’20-HB1839/SB2339 – Daniel/Gresham

Bill Description

AMENDMENT #1 rewrites this bill and requires each governing board of a public institution of higher education to submit a report to the Tennessee higher education commission each year detailing for the most recent fiscal year, each individual:
(1) Who worked for or performed research at a public institution of higher education governed by the governing board at any point during the most recent fiscal year pursuant to an exchange or visitor visa; and
(2) Whose work or research was funded wholly or in part by a foreign entity.
The governing board submitting a report will not include an individual in the report who was enrolled as a student at a public institution of higher education during the most recent fiscal year.

This amendment requires THEC to compile the submitted data and submit an aggregate report of the data to the governor and to each member of the general assembly. The commission will post the aggregate report to the commission's website.

TLRC Position

We favored the original version of the bill and are disappointed with the amended version. That said, we still favor the smaller step in controlling foreign influence in our institutions.

TLRC Observed Process

Passed House on a largely partisan basis/ Deferred in S. Ed
Originally, this bill prohibited a governing board of a public institution of higher education from contracting or affiliating with a foreign nation; a political subdivision of a foreign nation; or an organization sponsored, operated, or funded by a foreign nation for the provision or establishment of a program of instruction or a learning center to teach the language or culture of the foreign nation at the public institution of higher education. Unfortunately it was amended to be little more than a report from the Governing Board of the institution. House Education committee Chairman, Mark White’s name is on that amendment.

Vote Result: Pass House Only

Score: +5