Editorial

Legislative session passes halfway point

Sunday, February 28, 2016

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand."

--Vince Lombardi

We are halfway through with this year's Legislative Session and it seems like we just started yesterday. We should adjourn around the end of April. We had 340 bills heard in the House Committee System this past week and the Senate had 181.

I passed probably my biggest and hardest piece of Legislation Thursday on the House floor. This was HB 1674, which addressed "local hire" initiatives in our state. Basically, what it did was say that a city or county cannot pass an ordinance or law to mandate that public construction projects have to hire individuals that reside in that jurisdiction. If we allowed that to happen, our construction costs would rise and construction delays would occur more often and we would probably have more safety concerns by mandating hiring workers that are not properly trained. This bill passed on the house floor by a vote of 73 to 20, and has already passed in the Senate.

I had the honor of attending the 4-H awards banquet last Friday night in Fayetteville. They had over 420 in attendance at this grand event. Dan Owen, the extension agent for Lincoln County, has done a wonderful job growing this important program for our youth. They are learning many leadership and personal skills which will help them for the rest of their lives.

I also had the privilege of attending the 80th birthday party for Coach Jimmy Ellis of Lincoln County last Saturday in Howell. Coach Ellis is a long time teacher, coach, and athletics director for Lincoln County Schools. Besides that, Coach Ellis is a great man with a great family and I consider him a good friend.

We have had several groups from the district stop by the office this past week. The FFA chapters from Lincoln and Rutherford Counties came by and left some beautiful flowers for our office. Did you know that there are over 14,000 FFA members in Tennessee?

I got to meet and chat with Samantha Chamblee from Bedford County when she came by my office promoting cancer screening practices that Tennessee helps fund. She is passing the word to all of us that these exams are very important to all and can help in early detection of cancer that can then be treated and defeated.

I had a fellow come by representing veterans in our state and he told me about a "Helping Heroes" grant that is available to qualified veterans. The grant offers up to $1,000 per semester for full time veteran students. This could really help some of our local veterans to complete their education and help them achieve a degree or certificate which could result in a better paying job.

Wednesday evening we had a reception with the Tennessee Bankers Association and I got to visit with Scott Cocanougher and Tom Clifford of First Community Bank of Shelbyville and many of their banking team. My brother Bill Marsh from Lewisburg was also there representing First Commerce Bank. I am learning more about many kinds of industries each week which really helps prepare me for proposed legislation that may come my way.

Carolyn Denton and Carol Foster from Fayetteville's Chamber and Main Street Association came by my office and were all over the Legislative Plaza handing out tickets for Lincoln County's Hamburger Day on the Hill. This is one of the biggest events here each session and it really gives Lincoln County a lot of publicity. This event is scheduled for March 2nd.

I am going to be a judge this weekend at the Bell Buckle Volunteer Fire Department's chili cook-off. I love good chili and will probably vote for all of the contestants.

A bill that will be heard on the House floor next week is House Bill 1529. This bill would make it so that there is a designated person within the Department of Agriculture who is in charge of dealing with animal cruelty cases. This legislation takes the burden off the Extension Agents to investigate the cases. If this bill passes, there will be someone that you can call directly who is fully equipped and knowledgeable to deal with animal cruelty cases.

-- Please feel free to stop by my office at War Memorial Building G-19A or give me a call if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach me at (615) 741-6824 or by email at rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov. I am honored to represent the people of the 62nd district!