Tag Archives: foreigners

Haslam Vetoes One Bill, Won’t Sign Another

News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam released the following statements regarding HB 3540/SB 3345 and HB 3576/SB 3597.
House Bill 3540/SB 3345 addresses the hiring of foreign nationals as teachers in Tennessee charter schools.
“We continue to put a lot of time and effort in improving education in Tennessee. Establishing reputable and impactful charter schools to offer education options to parents and students has been an important part of that process. We should also continue to focus on attracting the best and brightest to study and teach in Tennessee,” Haslam said.
“In reviewing HB 3540/SB 3345, I am comfortable that because it is permissive and not mandatory, it does not adversely impact the state’s momentum in education reform. However, I do have concerns about this bill’s constitutionality.
“I will not sign the bill and will let it become law without my signature. Because of my concerns, I am also requesting a formal opinion from the Attorney General on the bill’s constitutionality. I think it is important for local educational agencies to fully understand the implications of this law and their decisions about granting charter school applications.”
Regarding HB 3576/SB 3597, which addresses Vanderbilt University’s “all-comers” policy for campus organizations, Haslam said:
“I don’t agree with Vanderbilt’s ‘all-comers’ policy. It is counter-intuitive to make campus organizations open their membership and leadership positions to anyone and everyone, even when potential members philosophically disagree with the core values and beliefs of the organization.
“The original version of HB 3576/SB 3597 only applied to public education institutions, and I believe it is appropriate for state government to be involved in policies of public colleges and universities.
“The amended legislation that the General Assembly ultimately passed, however, also applies to private universities. Although I disagree with Vanderbilt’s policy, as someone who strongly believes in limited government, I think it is inappropriate for government to mandate the policies of a private institution. Therefore, I will veto HB 3576/SB 3597 in its current form.”

Bill Restricting Foreign Teachers ‘a Little Concerning’ to Gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday expressed reservations about a bill seeking to cap the number of foreign workers at Tennessee charter schools.
The Republican governor told reporters after a prayer breakfast at Lipscomb University that he is concerned about the measure headed for his consideration after passing both chambers of the General Assembly.
Haslam noted that the state is trying to promote more science, technology, engineering and math classes in the state, and that he doesn’t want to close off a potential pipeline of teachers with expertise in those subjects.
“History has shown us that if you look at a lot of the technological innovations, a lot of them have come from folks who are born in other places beside the U.S.,” he said. “And then they brought their talents here to use that to create good ideas to help Americans and create capital.
“So the idea itself is a little concerning to me.”
The measure passed the House on a 63-29 vote on Monday, while the Senate passed its version last week on an 18-13 vote.
Under the bill, a chartering authority would not be allowed to approve a school’s application if it planned to hire 3.5 percent of foreign workers from H1B or J-1 visa programs. The bill would allow exemptions to the limit for foreign language teachers.
Haslam said he has not yet seen the final version of the bill sponsored by Rep. Judd Matheny of Tullahoma and fellow Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, so he didn’t know whether he would sign it into law.
“We want to check out the final version and see if this is something that hurts Tennessee, doesn’t impact it or helps,” Haslam said.
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Online:
Read SB3345 at http://capitol.tn.gov

House Sends Governor Bill Calling for Restrictions on Foreigners at Charter Schools

The House gave final legislative approval Monday to a bill that calls for restrictions on the number of foreigners employed by charter schools and requires reporting of all funds they receive from outside of the country.
Pushed by The Eagle Forum, a Christian conservative organization, SB3345 says the local school system overseeing a charter school can require that no more than 3.5 percent of the schools employees be from foreign countries.
As originally proposed, the limitation would have been be mandatory, but as amended a local school system that oversees charter schools can grant a waiver. An earlier version also proposed restrictions on out-of-country funding, but the final version just calls for reports on funding from outside the United States.
In House floor debate Monday, House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner said the bill appears aimed at one “Muslim who practices tolerance” and cited an Eagle Forum website report on a Turkish man who has launched charter schools in both the United States and Europe.
When House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, said the bill is not targeting Muslims and “treats everyone equally.”
The bill passed the House 63-29 on a generally party-line vote with Republicans supporting it. The bill was approved 18-13 in the Senate last week with three Republicans, including Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, voting no.
Campfield noted that most Tennessee charter schools have fewer than 20 employees, wo the 3.5 percent mandate could basically block hiring of a foreign persons. He also questioned whether the bill run afoul of federal law prohibiting discrimination based on “foreign origin.”
The bill, which contains an exemption for hiring teachers of a foreign language, was promoted by supporters as a “jobs bill” that would give Tennesseans preference for jobs over persons legally coming into the United States on visas from other countries.
Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, in an article posted on the organization’s website, says charter schools launched by Fethullah G├╝len has set up 135 schools in 26 states “after he figured out how to work our system and get the U.S. taxpayers to import and finance his recruitment of followers for his worldwide religious and social movement.”
Citing various media reports, Schlafly says most teachers are Turkish men and the schools are linked to “a close-knit network of businesses and organizations run by Turkish immigrants.”