State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver made her monthly ‘Coffee & Conversations’ stop in Trousdale County last Friday at the Early Bird Café.
Weaver greeted constituents and spoke on a pair of votes that garnered some controversy on social media.
Weaver was a co-sponsor of the so-called “heartbeat” bill, a measure that would ban abortions in Tennessee once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
The bill passed the House on a 65-21 vote last week and now heads to the Senate. Opponents have already pledged to file a lawsuit should the bill become law, saying it violates the Roe v. Wade decision.
Similar measures have been stricken down as unconstitutional in Arkansas, Iowa, and North Dakota. Opponents of the Tennessee measure
“I don’t think so,” Weaver said when asked if Tennessee’s bill could meet a similar fate. “When Roe v. Wade was law in the 1970s, we didn’t have all the science. Now science is proving the viability; it keeps getting closer to conception.”
Viability is defined as the ability of a fetus to survive outside the womb. Current medical science defines that period to be around 24 weeks.
“When you send a first responder to someone who’s injured, what’s the first thing you check? Heartbeat. That determines life. Not if you’re inside the womb and that needs to change,” Weaver said.
Weaver also defended her vote against a bill to ensure students can eat school lunches and not be punished when parents fail to pay meal fees or a meal debt.
The Tennessee Hunger-Free Students Act failed on a 4-2 vote in the K-12 Education Subcommittee last week.
“When you read the law, it’s a lot about nothing,” Weaver said. “I kept looking at it and wondering, ‘Am I missing something here?’ It’s good Twitter fodder.”
Weaver and three other Republicans who voted against the bill were criticized on social media.
The Vidette also raised concerns about House Bill 1107, which would treat personally identifying information in motor vehicle accident reports as confidential and restricted from public disclosure.
Some of this information in a law enforcement traffic accident report, such as a person’s driver’s license number and other personal information, is already confidential under law. However the names of people involved in traffic accidents is currently open.
Media outlets across Tennessee have raised concerns, as they often report on accidents when someone was seriously injured or died or when an accident blocked a major roadway.
The Safety & Funding Transportation Subcommittee, which Weaver chairs, was scheduled to hear the bill this week.
Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.