General Assembly back in session
“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” ~ Carl Bard
We are back in session! We started Tuesday, Jan. 14, at noon and expect to be in session until sometime in April. This session should be quick and filled with about 1,500 pieces of legislation.
Similar to last year, I will be serving this year as the chairman of the Business and Utilities Committee. I learned a lot last year being chairman, and I am looking forward to another great year in the committee. I will also continue serving on the Business and Utilities subcommittee and the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee. Also, I serve on the Fiscal Review Committee, which checks over state contracts. And, 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.
Some of the main topics we will be covering this year are:
1) Efforts to increase student achievement, increase teacher’s salaries, and a particular focus on higher education through the Governor’s Drive to 55 initiative. 2) Whether to allow wine in grocery stores. 3) Pass a balanced budget in tight economic times. 4) Medicaid expansion or not. 5) Common Core school standards. 6) Prescription for pseudoephedrine to help battle the making of meth. 7) A look at the Hall Income Tax and ways to lessen the impact on Tennesseans who have responsibly saved for retirement.
I have several important pieces of legislation that I am starting to move through the legislature. One is to make sure that our short line railroads stay viable throughout the state. Another has to do with water utilities and how they acquire or merge with another utility. And finally I will be running legislation to help update Tennessee laws for the insurance industry.
I had a meeting with the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development this week, and he was so proud of all the new jobs Tennessee has attracted or grown in the past two or three years. We just received a new Economic Development honor this week; we were named “2013 State of the Year” by Business Facilities Magazine. They chose Tennessee after evaluating its top five economic development projects for the number of jobs created and the amount of capital invested from Oct. 1, 2012 through Oct. 31, 2013. This included a total of 6,900 jobs and $3.2 billion in capital investment, as well as seven expansions and three new recruited industries.
Governor Haslam held a press conference Thursday morning outside the capitol to announce his anti-meth production legislation for this year’s session. Lab seizures and meth use have affected many aspects of Tennessean’s lives. Two hundred sixty-six children were removed from homes and taken into custody by the Department of Children’s Services due to meth-related incidents in 2013 at an estimated cost of more than $7million. And the state spends approximately $2 million annually on meth lab clean-up, and in 2013, 1,685 labs were seized in Tennessee.
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. You can reach me at (615) 741-6824 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am honored to represent the people of the 62nd district.