State Legislative Update: January 28, 2019

The Tennessee General Assembly is now in session and legislation is already being filed at a fast & furious pace. The following are some bills that we have identified as worthy of your attention. They are listed alphanumerically, not necessarily in the order of their importance. Please note that checkmarks  indicate our approval and X’s our disapproval.


  • HB0077   Rep. Van Huss (R.)  

Prohibits abortions from the point a fetal heartbeat is detected; requires fetal heartbeat testing prior to an abortion; creates exceptions.

  • HB0078   Rep. Van Huss (R.)  

Increases by $500 the minimum fine imposed for a first or second violation of the requirement that a physician who reports suspected sexual abuse due to being requested to perform an abortion on a minor include in that report information regarding the sampling and preservation of embryonic or fetal tissue; increased fine amounts will be $1,000 and $1,500 respectively.

Churches / Pastors

  • HB0036   Rep. Whitson (R.)  
Changes from once every five years to once every four years the time frame during which social workers, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, pastoral counselors, alcohol and drug abuse counselors, and occupational therapists must complete an approved suicide prevention training program.
  •  HB0046   Rep. Cooper (D.)  
Requires a county election commission to maintain certain office hours on Sundays for purposes of early voting.
  • SB0005   Sen. Nicely (R.)  
Extends the duration of an industrial hemp grower’s license from one year to two years.
  • HB0014   Rep. Cepicky (R.)  
Expands enhanced penalties for the sale of controlled substances in a drug-free school zone to include the distribution of one-half ounce or less of marijuana.

  • HB0001 & SB0016   Rep. Staples (D.) & Sen. Akbari (D.)  
Authorizes sports betting in this state only in jurisdictions that approve sports betting by local option election; imposes a 10 percent tax on gaming revenue; distributes 40 percent of the tax to the general fund for general appropriations, 30 percent to Tennessee colleges of applied technologies and community colleges for equipment and capital projects, and 30 percent to local governments for education and infrastructure; establishes the Tennessee gaming commission to regulate sports betting; authorizes the commission to collaborate with the Tennessee bureau of investigation for purposes of enforcement.
Rape / Murder
  • HB0017 & SB0024   Rep. Lamar (D.) & Sen. Gilmore (D.)  
Establishes a presumption that a minor who is the victim of a sexual offense or engaged in prostitution held a reasonable belief that the use of force is immediately necessary to avoid imminent death or serious bodily injury.

  • HB0133 & SB0090   Rep. Love (D.) & Sen. Akbari (D.)  
Authorizes the use of a driver license from another state to establish a person’s identity for the purposes of being issued a photo identification license by the department of safety for the purposes of voting.

There will no doubt be more legislation coming that will encourage and concern you. We will do our best to keep you aware of what is proposed and brought to a vote. To track state or federal legislation, or to contact your state and federal legislators, visit our website at

This State Legislative Update has been brought to you by the
Tennessee Independent Baptists for Religious Liberty
Aaron R. Snodderly, Executive Director

Tennessee’s 111th General Assembly Convenes in Nashville

Yesterday (January 8th), politicians from across the state gathered on Capitol Hill in Nashville, TN to convene the 111th General Assembly of the Tennessee State Senate and House of Representatives. After much fanfare the gavel sounded, signalling that the 2019 legislative session had officially begun. Last week, elected officials did the same at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.

Between the state and U.S. capitols, there are numerous proposed laws that should excite constitutionally minded citizens. However, there are also many bills already filed that will greatly concern the same sensible people.Our elected officials have already begun deliberating legislation relating to important issues such as the following, to name just a few:

Religious Freedom & Church Rights
Freedom of Speech & Hate Crimes
Abortion & Euthanasia
“Recreational” Drugs
Taxes & Healthcare
Gun Control
Homosexuality & “Transgender” issues
With the help of God and your prayers/financial support, the Tennessee Independent Baptists for Religious Liberty will do our best to issue updates on the progress of legislation important to you. Please pray daily for Executive Director Aaron R. Snodderly as he is personally on Capitol Hill encouraging your politicians to vote your values of faith, family, and freedom. Pray for him as he fights “spiritual wickedness in high places.”
For more information concerning how you can search and track specific legislation, click the “Legislation” tab on our website at

West TN Parents Contact TIBRL Protesting Public School Homework Assignment Requiring Thank You Letter to Muslim Sultans

Brentwood, TN, Oct. 4, 2018 / by TIBRL Media Liaison — Recently, parents of public school students at Brighton Middle School in west Tennessee reached out to the office of the Tennessee Independent Baptists for Religious Liberty (TIBRL) expressing concern about a homework assignment distributed by their children’s 7th grade Social Studies teacher. The assignment in question required the students to write a letter to a Muslim Sultan in which they were to convey their gratitude to him for making them one of his Janissaries. After only a little research, it was clear that these parents had good reason to be concerned.

The history of the Janissaries begins in the 1300’s A.D. during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. In these ancient days, Muslim Sultans would target & kidnap Christian children and forcibly convert them to Islam. The young boys who converted were made to serve as one of the Sultan’s celibate military slaves (called a Janissary), thus dooming them to what was likely a short-lived lonely life of violence and fear. On occasion, the sisters of these young boys were raped and made to live the life of a sex-slave. Boys & girls who refused to convert and live such a life would be executed.

To be fair, nearing the demise of the Janissaries in the year 1826, many impoverished Muslim men would volunteer to become a janissary because they hoped it would benefit their livelihood. After weighing the balances in such poverty, they apparently viewed the potential gain to be worth the risk of military slave life. Either way, at least they had a choice. However, no record was found indicating that becoming a Janissary was ever a choice for Christians, much less a benefit, even in the 1800’s.

Executive Director of the TIBRL, Aaron Snodderly, said that, “Based on historical evidence, the parents in west Tennessee were right to be disturbed by such a homework assignment and had every right to allow their child to refuse it.” He went on to say, “Can you imagine the outcry from atheist groups if children had been asked to write a thank you letter to a pastor thanking him for teaching them about God who created everything? Or, imagine the justifiable outrage that would be vocalized if children had been asked to write and thank a southern plantation owner for enslaving them prior to the civil war. Slavery is always wrong, especially when it eliminates religious freedom & involves possible human trafficking. I commend these parents for taking a civil stand and raising awareness of this issue. I encourage more parents to do the same.”

Snodderly concluded his remarks by saying, “After conversing with the state & county boards of education and the principle of the school itself, I have been assured that similar assignments will not be distributed in the future. We appreciate their quick and courteous response to our inquiries.”

The Tennessee Independent Baptists for Religious Liberty (TIBRL) was founded, and is currently led, by some of Tennessee’s finest pastors for the purpose of promoting & protecting the Constitution’s 1st Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion. To learn more about legislative/judicial issues, or to report a Constitutional violation, visit Or, call 615-410-9232.

Media Contact: TIBRL Media Liaison | Phone: 615-410-9232 | Email:

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