Articles of interest
Will Tennessee Turn Blue? Tennessee is being targeted by the Left! The 2022 Legislative Session is critical with explosive issues about key freedoms being decided by the end of April. Our legislators are being bombarded by the opposition to approve radical agendas. What do you think about the following bills?:
• Do you want illegal immigrants to vote in Tennessee?
• Do you want K-12 textbooks to promote gay/lesbian and transgender lifestyles?
• Do you want covid vaccines mandatory for your K-12 children?
• Do you want laws that protect your medical and religious exemptions in the workplace?
• Do you want laws that keep churches open during pandemics?
• Do you want to be assured that our voting system is secure?
These key issues and others will be decided by the end of April with or without your input. Do you want your voice heard? Conservative voices are barely at a whisper. Legislators do count your calls and emails! And our elected men and women on the front lines want our help and support as they fight to make a difference.
Tennessee Action Group partners with other organizations and legislators to monitor upcoming bills. We send Alerts within 48 hours of voting – when calls and emails are most critical.
For Alerts that update on bills and how to contact your state legislators, sign up at:
By Anne Beckett [contributor to The Tennessee Conservative and founder of Tennessee Action Group] –
On Thursday January 27, 10:30AM CST, the Joint Study Committee on Refugee Issues held their last meeting in the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville, TN.
This meeting was to approve and adopt a draft of their review for a Final Report to be released to the public and media. The committee voted to adopt the draft, with Rep. Bruce Griffey voting against and Rep. Chris Todd passing.
Sen. Dawn White (Chair) was kind enough to release the report immediately for the Tennessee Conservative news.
Sen. White stated the Final Report is a ”factual report” from the testimony and videos seen during the four committee meetings since June of last year. Recommendations for consideration are included.
The committee was charged by Lt. Gov. McNally and Speaker Sexton to investigate the federal government’s immigration program within Tennessee, and determine the state’s interest in the following areas:
Evaluate the number of migrant children being permanently relocated to Tennessee by the Federal Government.
Study the impact (financial and otherwise) of the federal government’s relocation program on Tennesseans.
There is only one facility in Tennessee to relocate children processed through ORR (federal Office of Refugee Resettlement). They report 1,100 children permanently relocated in Tennessee according to ORR data as of June 2021.
The Fiscal Review Committee was “unable to provide an exact cost due to a lack of available data concerning the number of UAC (unaccompanied alien children) in Tennessee.” Instead, “substantial assumptions” were used to estimate annual costs over 13 and 15 years, respectively: TennCare between $85,000 and $223,900 a year; Public education from $3.9 million to $13.9 million a year.
On May 21st, during a White House Press Briefing, the White House Press Secretary acknowledged that the federal government had been transporting UAC through Tennessee because of its central geographic location.
However, determining how many children are being flown through Tennessee and how to increase transparency from the Federal Government were both left unanswered.
Tennessee Senators Blackburn and Hagerty, Governor Lee’s office, state counterparts in law enforcement and repeated attempts from Tennessee government liaisons to the offices of Health and Human Services (HHS) and ORR were left unanswered except to be directed to the websites of HHS and ORR.
Catholic Charities / Tennessee Office for Refugees (TOR) reported to the committee on August 12th. They vetted approximately 500 refugees in their highly regulated federal program for the year. However, Catholic Charities has many related organizations of the same name under one umbrella. Governor Lee gave $ 7.3 million dollars from TANF (Tennessee Assistance to Needy Families) to Catholic Charites of Tennessee in November 2020. The larger organization was invited to speak at the subsequent meeting but did not appear.
The committee heard from Mr. Glenn Reynolds, Distinguished Professor of Law University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Legally, the Federal Government has constitutional power over immigration. However, “states maintain the right to regulate issues dealing with public health and safety.”
Therefore, “private contractors are still subject to state laws and rules” that are used by the Federal Government in both land and air transportation for illegal immigrants.”
Attorney Reynolds further opined, “the states maintain police powers and that a business’ status as a federal contractor does not preclude them from state laws.” He suggests an argument could be made that” illegal aliens place a financial burden on the state” in order to control the burden via state law and the courts.
The committee then made recommendations.
They first acknowledged the “extensive federal nature of immigration and UAC placement,” adding, “this issue is largely regulated at the federal level.” A distinction between legal immigration and illegal immigration was not made.
For the protection of Tennessee citizens the committee called for:
The Final Report is now available to legislators and several members have expressed plans to submit bills on these issues.
Sen. Dawn White said she would be working on a resolution to incorporate the committee’s ideas, especially the first recommendation related directly to a resolution. White also said any committee member could file a bill related to what the committee discussed and learned.
Representative Griffey recently has filed several bills related to immigrant issues. House Bill 1994 is tailored after an idea forwarded by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that would relocate anyone found in Tennessee who is not legally in the country to Delaware, California, Connecticut, Martha’s Vineyard or Vermont, the home states of the Democrats who Griffey said are responsible for the country’s border crisis.
Griffey also proposed House Bill 1648, which would allow a school district to deny enrollment to any student found to be in the country illegally and eliminates state funding for those students.
According to a poll by Tennessee Conservative News, and read into the record in the November 15th meeting, Tennesseans strongly “want action on the issue of illegal immigration.” We await the response of the 2022 General Assembly.
What do you want your child to learn in school? Do you want an emphasis on basic education? Or do you want public schools to oversee his/her mental health “needs?” (1)
The Tennessee Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn, after her appointment in 2019, implemented a 5-year plan to focus on students’ emotional needs called the “whole child” approach. (2) Schwinn says educators have identified “emotional needs” as a top concern. Is that why you send your child to school?
Schwinn’s “concerns” included an attempt to send someone to see every child in TN to conduct “well-being” checks as a “new government initiative.” (3) Are you ready to have a stranger knock on your door to check on your child’s “well-being”? If a child simply uses the word ”uncomfortable” in an interview with a state worker it can incur bureaucratic intervention.
In 1963, a Tennessean congressman entered a list of communist goals into the congressional record. Centralizing governmental control over education is goal #34. (4) Are we headed there?
Gov. Lee appointed Schwinn without her submitting a resume or receiving any legislative overview or support. The legislature has voiced repeated concerns about her policies and actions (for 3 years) threatening a “no confidence” vote on her even as Governor Lee continues to support her. (5)(6)
Schwinn, a native Californian, signed a state plan in 2021 to submit TN schools to federal oversight. Look for masks and vaccine mandates this Spring, and then call your legislator and ask why. For further details see our website. (7)
(7) On Telegram, look for “”The Great Takedown-TNDOEChat” to get all federal documents on how the federal government is planning a complete take down of education in Tennessee. Expect masks and vaccine mandates by late Spring if TN is participating.
Appeared in January 26, 2022 Fentress Times
Last June the TN legislature formed a committee to study illegal immigration in the state. They concluded their investigation but have not issued the final report.(1)
Committee member Senator Richard Briggs of Knoxville admits Tennessee has illegal immigrants, but says, “It is primarily a federally created problem.” He says Congress needs to take action. Congress is not acting. Why isn’t Tennessee?
Tennessee can not depend on Congress to protect its citizens from federally-permitted illegal activity. Read the TN Constitution. (2) It is the job of the state legislators to make laws to protect the citizens of Tennessee.
Sen. Briggs admits that Tennessee has an illegal immigration problem. But he says we are “not in crisis.” Really? Is crisis needed before any action is taken?
The federal government has zero transparency and is unwilling to communicate on any level with Tennessee. The feds have created an illegal problem, and our legislators’ job is to stop it at the border of Tennessee.
The issue is not about immigrants. It’s about illegal immigrants. And by doing nothing, TN is participating in illegal activity. At the very least, start with laws to penalize business contracts with companies that transport illegals, as Florida’s Gov. DeSantis has done. Or, as Florida is also doing, budget $8 million to bus illegal immigrants to Biden’s Delaware. (3)
Your voice does matter. Call or write Sen. Ken Yager and Rep. Kelly Kiesling to make sure committee members submit bills to penalize illegal immigration activity.
Appeared in January 12, 2022 Fentress Times
God warned his people about the danger of being ruled by a king, that is, one man. (1) Our country was founded on a division of powers to try and keep the same thing from happening. (2)
On March 11, 2020, Governor Bill Lee declared a State of Emergency with a lengthy executive order restricting life activities, including shutting down commerce, businesses and schools. (3, 4)
Tennessee statutes allow a state of emergency for 60 days in which time Gov. Lee can make temporary regulations called executive orders. (5) The state of emergency lasted 21 months.
During this time, the members of the General Assembly were unable to weigh in on any of these decisions. Instead, Gov. Lee ruled over covid restrictions through 62 executive orders.
The legislature is a coequal branch of government with exclusive responsiblity for making laws. (7) Several bills were submitted to limit a state of emergency and failed to pass. (8) We depend on our 133 representatives to juggle the many needs of Tennessee’s 6.9 million citizens.
The true definition of the word “emergency” is “an unforeseen occurrence requiring immediate attention.” A situation lasting 21 months is no longer an emergency.
Other states have more than 300 pending actions by their legislatures over governor’s powers. (9) (10) In January, its time for the Tennessee General Assembly to limit Gov. Lee’s ability to maintain a state of emergency. Thirty days is long enough. Call the offices of Sen. Ken Yager and Rep. Kelly Kiesling and let them know we depend upon them to ensure these limits are enacted.
(1) Samuel 8:10-18
(5) The duration of the protection provided by this subsection (l) shall not
exceed thirty (30) days, but may be extended by the governor by executive order
for an additional thirty (30) days, if required to ensure the provision of
emergency medical services in response to the catastrophic or major disaster.
(6) (HB9081, HB9029,
SP9024, HB 9072, HB1235, SB1169).
Legislative chambers in at least 47 states, Guam and Puerto Rico introduced or considered more than 300 bills or resolutions in 2021 that provide expressly for legislative involvement in and oversight of governors’ or executive actions during the Covid-19 pandemic or other emergencies. These actions include legislation that relates to legislatures’ ability to meet in special session. (For other legislation changing emergency management laws or other laws related to COVID-19, see NCSL’s COVID-19 database.)
Medical personnel should not have the right to keep families away from their loved ones in the hospital.
In November, Tennessee law makers added a new statute in the special session bill (HB9076) forbidding separation from a family member while in the hospital during a covid emergency time. (1)(2)
However, Governor Lee wants to change this law in January, so it only applies to patients during end of life. (3)
No patient deserves to be separated from family even during a national or state emergency.
Hospitals are facing drastic shortages of personnel. Across the nation additional medical personnel are needed to fill 35% more jobs than last year.
In a time of crisis, when demands on skilled care are higher, patients need to have a family member present at all times. Particularly during covid, conflict and confusion can arise between families and doctors over treatment options. Families have a right to be present and involved in all decision-making. (4)
Further, isolation under any conditions threatens recovery. Stress, depression, loneliness and hopelessness can undermine treatment. Isolation is particularly dangerous for the elderly. (5)
Lawmakers in Nashville will be considering a change to the new law in January which currently requires hospitals to let a family member stay in the room. Our loved ones are depending on us to be their voice.
We have 30 days to call and write Gov. Lee, Sen. Ken Yager, Rep. Kelly Kiesling and Speaker Cameron Sexton, and tell them to keep this law as it is and allow one person to stay with a patient in the hospital.
Governor Bill Lee: Email, (615) 741-2001
Speaker Cameron Sexton: Email Phone (615) 741-2343
(1) https://legiscan.com/TN/text/HB9077/2021; 14-6-104,CH 5, Sec 12b)
By Anne Beckett [contributor to The Tennessee Conservative and founder of Tennessee Action Group]
The Tennessee Conservative broke a story of “migrants” coming into Chattanooga on April 9th, 2021. On June 21, the Joint Study Committee on “Refugee” Issues was formed. The committee was formed in response to an incident with “unaccompanied minors” that may be “illegal immigrants”, and then was tasked by Lt. Gov. McNally and Speaker Sexton to evaluate “migrant” children.
Let’s break this down.
A migrant is, “someone who is moving from place to place (willingly) usually for economic reasons (looking for work). It is a planned, temporary move (seasonal).
A refugee is, “someone who has been forced to flee his/her home because of war, violence or persecution.”
An immigrant is, “someone who leaves his/her home and moves to a foreign country with the intention of settling there.”
An illegal immigrant is one who by-passes the laws made for immigration. They have “not acquired documents before entering into a country,” and are not authorized.
So, who’s on first? Or in other words, how does the committee intend to hit the ball when it’s not clear what or which (or who) they are to aim at?
First, as it was rapidly ascertained, the minors coming into Chattanooga were indeed illegal immigrants. Never migrants. (A new “softer” term is used now: UAC’s- unaccompanied alien children. This is another misnomer as “alien” refers to all non-citizens or non-nationals including tourists).
The committee tried to address the transport of these illegal immigrants in and through Tennessee. And steadfastly encountered a total wall (pun intended): The federal “partners” refused to answer any inquiry into their various agencies from any of our law enforcement, governmental agencies or anyone from the Governor’s office. So much for transparency.
Now, when the federal government defies written law it is not conducting a legal operation. Why is Tennessee participating, which in fact is happening when it is not halted?
Several participants echoed words similar to Governor Lee when he referenced a faith based mandate to help the poor and needy. That is misdirected and a mischaracterization: helping the poor is a high calling, but Jesus looks at the heart, not just the act itself, and the intent of this unregulated surge is under serious question. It is not transparent, and is, therefore, not without guile.
Rather, it is to obfuscate. Buyer beware.
Any argument about saving children should address how the situation came about in the first place.
How is anyone getting to the border? A director of one of the refugee agencies reporting to the committee told a story of a 6-year old boy who made a “2,000 mile journey walking to the border” to unite with his mother who is also illegally in the U.S.
That is preposterous in every sense of the word. Who walks 2,000 miles? Or even 200 miles? The northern third of Mexico is the almost the size of Texas, and at least as dry and hot. Without road services or facilities. Hello?
This wave of intruders is obviously being financed and furnished with buses and planes for transport to our southern border. That evidence is rampant at the border. Our politicians can not claim ignorance because of a lack of coverage by mainstream media. They have access to and are responsible to know the truth.
Contrary to comments by Senator Todd Gardenhire including, “it does not matter how they (children) got here we are responsible for them when they are here,” we are not responsible for children who are sent ahead as bait and need to be returned to their homes and homeland.
Otherwise, Tennessee is fully complicit as a state in the atrocities as noted by Representative Chris Todd at the last hearing when he said, ”we are facilitating illegal immigration from the southern border.”
And what is happening to children once they get here? Senator Richard Briggs pointed out in the 2nd committee hearing, “this has all the hallmarks of trafficking: we do not know who is traveling (with the children), where they are going, or who is paying for it.”
Further, for the minor illegal immigrants that are being placed with sponsors or people who claim to be family, a high percentage disappear.
Second, while there are many hopes the southern border crisis will be temporary (migration), it has never been shown in any way to be about “war, violence or persecution” which is the case for refugees.
Yet, a significant amount of time was spent on refugee organizations which are well regulated, process people who have applied for immigration, includes an extended vetting process that typically takes 18 months and only admits a few hundred people a year according to all the reports given to the committee in the hearings.
So how will the committee address this as a “refugee” issue?
If these people are not refugees, and instead illegal immigrants (by any definition), then the federal government is not conducting a legal operation. Why is Tennessee participating?
The committee is to be commended for digging in, that is, swinging at all the balls thrown at them, even if they do not know which one is in the strike zone.
If the committee wants to recommend legislation, it may require a sweeping gesture so broad as to potentially render it useless.
Governor Lee has agreed to receive 415 Afghan “refugees” (We do not know what happened to the vetting process). Governor DeSantis of Florida has a better idea. Perhaps Tennessee should adopt his policy and end the discussion.
About the Author: Anne Beckett is the founder of Tennessee Action Group of Fentress County, a grassroots group dedicated to promoting the sovereignty of Tennessee and its citizens.
On Monday November 15, 10AM CST, the Joint Study Committee on Refugee Issues had their fourth and last meeting livestream in the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville, TN. They heard presentations from the Office of the Governor, Department of Childrens Services, Bethany Christian Services and Bridge Refugee Services.
The Governor’s office was represented by Valerie Yancey, Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs and Eric Mayo, a Legislative Liaison and also the Federal Relations Liaison for the Governor. Mr. Mayo gave a short report referencing only the Afghan refugees reported to be arriving to Tennessee.*
“We do not know how many (other refugee) people are resettled in Tennessee,” Mayo said.
Governor Lee, along with Senators Haggerty and Blackburn, submitted a series of questions concerning the “status of the (Afghan) refugee process and their vetting” to Secretary Mayorca of Homeland Security. The federal government has not responded.
Representative Ryan Williams clarified there are 415 refugees who have been vetted for Tennessee, yet there are no statistics as to how many of these refugees are already in Tennessee, or when more are coming.
Senator Richard Briggs raised the issue of distinguishing among illegal immigrants, refugees and legal immigrants. The committee was formed to evaluate the influx of “migrant” children coming into the state of Tennessee, as well as the transparency from the Federal government and Tennessee’s fiscal
responsibility with migrant resettlement.
Representative Chris Todd questioned the definition of “self sustaining” which is the stated goal of all refugee programs and refers to fiscal independence within 6 months. However, Todd quoted a TennCare report stating 53% of 1500 refugees in 2010 were dependent on TennCare, a taxpayer funded program.
Representative Dan Howell (Chair) then questioned whether the number of refugees will increase. Ms. Yancey admits the Governor’s office has tried repeatedly to contact various deparments within the federal government. The response has been to refer them to another federal agency or department. No direct answers have been given on any inquiry to date.
It is a “blatant ignoring” of all inquiries from the federal government towards any state oversight, says Howell.
Drew Wright, Executive Director of Legislation and Policy at the Department of Children’s Services, briefly reviewed the adjudications and appeals over suspended licensing of the Baptiste Group in Chattanooga, a migrant children’s housing facility. A secondary and separate judicial action, “Notice of License Revocation,” was filed on September 17. No further comments could be made due to continued litigation.
Senator Dawn White (Chair) asked how many children were at the facility when it closed due to charges of child abuse by employees, and where did they go? She was told no information is available, although DCS noted approximately 60 children were at the facility during their last inspection.
Todd accused the federal government with relocation of the children. One child reportedly involved with the abuse charges against Baptiste was found to be back at his home in Guatemala days after the Baptiste facility was closed by DCS.
Todd heatedly questioned whether Tennesse is compliant with the federal government in “trafficking” when DCS does not know, and ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) will not reveal, what is happening with migrant children who are reportedly being transported in and through Tennessee with no oversight.
Bethany Christian Services is one of only two agencies in Tennessee who receive or place migrant children. Amy Scott, Tennessee State Director for Bethany, reports her agency received approximately 100 migrant children since March 2020. Bethany is not a residential housing facility. They placed less than 15% of the migrant children in Tennessee with either family members or vetted foster homes.
Since the committee is mandated to determine costs to Tennessee for refugee or illegal immigrants, Dana Anderson, Vice president of Refugee and Immigrant Children’s Services with Bethany, said they are reimbursed for care after submitting direct costs to the federal government.
Bethany admits to reuniting children with other illegals. Todd again charged all government and agencies involved with facilitating the illegal immigration currently experienced at the border. Further, while Bethany and ORR have a prescribed vetting process for foster homes or family reuniting, Todd says it “reeks of impropriety” when children are abandoned as young as 6 years of age and then quizzed on their history and family connections in order to find placement.
Ms. Scott told Representative Williams that Bethany can only care for 24 children at any one time. Williams quoted a figure of “3,678 UAC’s” (Unacompanied Alien Children) in Tennessee. If Bethany is assisting what amounts to only 4% of that number, where are the rest of the children?
The committee then heard from Bridge Refugee Service Executive Director, Drocella Mugorewera. She said Bridge has resettled 35 refugees in Knoxville and 25 refugees in Chattanooga the last 2 months. She did not have the numbers for statewide. She said Bridge receives refugees from several religious minstries who work directly with the federal government.
Representative Todd asked to read into the record a survey result received from a committee member not present (Griffey). He noted most polls target 1,000 people and this poll had 2,322 respondents. An average of 97% responded “no” to a series of 7 questions on whether Tennessee should receive or aid illegal immigrants at taxpayers expense for housing, education or jobs.
Catholic Charities of East Tennessee was scheduled but did not appear before the committee.
The committee will meet with their legal department to finalize a summary report on each agency and department reporting to them since this ad hoc committee was formed in June.
Anne Beckett is the founder of Tennessee Action Group of Fentress County, a grassroots group dedicated to promoting the sovereignty of Tennessee and its citizens.
October 27, 2021
By Anne Beckett [contributor to The Tennessee Conservative] –
The emergency powers of Gov. Bill Lee need to be limited immediately. The extended state of emergency which now governs the State of Tennessee is unconscionable. Further, it has rendered the General Assembly ineffective in their oath of office.
This General Assembly took an oath of office to support our constitutions, and therein the “life, liberty and property” of TN citizens. These rights have been violated by being limited, suppressed and removed.
Further, the General Assembly abdicated its duty to one man, Gov. Bill Lee, by allowing the continuation of 62 particular Executive Orders issued specifically under emergency powers over the last 18 months since March 2020.
The General Assembly has delegated its duties to one man whose duty it is to execute the laws. Not create them.
That is reserved exclusively as a legislative duty.
The Tennessee Code allows the Governor to function with emergency powers for a total of 60 days. He may renew the order.
The renewals have lasted 18 months. Enough already.
An “emergency” is defined as: “A serious situation or occurrence that happens unexpectedly and demands immediate action.“ If we really have an emergency, requiring “immediate action,” why would they not stay in continuous session to protect the state and citizens?
This August, legislators admitted our medical freedoms are being abused. Yet, a House bill entered last January was tabled by the Senate in April, which would have at least ended the “emergency” along with making the executive orders moot. After a year of shut down, they had no excuse to set it aside and not release us. Unconscionable.
Why are the General Assembly abdicating their responsibilities? Have they allowed themselves to be neutered?
Lawmakers around the country are challenging executive actions relating to the declared pandemic.
Why is our supermajority Republican legislation neglecting to do the same?
The people request the General Assembly to end the current emergency. Additionally, they need to further constrain both the scope and duration of emergency powers of the Governor by requiring approval by the House and Senate before they become effective or extended.
This has been done in Pennsylvania, we can do it here.
If the General Assembly can not protect its citizens and uphold the TN Constitution and Codes now, how can they stand up to continuing federal encroachment and protect the sovereignty of Tennessee under the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution?
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About the Author: Anne Beckett is the founder of the Tennessee Action Group in Fentress County. Their first action was a drive to garner signatures for a Petition to Governor Lee to stop illegal immigration into Tennessee. You can find out more at www.tennactiongroup.org, or find them on Facebook.