Tag Archives: hensley

Another Delay for ‘Don’t Say Gay’ (but sponsor’s ‘not backing off’)

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Republican sponsor of a proposal to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students said Tuesday that he’s not backing off the legislation despite concerns from GOP leaders.
The proposal was scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee. But Rep. Joey Hensley of Hohenwald told The Associated Press he plans to delay the measure for up to three weeks to work out its language.
The legislation, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, would limit all sexually related instruction to “natural human reproduction science” in kindergarten through eighth grade.

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Rep. Hensley Makes It Official: He’s Running for the Senate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican state Rep. Joey Hensley says he plans to run for a new state Senate district in southern Middle Tennessee.
Hensley, a 56-year-old Hohenwald physician, noted Wednesday that the Senate seat created through the state’s redistricting plans includes Lewis, Lawrence and Wayne counties, which he has represented in the House for nearly 10 years.
Hensley’s decision to run for the Senate comes after the Legislature last week approved plans to draw Hensley’s House seat together with fellow Republican Rep. Vance Dennis of Savannah.
Hensley has been a strong tobacco opponent in his time in office. He supported various unsuccessful efforts to ban smoking in public places before the Legislature finally passed an indoor ban in 2007.

‘Don’t Say Gay’ Gets a New House Sponsor

NASHVILLE – A Senate-passed bill nicknamed “don’t say gay” is scheduled for debate today in a House subcommittee with a new sponsor.
State Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, who as House sponsor last year decided not to bring the bill up in committee, said Tuesday he had turned the measure over to state Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, “for strategic reasons.”
Dunn is a member of the House Education Subcommittee scheduled to hear the bill (SB49) this afternoon. Dunn said he will vote for the measure and believes, as modified by a Senate amendment, it is less controversial than the original version filed by himself and Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville.
The original version declared that “no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.”
UPDATE: House Education Chairman Richard Montgomery says that, at his request, Hensley has agreed to postpone action on the bill for “a week or two.” Montgomery said he was responding to committee members who wanted more time to study the issue and that he is somewhat unfamiliar with the bill himself, as amended by on the Senate floor.

Rep. Harmon Eyes Run for State Senate

Democratic Rep. Bill Harmon says he might run for the state Senate rather than for reelection to a state House seat that has been redistricted to pair him with Republican Rep. Jim Cobb.
The Senate seat in question is District 16, currently held by Democratic Sen. Eric Stewart, who has announced plans to run for the 4th District Congressional seat. Before and after redistricting, district 16 includes Sequatchie County, Harmon’s home. Most rate it as leaning Democratic, though not dramatically so.
In the House, redistricting pairs Harmon and Cobb in new District 31. The House district stretches from Sequatchie and Bledsoe through Rhea County, Cobb’s home, and into southwestern Roane County. Most rate it as leaning Republican, though not dramatically so.
“Probably,” replied Harmon when asked whether he could win against Cobb. “I’m first going to look at (running for) the Senate.”
“Can I win in that district? Yes,” said Cobb.
The Cobb-Harmon Harmon contest is the only remaining matchup between an incumbent Republican and an incumbent Democrat from the new House redistricting plan. The version originally unveiled had another – pairing Democratic Rep. Eddie Bass of Giles County with Republican Rep. Vance Dennis of Hardin County. That match was eliminated in the final and revised version, which leaves Bass in District 70, comprised of all of Giles and most of Lawrence County.
Republican Rep. Joey Hensley of Lewis County, who represents the House District adjoining the Bass District that was also impacted by the revisions, was apparently a key in Republican assent to the revision. House Speaker Beth Harwell and House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner say Hensley is considering a run for the Senate in the new, no-incumbent Senate seat created in Southern Middle Tennessee by the new Senate redistricting plan.

GOP House Redistricing Plan Revised, Approved

A state House redistricting plan was revised Thursday to eliminate two incumbent-versus-incumbent races that would have been mandated by the original version and to make minor changes in the Knox County district now held by Rep. Harry Tindell.
After the last-minute revisions, the House redistricting bill (HB1555) was approved on a somewhat bipartisan 66-25 voted with four abstentions. A congressional redistricting bill (HB1558) was similarly approved 68-25.
(Note: The revised state House map is HERE.)
The House and Senate both plan to meet today to complete work on redistricting. Plans call for the Senate to act first on its own redistricting bill (SB1514), which will then go to the House for approval. The Senate will then act on the House and congressional redistricting plans already approved by the House.
The Republican-drafted House redistricting plan, as written when unveiled last week, would have paired 12 incumbent representatives in six districts, forcing six races of incumbents running against one another.
The new version eliminates two pairings – Democratic Reps. Mike Stewart and Sherry Jones in Nashville and Republican Rep. Vance Dennis of Savannah with Democratic Rep. Eddie Bass of Prospect in southern Middle Tennessee The other four pairings – three of Democrat-versus-Democrat matchups in Shelby County – remain.

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Bill Would Privatize Hiring of Substitute Teachers

Legislation that would allow private companies to provide substitute teachers for Tennessee schools was approved by the House Education Committee on Tuesday.
Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, said some school systems are already turning over substitute teacher operations to private companies – he did not know which ones — but state law is actually unclear on the subject.
Some out-of-state firms are looking at moving into Tennessee to provide the service, he said, and want a bill passed to clarify that it is legal. School boards could negotiate contracts on company duties, deciding whether the private contractor is paid a flat rate or a fee for each substitute teacher provide.
The only objection to the bill, HB1829, came from Rep. Lois DeBerry, D-Memphis, who characterized it as “privatizing substitute teachers” and diminishing public control over public schools.