Rep. Paul Sherrell’s Newsroom

State Representative Paul Sherrell’s Final 2018 Capitol Hill Review

April 27, 2018

Republicans Focus On Jobs, Education, Opioids; Adjourn In Timely Manner

In the final few days of this year’s legislative session, State Representative Paul Sherrell (R-Sparta) and the House of Representatives passed Tennessee’s annual budget with a near-unanimous vote. The bill’s passage and the official adjournment 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.

With the second half of the 110th General Assembly now in the books, the House Republican Caucus is ready to continue advocating for conservative policies to carry forward this year’s efforts into the next legislative session.

 

House Republicans Renew Commitment To Tennessee Teachers, Students, And Schools

Before completing business for the year, Representative Sherrell and House Republicans renewed their commitment to Tennessee’s teachers, students, and schools in a successful effort to ensure they are held completely harmless in the wake of last week’s TNReady testing problems.

House members passed House Bill 75 and House Bill 2426 with unanimous support from lawmakers. The measures hold teachers and students completely harmless for failures of this year’s TNReady tests and specify that no adverse action may be taken against any student, teacher, school, or local education agency based, in whole or in part, on student achievement data generated from the 2018 TNReady assessments.

In an unprecedented move, lawmakers joined together in a bipartisan effort to hold the recently passed 2018-2019 budget in the House and not allow it to go to the Governor desk to be signed into law in an effort to encourage members of the Senate to join them in safeguarding all involved parties from being penalized for the latest round of issues involving the state’s standardized testing system.

The fight to protect students and teachers followed three days of problems tied to TNReady’s online testing platform, the most significant of which occurred 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.

 

Advocates Praise Passage Of Legislation Protecting Tennessee Children

Safety advocates praised passage of five bills that help protect Tennessee school children from educator sexual misconduct. The bills were filed after several weaknesses were revealed in a Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury report earlier this year.

All five bills passed on the House floor with bipartisan support. They include:

  • House Bill 2165 — Clarifies the appropriate boundaries that should exist between educators and their students by adding new language to the Tennessee Teacher Code of Ethics. Requires school districts to conduct annual training on the Code of Ethics and its requirements.
  • House Bill 2009 — Clarifies the State Board’s authority to take a range of disciplinary actions against the licenses of educators for misconduct violations. Requires Directors of Schools to report certain offenses or allegations to the Tennessee Department of Education.
  • House Bill 2433 — Prohibits school districts from entering into nondisclosure agreements with employees who have committed sexual misconduct regarding a student.
  • House Bill 2099 — Requires the State Board of Education to post all final disciplinary actions taken by the Board on educator licenses. Also requires the Board to develop policies concerning the transmission of its final disciplinary actions against an educator’s license to a national clearinghouse.
  • House Bill 1997 — Requires all public schools and child care programs to ensure criminal background checks are completed every five years for all educators or any other employee whose job requires them to work with or near school children. Additionally, if Tennessee is accepted into a national program, public schools and child care programs would instead be required to participate in the FBI “Rap Back” program, which provides continual notifications directly to districts of any criminal history reported to the FBI after an employee is hired

 

In Closing…

Having completed its business for the year, the second session of the 110th General Assembly is now complete. One General Assembly is comprised of two sessions, with the next meeting of the body set to begin on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at high noon. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your voice in Nashville.

 

Paul Sherrell serves as a member of the House Criminal Justice and House Health Committee, as well as the House Health Subcommittee. He lives in Sparta and represents House District 43, which includes White, Grundy, and part of Warren Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Paul.Sherrell@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1963.

State Representative Paul Sherrell’s Capitol Hill Review: 04/23/18

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 Paul Sherrell (R-Sparta) 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 toward 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.

 

Measure Enhancing Security In Tennessee Passes In House

Recently, Representative Sherrell 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.

 

Paul Sherrell serves as a member of the House Criminal Justice and House Health Committee, as well as the House Health Subcommittee. He lives in Sparta and represents House District 43, which includes White, Grundy, and part of Warren Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Paul.Sherrell@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1963.

Representative Sherrell’s Measure Supporting Tennessee’s True Volunteers Passes In House Chamber

April 19, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — Monday evening, House members unanimously supported passage of legislation sponsored by State Representative Paul Sherrell (R-Sparta) that supports Tennessee’s true volunteers.

House Bill 268 — which passed by a 95-0 vote tally — will help more than 14,000 volunteer firefighters and 3,800 members of volunteer rescue squads across our state by covering the cost of their vehicle registration fees. The measure will allow these brave men and women to obtain license plates at no cost — a small way of showing appreciation for those who risk their lives in the line of duty.

“Volunteer firefighters and volunteer rescue squad members are often the first to respond to fires and other emergencies in many of our Tennessee communities,” said Representative Sherrell. “I have fought to honor and support them throughout my time serving in the House chamber, and I am pleased that my colleagues have joined me in thanking them for their heroic actions and for the lifesaving services they provide the citizens of Tennessee.”

House Bill 268 now heads to Governor Haslam’s desk where it is expected to be signed into law.

For more information about this initiative, please click here.

Paul Sherrell serves as a member of the House Criminal Justice and House Health Committee, as well as the House Health Subcommittee. Sherrell lives in Sparta and represents House District 43, which includes White, Grundy, and part of Warren Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Paul.Sherrell@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1963.

State Representative Paul Sherrell’s Capitol Hill Review: 03/15/18

March 15, 2018

Tennessee Continues Trend Of Record Low Unemployment, Record Low Tax Burden In 2018

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development last week announced that unemployment across Tennessee has remained at a record low since the start of 2018. In addition, Wallet Hub — a nonpartisan organization focused on the financial industry — has officially ranked Tennessee as the lowest taxed state in the entire nation.

The unemployment rate in January of 2018 was 1.2 percent lower than the rate for the same month one year ago and has remained 3.3 percent since September 2017. Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate has been below 4 percent since May 2017.

As multiple studies have noted, this long stretch of low unemployment is a testament to the economic climate in the state, allowing employers the ability to continue to tap into Tennessee’s talented workforce to create high-quality, high-paying jobs. The wholesale trade sector in Tennessee saw the biggest gain in jobs during January. Health care and social assistance ranked second in job growth during the month.

More than 3.1 million Tennesseans are currently working in Tennessee, a number that sets a state record.

While many politicians in Washington and around the country continue policies of reckless spending and partisan bickering, lawmakers in Tennessee have proudly passed initiatives that exercise fiscal restraint, save money for the future, and fully-fund the state’s educational priorities.

Because of this stark contrast with the rest of the nation, Tennessee has rapidly climbed the ladder as one of the overall best-managed states in the country. Coupled with the fact that Tennessee is 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 — it is easy to see why so many are looking to Tennessee for economic guidance.

Other recent awards for the state include:

  • Being named the 3rd best state in the nation for business by Business Facilities Magazine;
  • Placing 2nd place in Site Selection magazine’s annual Prosperity Cup, which ranks states based on overall tax and business climate;
  • Ranking 2nd in the country for transportation/road quality and 2nd in cost of living by CNBC;
  • And being named the #1 state in the nation for retirement by Bankrate.com.

These accolades are in addition to the other accomplishments Republican lawmakers have achieved since 2011, including cutting more than $800 million in taxes over the last 7 years and education advancements that have led to the fastest improving student test scores in the entire country.

There is no doubt that in Tennessee, things are moving in the right direction. Through a strong partnership of the General Assembly’s Republican majority and the work of Governor Bill Haslam, Tennessee has been successful in attracting job-creators, inspiring entrepreneurs, and putting people back to work. While Washington and many states around the country are struggling to come together, Tennessee is truly doing things the right way.

 

Business Expansions On Steady Rise Across State

As another example of the upward swing in Tennessee’s economy, there have been numerous major business expansions recently announced by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and House Republicans. Over the last few months, dozens of companies, both from within the state and from other parts of the country, have decided to expand their operations in Tennessee. With these expansion projects, thousands of jobs will be created along with hundreds of millions of dollars invested in local communities.

Some of the most prominent of the recently announced expansions include:

  • FedEx Corporation, Shelby County — The Memphis hub project includes construction of a new facility and installation of state-of-the-art sort systems, construction of a bulk truck loading building, and a new area to improve package handling. The new $1 billion investment is in addition to current FedEx facility that already employs over 11,000 team members.
  • JDS Technologies, Inc., Scott County — The second of JDS’ manufacturing facilities in Tennessee, the new facility means an investment of $2.2 million and the creation of 110 new jobs.
  • Green Applications, LLC, Johnson County — A leading supplier specializing in LED lighting products for commercial, residential, marine, and automotive applications, Green Applications will expand operations in Mountain City, investing $1 million and creating 50 new jobs over the next five years.
  • Master Tool & Die, Inc., Sullivan County — Founded in Kingsport in 1988, Master Tool & Die provides custom machining, welding, fabrication, and other services for businesses throughout the southeast. Their new expansion will yield $557,500 in local investment and 25 new jobs to the area.
  • DENSO, McMinn County — Expansion of the automotive supplier’s new facility in Athens means 320 new jobs and community investment of $190 million.
  • Asurion, LLC, Davidson County — Nashville-based Asurion is a global technology company that provides support solutions and protection for smartphones, tablets, consumer electronics, and other devices. The company operates in dozens of countries and has 17,000 employees worldwide — Nashville’s new expansion means an additional 400 jobs for Tennessee.

For more information about these expansions and to view other industry announcements from across the state, visit the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development website at www.tn.gov/ecd.

 

House Passes Bill Outlawing TennCare Reimbursements To State’s Abortion Providers

Republican-led measure aimed at protecting sanctity of life awaits passage in Senate

State Representative Paul Sherrell (R-Sparta) and House Republicans last week passed legislation outlawing TennCare reimbursements to the state’s abortion providers.

House Bill 2251 aims at protecting the sanctity of life by eliminating taxpayer funding to facilities that perform elective abortions. It does not impact the availability of other critical health care services offered to Tennessee women.

While some believe taxpayer dollars have been banned from funding abortions in Tennessee, documents from the Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration show providers across the state have received almost $1 million in funding from 2012-2017. Supporters of House Bill 2251 hope to change this by ending taxpayer assistance to these facilities once and for all.

The legislation passed is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to protect Tennessee’s unborn.

During the 2017 legislative session, Republican lawmakers passed the Tennessee Infants Protection Act; it prohibits abortions after 24 weeks — except in a medical emergency — and requires testing to determine the viability of an unborn child if a woman is at least 20 weeks pregnant. The Tennessee Infants Protection Act also holds physicians who perform late-term abortions accountable for their actions.

For more information about House Bill 2251, please click here.

 

Initiative Supporting Tennessee’s Caregivers Heads To Be Signed Into Law

Republican lawmakers also voted unanimously to pass legislation that supports Tennessee’s caregivers. Now that it has passed in the House, it will be sent to the desk of Governor Haslam to be signed into law.

House Bill 1498 assists caregivers by enabling them to take an occasional, much-needed break from their responsibilities caring for elderly or vulnerable family members by offering additional support services from community organizations.

These brief recesses allow caregivers to recharge and also provide opportunities for them to interact socially with others. Studies indicate that breaks are one of the main requests made by those seeking counseling related to the stresses that are often associated with caring for elderly or vulnerable family members.

Caregiving is a labor of love, but it can also be a tremendous challenge. The daily responsibilities ranging from providing transportation, cooking meals, helping with bathing and dress, or even managing a family member’s finances can become overwhelming. House Bill 1498 supports the state’s caregivers by helping them realize they are not alone as they strive to provide the best possible care for their loved ones.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons, 40 million Americans help parents, spouses, and other loved ones live independently at home each day. Here in Tennessee, there is a critical need. Our state’s elderly population is expected to climb from its current level of 974,000 to almost 1.4 million over the next 15 years.

House lawmakers appreciate the selfless actions of Tennessee caregivers and are committed to providing additional resources that support them in their daily work.

For more information about House Bill 1498, please click here.

State Representative Paul Sherrell’s Capitol Hill Review: 02/20/18

February 20, 2018

Representative Sherrell, House Republicans Continue Work On Key Budget Initiatives

State Representative Paul Sherrell (R-Sparta) and House Republicans continued work on several key budget initiatives last week, including moving forward with bills on the education, juvenile justice, and opioid fronts.

Recently, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to give all Tennesseans access to college free of tuition and fees through the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs. To assist in ensuring those incoming students complete college and enter the workforce with degrees or certificates in a timely manner, House Republicans are moving forward this year with the Complete to Compete initiative. Once passed by the legislature, this new plan will restructure financial aid requirements for Promise and HOPE scholarships to keep students on track for on-time completion, and requires community colleges to implement structured, ready-made schedules for all incoming full-time students based on their academic program.

Additionally, House members completed initial steps this week in passing the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 — an initiative created based upon recommendations made by members of House Speaker Beth Harwell’s Joint Ad-Hoc Blue Ribbon Task Force on Juvenile Justice. 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 uses taxpayer dollars unnecessarily because community-based services are often more effective and cost-efficient. The Juvenile Justice Reform Act will tackle these problems and help strengthen families and communities while promoting public safety and ensuring a responsible and conservative use of state resources.

In addition to the Complete to Compete initiative and Juvenile Justice Reform Act, House members continue discussions on the Tennessee Together program, a multi-faceted plan comprised of legislation, $30 million in funds through Governor Haslam’s proposed budget, and other executive actions to battle opioids through the three major components of prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. Similar to the Juvenile Justice Act, the Tennessee Together plan incorporates recommendations made by Speaker Beth Harwell’s Ad Hoc Task Force on Opioid Abuse.

Other notable budget highlights investments for the year include:

  • More than $200 million in new state funding for K-12 education, including additional funds for teacher compensation;
  • Nearly $100 million for higher education initiatives;
  • $128 million for job growth investments, including programs that target rural communities;
  • And investments to bring the state’s Rainy Day Fund to $850 million — the highest ever amount in state history.

 

Republicans Advance Welfare Reform Initiatives

This year, Representative Sherrell and House Republicans are leading efforts to reform Tennessee’s welfare system, including reinstituting work requirements for those receiving benefits from the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and TennCare.

By reinstituting work requirements for SNAP, approximately 58,000 able-bodied adults who are not currently meeting the work requirement but still receive assistance will now be able to capitalize on an overabundance of jobs in order to secure meaningful employment. This will help move them along a pathway from dependency to independence and self-sufficiency.

The restoration of these stipulations will not impact residents who currently depend on these key benefits in 16 Tennessee counties still designated as distressed by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. They will also not apply to Tennessee’s senior citizens or disabled residents.

Similarly, House Bill 1551 directs the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration to file a waiver instituting reasonable work requirements for TennCare enrollees. The measure comes as the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued new guidelines for states, allowing Tennessee to implement work requirements on citizens who receive TennCare benefits.

As leaders of the state, House Republicans want Tennessee residents to have meaningful employment so they can take care of their families and make contributions that enable communities to continue their economic development and prosperity. These new initiatives accomplish these goals while also ensuring state resources are managed in the most efficient and effective way possible.

 

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Ending Mandatory Emissions Testing

House lawmakers last week introduced legislation that would end mandatory emissions testing for vehicles in Tennessee.

Once passed, House Bill 1782 will apply 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 from mobile sources 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.

House Bill 1782 will first be heard by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee.

For more information about this initiative, click here.

 

Legislators, Department of Education Announce Critical Growth Funds

Last week in Nashville, legislators partnered with the Tennessee Department of Education to announce critical funds that will go to support education initiatives across Tennessee.

The funding is a result of efforts by the General Assembly last year to not only fully fund education in the state, but also provide $18 million to cover school district growth as part of Governor Haslam’s 2017 budget.

These significant investments will allow many of the state’s school districts with growing populations to maintain proper student to teacher ratios so that they can continue offering quality education for the next generation of leaders.

Funding advocates agree that when the legislature is able to supply teachers and students with the resources they need in order to achieve their educational goals and dreams, everyone in the state benefits.

Because of the popularity of the 2017 growth funds, an additional $18 million in funding has been proposed as part of the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget.

Representative Paul Sherrell, House Health Committee Members Improve Healthcare For Tennesseans In 2017

November 6, 2017

(NASHVILLE) — During the 2017 legislative session, the House Health Committee — including State Representative Paul Sherrell (R-Sparta) — effectively worked to improve healthcare and the quality of life for citizens across Tennessee. Committee members advanced a total of 62 legislative initiatives in 2017; fifty were signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

These initiatives combat prescription drug abuse, address Tennessee’s opioid crisis, improve relationships between providers and medical professionals, streamline the application process for members of Tennessee’s medical industry, and protect the state’s unborn children. They include:

  • House Bill 137: Combats prescription drug abuse by allowing the Tennessee Department of Health to establish and maintain a voluntary prescription drug donation repository program.
  • House Bill 315: Streamlines the continuum of practice for providers from entry, reentry, and gradual exit while safeguarding patients through enhanced accountability measures.
  • House Bill 405: Protects the rights of licensed pharmacists from discrimination by managed health insurance providers.
  • House Bill 628:  Incorporates pharmacist-provided medication therapy management into all TennCare delivery systems.
  • House Bill 644:  Enacts the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact which streamlines the application process for credentialed medical professionals moving to Tennessee for work.
  • House Bill 952:  Creates the Visiting Sports Team Act which allows traveling team physicians at the collegiate, amateur, or professional level to use existing licenses to practice medicine.
  • House Bill 1189:  Enacts the Tennessee Infants Protection Act which prohibits abortions — except in medical emergency — after 24 weeks and requires testing to determine the viability of an unborn child if a woman is at least 20 weeks pregnant.
  • House Bill 1207:  Combats Tennessee’s ongoing opioid epidemic by identifying high-risk prescribers.

“I am honored to serve with my fellow committee members and proud of our work to improve the well-being and quality of life of our residents in 2017,” said Representative Sherrell. “Together, we have made great strides refining healthcare, and  I look forward to continuing our efforts to support our citizens next year.”

“The men and women who serve on the House Health Committee have done a remarkable job improving the overall health and quality of life for Tennesseans in 2017,” said House Health Committee Chairman Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville). “As I reflect on our work, I know we created new solutions to important health and wellness issues that impact residents in communities across our state. As we prepare for 2018, I look forward to partnering with my colleagues again so that we can make Tennessee a model for health and well-being that other states will continue to follow.”

Additionally, the efforts of the committee did not go unnoticed by House leadership, especially Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville).

“I want to personally thank the hardworking members of the House Health Committee for taking steps to ensure that our residents have access to high-quality healthcare and that our medical professionals have the tools they need to effectively treat the citizens of this state,” said Speaker Harwell. “The efforts of this important panel during the 2017 legislative session will have a tremendous impact on health outcomes now and in future years.”

Paul Sherrell serves as a member of the House Criminal Justice and House Health Committee, as well as the House Health Subcommittee. He lives in Sparta and represents House District 43, which includes White, Grundy, and part of Warren Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Paul.Sherrell@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1963.

Representative Paul Sherrell Announces Funding Approval For Burgess Falls State Park

July 19, 2017

Speaker Beth Harwell strongly supported funding for park upgrades

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Paul Sherrell (R-Sparta) announced today that the State Building Commission has officially approved funding for upgrades at Burgess Falls State Park. This investment coincides with the 80th anniversary of Tennessee State Parks, and the monies will be used to replace trails and trail bridges.

The Burgess Falls project is part of a $3.3 million initiative to upgrade park facilities throughout Tennessee — including Fall Creek Falls State Park, Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, and Fort Pillow State Park. It was officially approved today by the State Building Commission which oversees construction of all public state buildings and structures. In recent years, the Commission’s responsibility has been expanded to include authority over most improvement and demolition projects of property owned by the state.

“Burgess Falls is one of our most treasured parks in all of Tennessee,” said Representative Sherrell. “It is special to me because my father was born near the grounds, and many of my childhood memories were created at Burgess Falls. I am grateful that the State Building Commission is making this investment in our community; it guarantees that future generations will be able to enjoy the beauty of the Upper Cumberland region.”

Located on the Falling Water River, Burgess Falls State Park is noted for its natural beauty and four waterfalls that cascade down from over 250 feet in elevation. The Falling Water River was originally used to generate hydroelectric power for the City of Cookeville from 1928-1944. The territory was later designated a Tennessee State Natural Area in 1973.

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) — a member of the State Building Commission — was a strong supporter of this critical project and encouraged the commission to approve the necessary funding.

“Projects like this are vital in preserving some of our state’s most precious natural resources,” said Speaker Harwell. “I am proud of my colleagues for coming together to approve this important funding, and I thank Representative Sherrell for his dedication to serving his community and our great state.”

Paul Sherrell serves as a member of the House Criminal Justice and House Health Committee, as well as the House Health Subcommittee. He lives in Sparta and represents House District 43, which includes White, Grundy, and part of Warren Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Paul.Sherrell@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1963.

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Republican Lawmakers Show Their Appreciation For Tennessee’s True Volunteers

April 24, 2017

(NASHVILLE) — Republican lawmakers have advanced legislation sponsored by State Representative Paul Sherrell (R-Sparta) that demonstrates their commitment and support for Tennessee’s true volunteers.

House Bill 268 will help more than 14,000 volunteer firefighters and 3,800 members of volunteer rescue squads across our state by covering the cost of their vehicle registration fees. The measure will allow these brave men and women to obtain license plates at no cost — a small way of showing appreciation for those who risk their lives during dangerous situations.

“In some Tennessee communities, volunteer firefighters and volunteer rescue squad members are the first to respond during a fire or an emergency situation,” said Representative Sherrell. “House Bill 268 is a small way of thanking them for their bravery and for the services they provide in cities and towns throughout our state.”

House Bill 268 is expected to be heard by the Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee later this week.

The full text of House Bill 268 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at:  http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0268.pdf   

Paul Sherrell serves as a member of the House Criminal Justice and House Health Committee, as well as the House Health Subcommittee. Sherrell lives in Sparta and represents House District 43, which includes White, Grundy, and part of Warren Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Paul.Sherrell@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1963.

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Representative Paul Sherrell Passes His First Bill In The State Legislature

April 4, 2017

House Bill 321 enhances security for state employees

(NASHVILLE) — Monday evening, Republican lawmakers unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Representative Paul Sherrell (R-Sparta) designed to enhance security at state facilities.

House Bill 321 is a pro-law enforcement bill that allows the Department of Safety & Homeland Security to expand protection services outside of Davidson County in order to ensure all state facilities are safe and secure. The bill is part of Governor Haslam’s legislative package for the year, which is traditionally handled by the House Majority Leader. Because of Representative Sherrell’s leadership abilities, however, he was handpicked to carry the bill through the legislative process.

“In his short time here in Nashville, Representative Sherrell has already proven himself as an extremely capable member of the General Assembly,” said House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Thompson’s Station). “We are grateful for his assistance in getting this critical legislation passed.”

“This bill demonstrates our commitment to creating work environments where Tennesseans can thrive and don’t have to worry about their personal safety,” said Representative Sherrell. “I am pleased that this bill has passed in the House and look forward to working with my Republican colleagues throughout the remainder of session to enact laws that benefit all Tennesseans, especially those in my district.”

The full text of House Bill 321 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0321.pdf.

Paul Sherrell serves as a member of the House Criminal Justice and House Health Committee, as well as the House Health Subcommittee. He lives in Sparta and represents House District 43, which includes White, Grundy, and part of Warren Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Paul.Sherrell@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1963.

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State Representative Paul Sherrell 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 Paul Sherrell (R–Sparta) has been chosen to shepherd House Bill 321 through the legislative process on behalf of Republican leadership.

House Bill 321 is part of Governor Haslam’s legislative package for the year, which is traditionally handled by the House Majority Leader. Because of Representative Sherrell’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 Sherrell has already proven himself as an extremely intelligent and capable member of the General Assembly,” said Majority Leader Casada. “I have full confidence in Paul’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 321 is a pro-law enforcement bill that is needed to provide state facilities outside of Davidson County the opportunity to enhance security services. With recent threats and active shooter events like that in Chattanooga, the request for armed security in state office buildings has increased. With the passage of House Bill 321, the Department of Safety & Homeland Security will be able to expand protection services outside of Davidson County to ensure these facilities are safe and secure for Tennesseans across the state.

“This legislation demonstrates our commitment to improving the safety and security of the men and women who serve our great state,” said Representative Sherrell. “I am honored that both Governor Haslam and Majority Leader Casada have trusted me with this important initiative.”

The full text of House Bill 321 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0321.pdf.

Paul Sherrell serves as a member of the House Criminal Justice Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Health Subcommittee. He lives in Sparta and represents House District 43, which includes White, Grundy, and part of Warren Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Paul.Sherrell@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1963.

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