Lincoln Blogs; The GOP weekly newsletter


Lincoln Blogs

An informative newsletter published by the Hamilton County Republican Party keeping you up-to-date and informed on issues and events from Hamilton County to Washington D.C.


2018 Majority Keepers

Thank you to the following who have committed to the Chairman’s Level for 2018.

State Representative Mike Carter

State Representative Gerald McCormick

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann

Greg Vital, CEO & Founder Independent Healthcare Properties/Morning Pointe

State Senator Bo Watson

Chairman Marsha Yessick, HCGOP

It is not too late to support your local Republican Party! Join today!

Founders Level: $300/yr; $25/mo
  • 2 tickets to Lincoln Day Dinner
  • GOP T-Shirt
Sustaining Level: $1,200/yr; $100/mo
  • 4 tickets to Lincoln Day Dinner
  • 2 tickets to the Lincoln Day Dinner Private Reception
  • GOP T-Shirt
Chairman’s Level: $3,000/yr; $250/mo
    • Receive 1 table at Lincoln Day Dinner, plus 8 tickets to private reception
    • Advertising in all GOP events for 2018
    • Invitation to all GOP sponsored events for 2018
    • GOP T-Shirt
    • Copy of “Let Trump Be Trump The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency.”

2018 Lincoln Day Dinner

April 27, 2018

The Chattanoogan

Keynote Speaker Corey Lewandowski currently serves as president and CEO of Lewandowski Strategic Advisors, LLC. He previously served as the chief political advisor and campaign manager to Donald Trump for President. Prior to that he was an executive for Americans for Prosperity.

Private Reception begins at 5:30 P.M.
General Reception begins at 5:45 P.M.
Dinner begins at 6:45 P.M.

Tier I Table – $2,000 Allows 8 people to attend the private reception.

Tier II Table – $1,500 Allows 4 people to attend the private reception.

Tier III Table – $1,000 Allows 2 people to attend the private reception.

Individual Tickets $125

Books can be purchased for $40. A book signing will take place immediately following the dinner.

To reserve your table or tickets, please click the following link 2018 Lincoln Day Dinner .

Reservations are not complete until payment is received. You may mail your check to HCGOP | PO Box 4451 | Chattanooga | TN | 37405 or pay online below.


Capitol Hill Week

Senate Health and Welfare Committee approves welfare reform legislation

Contact: Darlene Schlicher (615) 741-6336 or email: darlene.schlicher@capitol.tn.us

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), March 8, 2018 – The State Senate approved a wide variety of issues this week as committees worked at full steam.  This includes passage of a major bill in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee strengthening the integrity of Tennessee’s temporary assistance programs for needy families by reducing fraud and abuse, incentivizing work, and encouraging self-sufficiency. Senate Bill 2247, sponsored by Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield), is one of Governor Bill Haslam’s legislative priorities.

The proposal seeks approval for Tennessee to join a multi-state cooperative to identify dual recipient participation in the state’s programs. It also strengthens investigations of multiple Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card replacements, as well as providing other tools which will help the state investigate fraud and abuse. EBT is a system for delivering Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, and Families First benefits to eligible Tennesseans.

“This legislation allows Tennessee to improve fraud investigation, including the trafficking of EBT cards which has been a problem,” said Senator Roberts. “It creates some flags so if someone requests too many replacements, that gets analyzed. It also allows us to crosscheck our rolls with other states to ensure that recipients are not receiving dual benefits in multiple states.”

In addition, the welfare reform legislation encourages family stabilization by linking the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) maximum benefit to the current standard of need in Tennessee. The state has the second lowest TANF allotment in the U.S. The boost in monthly payments for those enrolled in the program would be the first in 21 years.

Finally, the bill reduces the fiscal cliff for families meeting the TANF or Families First work requirements by providing a work incentive transitional benefit.

“This proposal offers transitional benefits for those who are trying to get back on their feet by updating the allotment which has not been changed in some time,” added Roberts. “It also provides an incentive to get them back to work.”

The legislation follows action by Governor Bill Haslam in September to reestablish work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) receiving SNAP benefits in 70 counties beginning February 1. The waiver, which was put into place during the 2008 recession, only remains in 16 counties designated as distressed.

Senate approves lifesaving legislation to foster better outcomes for stroke patients

Lifesaving legislation designed to get stroke patients in Tennessee to the best hospital with the best treatment capabilities to foster better outcomes was approved by the full Senate this week. Senate Bill 2513, sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), requires the Tennessee Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Board to create protocol guidelines from which local Emergency Medical Authorities (EMAs) will establish protocol plans for pre-hospital assessment, triage and transport of stroke patients.

A stroke is what occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked or stopped. It is the fifth leading cause of death in Tennessee. Within a few minutes of a stroke, brain cells begin to die, meaning time is of the essence from the onset of symptoms to arrival at an emergency room capable of treating stroke patients.

“This legislation is the next step forward in creating a comprehensive stroke system of care throughout the state,” said Sen. Ketron. “This will ensure stroke patients get to the best stroke center as quickly as possible and brings Tennessee one step closer to improving stroke care.”

The bill was recommended by the Tennessee Stroke Task Force, which was established by law in 2016 to focus on stroke best practices and treatment guidelines.

The legislation also establishes that the Department of Health will recognize hospitals on its website which have received department-approved national certification for different levels of stroke care. These levels include Comprehensive Stoke Center (CSC), Primary Stroke Center (PSC), Acute Stroke Ready Hospital (ASRH) or Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center (TSC).

“By recognizing facilities certified by levels of stroke care, there can be better coordination between EMS, health professionals and treatment facilities to ensure stroke patients get to the medical centers with best capabilities to treat them as quickly as possible,” Ketron added.

The legislation follows a bill passed last week setting up a statewide ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) system of care in Tennessee. A STEMI is a very serious type of heart attack during which one of the heart’s major arteries that supplies oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the heart muscle is blocked. In order to treat a STEMI, it is vital that the patient gets to the hospital quickly and has a stent placed so blood flow can be restored.

Senate Bill 2071, sponsored by Senator Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville), requires the Department of Health to recognize hospitals that meet certain criteria as accredited or certified receiving centers and accredited or certified referring centers. Then emergency services and ambulances at hospitals shall develop pre-hospital protocols for transporting STEMI patients to the nearest receiving or referring hospital based on nationally recognized clinical practice guidelines.

“The goal is to get the patient transported to the most appropriate center as rapidly as possible to save the heart muscle to save lives,” said Briggs, who is a thoracic and cardiac surgeon.

That bill is pending a final vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, which could come as early as next week.

Working group is appointed to review school safety in Tennessee

 

School safety headlined this week’s action on Capitol Hill as Governor Bill Haslam appointed a working group on Monday to review school safety in Tennessee. The 17-member group is comprised of leaders from education, mental health and safety, as well as members of the General Assembly and the executive branch of government. Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) and Senate Transportation and Safety Committee Chairman Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) were among members appointed to the panel.

“Nothing is more important than keeping our students safe and secure at school,” said Sen. Gresham. “These students deserve nothing less than our best efforts to ensure this and I look forward to working with this group to make our schools safer.”

The Governor’s School Safety Working Group wasted no time in getting down to work, meeting on Thursday to start their review. While all schools in Tennessee have safety plans in place, the Governor’s School Safety Working Group ise reviewing the policies, procedures and process of developing and implementing those plans, as well as other school safety measures. The panel will collaborate with law enforcement, educators, mental health professionals and others in developing their recommendations. The first recommendations from the group are expected to be delivered before the General Assembly adjourns in April.

“A safe learning environment is essential for students of all ages,” added Sen. Bailey. “I am very pleased that Governor Haslam has appointed this group and am looking forward to working with my fellow members to recommend the best policies possible to keep our students safe.”

The group is chaired by Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David Purkey.

Senate Judiciary Committee approves resolution calling for an open selection process and legislative confirmation in selecting the state’s Attorney General

 

A resolution giving voters an opportunity to amend Tennessee’s Constitution to change the process by which the state’s Attorney General (AG) is selected was recommended for adoption by the Senate Judiciary Committee on WednesdaySenate Joint Resolution 611, sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston), calls for an open nomination process by the Tennessee Supreme Court, followed by a confirmation vote of the nominee by a majority of both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly.

“The reason for this legislation is two-fold,” said Sen. Yager. “It will provide for a more transparent process in the selection of nominees. The second is that confirmation by the General Assembly will make the process more broad-based and accountable, giving elected officials a role in the process. It also keeps intact a role for the judiciary in the process.”

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s votes regarding the attorney general nominees are not currently disclosed to the public. Since the state’s Supreme Court justices are selected by the governor, the people have no elected representatives currently involved in the process.

The resolution would require the votes of the Supreme Court justices to be held in open court, with recorded votes. Once the nomination is made, the legislature would have sixty days to go through the confirmation process. In the event that the candidate is rejected, then the Supreme Court would have another opportunity to make the nomination.

In addition, the measure would require that the attorney general be at least thirty years old, a citizen of the United States, an attorney duly licensed in this state and a resident of this state for at least five years immediately preceding nomination by the Supreme Court. It would also decrease the term of the attorney general from eight years to six years.

Currently, Tennessee is the only state in which the state’s Supreme Court appoints the attorney general.  The attorney general is directly elected in 43 states, appointed by the governor in five states, and elected by the state legislature in one state.

Seven-day sales legislation overcomes first hurdle with passage in Senate State and Local Government Committee

 

The Senate State and Local Government Committee approved legislation on Tuesday permitting retail food stores to sell wine and retail package stores to sell alcoholic beverages seven days a week. Senate Bill 2518, sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), would put retailers on par with restaurants, hotels, convention centers, tourist resorts and other businesses in Tennessee which are already allowed to sell wine and spirits any day of the week under state law.

“This legislation is about supporting small retail businesses across Tennessee and allowing them to make the best decisions they can to succeed while creating a higher level of convenience and customer service for consumers,” said Senator Ketron. “The current law puts our local retailers at a competitive disadvantage.”

Presently, retailers can sell beer seven days a week in Tennessee, while the sale of wine and distilled spirits is limited to Monday through Saturdayand is not allowed on certain holidays. The legislation would allow retail businesses to open from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. Monday through Saturdayand from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, including holidays. Retail package stores would be allowed to choose whether or not to be open seven days a week upon the bill becoming law, while it would become effective for retail food stores on January 1, 2019.

Forty states allow for seven-day sales by retailers, including five which border Tennessee.

“This legislation makes sure we are looking out for small businesses across the state and not getting in their way by mandating basic business decisions like the days of the week in which they can stay open,” Ketron concluded.

Issues in Brief

 

Voter Integrity — Legislation which aims to ensure only eligible Tennessee voters participate in Tennessee elections won final approval this week. Under Senate Bill 1808, local election commissions will receive lists of people who are disqualified from jury duty because they have moved, are noncitizens, been convicted of a felony or have passed away. Election officials would then use this information to determine if the person should still be an active, registered voter in that county. The bill is sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro).

SIDS Education — Senate Bill 2673 received approval in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee this week, requiring the Commissioner of Health to develop educational literature to inform the public of the risks and prevalence of sleep-related deaths and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  The literature would be made available on the Department of Health’s website, as well as any findings that may prevent SIDS and sleep-related deaths. SIDS is a medical disorder that claims the lives of thousands of young children one week to one year of age. The legislation comes after a constituent in Bailey’s senatorial district had an infant die of SIDS, which raised awareness for the condition. “More children die of SIDS in a year than all children who die of cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, child abuse, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy combined,” said Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta), sponsor of the bill. “We want to do everything possible to keep families from experiencing the heartache that this family has gone through.”

Family Planning Funds — Legislation making permanent the current practice for disbursing federal family planning funds by the Department of Health has received final approval by the full Senate. Senate Bill 2494, sponsored by Senator Johnson (R-Franklin), codifies the existing practice for future administrations that county and district health centers are to be fully funded relative to providing these services before any excess funds can be distributed. Then nonpublic entities that provide family planning services, as well as comprehensive primary and preventative care services, would be eligible for the remaining excess funds. The nonpublic providers of family planning services that don’t provide comprehensive primary care would continue to be the last to receive excess funds.  “Over the last several years, the Haslam administration, relative to Title X money, money that comes down from the federal government for family planning services, has really put into place a very good system of how that money is to be used,” said Senator Johnson.

Financial Asset Management Companies / F&E Taxes — A bill which allows publicly traded financial asset management companies to use the single sales factor apportionment formula for Tennessee Franchise and Excise (F&E) taxes has passed final Senate consideration.  Senate Bill 2256, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), helps to keep Tennessee competitive with states offering similar accounting formulas. Manufacturers were afforded a similar tax option under the Tax Reduction Act of 2017 (IMPROVE Act) passed last year.

Veterans Cemetery / Upper Cumberland Region — Senate State and Local Government Committee Chairman Ken Yager (R-Kingston) and Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) amended the budget for the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs to include $600,000 to purchase property for the Upper Cumberland Veterans Cemetery. The amendment was proposed in the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesdaywhen Many-Bears Grinder, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, presented the department’s budget for approval. Currently, Tennessee has four state veterans cemeteries – one in Nashville, one in Memphis, two in Knoxville, and one in Parkers Crossroads, the state’s first rural veterans cemetery. The Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs budget will proceed to the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee for approval, where the conversation on this issue will continue.

Newborns / NAS — Legislation passed out of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday calling for physicians who prescribe more than a five-day supply of opioids to women of child-bearing age to inform the patient about the risks it could have to a newborn, as well as cost-effective and appropriate forms of birth control.  Senate Bill 2674, sponsored by Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta), aims to reduce the number of newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). The number of babies nationwide born drug dependent has increased 500 percent since 2000. In addition to the pain these babies who are affected suffer, it costs approximately $62,000 per baby to treat this condition, with a total cost of $1 billion to Tennessee taxpayers annually. “We need to do everything we can to educate women who have been prescribed opioids to lower the risk that children are born with NAS.”

Refugees of Disasters / Pharmacy – Legislation which authorizes a pharmacist in Tennessee, in good faith, to dispense prescription medication for up to 20 days to a patient who is displaced by a declared disaster has passed on final approval. Senate Bill 1670, sponsored by Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), allows prescription information to be obtained from a prescription label, verbal medical order, verbal prescription order, or any other means determined to be legitimate in the professional judgment of the pharmacist. The bill would not apply to prescriptions for narcotics. “This bill has to do with disaster situations where a person comes to Tennessee from Texas or Florida where there’s a hurricane and has a bottle but does not have a copy of their prescription,” said Sen. Green, who is a physician. Senator Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville), who is also a physician, added, “When we had Hurricane Katrina, many refugees came to Knoxville. They were lucky to escape with their lives and many of them were elderly and needed medication but they didn’t have their prescriptions. This would immensely simplify the process when we do have refugees of a natural disaster.”

Impersonation of a Veteran — The full Senate voted this week to make it a Class A misdemeanor to criminally impersonate a member or veteran of uniformed service with the intent to obtain money, property, services, or other tangible benefits. Senate Bill 2030, sponsored by Senator Green (R–Clarksville), would require all imposed fine proceeds go to assist veterans homes in Tennessee. Sen. Green said, “We have seen in Tennessee, and across the country, attempts by individuals to nefariously disguise themselves or impersonate veterans in an attempt to get a financial benefit. This bill essentially makes it a crime for a person to do so. It also allows the fines to go into the General Fund to go towards veterans’ homes.” The bill makes an exception for those who pretend to be veterans in a movie or play.

Response to Intervention – Senate Resolution 158, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), passed the Senate Education Committee this week. This resolution, which is funded in Governor Bill Haslam’s budget, approves changes to the Basic Education Program (BEP) formula to include $13.3 million in recurring funds for Response to Intervention positions. This funding will provide a framework for teaching and learning that includes regular screenings to identify student areas of need and a tiered model of intervention for those who need additional help. The resolution now moves to the Senate Finance Ways and Means Committee.

Council Members / Active Duty Veterans — The full Senate voted this week to allow a veteran who has been called up for active military service during their elected term of office on a city council, to continue as a council member for up to 13 months. Senate Bill 1959, sponsored by Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), would apply as long as the council agrees by a two-thirds vote. This bill would allow the active service members to attend and vote in sessions via a two-way electronic audio-video communication. The bill, which has passed the House of Representatives, now moves to Governor Bill Haslam’s desk for his signature.

Prisoners / Occupational Licenses – The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee advanced legislation this week which helps ensure Tennessee’s occupational licensing does not keep offenders who have served their time in jail from obtaining employment and getting a fresh start in life. Senate Bill 2465 would reduce barriers to entering a profession by only allowing state licensing boards to deny licenses for past crimes that are directly related to the job sought excluding certain felonies. It provides that if a licensing board denies someone a license for a past crime, the board must consider the nature and seriousness of the crime, the passage of time since the crime was committed, and the relationship between the crime and the license sought, among other factors. It also allows applicants for licenses to petition a state licensing board upfront to determine whether a past crime will disqualify them from obtaining a license. Tennessee requires a license for 110 different jobs, many impacting blue collar jobs. Almost every state licensing board can deny a license to do a job based off a past criminal record, including low-level misdemeanor crimes. The bill is sponsored by Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield).

Victims’ Rights / Electronic Notification — The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation this week giving crime victims a choice to receive notifications electronically. Tennessee’s Victims’ Bill of Rights declares that victims and witnesses have the right to be notified by the Department of Correction of an offender’s parole hearing date and when that offender will be eligible for parole. Senate Bill 2235, sponsored by Senator Art Swann (R-Maryville), permits victims or their victim representative to be notified by electronic means, provided they have registered with the state’s electronic notification service. It also allows for cancellation of this notification service electronically.

Moratorium on Additional Statewide Testing – The Senate Education Committee voted this week to put a two-year moratorium on any additional statewide testing in Tennessee’s K-12 schools. This legislation prevents any additional assessments from being implemented until the current system is operating correctly. Further, Senate Bill 1806 ensures stability in the state tests because nothing new will be added. The bill is sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro).

Human Trafficking / Shelters — The full Senate voted this week to protect the records of trafficking victims who seek treatment from service providers during their recovery process. Current law makes confidential the records of domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. Senate Bill 1656, sponsored by Senator John Stevens (R-Huntingdon), adds human trafficking service providers to this list to aid recovery efforts for victims. “Human trafficking victims have pronounced interests in privacy as do the organizations and task forces that serve them,” added Sen. Stevens. “The need for confidentiality is important to their recovery and safety from future exploitation.”

Child Sex Offenders — The full Senate approved legislation this week ensuring sex offenders convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child are listed on the state’s Sex Offender Registry.  In 2014, the General Assembly passed a bill creating the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a child. The statute allows prosecutors to try several counts of sexual offenses committed against a child victim in one trial and this prevents the child from having to testify about their victimization multiple times to several juries. However, when the law was passed, this new crime was not added to the state’s Sex Offender Registry. Senate Bill 1944, sponsored by Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma), would add the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a child to the Sex Offender Registry as a violent offender.

Opioids / TN Together — Legislation addressing the law enforcement and treatment components of the three-pronged plan to fight Tennessee’s opioid epidemic was approved by the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee on TuesdaySenate Bill 2258, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston), revises various provisions of the law regarding the scheduling of controlled substances and their analogues and derivatives, including updated identifications of drugs categorized in Schedules I-V. The updated schedule of controlled substances would allow law enforcement to better track, monitor and penalize the use and unlawful distribution of dangerous and addictive drugs, including substances that mimic the effects of fentanyl, a drug that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and is linked to an alarming number of overdose deaths. The legislation provides incentives for offenders in correctional facilities to complete an intensive substance use treatment program while incarcerated. An increasing number of offenders suffer from substance use disorders. These evidence-based programs are proven to reduce recidivism and improve lives while saving taxpayer dollars.

Human Trafficking / Intellectual Disability – In an ongoing effort to curb human trafficking in Tennessee, the full Senate voted this week to stiffen penalties for promoting prostitution when the victim has an intellectual disability. Senate Bill 2517, which is sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), makes promoting prostitution in such cases punishable as trafficking for a commercial sex act. The action would allow prosecutors to charge a defendant with a Class D, instead of a Class E, felony crime. The legislation follows a Department of Justice study which showed the rate of serious violent crime, including rape and sexual assault, for persons with disabilities was more than three times the rate of other victims.

In God We Trust — Legislation received final Senate approval that seeks to place the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” in all Tennessee schools.   Senate Bill 2661, sponsored by Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta), calls for the motto to be displayed in a prominent location. The establishment of this motto was signed into law in 1956 by President Eisenhower, but was imprinted on U.S. coins and currency long before that time.  The bill is now pending action on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Governor, Lawmakers Form Working Group To Review School Safety

Leaders in government, safety, education, and mental health to make immediate safety recommendations to enhance security

This week in Nashville, Governor Bill Haslam announced the formation of a working group of leaders from the executive branch, General Assembly, safety, education, and mental health communities to immediately begin reviewing school safety in Tennessee and provide recommendations to enhance the security of school children.

While all schools in Tennessee currently have safety plans in place, the Governor’s working group will convene this week to review the policies, procedures and process of developing and implementing those plans, as well as other school safety measures, including communication and collaboration among law enforcement, educators, and mental health professionals.

House Republicans believe all children in Tennessee deserve to learn in a safe and secure environment and this new safety working group plans to move quickly in making practical recommendations that can implemented in the coming weeks and months to help increase the safety of children across Tennessee. The review will be wide ranging, but will include specific items, such as entry to and exit from schools, training and availability of school resource officers, and in-school mental health resources for students.

Lawmakers expect to have the first recommendations from the working group before the end of the 2018 legislative session.

House Republicans Approve Initiative To Attract & Retain High Quality Educators

House Republicans voted unanimously this week to support passage of a new initiative designed to help Tennessee attract and retain the best and brightest educators.

House Bill 1549 decreases regulatory burdens on highly-qualified school teachers as they proceed from an initial three year license issued by the state to their six year license. The overall goals of the measure are to streamline the licensure process for the state’s exceptional teachers while also enabling them to focus all of their efforts and energy on instructing Tennessee’s next generation of leaders.

While House Bill 1549 is the latest way House leaders are working to support teachers and continue moving the needle in education, lawmakers know work must continue to ensure that both educators and students have all the tools and resources they need in order to succeed.

Under the leadership of House Republicans, Tennessee students are the fastest improving in the country across math, reading, and science. Over the last several years, the state has gone from being ranked 49th out of 50 states to 35th in the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) ratings — a statistic lawmakers hope to continue improving in the coming days.

Tennessee also ranks in the Top 10 in percentage increases for K-12 state expenditures, outpacing the national average increase in teacher salaries. Republican lawmakers have invested more into education over the past couple of years than at any point in state history.

House Bill 1549 now heads to Governor Haslam’s desk where it will be signed into law. For more information about this initiative, please click here.

House Lawmakers Move Forward With Measure Increasing Protections For Intellectually Disabled Tennesseans

An initiative sponsored by House Republicans aimed at increasing protections for intellectually disabled Tennesseans is advancing through the General Assembly’s committee process.

Wednesday afternoon, members of the House Criminal Justice Committee voted to send House Bill 1930to the Finance, Ways & Means Committee. The measure increases penalties on individuals who promote citizens with intellectual disabilities for prostitution to a Class D felony.

Currently, prostitution is considered a Class E felony — the least serious of all felonies in Tennessee; those convicted receive anywhere from one to six years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $3,000.

Class D felonies carry penalties ranging from two to twelve years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

House Bill 1930 is one of more than 20 initiatives sponsored by House leaders over the last decade related to sexual and human trafficking. As champion for victims, these efforts have resulted in Tennessee having the toughest laws in the entire nation related to these types of crimes.

As studies from several prominent anti-human trafficking organizations note, Tennessee has made remarkable progress in order to protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens from becoming victims of sexual and human trafficking, as well as exploitation over the last several years.

For more information about House Bill 1930, please click here.

New Tennessee Life Science Caucus Formed

A new caucus was formed this week in Nashville — the Tennessee Life Science Caucus.

The purpose of the caucus is to give General Assembly members valuable insight from national and industry experts related to policies and initiatives that will promote growth across all sectors of Tennessee’s life science industry.

Caucus goals include developing sound knowledge of the industry — including biotechnology, medical device, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, academic research, and health IT.

Additionally, members will meet monthly in order to work with Life Science TN in an effort to create a legislative agenda focused on supporting a favorable environment that will encourage and promote industry growth.

Currently, the life science industry employs more than 40,000 citizens across Tennessee through 1,200 establishments. The average salary for employees in this field is more than $83,000 annually.

By fostering an environment that grows life science across the state, lawmakers seek to not only help create high quality jobs for residents, but also improve health and well-being through exciting new research opportunities and medical breakthroughs.

 

Get Involved Locally

Pachyderm Club of Hamilton County meets every Monday at noon at the International Towing Museum (click for directions.) Lunch is $13 and advanced reservations are requested at rsvppachy@gmail.com. Membership is $50 annually. Club President is Rex Sparks.

Nightside Pachyderm Club meets every other Thursday at Western Sizzlin’ (click for directions). Dinner is optional. Social Hour begins at 5:30 pm and meeting begins at 6:30 pm.Membership is $35 annually. Club President is Alexander Brown.

Hamilton County Republican Women meets every third Tuesday at 11:30 am at Morning Pointe of Hixson (click for directions). Lunch is $5. RSVP to janetminniear@yahoo.com. Membership is $25 annually and Associate Memberships are $10. Club President is Patsy Henry.

Tennessee Valley Republican Women meets every third Thursday at 6:00 pm at Wally’s in East Ridge (click for directions.) Dinner is optional. Membership cost is $25 annually and Associate Memberships are $10. Club President is Teresa Wood.

Young Republicans meet monthly at various locations. Membership dues are $50 Individual or $85 for Couples. Email hcyrchair@gmail.com for more information. Club President is Joel Barnett.