Dawn’s Blog

The “First in Adoption” Bill is on the move!


How to follow it through the Legislature.

The “First in Adoption” Bill (HB 1856 Carter/SB 1851 Haile) passed the House Civil Justice Subcommittee last week and is scheduled for a hearing before the full house committee tomorrow, Tues. March 27, 2018 at 3:00 CST.

If this is the first bill you have followed or if your children are using this bill to learn about the state legislative process, I’ll offer the “CliffNotes” version here.

More information is available for adults and older students on the legislative website. http://www.capitol.tn.gov/about/billtolaw.html

A Tennessee State Legislative Student Activity Book is targeted toward school-aged children. It has a map of Senate districts with Senators’ names, a one-page chart of the path of a bill, word games and coloring pages. http://www.capitol.tn.gov/homework/

You can watch committee hearings and floor votes in real-time and later on video. You can find these video broadcasts using the bill number. http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/ You can also use the site to find your legislators, using your address, and to track the progress of a bill.

As I said in my last blog, you cannot use the site to read the amended versions of bills. Usually, you get amended versions by calling or emailing the office of the sponsor or committee chair. But for this bill there is a link to the full amended version on my website. http://dawncoppock.com/legislative-update/

Similar to the federal system, in Tennessee, bills must pass the House and the State Senate before they are presented to the executive branch, the Governor, for signature. Here are the key points to watch:

Tomorrow, the bill is set for a vote before the full House Civil Justice Committee. You can find the members of that committee at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/House/committees/civil-justice.html The bill passed the Civil Justice Sub-committee last week. If it passes the full committee, it will soon go to the House floor for a vote of the full House membership. 50 votes are required for a bill to pass on the floor of the Tennessee State House. When the bill receives final approval on the House floor, the House approval process is done.

In the Senate, “The First in Adoption” bill is “On Notice” in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which means the committee is notified that the bill may soon be placed on the Senate Committee calendar for a vote as well. You can find a list of the Senate Judiciary committee members here: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/committees/judiciary.html There is no subcommittee to the Senate Judiciary committee. It is not on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for this week’s meeting, which will also be held tomorrow. When the bill receives a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, if it passes, the next milestone will be the Senate floor. 17 votes are required for a bill to pass on the Tennessee State Senate floor.

If the bill passes through the House and Senate processes, the final step is signature by Governor Haslam.

Stay tuned for more updates.



About Dawn Coppock

Tennessee Adoption Attorney and Author

For over 30 years, Dawn has been an adoption and child-welfare advocate nationally and in Tennessee. She knows where the system is working and the many places that it is not. When she provides her frank assessment to policy makers, they listen. She has drafted and passed many child-welfare bills in the Tennessee Legislature, founded, encouraged and supported advocacy organizations, educated lawyers and judges on good practice, and pointed out places that we can do better for our children, openly and behind the scenes at every opportunity.

Dawn Coppock, Adoption Attorney

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