Session has begun!
As of noon on Tuesday, Jan. 14, a new legislative session is underway and will likely roll on into mid-April.
In the weeks leading up to session’s kickoff, I was honored to host a handful of town hall style events, including one in Fayetteville. With some specific concerns weighing on the minds of many in Lincoln County, the conversation was lively and, at the end of the day, very productive.
I want to thank Sheriff Blackwelder and Sandra Metcalf for co-hosting the event with me and taking the time to address the thoughts and questions of those who were in attendance. It really was a wonderful event, and I am very thankful for each and every one of you who were able to participate. I hope to have the opportunity to be involved in many more of these discussions with folks throughout the district in the coming months.
This is shaping up to be a fast-paced session. Add to that the fact that there will be some very significant and controversial issues under consideration, and we have the ingredients necessary for an interesting legislative season.
Here are some of the major issues on the table:
· Passing a balanced budget. Tennessee is blessed to be in a relatively good position, financially, even as we have witnessed economic policies at the federal level go from bad to worse, and then from worse to unbelievable. What comes after “unbelievable” on this downward slope, I do not know…but I fear that we will soon find out. We must do all that we can to prevent Tennessee from following the trajectory currently charted in DC, California, Illinois, and the like. This is a top priority.
· The Common Core school standards. The more I’ve learned about these “standards”, the more concerned I have become. The money flowing through this thing tells many stories, and few of them are good. Add to that serious privacy concerns for students having everything they do tracked and recorded for governmental and corporate interests, and we see that there are more than a few glaring problems here. This backdoor/covert approach to further establish national-level controls over state-run education gets uglier by the minute. Once you take the time to look past the vague, warm and fuzzy tag lines used to sell it there is a different story unveiled.
· Whether or not to expand Medicaid. There is great pressure to expand this program, yet, if we overextend ourselves in Tennessee as they have in DC, we could pave the way to our own ruin and the economic enslavement of our children and grandchildren.
· Whether or not to require a prescription for pseudoephedrine. The goal of this proposed legislation is to curb the production and use of meth.
· Whether or not to allow the sale of wine in grocery stores.
While obviously some of these issues have more impact than others, I aim to treat them all with the utmost seriousness. In order to accurately understand and properly address each of these and all of the other items on this session’s legislative agenda, I will be counting on you sharing your thoughts and concerns. The more we all communicate clearly with and listen to one another’s ideas, the better.
I will be personally introducing several pieces of legislation this year, including:
· A bill that would allow counties and municipalities to notify residents of the arrival and/or presence of certain sexual offenders. I believe that it is very important that we allow locals the power to make such notifications, should they desire to do so. Their hands are currently tied in this regard. This bill would untie them and allow them to better protect the safety of and stability of their communities as they see fit.
· A bill that would require health care providers to notify patients before transferring them “out of network” for procedures and services. The economic consequences of being shifted “out of network” can be enormous, and most patients, particularly when they are under the stress associated with certain medical situations, may be vulnerable to making a bad decision for lack of important information. This bill will ensure that patients have that information and are therefore able to make better informed decisions when it comes to out of network transfers.
There are several other pieces of legislation that I will be submitting, and I look forward to sharing details here in the future.
My goal in this column is to provide an update and share some thoughts weekly, as time permits, during the “organized chaos” of session. My hope in this is that you and I will be better informed through these reports – you by taking the time to check in on this column and me by hearing from you with feedback after you’ve read it.
Please feel free to stop by my office, give me a call, or shoot me an email if you have any thoughts, questions, or ideas to share. My office is in suite 110 of the War Memorial Building in Nashville, my number is (615)741-4170, and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also connect and let me know what you think on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RepSpivey.
Thank God for giving us a forum for such an exchange of ideas and a land in which such discussions are not only allowed, but encouraged.
Thank you for allowing me to serve and represent you in the Tennessee General Assembly. It is truly an honor to serve. I appreciate your support more than you know.
And thank you for taking the time to read and thoughtfully consider these things. Thoughtful, informed citizens are essential to the preservation of liberty.