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Friday, May 27, 2016
Justice center should be in safe location (05/19/16)
No matter what the final decision is about a new jail and justice center for Bedford County, security should remain atop the list. Over the past few weeks I've heard judges and law enforcement personnel explain concerns about safety around the courthouse and a need for a jail/justice center built with today's security in mind. That security would be hard to obtain by retrofitting the 1935-vintage courthouse, rebuilt similar to the 1870s building that was burned by a mob in 1934...
Senate works toward ending Hall income tax (05/01/16)
The 109th General Assembly adjourned on April 22, 2016 to become a part of Tennessee history with the last week of legislative action seeing passage of some of the most important bills of the 2016 session. This includes legislation to phase out the Hall Income Tax, a bill to aid 100 percent service-related disabled veterans and the elderly disabled with property tax relief, the Public Safety Act to reduce crime and improve public safety, and the Rural Economic Opportunity Act to spur economic development in some of Tennessee's most economically distressed counties.. ...
Attractions beckon across Tennessee (05/01/16)
It was on the drive back from Lewis County when I really started thinking about it. For months I had been traveling this great state of ours, talking about things like the roughly 570 miles across, discussing with partners the diversity of the geography, history, music and attractions. We mapped out the daunting task of observing that diversity first-hand by visiting all 95 counties in a year's time -- to survey what was out there...
This year's legislative session helped Tennessee (04/24/16)
"A great accomplishment shouldn't be the end of the road, just the starting point for the next leap forward." -- Harvey Mackay We finished the 2016 legislative session on Friday, April 22nd. We passed about 1,200 bills over the course of the four months and passed a $34.8 billion balanced budget. ...
Legislators work to end Hall Income Tax (04/17/16)
The Tennessee Senate passed several key bills this week, including the state budget and legislation to curb opioid abuse, as the 2016 session of the Tennessee General Assembly draws to a close. The $34.9 billion debt-free budget proposes state government spending for the next fiscal year that begins July 1, 2016 and extends to June 30, 2017...
BEP legislation increases funds for state's schools (04/17/16)
A great piece of legislation that was passed this week was HB 2574 which amends the Basic Education Program (BEP) and fully funds it in 2016. Investing $223 million for this next year's BEP Enhancement Plan. This bill sets out how the program is funded and how the funds are distributed to our school systems. The Governor had a study task force look at this program for the past two years and they recommended the new program...
The Bible and the First Amendment (04/14/16)
MURFREESBORO -- Tennessee would become the first state in the nation to make the Bible its official state book if Gov. Bill Haslam signs legislation recently passed by the General Assembly. Haslam has raised questions, as has Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, about the constitutionality of such a law...
Symphony concerts end, but music lives on (04/10/16)
References to the Nashville Symphony's previous annual concerts in Shelbyville have been popping up in my Facebook memories for days now. This would normally be the time of year when I'd be busy trying to get the word out about the concert. I've had several people stop and ask me when the concert would be this year...
Job creation bills advance in Senate (04/10/16)
Passage of key job creation legislation in the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee topped a busy week on Capitol Hill. This includes a major bill to spur economic development in some of the state's most economically distressed counties. Twenty-one of Tennessee's 95 counties are considered economically distressed, meaning that they are in the bottom 10 percent nationally in terms of unemployment, per capita income, and poverty. ...
Legislature moves quickly toward end (04/10/16)
"Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is progress; working together is success." -- Henry Ford Only about 10 more days until the end of the 109th Legislative Session. We are proceeding quickly to an abrupt end, probably on April 19th. Thursday of this week I presented and passed four of my bills on the House floor and have two more to do next week...
State senators in process of wrapping up budget (04/03/16)
Action on Capitol Hill continued to shift from committees to the floor of the Senate this week as members of the Senate's Transportation and Safety, State and Local Government and Judiciary Committees worked diligently towards completing their business for the 2016 legislative session...
It's a honor to serve as State Representative (04/03/16)
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." -- Dr. Seuss In my newsletter most weeks, I report how busy we are and how hectic Session is going. This week while sitting at my seat on the House Floor, I looked around and thought about what a privilege and honor it is to be part of this historic House. ...
Letter to the Editor, March 31 (03/31/16)
To the Editor: I was saddened to read in the Shelbyville Times-Gazette about the resignation of Mark Clanton as the public works director for the City of Shelbyville. Having known Mr. Clanton and worked directly or indirectly with him over the past 20 years, I can say the City of Shelbyville has some mighty big shoes to fill. ...