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By Jim Tracy, State Senator
After observing Presidents Day on Monday, the legislature got off to a busy start on Tuesday. Meeting in session just once this week on Thursday, we had a lot of legislation to discuss.
The Senate approved Senate Joint Resolution 2 which is known as the Founding Fathers Plan Plus. In this plan, appellate judges would be appointed by the governor for eight year terms once confirmed by the legislature. It is similar to the Founding Fathers Plan in the U.S. Constitution but differs because both the House and the Senate must confirm the individual and it prohibits legislative inaction. This means that the individual must be confirmed by the legislature within 60 days of appointment, if the legislature is in session, or 60 days of the convening of the session. This resolution will go to the House next where it needs a two-thirds vote for approval.
My welfare reform bill, Senate Bill 244, was approved by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee this week. The bill consists of three parts. The first prohibits the use of EBT cards in liquor stores, adult cabarets, and gambling facilities. The intent of this bill is to prevent the fraudulent misuse of taxpayer money through a program that was created to help feed families with children in times of desperate need. The second part of the bill subjects those who misuse the EBT cards to be disqualified from the program. The last component sets penalties to businesses that sell those prohibited products to customers using EBT cards.
Another bill that I sponsored, Senate Bill 822, was approved by the Senate Education Committee this week. Senate Bill 822 was created to protect youth athletes who are at high risk for concussions. The Center for Disease Control has seen a 60% increase in concussions, meaning that it has reached epidemic proportions. Athletes who are not properly treated for concussions are more likely to suffer from another concussion in the future.
This bill creates a formal procedure for treating youth athletes who have suffered a concussion. This bill requires youth athletic programs to adopt the guidelines set forth by the Tennessee Department of Health. This includes training for coaches, volunteers, and team medical providers pertaining to head injuries. In addition, there must be a procedure for athletes who appear to be suffering from a head injury and requires a written note by a doctor before the athlete may return to playing the sport.
As a past coach, I hope that this bill will give young athletes the opportunity to have fun while encouraging an attitude of safety and responsibility on the playing field.