the amendment to the bill would require non-electronic absentee ballots to be watermarked by local election commissions. That way, county election officials could verify the validity of the ballots upon receipt. Ballots without the watermark would be discarded.

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Bill Proposes Mandating Stricter Guidance with State Curriculum Standards, Limits to LGBT Material

The General Assembly is considering a bill to enforce stricter adherence to state curriculum standards, effectively limiting LGBT instructional materials. The bill was introduced by State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) last month. State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) submitted the companion bill shortly after.

Although the House Education Instruction Subcommittee was scheduled to review the bill on Tuesday, it was rolled back to next week. Griffey told The Tennessee Star that changes will be made to the bill to refocus it on stricter adherence to enforcing current state standards – not just LGBT material in classrooms. 

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Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn Gave $8 Million Contract to Company That Employs Her Husband

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn’s husband works for the company that benefited from an $8.06 million reading initiative contract.

Apparently, Commissioner Schwinn keeps it all in the family. As The Tennessee Star reported last fall, sources claimed that Schwinn imported former colleagues from Texas when she assumed her role within TDOE. They also claimed that they were subjected to hiring freezes and pressure to slash budgets, though Schwinn had no problem with maintaining the six-figure salaries for her imports.

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Tennessee Lawmaker Seeks to Eliminate Illegal Alien Employment in Tennessee

In order to curtail illegal alien employment, employers with six or more employees may be required to verify their workers’ eligibility. Current law only requires that level of verification for employers with over 50 employees. The proposed bill would also remove the immunity for employers who rely on forms of verification other than E-Verify, the federal electronic employment verification service. The legislation includes a sole exemption for farmers. 

State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) introduced the legislation earlier this month. Its companion bill in the Senate, introduced by State Senator John Stevens (R-Huntington), was referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee last week. The legislation mirrors Griffey’s similar bill from last year, which was passed by the House but died in the Senate. 

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Tennessee General Assembly Moves on Bill Protecting Girls in Sports, Challenging Biden’s Executive Order

Once again, Tennessee’s General Assembly has taken up a bill ensuring biological sex is a factor in youth sports. Although the bill would apply to both genders, its preamble identified girls as the motivator for drafting the legislation. It referenced the general biological differences between the genders in competition, as well as noted the impact on female athletes when it comes to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities.

“[I]t is unfortunate for some girls that those dreams, goals, and opportunities for participation, recruitment, and scholarships can be directly and negatively affected by new school policies permitting boys who are male in every biological respect to compete in girls’ athletic competitions if they claim a female gender identity,” stated the bill. 

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Bills Requiring Legislative Input for Refugee Resettlement Advance in Tennessee State House

Two separate bills that stipulate that the input of either the state or local legislative body is required with regard to the resettlement of refugees have moved through the House State Committee.

In other words, both proposed pieces of legislation prohibit Tennessee’s governor from acting alone in making decisions regarding refugee resettlement.

The proposals came about as the result of a series of events that occurred in late 2019.

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State Rep. Bruce Griffey’s Says His Bill to Tax Out-of-Country Wire Transfers Will Solve State’s COVID-19 Revenue Shortfall

State Representative Bruce Griffey sponsored a bill that he says will solve Tennessee’s revenue shortfall caused by the shutdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a May 19 letter to the editor (embedded below), Griffey offers, “How To Solve Tennessee’s COVID 19 (a.k.a. Chinese virus) Budget Problem.”

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State Rep. Bruce Griffey Requests AG Opinion on Constitutionality of Governor Lee’s COVID-19 Executive Orders

In a five-page letter to the state’s attorney general dated May 12, state Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) requested a legal opinion as to the constitutionality and authority of Governor Bill Lee in issuing executive orders in response to COVID-19.

In a press release about his inquiry, Griffey explained, “When I ran for office, I ran on a platform of small government, limited government – a campaign platform I intend to honor. Moreover, when I took my oath of office, I swore to not only support the Tennessee Constitution but also to not consent to any act or thing that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge the rights and privileges of the people of this state as declared by the Constitution of this State. I intend to uphold my oath of office, and defend the Constitutional rights of Tennesseans and protect them from government over-reach.

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State Representatives Martin Daniel and Bruce Griffey Urged Governor Bill Lee to Reopen Tennessee

At least two State Representatives, Martin Daniel (R-Knoxville) and Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) wrote formal letters to Governor Bill Lee, urging him to reopen Tennessee immediately.

Representative Daniel, who will have served three terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives, announced last month that he will not seek reelection in 2020.  Representative Griffey is currently serving his first term.

The Representatives wrote their letters based on the input of their constituents and in response to last week’s extension of Governor Lee’s stay-at-home order through April 30.

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State Rep. Gant Introduces Bill to Address Refugee Resettlement Issue

The Tennessee House of Representatives is considering a new bill aimed at stopping Gov. Bill Lee from allowing an influx of refugees without legislative approval.

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State House Rural Caucus Meets to Discuss Issues Unique to Their Districts

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The first meeting of Tennessee House of Representatives members interested in issues related to rural districts was organized by Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) and attended by nearly three dozen legislators.

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‘Fund The Wall’ Bill Fails in State House Subcommittee By 6-1 Vote

The bill to impose a fee on monetary transfers from Tennessee to outside the U.S. and its territories failed in the House Banking and Investment Subcommittee by a vote of 6 to 1. House Bill 0562 sponsored by Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) received national attention when his effort caught the…

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State Representative Bruce Griffey Takes On Several Illegal Immigration Issues

Before even being sworn into his first term in office, Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) has been calling for measures to decrease illegal immigration to Tennessee which began with a call for a Resolution supporting President Trump in ending “birth right” citizenship, as reported by The Tennessee Star. In addition to…

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Bill Introduced By State Representative Bruce Griffey and Senator Joey Hensley to Help Fund Trump’s Border Wall Catches Attention of Laura Ingraham

The day after State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) filed a bill intended to help fund President Trump’s wall on the southern border, conservative radio and talk show host Laura Ingraham tweeted about it. Griffey’s bill HB 0562, which is being sponsored in the State Senate by Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) as…

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State Representative Bruce Griffey Makes Official Statement On Congressman Steve Cohen’s Boycott of State of The Union Address

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee — On Tuesday, newly-elected State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) made an official statement to The Tennessee Star in response to Democrat U.S. Representative Steve Cohen’s (TN-09) boycott of President Trump’s State of the Union address scheduled for that evening. As reported by several news outlets on Monday,…

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