Rep. John Crawford’s Newsroom

State Representative John Crawford’s Weekly Update: 04/21/17

April 21, 2017

Legislation Aimed At Protecting Elderly Tennesseans From Abuse Moves Forward

Legislation sponsored by House Republicans that cracks down on elder abuse and exploitation continues to advance through the House committee process.

House Bill 810, known as the Elderly and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act, closes legal loopholes in existing abuse laws to further protect some of our most vulnerable from criminal targeting.  The legislation increases penalties and raises fines for elder abuse offenders while also enabling the Tennessee Department of Human Services to track serial abusers by placing them on a registry.

House Bill 810 is part of a larger effort by lawmakers this year to help ensure the safety of Tennessee’s senior citizens. Over the last several years, there has been a nationwide increase in the number of cases related to the financial exploitation of seniors as technology and internet related scams have been on the rise.

Two additional pieces of legislation that have already passed the full House this year include House Bill 304, which helps protect the elderly and those at increased risk of cognitive impairment from financial exploitation by providing the Tennessee Securities Division with the tools needed to help detect and prevent financial fraud and abuse.

Similarly, House Bill 1064 adds tools and greater flexibility as to how financial institutions can best protect their customers when they have reason to suspect financial exploitation of elderly or vulnerable adults is occurring or being attempted.

Studies show that approximately 20% of seniors have been a victim of financial exploitation at a cost of approximately $2.9 billion annually. Moreover, these numbers are likely low as it is also estimated that only one out of every 44 instances of financial abuse is actually reported.

 

House Republicans Enhance Transportation Safety For Tennessee Students

Monday evening, House lawmakers unanimously approved legislation designed to enhance safety and create more oversight of school bus transportation for Tennessee students.

As passed, House Bill 322 requires all school districts, including charter schools, to appoint a transportation supervisor to monitor and oversee student transportation. This supervisor must receive annual training developed from the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) and the Tennessee Department of Safety (TDS) and must also implement a school transportation policy adopted by the local board of education. Additionally, House Bill 322 requires all new bus drivers to complete a driver training program based on standards developed by the TDOE and the TDS prior to transporting any students.

Another key provision of the bill requires any school bus driver to be 25 years old and have five years of unrestricted driving privileges, areas that came into question after the Chattanooga school bus crash last year that killed six children where the driver, who was 24 at the time, had several previous traffic violations. A 2014 school bus crash in Knoxville — caused by distracted driving — also killed two children and a teacher’s aide.

Supporters of the legislation hope the new transportation oversight will help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

The full text of House Bill 322 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0322.pdf.

 

House Approves Legislation To Remove Burdensome And Outdated Regulations From Law Books

The full House passed legislation this week to remove unneeded governmental regulations and red tape from the system by exempting those whose profession is shampooing hair from having to acquire a barber or cosmetology license before being able to run their businesses.

Currently, a person in the shampooing business must submit an application, pay a fee, and take 300 hours of education at a cosmetology school before being able to offer their services to the public — burdens that supporters of the legislation believe are excessive and unneeded.

Similarly, the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee will hear legislation this week to authorize any individual, firm, or corporation that holds a cosmetology, manicurist, aesthetician, or natural hair styling license to practice in a customer’s home or place of business instead of being required to have a separate business location of their own. Presently, with a few exceptions, cosmetology services must be provided in a salon. House Bill 710 removes that restriction and allows for willing providers and willing recipients to transact that business outside of a salon.

The support of these bills by House Republicans are part of a broader effort to relieve the burden of regulation on the right of an individual to pursue a chosen business or profession without first having to jump through governmental hoops.

As part of the same effort, lawmakers earlier this month moved forward with legislation to encourage the growing and selling of Tennessee-based agricultural products across the state by removing governmental regulations that have placed undue burdens on the distribution of homegrown, locally produced food products.

Prior to the passage of House Bill 299, all food manufacturers, regardless of size, were required to be licensed and inspected by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, incurring fees and other payments due to the state. House Bill 299 removed these licensing costs, allowing home-kitchens and small start-up companies the ability to thrive without being burdened by unnecessary fees and expenses.

Over the last several years, many rural communities across Tennessee have seen newly established farmers markets and local kitchens pop up that continue to grow in size and offerings to the public. Because of the regulations in place, however, these groups had difficulty expanding because of the high fees associated with providing these services.

Now that the legislation has passed, House Bill 299 will stop the licensing and inspections required by the Department of Agriculture at over 150 existing domestic kitchens. This will allow for growth in our rural communities and at small business start-ups and farmers markets in all parts of the state.

As the 2017 legislative session continues, House Republicans remained committed to fighting back against governmental overreach and working to empower individuals to succeed without the worry of burdensome governmental regulations.

Rep. John Crawford’s Legislative Update: 4/17/17

April 17, 2017

Legislation To Help Adults, National Guard Members Access Higher Education Wins House Approval

A key legislative initiative spearheaded by House Republicans to help adults without a degree access higher education, as well as a bill aimed at expanding access to college for Tennessee military men and women won approval this week after passing the full House floor with bipartisan support.

House Bill 531, named the Tennessee Reconnect Act, would make Tennessee the first state in the nation to offer all Tennessee adults without a degree access to community college tuition-free — and at no cost to taxpayers.

Currently, Tennessee adults without a degree or certificate can already attend Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) tuition-free, and House Bill 531 would add community colleges into that same category. The legislation expands on a program launched in 2015 aimed at attracting approximately 900,000 Tennesseans who have earned some college credit, but not enough to earn a degree.

To be eligible for Tennessee Reconnect, a student must be a Tennessee resident for at least one year preceding the date of application and must not already have an associate or bachelor degree. Other requirements include completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) where the applicant is deemed an independent student, participation in an approved advising program, and enrollment in any of the state’s 13 public community college’s degree or certificate programs for six semester hours. In order to maintain the Tennessee Reconnect grant, the student must enroll in classes leading to an associate’s degree or certificate continuously and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.

Supporters of the legislation agree the new Reconnect program is a tremendous investment in the state’s economy, giving adults new opportunities for career growth while also providing employers with the skills and credentials they are seeking from the workforce.

The program will begin with the 2018-19 school year upon approval.

On the same front this week, the House also approved a legislative initiative aimed at expanding access to education in the state for Tennessee National Guardsmen. The bill, named the Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen (STRONG) Act creates a pilot program to provide eligible members of the Tennessee National Guard funding toward a first-time bachelor’s degree through a tuition reimbursement program.

The STRONG Act provides an opportunity for those who protect and serve our state and country to receive their bachelor’s degree, a move that gives Tennessee’s National Guard a competitive edge in recruitment. As a last-dollar reimbursement, the amount of state tuition reimbursement is offset by any other funds received.

To be eligible, the individual must be currently serving with the Tennessee National Guard in good standing, have applied for federal tuition assistance, and be admitted to any Tennessee public community college, public university, or private college or university which is regionally accredited. The student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0.

Currently in Tennessee, 27.7% of veterans have some college or an associate’s degree, while 24.3% have a bachelor’s degree.

Earlier this year, the legislature passed House Bill 433 that will also assist Tennessee veterans by simplifying the process which determines how military training can count as credit in Tennessee’s colleges and universities.

As the 2017 legislative session continues, House Republicans remain committed to helping veterans, their families, and all those involved with protecting Tennessee and the United States on a daily basis.

 

Broadband Accessibility Act Heads To Governor’s Desk For Final Signature

House Bill 529, the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act, is now headed to the desk of Governor Bill Haslam to be signed into law after clearing its final hurdle with support on the full House floor.

As passed, the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act seeks to expand broadband internet services across the state, especially to Tennessee’s rural areas that currently completely lack coverage.

Tennessee ranks 29th in the country for broadband access, with 13 percent of the state lacking accessibility to high speed internet. While only 2 percent of the state’s urban citizens lack access, 34 percent of rural residents are without coverage, placing them at a distinct disadvantage over their city counterparts.

House Bill 529 addresses broadband accessibility and adoption through business investment and deregulation. Coupled with the state budget, the legislation makes targeted investments through grants and tax credits that focus on the state’s unserved areas. The legislation also permits the state’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service — something they have been completely unable to do in the past.

Earlier this year, the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) produced a report that outlined several municipal broadband failures and made recommendations about how more Tennesseans can adopt broadband services. Of particular interest, the report noted, is finding ways to provide broadband access to Tennessee’s rural areas.

New Legislation Continues Health Benefits For Families Of First Responders Killed In Line Of Duty 

House Republicans advanced legislation this week that continues health coverage to families of first responders killed in the line of duty.

Under House Bill 466, spouses and children of full-time police officers, firefighters, and other first responders who are killed in the line of duty would receive health benefits for a period of two years following the death of their loved one.

Family members of fallen Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) officers would also be covered under this legislation.

The bill will be heard by the Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee next week.

The full text of the bill can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0466.pdf

State Department Protects Water Quality By Providing Options For Unwanted Household Pharmaceuticals

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) expanded its efforts to protect water quality in Tennessee this week by working with statewide partners to provide more options for the disposal of unwanted medications. Collection programs reduce the amount of pharmaceutical products being flushed, poured down drains, and sent to landfills.

Through TDEC’s Unwanted Household Pharmaceutical Collection Program, there are now 224 permanent collection bins for expired, unused, or unwanted household medications across all of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

In 2016, more than 80,000 lbs. of medication was collected — almost five times more than during the program’s first year in 2012. In 2017, more than 11,000 lbs. of unwanted pharmaceuticals has already been recovered and prevented from entering Tennessee’s waterways.

Flushing or washing drugs down the sink allows chemicals to enter the watershed and groundwater, where they can impact drinking water and stream ecosystems. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to adequately remove chemicals found in drugs, and drugs that end up landfilled as trash also end up in the watershed.

Since 2012, TDEC has been working to expand collection sites with partners including local law enforcement agencies, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Tennessee Department of Health, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

To ensure all 95 counties had access to at least one collection bin, TDEC partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to secure funding for the remaining counties. Grant funding from the USDA covered almost 75 percent of the expansion’s total cost.

YEAR POUNDS COLLECTED
2012 15,905.91
2013 23,501.63
2014 22,086.96
2015 56,197.48
2016 82,021.03

 

For a map of bin locations statewide, visit http://tn.gov/environment/article/sp-unwanted-pharmaceuticals.

In addition to these permanent collection bins, the national Drug Enforcement Agency is also hosting a Drug Take-Back Day on April 29. Drop-off locations for this event can be found here: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.

John Crawford’s Legislative Update: 04/07/17

April 7, 2017

Social Studies Review Committee Approves Language To Incorporate Civics Into School Standards

This week, the Tennessee Social Studies Review Committee (SRC) approved language that will incorporate the study of civic matters into the Tennessee social studies standards for the 2017-2018 academic years.

The approval is designed to make civics more prevalent in public education courses across Tennessee.

The language amended in the standards will include a more thorough focus on civics. Specifically, students will learn the process of becoming a naturalized citizen and also become well-versed in the operation of the U.S. government, civics, and overall American historical information.

Supporters of the move complimented the decision of the SRC to approve the civics language, agreeing on the need to promote the teaching of civics — including the history of government, facts concerning our institutions of American democracy, and the U.S. political process — in Tennessee classrooms.

Tennessee Business Expansions On Rise Across State

In 2016, Tennessee was named State of the Year for Economic Development by Southern Business & Development Magazine based on project totals and the variety of industries that invested in the state and created jobs.

So far in 2017, Tennessee is well on its way to living up to this recognition, with multiple major job announcements made since the beginning of the year.

In the past sixty days alone, some of Tennessee’s top economic development projects have included:

  • Science Applications International Corporation — Creation of 300 new jobs over the next five years in Cookeville
  • Rockline Industries — Investment of $40.3 million and creation of 250 new jobs in Morristown
  • Orchid Paper Products — Establishment of new headquarters in Brentwood and creation of 25 new jobs
  • LG Electronics Inc. — $250 million investment and creation of 600 new jobs in Montgomery County
  • MIG Steel Fabrication, LLC — Creation of 20 new jobs and $1.5 million investment in Henderson County
  • Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. — Investment of $34 million and creation of 150 new jobs in Memphis

Tennessee has rapidly climbed the ladder over the last several years as one of the overall best-managed states in the nation. Not only is Tennessee one of only a handful of states with a higher bond rating than that of the federal government — a major indicator that showcases our state’s stable fiscal environment — the state continues to rack up economic development awards from publications and rating agencies from across the country.

April 5 Marks Anniversary Of Legislation Making Women Eligible To Hold Public Office In Tennessee

In 1893, the Tennessee Supreme Court declared:

By the English or common law, no woman, under the dignity of a queen, can take part in the government of the State, and they can hold no offices except parish offices.

Although a woman may be a citizen, she is not entitled, by virtue of her citizenship, to take any part in the government, either as a voter or as an officer, independent of legislation conferring such rights upon her.

It follows that unless there is some constitutional or legislative provision enabling her to hold office, she is not eligible to the same.

In short, although a woman was a citizen of the state, she had no right to vote or hold any elected office.

Twenty-six years later, on April 17, 1919, Governor A. H. Roberts signed into law Public Chapter 139, an act granting women the right to vote for electors of President and Vice President of the United States, and for municipal officers. Women in Tennessee could now vote in most elections, but the bar to holding public office remained.

In August 1920, Tennessee became the 36th State to ratify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution; women throughout the country were then able to vote in the November 1920 Presidential election.

In a special election held in January 1921 in Tennessee to fill the vacancy caused by the death in office of Senator J. Parks Worley, his widow, Anna Lee Keys Worley, was elected by the voters of Sullivan and Hawkins counties as the first female member of any southern state legislature.

On March 10, Senator Anna Lee Keys Worley introduced 1921 Senate Bill 737, “an act to make women eligible to hold public office in Tennessee.”

It passed both houses and was signed into law by Governor A. A. Taylor, making it 1921 Public Chapter 95, on April 5, 1921.

Tennessee Main Street Communities Generated $124 Million, Over 1,000 New Jobs In 2016

House Republicans joined with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development this week to announce the 2016 economic impact and reinvestment statistics from 30 certified Tennessee Main Street communities across the state. These Main Street communities created more than 1,000 new jobs and generated over $124 million of public/private investment in 2016, while continuing to be a vital part of the state’s economic growth.

The Tennessee Main Street program provides technical assistance and training for communities in developing solutions to make downtowns safe, appealing, vibrant places where people want to shop, work, live, and invest.

Reinvestment statistics from the designated Tennessee Main Street communities reporting include:

  • Net new jobs: 1019
  • Net new businesses: 231
  • Building rehabilitation projects: 332
  • Public improvement projects: 99
  • Total private investment: $58.8 million
  • Total public investment: $$65.4 million
  • Net new housing units: 281
  • Volunteer hours contributed: 100,588
  • Total public/private investment: $124.2 million

Additionally, Tennessee Main Streets collectively reported more than 1.3 million people attending their downtown events.
There are currently 34 certified Main Street program communities across Tennessee: Athens, Bolivar, Bristol, Brownsville, Cleveland, Collierville, Columbia, Cookeville, Dayton, Dyersburg, Fayetteville, Franklin, Gallatin, Greeneville, Jackson, Jonesborough, Kingsport, Lawrenceburg, Lebanon, Maryville, McKenzie, McMinnville, Murfreesboro, Morristown, Paris, Pulaski, Ripley, Rogersville, Tiptonville, Savannah, Sevierville, Sweetwater, Union City and Winchester. Four of the programs were newly certified in 2016 and not included in the full year’s statistics.
Tennessee Main Street is a coordinating partner with the National Main Street Center. Designated communities are required to meet national accreditation standards annually, which include illustrating broad-based community support for the program, a comprehensive work plan, a sufficient operating budget, and adequate staff and volunteer support.
For more information about the Tennessee Main Street Program, visit tennesseemainstreet.org.

Rep. John Crawford’s Legislative Update: 03/31/17

March 31, 2017

Broadband Accessibility Act Clears Additional Key Legislative Hurdle

House Bill 529, the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act, cleared an additional key legislative hurdle this week after gaining unanimous approval from the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee.

As introduced, the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act seeks to expand broadband internet services across the state, especially to Tennessee’s rural areas that currently completely lack coverage.

Tennessee ranks 29th in the country for broadband access, with 13 percent of the state lacking accessibility to high speed internet. While only 2 percent of the state’s urban citizens lack access, 34 percent of rural residents are without coverage, placing them at a distinct disadvantage over their city counterparts.

House Bill 529 addresses broadband accessibility and adoption through business investment and deregulation. Coupled with the state budget, the legislation makes targeted investments through grants and tax credits that focus on the state’s unserved areas. The legislation also permits the state’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service — something they have been completely unable to do in the past.

Earlier this year, the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) produced a report that outlined several municipal broadband failures and made recommendations about how more Tennesseans can adopt broadband services. Of particular interest, the report noted, is finding ways to provide broadband access to Tennessee’s rural areas.

House Bill 529 will next be heard by the full Finance, Ways & Means Committee.

 

House Approves Legislation Protecting Identities Of Minors In Crime Situations

Earlier this month, House lawmakers unanimously approved legislation designed to protect the identities of Tennessee minors who fall victim to crimes, especially those that are sexual in nature.

House Bill 344 protects the identities of minors in a crime situation, unless a court waives confidentiality at the request of the victim’s parent or legal guardian. The legislation designates as confidential a minor’s name, contact and personal information — including social security number — as well as photo or video evidence of the crime and any relationship between the minor and offender.

It does not hinder the ability of law enforcement agencies and legal representatives to prosecute offenders in order to ensure that justice is served.

Supporters of the legislation agree that minors who have been victimized, especially from those crimes that are sexual in nature, should not be subjected to additional emotional or psychological damage caused by having their identities and other sensitive information revealed to the public.

Proponents also stress that the bill ensures offenders will still be held accountable for their actions.

The full text of House Bill 344 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0344.pdf

 

House Republicans Pass Legislation Strengthening Tennessee Campaign Finance Laws

The full House passed legislation this week to strengthen Tennessee campaign finance laws, with House Republicans leading the charge to require funds donated to a campaign be deposited and maintained in a traditional bank or credit union account insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).  Current statute allows campaign funds to be invested in a private or publicly traded company, causing ethics concerns and a gap in transparency in the state’s campaign finance laws.

The legislation places Tennessee in line with other states that limit lawmakers to maintain funds in federally-backed accounts.

Under House Bill 704, any investment not authorized would be prohibited and the candidate, or in the case of a multicandidate political campaign committee, the treasurer, would be subject to a civil penalty by the Registry of Election Finance of not more than $10,000 or 115 percent of the amount invested.

The legislation also strengthen the state’s campaign finance laws by requiring that any interest, dividends, or income earned on campaign funds by an investment made legally be reported on the candidate’s financial disclosure.

The bill now travels to the desk of Governor Bill Haslam to be signed into law.

 

Bill Aimed At Safeguarding Personal Information Of Tennessee Tourists Moves Forward

On Monday, lawmakers unanimously approved legislation that safeguards the personal information of Tennessee tourists who visit state parks by restricting access to the personal information of park guests.

Under current law, Tennessee state parks must disclose personal information of its guests when it receives a public records request, because there is no exemption protecting this information.

This personal information includes the name, phone number, address, and email address of any guest at a state park. In addition, reservation information, such as the dates of a particular guest’s stay, is also not protected.

House Bill 312 promotes privacy and security for all state park guests by creating an exemption to the current public records requirement. The move places Tennessee state parks on equal footing with the private sector regarding the privacy of personal information.

Currently, at least 25 states protect this personal information from public disclosure.

State Representative John Crawford’s Legislative Wrap-Up: 03/24/17

March 24, 2017

Legislation To Help Adults Without A Degree Access Higher Education Moves Forward In House

Legislation spearheaded by House Republicans to help adults without a degree access higher education moved forward this week after getting a positive nod from the House Government Operations Committee.

House Bill 531, named the Tennessee Reconnect Act, would make Tennessee the first state in the nation to offer all Tennessee adults without a degree access to community college tuition-free – and at no cost to taxpayers.

Currently, Tennessee adults without a degree or certificate can already attend Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) tuition-free, and House Bill 531 would add community colleges into that same category. The legislation expands on a program launched in 2015 aimed at attracting approximately 900,000 Tennesseans who have earned some college credit, but not enough to earn a degree

To be eligible for Tennessee Reconnect, a student must be a Tennessee resident for at least one year preceding the date of application and must not already have an associate or bachelor degree. Other requirements include completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) where the applicant is deemed an independent student, participation in an approved advising program, and enrollment in any of the state’s 13 public community college’s degree or certificate programs for six semester hours. In order to maintain the Tennessee Reconnect grant, the student must enroll in classes leading to an associate’s degree or certificate continuously and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.

Supporters of the legislation agree the new Reconnect program is a tremendous investment in the state’s economy, giving adults new opportunities for career growth while also providing employers with the skills and credentials they are seeking from the workforce.

The program will begin with the 2018-19 school year upon approval.

Second Meeting Of Legislative Task Force On Opioid Abuse Kicks Off At East Tennessee State University

This week at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), the second meeting of the legislative task force on opioid and prescription drug abuse kicked off. House Speaker Beth Harwell helped lead the discussion with stakeholders from across the state who attended the meeting to speak out about Tennessee’s growing drug epidemic.

Dr. Robert Pack, director of the ETSU Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment, addressed the current status of the situation locally and stated that ETSU and their partners are looking to make an impact within the eight-county region that makes up northeast Tennessee.

Pack added it was important to look at all options on the table in coming up with solutions to the opioid epidemic in Tennessee and that each individual looking for help is different – needing varying treatment ranging from abstinence programs to certain medication which help break the addiction itself.

In 2015, 1,451 Tennesseans died from drug overdoses, the highest annual number in the state’s history. In addition, the number of babies born who have been chronically exposed to opioids is high, particularly in East Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Health reports that from 2000 to 2012, the rate of babies born with exposure increased 15 fold.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that prescription opioid abuse has a total economic burden of $78.5 billion per year in the United States. There is an estimated $7.7 billion criminal justice cost across the country.

New Law Will Allow School Personnel To Assist Students During Adrenal Crisis

This week, lawmakers passed legislation to give school personnel the ability to administer lifesaving medical treatment to Tennessee students suffering from adrenal insufficiency caused by conditions like Addison’s disease.

House Bill 121 permits any properly trained school employee to administer a lifesaving injection as a form of medical treatment to students who are suffering from adrenal insufficiency and are experiencing an adrenal crisis on campus.

Addison’s disease is a life-threatening illness that prevents a person’s body from creating hormones that help it respond to stress. An adrenal crisis can be triggered by an injury, surgery, infection, or even emotional stress. Death may occur without immediate treatment.

One notable individual who suffered from Addison’s disease was President John F. Kennedy. The 35th President of the United States collapsed twice in public because of adrenal insufficiency: once at the end of a parade during an election campaign and once on a congressional visit to Britain.

When children experience a medical emergency like an adrenal crisis and need treatment, every second counts. The passage of this bill paves the way for quicker response times during emergencies by allowing a properly trained staff member to perform a heroic act that will save a life.

The full text of House Bill 121 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0121.pdf

House Republicans Honor Fallen TBI Special Agent With Passage Of House Bill 482

A bill sponsored by House Republicans honoring fallen Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Special Agent De’Greaun Reshun Frazier unanimously passed in the House Chamber this week.

House Bill 482 designates the future home of the TBI Crime Lab & Consolidated Headquarters in Madison County to be named the ‘Special Agent De’Greaun ReShun Frazier TBI Crime Lab & Regional Headquarters’.

Special Agent Frazier was shot and killed during an undercover drug operation in Jackson on Aug. 9, 2016. He is the first and only TBI agent ever to be killed in the line of duty. Frazier’s name will now be immortalized in the bureau’s history and serve as a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice he made.

Before joining the TBI, Frazier also served as a member of the local Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force for the Millington Police Department, as well as a reserve deputy for the Shelby County Sherriff’s Department. He was also a police officer for the University of Memphis and for Southwest Tennessee Community College.

House Leaders Advance Legislation Establishing Long-Term Care For Those With Autism Spectrum Disorder

This week, members of the House Health Committee advanced legislation that that would establish a long-term system of care for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.

House Bill 384 establishes the Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder. This 16-person advisory council would make recommendations and provide leadership in program development regarding matters concerning all levels of ASD services in health care, education, and other adult, adolescent, and children’s services.

Specifically, the Council will be charged with seven tasks:

  • Assessing the current and future impact of Autism Spectrum Disorder on Tennesseans;
  • Assessing the availability of programs and services currently provided for early screening diagnosis and treatment of ASD;
  • Seeking additional input and recommendations from stakeholders that include providers, clinicians, institutions of higher education, and those concerned with the health and quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder;
  • Developing a comprehensive statewide plan for an integrated system of training, treatment, and services for individuals of all ages with ASD;
  • Ensuring inter-agency collaboration as the comprehensive statewide system of care for Autism Spectrum Disorder is developed and implemented;
  • Coordinating available resources related to developing and implementing a system of care for autism spectrum disorder;
  • Coordinating state budget requests related to systems of care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders based on the studies and recommendations of the council.

The Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder would consist of the Commissioner of Health, the Executive Director of the Commission on Children & Youth, the Commissioner of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Human Services, the Commissioner of Commerce & Insurance, the Deputy Commissioner of TennCare, the Commissioner of Mental Health & Substance Abuse, one representative of the council on developmental disabilities, and nine adult individuals who have a diagnosis of ASD or that are either family members or primary caregivers of individuals with ASD.

Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. The Autism Society currently estimates that about one percent of the world population has ASD, affecting over 3.5 million Americans, and one in every sixty-eight children. The organization also notes that Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.

State Representative John Crawford Passes First Bill In State Legislature

March 22, 2017

House Bill 1031 recognizes constables for their contributions

(NASHVILLE)State Representative John Crawford (R-Kingsport) has officially passed his first bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

House Bill 1031 recognizes the contributions that Tennessee constables make to their communities and improves their accessibility during emergencies by allowing them to obtain the same emergency license plates that are issued to police and other first responders. The bill will now head to Governor Bill Haslam’s desk where it will be signed into law.

“Constables are valuable resources to the residents they serve and make extraordinary contributions to our communities,” said Representative Crawford. “I am grateful that this bill will make them more efficient at their jobs by improving their accessibility during emergency situations.”

Representative Crawford is sponsoring 11 additional bills this legislative session.

The full text of House Bill 1031 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB1031.pdf

John Crawford serves as a member of the House Local Government Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and House Calendar & Rules Committee. He lives in Kingsport and represents House District 1, which encompasses a portion of Sullivan County. He can be reached by email at Rep.John.Crawford@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7623.

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State Representative John Crawford’s Legislative Wrap-Up: 03/16/17

March 16, 2017

House Republicans Demonstrate Continued Support For Military Veterans, Families

House Republicans demonstrated continued support for veterans and their families this week, moving forward with two major bills to expand access to education in Tennessee. The House Government Operations Committee gave a positive nod for the Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen (STRONG) Act to create a pilot program to provide eligible members of the Tennessee National Guard funding toward a first-time bachelor’s degree through a tuition reimbursement program.

In addition, House lawmakers passed House Bill 433 this week that will make it easier for veterans to determine how their military training can count as credit in Tennessee’s colleges and universities.

The STRONG Act provides an opportunity for those who protect and serve our state and country to receive their bachelor’s degree, a move that gives Tennessee’s National Guard a competitive edge in recruitment. As a last-dollar reimbursement, the amount of state tuition reimbursement is offset by any other funds received. To be eligible, the individual must be currently serving with the Tennessee National Guard in good standing, have applied for federal tuition assistance, and be admitted to any Tennessee public community college, public university, or private college or university which is regionally accredited. The student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0.

Currently in Tennessee, 27.7% of veterans have some college or an associate’s degree, while 24.3% have a bachelor’s degree.

In addition to making it easier for veterans to determine how their military training can count as credit in Tennessee’s colleges and universities, House Bill 433 grants in-state tuition to anyone currently living in Tennessee who is using VA educational benefits, regardless of their official home of record. That change brings Tennessee into compliance with new provisions in the GI bill, ensuring that about 13,000 Tennessee service members, veterans, and their dependents continue to receive education benefits under the federal program.

The proposal also updates Tennessee’s Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) Act which encourages enrollment of veterans and removes barriers known to impede their success in attaining higher education credentials.

The legislation enhances the VETS Act and makes Tennessee the second state in the nation to develop a web-based dashboard to help prospective student veterans determine how their military training counts. Under the new program, a veteran or service member will be able to click on the specific military occupational specialty he or she possesses and instantly see what academic credit they qualify for at each of Tennessee’s public institutions, before they enroll. The easy-to-use system will help the state recruit and keep military service members in Tennessee.

The bill also calls on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) to select representatives of various state colleges and universities by December 2018 to work collaboratively in adopting policies for Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs) for veterans. Currently, PLA credit can vary significantly from one institution to the next. The group will identify and develop uniform methods to assess and maximize academic credit for veterans based on the experience, education, and training obtained during their military service.

As the 2017 legislative session continues, House Republicans remain committed to helping veterans, their families, and all those involved with protecting Tennessee and the United States on a daily basis.

Lawmakers, Farmers Celebrate Annual ‘Ag Day On The Hill’ Event

House lawmakers joined with farmers and agriculture groups from across the state this week to celebrate Tennessee’s annual ‘Ag Day on the Hill’ event at the Legislative Plaza in Nashville. Governor Bill Haslam has also proclaimed the date ‘Agriculture Day’ as part of the annual national observance to recognize the important contributions of farmers and forestland owners provide to the state and nation.

This year, ‘Ag Day on the Hill’ activities included farm animals — horses, cows, goats, sheep, piglets, and chicks — and a variety of farming equipment on display at the entrance to the Legislative Plaza in Nashville. Representatives from agricultural organizations and agencies were also available to discuss programs and opportunities for those interested in farming and forestry in Tennessee.

In addition, a potato bagging and calf bottle feeding contest between House and Senate lawmakers took place, with the Senate claiming the calf feeding victory and House members winning the potato bagging challenge. Following the contest, the Farm & Forest Families of Tennessee organization presented a check to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee in honor of contest participants.

The day’s events also included a sweet potato bagging project to benefit the Society of St. Andrew and a silent auction benefiting Second Harvest and the Ag in the Classroom program.

Tennessee has more than 67,000 farms representing 10.9 million acres in production. More than half of the state, 14 million acres, is in mostly privately owned hardwood forests. Tennessee’s top agricultural commodities include cattle, soybeans, corn, poultry, cotton, timber, greenhouse and nursery products, dairy products, wheat, tobacco, and hay. The industry has a $70 billion a year impact on the state’s economy and supports more than 340,000 jobs.

General Assembly Passes Property Tax Relief Bill For East Tennessee Fire Victims

Property owners could receive prorated 2016 property tax assessments

This week in Nashville, House members passed legislation to provide additional support to East Tennessee families that had property damaged by wildfires that swept through Sevier County and surrounding areas last November.

The bill calls for prorating the 2016 tax assessment for a homeowner’s real property or a business owner’s personal property, if it sustained damaged from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) certified disaster area last year. House Bill 52 is modeled after similar legislation that granted tax relief to victims of the 2010 floods in Nashville.

The legislation would not become effective until it is approved by a two-thirds vote of the local governing body of the county or city in which the property is located. The new legislation would also require fire victims to provide a listing of the destroyed, demolished, or substantially damaged personal property for which the tax relief is sought.

If the tax computed for the 2016 tax year has already been paid by the property owner prior to proration, he or she would receive a refund under the new law.

Lawmakers Pass Resolution To Raise Awareness Of Malignant Brain Tumors In Children

This week, Republican lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution designating May 17, 2017 as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Awareness Day in Tennessee.

The resolution was initiated by constituent Elizabeth Psar and is designed to increase attention to the leading cause of cancer death in children — DIPG. DIPG is a type of brain tumor that is highly aggressive and has a zero percent survival rate.

These tumors are difficult to treat because they are often found near the base of the brain on the brainstem, which controls many of the body’s vital functions. Those who are diagnosed are typically between the ages of five and nine. Patients often stop breathing or go into full cardiac arrest as the cancer spreads throughout their body.

Proponents of the legislation hope that by spreading the message about DIPG, they can help educate Tennessee parents and caregivers, while also trying to increase resources that will lead to researchers discovering a cause and cure for this disease.

Tennessee Department Of Environment & Conservation Seeks Environmental Achievers

Nominations now open for the 2017 Governor’s Stewardship Awards

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the 2017 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards.

The Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards include multiple unique categories: Building Green, Clean Air, Energy and Renewable Resources, Environmental Education and Outreach, Land Use, Materials Management, Natural Heritage, Sustainable Performance, and Lifetime Achievement.

Any individual, business, organization, educational institution, or agency is eligible, provided it is located in Tennessee and the project was completed during the 2016 calendar year. All nominees must have a minimum of three consecutive years of overall environmental compliance with TDEC. Self-nominations are encouraged.

As Tennesseans continue to make the state a stronger and healthier place through innovative ideas and collaboration across industries, these annual awards help motivate and empower individuals, organizations, and communities to keep pushing the needle on stewardship efforts across the state.

A panel of judges representing agricultural, conservation, forestry, environmental, and academic professionals will select award recipients based on criteria including level of project or program completion, innovation, and public education. The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2017. Award recipients will be announced in May 2017.

For more information about each category, judging criteria, and nomination forms, visit TDEC’s website at http://www.tn.gov/environment/gov-awards.shtml.

State Representative John Crawford’s Legislative Update: 03/10/17

March 14, 2017

House Republicans Move Forward With Critical Legislation To Combat Welfare Fraud

At the end of February, House Republicans moved forward with critical legislation designed to combat welfare fraud in Tennessee by passing House Bill 227 on the full House floor. Once passed by the Senate, the bill will travel to the desk of Governor Bill Haslam to be signed into law.

House Bill 227, referred to as the Program Integrity Act, is the result of over two years of work between Republican lawmakers and the Department of Human Services (DHS) and TennCare. As passed, the important legislation gives these departments more tools in the toolbox to help reduce welfare fraud across the state.

Specifically, the bill creates a new system of enhanced verification in Tennessee, requiring DHS to conduct quarterly data matches and crosscheck this data in various ways to help eliminate fraudulent payments that are being made. As society becomes more mobile, the bill allows DHS to explore joining a multistate cooperative for identifying individuals who currently receive Tennessee benefits but who live in other states.

As people move, get jobs and get married, pass away, or simply falsify their economic statuses, the new computerized crosscheck system created by House Bill 227 will help ensure those who are receiving benefits are only those who actually qualify for the programs and who genuinely need state assistance.

In addition to the new enhanced verification system, the legislation also directs the Tennessee Department of Lottery to report to DHS, on a monthly basis, the name, prize amount, and any other identifying information of welfare recipients who win a prize of $5,000 or more. While this rule is already in federal statute requiring welfare recipients to self-report this information, this change simply adds an extra layer of security to the process by adding that the Department of Lottery will also report this information to the state.

In Tennessee, studies estimate the state loses approximately $123 million per year in fraudulent payments to people who are not actually qualified to receive benefits.

The full text of House Bill 227 can be found by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0227.pdf.

Broadband Accessibility Act Gains Momentum

Earlier this week, House Republicans advanced House Bill 529 through the Business and Utilities Subcommittee, with the legislation gaining much-needed momentum as it continues its path to the full House floor for a final vote.

House Bill 529, the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act, was created after the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) produced a report earlier this year that outlined several municipal broadband failures and made recommendations about how more Tennesseans can adopt broadband services. Of particular interest, the report noted, is finding ways to provide broadband access to Tennessee’s rural areas.

Tennessee currently ranks 29th in the country for broadband access, with 13 percent of the state lacking accessibility. While only 2 percent of the state’s urban citizens lack access, 34 percent of rural residents are without coverage, placing them at a distinct disadvantage over their city counterparts.

House Bill 529 addresses broadband accessibility and adoption through business investment and deregulation. Coupled with the state budget, the legislation makes targeted state investments through grants and tax credits that focus on the state’s unserved areas. The legislation also permits the state’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service — something they have been completely unable to do in the past.

In addition, the legislation encourages training and assistance, as well as grant funding for education opportunities at the state’s local libraries to help residents improve digital literacy skills, which will maximize the benefits of broadband.

House Bill 529 will be heard in the full Business and Utilities Committee next week.

Resolution To Honor Blind Citizens, American History Receives Committee Approval

This month, the House State Government Subcommittee approved legislation to honor Tennessee’s blind citizens as well as American history by passing House Joint Resolution 88.

As approved by the committee, the legislation calls for a braille American flag to be displayed in the new Cordell Hull legislative office building, which the General Assembly is set to move into later this year.

Randolph Cabral, founder of the Kansas Braille Transcription Institute, created the braille flag to honor his father, Jesus Sanchez Cabral. Jesus Sanchez Cabral was a decorated U.S. Army Air Corps veteran who served the United States during World War II. Glaucoma robbed him of his sight 10 years before his death. It also hampered Cabral’s ability to post and fly the American flag on his front porch, a duty he cherished as a patriotic veteran.

The braille American flag serves as a valuable teaching and learning aid for instructing blind students about its place in American history. It is composed of braille figures in the upper left corner that represent the stars of the 50 states. They are arranged in nine rows of alternating clusters. The long smooth horizontal lines represent the red stripes. Each red stripe is lined with the appropriate braille dots to indicate the stripe’s color. The long raised textured areas on the flag represent the white stripes. They are also lined with the appropriate braille dots to indicate the stripe’s color.

The American braille flag is a powerful symbol for more than 30 million blind and low vision Americans. In 2008, the United States Congress authorized its placement at Arlington National Cemetery as a tribute to blind veterans. It is displayed by thousands of sighted and blind civilians, veterans, hospitals, memorial parks, elected officials, schools for the blind, and many other places.

Department Of Environment & Conservation Announces Open Registration For Third Annual Transportation Awards And Forum

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Tennessee Clean Fuels, announced this week they will hold the third annual Tennessee Transportation Awards and Forum during Clean Air Month from May 23-24 at the Nashville Public Library.

The event will bring together state experts, local leaders, and community members to discuss successes and challenges facing transportation in Tennessee.

The forum, entitled “Navigating Toward a Livable Tennessee,” will highlight local transportation planning and the pursuit of policies and investments for improved transportation options in our communities. The keynote address will be delivered by Russ Brooks, Smart Cities Director at Transportation for America, an organization focused on supporting the development of smart, sustainable, and locally driven transportation policies across the United States.

An awards luncheon will be held on the second day of the forum, and will include remarks from TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau and Tennessee Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Toks Omishakin. The awards recognize outstanding initiatives to improve the efficiency, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability of transportation systems in the state, consistent with ongoing efforts to improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans, provide for a strong economy, and protect our state’s natural resources.

To register for the event, visit https://goo.gl/QNcfqm.

March 8 Commemorates Legislative Joint Convention With Elvis

Fifty-six years ago, on March 8, 1961, history was made on the floor of the House of Representatives. At 11am that day, the hour set by 1961 Senate Joint Resolution 52, the Senate joined the House in the House Chamber for a Joint Convention.

Elvis Presley was then escorted into the Chamber to address the members of the General Assembly, along with an overflow crowd of guests.

Prior to Elvis’s introduction, Speaker of the Senate William Baird understated, “The House Chamber is quite crowded.”

The Speaker is then famously heard to say, “If any lady faints, please let Elvis catch her.”

This is not the only connection between Elvis and the General Assembly. One of the paramedics who attended to Elvis at the time of his death in August 1977 was Ulysses Jones, Jr. In November 1987, Ulysses Jones was elected to represent the 98th District for the 95th General Assembly, a seat he held until his passing in November 2010.

Representative John Crawford’s Legislative Update: 03/03/17

March 3, 2017

New Proposal Targets Illegal Opioid And Prescription Drug Suppliers

As House Republicans boost their efforts to combat the opioid and prescription drug epidemic in Tennessee, new legislation has been introduced that would impose tougher penalties on illegal opioid and prescription drug suppliers.

House Bill 786 would enable law enforcement to charge illegal suppliers with voluntary manslaughter when they cause death to a user by unlawfully distributing or delivering controlled substances. The voluntary manslaughter charge in Tennessee is currently a Class C felony and carries a penalty of 3-15 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Supporters of the legislation hope the bill will reduce access to illegal opioid and drug distribution by creating greater punishment and determent for those who go around doctors and traditional prescriptions to supply the narcotics.

Tennessee consistently ranks at the top of the charts nationally as it relates to prescription drug abuse. In 2015, 1,451 Tennesseans died from drug overdoses, the highest annual number in our state’s history. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that prescription opioid abuse has a total economic burden of $78.5 billion per year in the United States.

House Bill 786 comes only a few days after House Speaker Beth Harwell created the first-ever opioid and prescription drug task force within the General Assembly, a group with the immediate goal of working on legislation and determining best strategies for tackling Tennessee’s opioid problems.

The full text of House Bill 786 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0786.pdf

 

House Leaders Advance Legislation Establishing Long-Term Care For Those With Autism Spectrum Disorder

This week, members of the House Health Committee advanced legislation that that would establish a long-term system of care for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.

House Bill 384 establishes the Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder. This 16-person advisory council would make recommendations and provide leadership in program development regarding matters concerning all levels of ASD services in health care, education, and other adult, adolescent, and children’s services.

Specifically, the Council will be charged with seven tasks:

  • Assessing the current and future impact of Autism Spectrum Disorder on Tennesseans;
  • Assessing the availability of programs and services currently provided for early screening diagnosis and treatment of ASD;
  • Seeking additional input and recommendations from stakeholders that include providers, clinicians, institutions of higher education, and those concerned with the health and quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder;
  • Developing a comprehensive statewide plan for an integrated system of training, treatment, and services for individuals of all ages with ASD;
  • Ensuring interagency collaboration as the comprehensive statewide system of care for Autism Spectrum Disorder is developed and implemented;
  • Coordinating available resources related to developing and implementing a system of care for autism spectrum disorder;
  • Coordinating state budget requests related to systems of care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders based on the studies and recommendations of the council.

The Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder would consist of the Commissioner of Health, the Commissioner of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Human Services, the Commissioner of Commerce & Insurance, the Deputy Commissioner of TennCare, the Commissioner of Mental Health & Substance Abuse, one representative of the council on developmental disabilities, and six adult individuals who are either family members or primary caregivers of individuals with ASD.

Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. The Autism Society currently estimates that about one percent of the world population has ASD, affecting over 3.5 million Americans. The organization also notes that Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.

The legislation will next be heard in the Government Operations Committee.

 

Tennessee Officials, Meteorologists Promoting Preparedness For Severe Weather Awareness Week

Tennessee’s Severe Weather Awareness Week is February 26 to March 4, and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), and the National Weather Service (NWS) are asking Tennesseans to make severe weather planning and preparedness a priority.

In addition, NWS offices in Nashville, Memphis, and Morristown are planning a series of education and training events, using each day of Severe Weather Awareness Week to focus on a different severe weather threat. Information on these activities is available at weather.gov/ohx/swaw2017.

As part of Preparedness Week, TDH urges Tennesseans to make emergency plans before a flood, tornado, or other threat is imminent, so there is time to decide what actions should be taken to be protected in an emergency situation.

TDH recommends thinking about the weather events in your area or while you travel and making a plan before the crisis comes. Ideas recommended include: writing down your emergency plan, talking with family and friends about where you will meet in an emergency situation, putting an emergency kit together, and communicating where you will go if you must evacuate and cannot return home during severe weather.

The most important preparedness tip for severe weather is to stay informed to its potential by watching for weather updates and warnings on TV or listening to the radio.

At a minimum, emergency officials recommend that preparedness kits should include one gallon of water per-day, per-person, and per-pet, for three to five days. The kit should also have enough non-perishable food for each family member, and pets, for three to five days.

Other items that every kit should include: flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, first-aid kit, personal hygiene items, cell phone charger or solar charger, and copies of important family documents.

It is also very important that emergency kits contain extra supplies of medications, especially for those with chronic health conditions.

 

House Republicans Encourage Growing And Selling Of Tennessee-Based Agricultural Products

This week in Nashville, House Republicans moved forward with legislation to help encourage the growing and selling of Tennessee-based agricultural products across the state.

As filed, House Bill 299 is a pro-small business bill that removes governmental regulations and red tape that have placed undue burdens on the distribution of homegrown, locally produced food products.

Currently, all food manufacturers, regardless of size, are required to be licensed and inspected by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, incurring fees and other payments due to the state. House Bill 299 removes these licensing costs, allowing home-kitchens and small start-up companies the ability to thrive without being burdened by unnecessary fees and expenses.

Over the last several years, many rural communities across Tennessee have newly established farmers markets and local kitchens that continue to grow in size and offerings to the public. Because of current regulations, however, these groups have had difficulty expanding because of the high fees associated with providing these services.

If passed, House Bill 299 would stop the licensing and inspections required by the Department of Agriculture at over 150 existing domestic kitchens. This will allow for growth in our rural communities and at small business start-ups and farmers markets in all parts of the state.

The full text of House Bill 299 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0299.pdf.

State Representative John Crawford To Carry Legislation On Behalf Of House Leadership, Governor

February 22, 2017

(NASHVILLE) — House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R–Thompson’s Station) announced this week that State Representative John Crawford (R–Kingsport) has been chosen to shepherd House Bill 303 through the legislative process on behalf of Republican leadership.

House Bill 303 is part of Governor Haslam’s legislative package for the year, which is traditionally handled by the House Majority Leader. Because of Representative Crawford’s leadership abilities, however, he was handpicked to lead the charge in getting the legislation passed and will handle all details relating to the bill.

“In his short time here in Nashville, Representative Crawford has already proven himself as an extremely intelligent and capable member of the General Assembly,” said Majority Leader Casada. “I have full confidence in John’s ability to shepherd this important bill through the legislative process, and I look forward to working with him even more in the coming weeks.”

House Bill 303 is a pro-law enforcement bill that expands where Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission programs are available. These changes make it easier for qualified applicants to become POST-certified and help ensure only those that are eligible to go through the POST program actually do, creating more access to training for law enforcement officials and saving taxpayer money across the state.

Important responsibilities of the Tennessee POST Commission include developing plans and implementing law enforcement training programs for all local law enforcement officers in Tennessee.

“This critical measure supports the men and women who protect and serve our citizens by providing access to training that will enhance their law enforcement skills,” said Representative Crawford. “I’m grateful that Majority Leader Casada has entrusted me to lead this important initiative.”

The full text of House Bill 303 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0303.pdf.

John Crawford serves as a member of the House Local Government Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and House Calendar & Rules Committee. He lives in Kingsport and represents House District 1, which encompasses a portion of Sullivan County. He can be reached by email at Rep.John.Crawford@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7623.

 

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