Rep. Ryan Williams’s Newsroom

State Representative Ryan Williams, House Republicans Fight To Bring New Jobs To Tennessee

May 8, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) and House Republicans continue to fight for job growth and economic development across all regions of our state.

In recent weeks, Republican lawmakers have passed several key initiatives designed to help Tennessee maintain its economic momentum — including House Bill 2310 and House Bill 2112.

House Bill 2310 provides tax relief for Tennessee’s small businesses and corporations on state economic incentive grants, as well as monies they borrow for expansion efforts in our state. The measure keeps taxes low and promotes business-friendly environments to support ongoing efforts to attract high-quality jobs.

A recent report suggests that House Bill 2310 may save Tennessee businesses an estimated $1.2 billion in tax increases over the next 10 years and give them an edge over neighboring states as it relates to landing elite employers.

House Bill 2112 adds a recruitment tool through tax incentives related to the Franchise & Excise (F&E) Tax. By law, any industry that is chartered or organized in Tennessee and is doing business here must register and pay the tax based on factors like property, payroll, and sales. House Bill 2112 reduces these factors for financial asset management companies who desire to move to Tennessee by removing property and payroll from the equation and using only a company’s sales factor.

This initiative has already led to global investment firm AllianceBernstein’s recent announcement that it is making a $70 million investment in a new Nashville headquarters. The move is expected to create 1,050 new jobs for Middle Tennessee residents.

“House Republicans have fought to bring high-paying jobs to all regions of our state, and recent news reports out of West Tennessee, as well as AllianceBernstein’s announcement, shows that we are making remarkable progress accomplishing this goal,” said Representative Williams. “High profile companies are coming to our state because they know that we have created an environment where they will be able to thrive and be successful. Our citizens who have the top-notch education and training needed to fill these new jobs also play a vital role in the recruitment process.”

Since 2011, the efforts of Representative Williams and House Republicans have led to the creation of almost 400,000 net new private sector jobs. Statewide unemployment remains near the lowest rates ever recorded in Tennessee’s 222-year history.

For more information about how House Republicans are advancing Tennessee’s conservative values, please click here.

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.

State Representative Ryan Williams Receives High Praise From His Community

May 3, 2018

Excerpt from the Herald Citizen

Indeed Representative Williams deserves a resounding “shout-out” for the $3M boost he secured for Tennessee Tech’s College of Engineering.

This significant boost will not only be of great benefit to the College of Engineering but to the entire university, the region, the state, and far beyond. It will enhance the ability of admission officers to continue to attract top-tier students; enable the administration to continue to attract outstanding faculty and staff; and will enable Engineering Departments to upgrade equipment. In the face of higher education budget reductions in our nation, what a most significant accomplishment for our beloved institution!

Equally impressive is Representative Williams’ foresight and persistence. Perhaps most important is his relationship with Governor Haslam and his legislative colleagues.

Obviously, this extraordinary feat came about because of the respect, friendships, and bonds he established over the years.

I sense that a resounding “shout-out” for our very perceptive, capable, and effective State Representative is in order!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 -Leo McGee

House Republicans Lead Efforts To Better Protect Tennessee’s Students

May 3, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — Throughout the 2018 legislative session Republicans lawmakers — led by House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) and House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Thompson’s Station) — have fought to strengthen protections against Tennessee educators who do not have the best interests of their students in mind.

House Republicans supported passage of five different initiatives that strengthen penalties against these individuals and reduce future instances of misconduct from occurring. They are the direct result of a recent report and recommendations made by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) designed to better protect our students. The measures include:

  • House Bill 1997: Enhances background checks for current educators and potential candidates.
  • House Bill 2009: Strengthens reporting of misconduct involving Tennessee teachers.
  • House Bill 2099: Improves the sharing of information and data regarding disciplinary action taken against educators.
  • House Bill 2165: Clarifies boundaries between educators and their students by updating the Tennessee Teacher’s Code of Ethics.
  • House Bill 2433: Improves school district transparency related to settlements involving teacher misconduct.

“As a father of two teenage children, I am proud to support my colleagues as we work to better protect our students from educators who do not have their best interests in mind,” said Chairman Williams. “These measures will increase student safety in classrooms and schools across our state by holding our educators to higher standards of behavior.”

“Tennessee students and their parents place their unwavering trust in their teachers,” said Leader Casada. “We must do all we can to ensure that trust is never betrayed, and these initiatives are a step in the right direction. I know we will continue to strengthen our laws related to this important issue in the days ahead.”

Representative Williams, Tennessee House Republicans Pass Fiscally Conservative Budget

April 23, 2018

Fiscally Conservative Balanced Budget Passed By House Of Representatives

In the final few days of this year’s legislative session, State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) and the House of Representatives passed Tennessee’s annual budget with a near-unanimous vote. The bill’s passage was the culmination of months of tireless work crafting a fiscally responsible and balanced budget.

The $37.5 billion budget builds on previous legislative priorities by making strategic and thoughtful investments across state government. Because of the conservative fiscal choices lawmakers have made over the last several years, Tennessee currently ranks as the lowest taxed and lowest debt state in the entire nation.

When Republicans became the General Assembly’s majority party, Tennesseans asked for fiscal responsibility to be a priority looking forward. The 2018-2019 budget holds true to that principle while ensuring Tennesseans get the services they expect from state government.

As other states struggle with out-of-control spending and growing debt, Republicans in Tennessee have made responsible decisions that will continue to ensure the state is positioned to be a top leader in the country on jobs. Since Republicans took control of state government in 2011, over 400,000 new private sector jobs have been created in Tennessee. Additionally, the state has experienced its lowest unemployment rates in Tennessee’s 222-year history while students have become the fastest-improving in the nation across math, reading, and science.

As part of the budget debate, lawmakers also worked together in fixing problems with one of the state’s standardized tests — called TNReady — that have once again plagued the 2018 testing assessments of schools across Tennessee. The discussions followed three days of problems tied to TNReady’s online testing platform, the most significant of which occurred on Tuesday when the Department of Education reported its testing vendor had experienced a cyber-attack on its computer system. The day before and after this attack, many students were unable to log into or complete their tests. These tests are vitally important to students, teachers, and schools across Tennessee because they count for large portions of final student grades as well as final teacher evaluations and school rankings. The solution agreed upon by lawmakers to address these TNReady problems include giving local education agencies the option to not count TNReady test scores for the year for both students and teachers, allowing each of these groups to be held harmless for the widespread TNReady failures experienced by school systems statewide in 2018.

Specific highlights of the 2018-2019 budget include:

  • Opioids — The multi-faceted plan, called Tennessee Together, is comprised of legislation, $30 million in funds through the budget, and other executive actions to battle opioids through the three major components of prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. In 2016, there were over 1,600 opioid-related overdose deaths, one of the highest in the nation, and statistics show the numbers are only increasing. Each day in Tennessee, at least three people die from opioid-related overdoses — more than the daily number of traffic fatalities. Tennessee Together limits the supply and dosage of opioid prescriptions, with reasonable exception and an emphasis on new patients, as well as education for elementary and secondary schools through revisions to the state’s health education academic standards. The plan increases state funding to attack the illicit sale and trafficking of opioids through additional law enforcement and training and includes updates to the controlled substance schedules in order to better track, monitor, and penalize the use and unlawful distribution of dangerous and addictive drugs — including fentanyl. Finally, the plan provides every Tennessee state trooper with naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose prior to paramedic arrival.
  • School Safety — House lawmakers approved recommendations made by a working group organized to make suggestions for immediate enhancements to school safety across the state as part of this year’s budget, including a review and risk assessment of all school facilities to identify vulnerabilities, an increase in available resources to help secure school resource officers, and a statewide technology application for anonymous reporting of security threats. The 2018-2019 budget and school safety plan doubles the amount of recurring school safety grant funding for schools, which can be used for resource officers or other facility security measures. To address immediate needs while further state, local, and federal conversations around school security and budgeting take place, total state school safety grant funding will increase by more than 500 percent for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Education — The approved budget fully funds education in Tennessee with more than $200 million in new funding for K-12 education, $55 million for a teacher pay raises, $114 million in additional funding for higher education initiatives, $11 million for an energy-efficient schools program, and $9 million in nonrecurring funds to purchase equipment at the 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology to improve and modernize a broad variety of workforce development programs.
  • Juvenile Justice — The Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 includes $4.5 million in the 2018-2019 budget for targeted investments that support evidence-based programming and community resources — especially in the state’s rural and distressed counties. The measure overhauls the current system of juvenile justice for the first time in more than 20 years by tackling inefficiencies and variations in the system. The program empowers members of local law enforcement communities to intervene in instances involving minor offenses in order to better address a youth’s underlying issues. It also limits probation and incarceration for minor offenses while maintaining judicial discretion. Research suggests that taking youths out of their homes and schools for minor offenses increases the risk of recidivism, diverts resources from youth who pose a risk to the community, and unnecessarily uses taxpayer dollars. Often, studies show, community-based services are more effective and are a wiser use of resources.
  • Economic Development — The 2018-2019 budget includes investments in several key business-friendly programs, including $128 million in new funding for employment job growth, funding to bring the state’s Rainy Day Fund to $850 million — the highest amount in state history, $15 million in broadband accessibility grant dollars, and $10 million in nonrecurring funds for the Aeronautics Development Fund to create jobs and investment opportunities in Tennessee’s aviation industry.
  • Additional Investments — Other important funding contained in this year’s budget includes $3 million in funds for school districts to address the extra costs associated with purchasing buses equipped with seat belts, $10 million for repairs on the state’s important short-line railroads, $11.7 million to help individuals with developmental disabilities, an additional $136 million for TennCare — the state’s version of Medicaid, and funding for capital construction projects and maintenance across the state.

With the budget officially passed, lawmakers now turn their attention to debating the last few legislative items for the year while remaining focused on continuing work to make Tennessee an even better place to live, work, raise a family, and retire.

 

Lawmakers Approve Legislation Ending Mandatory Emissions Testing

Representative Williams and House lawmakers this week passed legislation to end mandatory emissions testing for vehicles in Tennessee.

As passed, House Bill 1782 applies to residents of Hamilton, Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson Counties where vehicle emission testing is still required prior to vehicle registration or renewal.

The 1990 Federal Clean Air Act required the state to develop more restrictive regulations to control air pollution in counties which were not meeting the federal standards for air quality.

Currently, testing is done on vehicles with a model year of 1975 and newer if they are powered by a gasoline or diesel engine and weigh up to 10,500 lbs. Over 1.5 million vehicles went through emissions testing in Tennessee last year in the six counties where it is required.

The idea for House Bill 1782 resulted from conversations with Tennesseans who have voiced concerns about the burdensome costs of testing on families across the state. Once the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation released a report last August revealing that all 95 Tennessee counties now meet federal air quality health standards, it became clear that mandatory testing was no longer needed.

Supporters agree that vehicle emissions testing is a perfect example of a well-intentioned government program with harmful, unintended consequences for Tennessee’s middle class, noting that the passage of this legislation will help relieve this burdensome regulation for Tennessee citizens.

For more information about this initiative, click here.

 

Measure Enhancing Security In Tennessee Passes In House

This week, Representative Williams and Republican lawmakers supported passage of a measure to strengthen safety and security in communities across Tennessee.

House Bill 2312 fights back against sanctuary cities by prohibiting state and local government officials or employees from accepting consular identification cards and other similar documents which are not authorized by the federal government or the State of Tennessee for identification purposes.

The bill is a preemptive measure to ensure that abuses seen in other cities in the U.S. to issue government identification cards to illegal aliens are not implemented here.

Matricula consular cards were prohibited as a source of identification for receiving a driver’s license under a law adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2003 after widespread abuse was reported.

The measure is the latest in a series of Republican-led initiatives designed to strengthen safety and security in cities and towns across our state.

State Representative Ryan Williams Secures $3 Million In Funding For Tennessee Tech College Of Engineering

April 20, 2018

Monies part of  2018-2019 budget

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) has secured $3 million in funding for the College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech University.

The monies are a part of the 2018-2019 budget and will help further the university’s world-class program. The funding is a byproduct of several years of hard work, leadership, and advocacy by Representative Williams on behalf of Tennessee Tech, the College of Engineering, and House District 42.

Tennessee Tech’s College of Engineering was recently named one of the Best Value Engineering Schools of 2018, ranked 25th overall in the nation and number one in Tennessee according to a study conducted by Best Value Schools. The college is also nationally ranked among engineering programs by U.S. News & World Report.

Engineering is Tennessee Tech’s largest college with an enrollment of 2,623 undergraduate students, 106 master’s students and 105 doctoral students. Degrees offered include chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, general and basic engineering, manufacturing and engineering technology, and mechanical engineering.

“Our engineering program and our university are crown jewels both in Tennessee and nationally,” said Representative Williams. “I know this important funding will lead to future growth and also allow the College of Engineering to continue to serve as a global leader in innovation on the cutting edge of technology.”

“We know how important talent is as an economic driver, and Tennessee Tech has been critical in the creation of approximately 3,000 jobs in the Upper Cumberland in the past couple of years,” said Tennessee Tech President Phil Oldham. “We need to graduate more individuals ready to take on the roles related to engineering and technology careers. We appreciate the support Ryan Williams, Paul Bailey and Governor Haslam have shown to Tech and our College of Engineering.”

“Tennessee Tech’s College of Engineering provides exceptionally prepared graduates who are career-ready and who offer industry talent and leadership early in their careers,” said Tom Jones, chair of the Tennessee Tech Board of Trustees. “These graduates make an impact locally, nationally and internationally. This funding is a great step toward expanding Tennessee Tech’s ability to connect students and graduates to workforce and community needs.”

Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) also led efforts in the Senate to secure this important funding.

“This investment in the Tennessee Tech Engineering school will go a long way moving the ball forward in making the Upper Cumberland more attractive for industry and better-paying jobs,” added Bailey.

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.

State Representative Ryan Williams Announces Colorobbia USA To Establish New Cookeville Facilit

April 19, 2018

Ceramics supplier to create 30 new jobs with expansion in Putnam County

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) joined with Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development (TNECD) Commissioner Bob Rolfe, and local leaders to announce that ceramics supplier Colorobbia USA, Inc. will invest $5 million to establish operations in Cookeville, Tennessee.

The Italian company and global leader in the ceramic and glass industries was established in 1921, is family-owned, and headquartered in Vinci, Italy. It is part of Gruppo Colorobbia, and employs more than 2,000 people in 18 different countries.

Tuesday’s announcement paves the way for Colorobbia USA to build a 50,000-square-foot facility that includes distribution functions, as well as a technical assistance laboratory. The facility in Putnam County is expected to be up and running by January of 2019. Once completed, it will create approximately 30 new, high-quality jobs over the next five years.

“I am pleased that Colorobbia USA, Inc. has chosen Cookeville to expand its business operations,” said Representative Williams. “Today’s announcement shows that our community is a desirable destination for businesses who are interested in relocating to Tennessee. I will continue to fight for additional resources that will promote job growth and economic prosperity, both here in Cookeville and in cities and towns across Tennessee.”

Under the leadership of Chairman Williams and House Republicans, more than 400,000 net new private sector jobs have been created in Tennessee over the last eight years. As of March 29, Putnam County’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, more than half a point lower than the national average.

For more information about how the House Republican Caucus is advancing Tennessee’s conservative values, please click here.

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.

Initiative Sponsored By Representative Williams Promoting High Paying Jobs In Tennessee Passes

April 12, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — This week, House Republicans passed a measure sponsored by State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) that promotes high paying jobs in Tennessee.

House Bill 1917 continues the Go Build Tennessee Program through 2024 in order to raise awareness about an abundance of high paying jobs available in communities across our state.

Additionally, the measure strengthens existing partnerships so that students who are interested in this industry can utilize Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) campuses to learn the skills they need in order to pursue these high paying careers.

The Go Build Tennessee program was created with the passage of the Go Build Tennessee Act in 2015. It established a nonprofit corporation and board to run the program funded by $3 million collected by the state in surplus licensing fees.

Since Go Build Tennessee began, 74 percent of students in our state said they were more likely to pursue a career in the trades after hearing the program’s message. Additionally, the TCAT McKenzie location reported a 32 percent increase in course enrollments, and TCAT Nashville saw a 57 percent increase in welding students. The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Greater Tennessee also experienced peak enrollments.

Construction and trade jobs are some of the highest paying in Tennessee with an average salary well above median household incomes in several communities. The overall goal of this initiative is to address a shortage of qualified applicants for current vacancies.

“We know we are lacking candidates who have the skills needed to fill these types of jobs, and House Bill 1917 is a solution to help us address the industry shortage taking place in Tennessee,” said Chairman Williams. “I am grateful for the support this program has received, and I hope it persuades more of our residents to consider careers in this high paying industry.”

House Bill 1917 now awaits Governor Haslam’s signature. For more information about this initiative, please click here.

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.

Initiative Sponsored By Chairman Williams Reducing Burdens On Tennessee’s Physicians Passes In House

March 22, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — Recently, Republican lawmakers supported passage of an initiative sponsored by House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) that reduces unnecessary burdens on Tennessee’s physicians.

House Bill 1927, which passed by a 94-0 vote tally, ensures that physicians will not have to leave patients in their communities behind to complete their maintenance of certification for licensure in our state.

Additionally, this initiative gives local hospitals or medical communities more autonomy in determining whether maintenance of certification is a requirement for physician credentialing. Should a hospital or facility desire it, they would have to adopt bylaws making maintenance of certification a stipulation for work or network participation.

House Bill 1927 streamlines our state’s employment processes for our physicians so they can focus all of their efforts and energy on better serving their patients,” said Chairman Williams. “We must continue to support our physicians and eliminate ineffective job requirements so that we can attract and retain the best and brightest from the medical profession. This will improve the overall quality of healthcare that our residents receive.”

According to the Tennessee Medical Association (TMA), maintenance of certification is seen as a costly, burdensome, and valueless requirement for our state’s physicians.

“TMA’s goal, after years of complaints from our member physicians about MOC testing requirements, was simply to give doctors options for maintaining and improving their professional competency. Doctors should not be forced by hospitals or insurance companies to participate in an arbitrary certification process that has not been shown to improve quality of care. This bill gives much-needed relief for doctors who may choose Continuing Medical Education or other forms of ongoing learning. Thanks to Rep. Williams and the other members of our state legislature, Tennessee is now one of few states developing real solutions to this national issue,” said Nita W. Shumaker, MD, TMA President 2017-2018.

For more information about House Bill 1927, please click here.

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.

State Representative Ryan Williams Sponsors Measure To Reduce Instances Of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

February 26, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) is sponsoring a measure to reduce instances of babies being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in Tennessee.

House Bill 2348 — brought to Chairman Williams by James Gray, M.D. of Cookeville —requires physicians who are prescribing opioids to women of childbearing age (14-44) to also prescribe a long-acting form of birth control in order to curb instances of children being exposed to opioids.

NAS is a condition that occurs when a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb before birth. According to a national study of pregnant women who were abusing opioids, nearly 90 percent of pregnancies in these instances were unintended. Additionally, NAS infants usually require hospital stays on average of about 21 days at a cost of more than $44,314 per child in TennCare expenses.

“NAS births have become almost a daily occurrence in communities across our state,” said Chairman Williams. “Unfortunately, these children endure tremendous suffering immediately after they are born. If we are going to break the cycle of addiction and solve the immense problem that is our state’s opioid crisis, we must implement solutions that include reducing the likelihood that our children are exposed to opioids. I am proud to sponsor passage of an initiative that is designed to accomplish this important goal.”

House Bill 2348 is expected to be heard by members of the House Health Committee on Tuesday, February 27, 2018.

For more information about the measure, please click here.

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.

State Representative Eddie Smith Joins Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams For A Chairman Chat

February 26, 2018