Rep. Griffey’s Bill Targeting Babies Fails in Subcommittee

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For Immediate Release: 
April 9, 2019
Contact: Hamp Price | | (615) 241-0752

Rep. Griffey’s Bill Targeting Babies Fails in Subcommittee

HB0662 sought to make it harder for immigrant parents to obtain birth certificates for their newborn citizen children

NASHVILLE, TN - The House Public Health Subcommittee today voted to kill HB0662, a bill introduced by Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Griffey) that sought to deny birth certificates to children born in Tennessee to undocumented parents. An amendment added to the bill would have required doctors, nurses, and hospitals to verify the immigration status of every parent whose baby is born in Tennessee.

The bill was defeated by a vote of four to three with Representatives Dixie (D-Nashville), Miller (D-Memphis), Terry (R-Murfreesboro), and Whitson (R-Franklin) opposing the bill and Representatives Hill, Van Huss (R-Jonesborough), and Sexton (R-Bean Station) supporting.

The Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee Hospital Association opposed the bill as amended.

HB0662 was one of many bills introduced by Rep. Griffey with the intent of making Tennessee an "unfriendly" state to undocumented immigrants, and it met a similar fate as several pieces of his legislation:

  • HB0662 - Denying US Citizen Babies their Rights - failed in subcommittee

  • HB1238 - Burdening our Criminal Justice System - failed in subcommittee

  • HJR47 - A Shameful Resolution Attacking US Citizens - failed in subcommittee

  • HB0562 - Taxing Hardworking Tennesseans - failed in subcommittee

  • HB0614 - Making Tennesseans Homeless Bill - sent to summer study in committee

Only one remains alive: HB1239, which would create the second harshest barriers to employment in the country, was passed to House Calendar & Rules.

The following is a statement from Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, policy director at TIRRC Votes:

“We applaud the committee’s decision to reject this cruel and extreme proposal. This legislation served no purpose other than to send an unwelcoming message to thousands of new Tennesseans and their families.

Instead of focusing on policies that would benefit his community, Rep. Griffey has sought to ride on Trump’s coattails by recycling failed ideas in order to make a name for himself. The widespread opposition to his bills, including from the business community, real estate industry, and health care providers, shows his ineffective policy agenda has no place in our legislature.”


TIRRC Votes was launched in 2018 to strengthen and expand our democracy by building power in immigrant and refugee communities and advocating for equitable and inclusive public policy. TIRRC Votes is affiliated with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC).

Rebecca Hall