I hope that all of you have enjoyed a happy and restful Valentine’s Day weekend. The activities in Nashville leading up to the holiday have us on the verge of making real progress on several helpful pieces of legislation, including:
HB2290, our “Stop Common Core Unfunded Mandates” legislation is really picking up steam. Last week, the Marshall County School System passed a resolution supporting the legislation, and they passed that resolution unanimously. This is a very encouraging development as folks start to realize that Common Core related unfunded mandates could crush local school budgets if allowed as a part of Common Core implementation. Folks on both sides of the Common Core debate tend to agree that this is a good and much needed bill. The bottom line is just that: the bottom line. There’s just no good argument for schools across the state being forced to spend scarce resources tackling a mountain of debt dumped on them by an unfunded mandate from Nashville. If the state wants to mandate Common Core’s implementation, the state should cover the cost. All of it.
HB1860, our community notification of sexual offenders bill, has been assigned a spot on the calendar for the coming weekly meeting of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Sheriff Murray Blackwelder and Sandra Metcalf of Lincoln County have been incredibly helpful in the process of crafting and advancing this critical piece of legislation, which will allow for local communities to choose, if they desire, to adopt a notification program for residents with regard to the arrival or presence of certain sexual offenders. The bill gives full authority to the locals to decide whether or not they want to pursue a notification program, so it is not forcing anything on anyone while allowing for communities who are concerned about the safety of residents (and particularly children) to do this sort of thing if it is what they deem best. Please call your representatives and senators and urge them to support HB1860 in the House, and SB2390 in the Senate.
HB1861, our Hall Tax reduction bill, is also scheduled for its first subcommittee hearing this week. The Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee will hear the bill on Wednesday, Feb. 19, and we are very hopeful that this tax-cutting legislation will make it through this part of the process. The bill corrects a flaw in the current Hall Tax in that, at present, the first $33,000 earned by a senior citizen is exempt from the Hall Tax, but, if they earn $33,001 – just one dollar more – then the whole amount is taxed. This is fundamentally wrong and unfair, so HB1861 aims to correct the situation by allowing for the first $33,000 to be exempted no matter how much a senior citizen earns, leaving them only to pay taxes on the amount of earnings over $33,000. We will definitely need your help in getting this bill passed, so please do call in and encourage every representative and senator in the Tennessee State Legislature to support HB1861 and SB2239.
There will be much more to report next week, as many more bills find themselves assigned to their first committee and subcommittee hearings. I will keep you posted as best I am able.
Thank you so much for the privilege and honor of representing the 92nd District. Your encouragement and help is always appreciated, and your prayers are always coveted!
Please do feel free to stop by my office, give me a call, or shoot me an email if you have any thoughts 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 you again for taking the time to read and consider these things. I look forward to sharing and hearing your feedback each week. If we’re not all actively in this together, there’s not much chance of anything good coming of it, so your involvement is very much needed and very much appreciated!
Billy Spivey is a member of the House State Government Committee and House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee. He lives in Lewisburg and represents District 92, which includes all of Marshall and portions of Lincoln, Franklin, and Marion Counties.