Thursday, June 07, 2007


Committee Hopping

It's the end of session in the Tennessee General Assembly, which means that scheduling is hectic, work is fast paced, and (if you've laid the groundwork and recruited the right sponsors and co-sponsors) bills can move fast!

Yesterday afternoon, the House Budget Subcommittee met and expedited its work on behind the budget bills with small fiscal notes that the Senate has already taken action on, including . . . HB 2162, the death penalty study bill! The bill sponsored by Rep. Rob Briley, and co-sponsored by Democrats and Republicans from across the state, passed the subcommittee by voice vote, then passed the full Finance, Ways and Means Committee about an hour later!

But wait! There's more! The little bill that could didn't stop there, and neither did the legislature. After a 45 minute break, the House Calendar and Rules Committee convened and they moved (the an amazingly speedy fashion) the bills that had just been passed by the Finance Committee to the House floor session, which will convene today at 10:00 am! Three committees in one afternoon!

Now of course this didn't just happen. We've spent months laying the groundwork for yesterday and today. We worked hard with our legislative partners to recruit excellent sponsors, Rob Briley is the chair of the house Judiciary Committee and an influential member of the Democratic Caucus while Senate sponsor Doug Jackson is the vice-chair of the Senate Judiciary and a death penalty supporter (giving our bill real credibility). And we carefully selected who we would ask to co-sponsor the bill, so we have a number of conservative Republicans and mainstream Democrat signed on. But most importantly, we've received so much help from Mike Murphy and Jennifer Murphy at the Catholic Public Policy Commission, Joe Sweat and Hedy Weinberg at the ACLU, and the folks at NAMI and TACDL. Without those relationships (and organizing is all about personal relationships) we would never be where we are today!

So call your House reps today and tell them to vote in favor of House Bill 2162 to create a commission to study Tennessee's death penalty!
Comments :
And a special thanks to you for some of the best committee hopping ever!! It takes a special skill to get so much done in such a short period of time. We thank you and Stacy for the great work you do everyday.
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