Lawmakers consider ‘veterinary nurse’ bill

Sunday, March 11, 2018

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

— Mark Twain

I was excited to participate with other legislators and the Tennessee Wildlife Federation to support families in need of food through a donation to Hunters for the Hungry. Hunters for the Hungry is a unique program that gives much needed meat to hungry Tennesseans. When a hunter has a deer, they may donate it to Hunters for the Hungry at a participating processor. The venison is processed for free or at a reduced rate and then provided to area food banks or soup kitchens. One deer provides as many as 168 meals of venison. Our donations will help fund the processing and distribution of venison to families residing in communities all across the state. This is their 20th year, and so far, Hunters for the Hungry has provided nearly 6 million meals! It’s always good to see neighbors giving back to neighbors.

We had a very interesting piece of legislation in our Ag Committee meeting that would change the name of the veterinary technician to veterinary nurse. As I understand, this request came from the Ag Department of UT and also from the Tennessee Veterinarians. Sounded like a pretty good idea to me, but then I started hearing from the Nurses Association and from many nurses living across the state. After much debate and testimony that stated how much education and training these proposed veterinary nurses had received and the difference between the veterinary office workers, who are the techs, the bill passed out of the Ag Committee and moves on toward the House floor.

We also passed a bill out of State Government Committee that was brought to us from the MTSU board and President Sidney McPhee. This proposed legislation would allow MTSU to sell beer and wine at sporting events. They feel that if allowed to do this, it will reduce the drinking problems they are having by fans bringing in smuggled alcohol to these events and, at the same time, allow them to make some money. This bill passed on to the Finance Committee.

Wednesday was Tennessee Telecommunication Day here at the Cordell Hull building and we had phone and internet providers from all across the state. Since I am the chairman of the Business and Utilities committee, I get to spend a lot of time with these folks. They told me that since we passed the Broadband Expansion bill last year; their companies have expanded their service to over 5200 households and are moving faster to serve many more. Josh Lynch from Shelbyville and William Bradford from Nashville were there representing United Telephone.

I was glad to meet and visit with Jennifer and Sam Trott, from Bedford County, on Wednesday. They were at the Capitol that day for The Tennessee Forestry Day and their association brought a White Oak tree to each Legislator to take back to their District and plant. They also had a very nice reception at the State Museum that evening.

Michelle Roller, of the Centerstone organization in Shelbyville, brought some of the participants by for an office visit on Wednesday and let me know about the good work they do for our citizens back in the District and all across the state. They were up here working to make sure their funding is not cut and hopefully increased. Centerstone Peer Support Services provide a safe and supportive environment where individuals with mental illness or addiction gain confidence and build social skills and engage in learning with peers.

Jim Malone and the Leadership Lincoln group came up on Thursday and visited the House Legislative Session. They arrived around 8 a.m. and had a busy day. Representative Rick Tillis and I were able to greet them and give them a brief overview of what goes on around here. They then had a roundtable discussion with a few lobbyists and took a tour of our new office building. Rep. Tillis and I met back up with them after their capitol tour for a picture. They ended the day learning about the special election we currently have going on from Mark Goins, the Tennessee Coordinator of Elections, before heading to lunch at the Farmer’s Market. As usual, they are a great group and I hope to see them again back home.

Also on Wednesday, I set up and attended a meeting with Brad Harris, from TDEC (Department of Environment and Conservation) and Debbie Fraley from Lincoln County. They are working very hard on a project concerning waste water and are trying to come up with a solution that not only works properly, but takes care of the environment at the same time. Our departments here at the state are all very cooperative, helpful, and customer friendly. I am always impressed by their professionalism and willingness to help me take care of our citizens.

I am proud to let you know that I think I have found a way for our Boys and Girls Club in Shelbyville to acquire a used van to carry their students from school to the club. The South Central TN Development District and Lincoln County told me about a van that was not being used very much, and after meeting with the Club Directors and Lincoln County officials, I think we may get them the van they have so desperately needed.

Please feel free to stop by my office at the Cordell Hull Building Suite 540 or give me a call if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach me at 615-741-6824 or by email at I’m also trying my hand at a new Facebook page. You can find it at I’ll be posting interesting news and happenings there as well.