Legislature back in full force
By Pat Marsh, State Representative
“I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.” – Abraham Lincoln
The 108th Legislative Session is back in full force. After adjourning last May, we are back and moving very fast in this new session. We began on Jan. 8 and elected our leadership, with Beth Harwell being re-elected as the Speaker of the House. Speaker Harwell assigned members to various committees and appointed Chairmen for each committee.
I was appointed Chairman of the Business and Utilities Committee. I am also on the Business and Utilities subcommittee, and will serve on the Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee. These are the two committees that I requested because I want to help Tennessee businesses grow and prosper and to attract new businesses. In addition, I want to work on agricultural and environmental issues to help our farming communities in Lincoln and Bedford counties.
I also got elected to serve on the Fiscal Review Committee. This committee is made up of about 10 people, some senators and some representatives, and we meet and go over many of the state’s contracts and proposals. This is a very important assignment where we can really have substantial discussions that concern our state’s finances. Finally, I will serve on the Calendar and Rules Committee which is the last committee to take up legislation before it hits the House Floor for final vote.
Our first Business and Utilities committee meeting started this week, and one of the first topics on our agenda was to confirm Jim Allison of Shelbyville as a director at the Tennessee Regulatory Agency. About six months ago, Jim was selected by the governor to serve as a director and then was elected as chairman of the Board by his peers. Jim will do a great job, and I am proud to call him a friend.
I have also found out that as chairman of a committee, I will be in many more meetings this year than in the past. It seems like all I do is meet. It is all very interesting, and I am learning many new things that I never even knew existed. I am honored to be the district’s state representative and very proud to serve our two counties.
On Wednesday of this week, I traveled to Bedford County with several legislators for a field trip to the Fire and Codes Academy. The Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance, who is over the facility we visited, was also in attendance. Roger Hawks did a great job of showcasing his wonderful facility to all the people from Nashville. They showed us how they train the firefighters in all sorts of situations. It was very interesting, and if you haven’t seen this complex, you need to go out and take a look.
Sen. Tracy and I have received several emails and calls concerning the terrible traffic accident in front of Goodman’s Fayetteville facility. We have both talked to the Department of Transportation, and they are going to start immediately a safety study of the area and see what they can do to make this a safer section of the Fayetteville bypass. I hope this helps!
On Monday night, Jan. 28, Gov. Haslam gave his State of the State address. I thought he gave a fantastic speech and laid out some aggressive proposals for the next year. He announced that over the past two years, Tennessee added over 80,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate is the lowest since October 2008.
Some of his top priorities are: cutting tax on food another .25% bringing it down to 5%; worker’s compensation reform; school vouchers for the lowest income group in the worst performing schools; tougher laws for gang violence; some higher education reform and capping tuition at 6% for four year schools and 3% for two year schools; reducing the Hall income tax for seniors; 1.5% pay increase for state employees; adding $100 million to the Rainy Day Fund; 100% funding of the Basic Education Program formula; and over $300 million to fund capital outlay projects for higher education
I will try to keep you all informed each week on what we are doing and what we are working on that concerns our district.
Please feel free to stop by my office or give me a call if you have any questions or concerns. I have moved offices and am now located in room 19A of the War Memorial Building. Please come see me when you are in Nashville. You can reach me at (615) 741-6824 or by email at email@example.com. I am honored to represent the people of the 62nd district.