Rep. Bryan Terry’s Newsroom

State Representatives Mike Sparks, Bryan Terry Fight To Address TNReady Testing Problems

April 20, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) and State Representative Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) are fighting to address another round of issues associated with the state’s TNReady testing system.

The latest problems plaguing TNReady’s online testing platform occurred this week and have frustrated parents, teachers, and school superintendents while also placing unnecessary stress on students.

The most significant development took place on Tuesday when the Department of Education reported that the current vendor who administers the test experienced a cyber-attack on its computer system. Additionally, many students in school districts across Tennessee were unable to log into or complete their tests both the day before and after this attack.

Ensuring that the TNReady tests function flawlessly is vitally important to students, teachers, and schools across Tennessee because the assessment counts for large portions of final student grades, as well as final teacher evaluations, and school rankings.

Thursday afternoon, Sparks, Terry, and House Republicans began addressing TNReady by providing local education agencies with a choice of opting not to count test scores for the year for both students and teachers. This would hold each of these groups harmless in the wake of the system’s widespread failures.

While this important development begins to address the latest issues, Representatives Sparks and Terry look forward to working with their colleagues in the coming days to find additional solutions in order to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.

“It is extremely disappointing that we have experienced yet another year of problems related to our state’s standardized testing system,” said Representative Sparks. “I want our students, parents, teachers, and superintendents to know that we share your frustrations, and we are working to resolve these ongoing problems; our actions on Thursday are only the beginning.”

“Last December, I held an education roundtable with our Rutherford County delegation, the Rutherford County and Murfreesboro City School Boards, and Commissioner McQueen to discuss the issues surrounding TN Ready and to hear from our community,” said Representative Terry. “This week has once again proven that our current system is flawed. I look forward to further addressing these inefficiencies so that our students and our teachers are fairly evaluated and are never penalized for circumstances beyond their control.”

Mike Sparks serves as Vice-Chair of the House Calendar & Rules Committee. He is also a member of the House Insurance & Banking and House Business & Utilities Committees, as well as the House Business & Utilities Subcommittee. Sparks lives in Smyrna and represents House District 49, which includes part of Rutherford County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Mike.Sparks@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-6829.

Bryan Terry, MD serves as Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee, as well as a member of the House Health and Civil Justice Committees. He lives in Murfreesboro and represents House District 48, which includes the eastern half of Rutherford County. Terry can be reached by calling (615) 741-2180 or emailing: Rep.Bryan.Terry@capitol.tn.gov. 

Rutherford County Delegation’s Bill Moving Tennessee Away From Vehicle Emissions Testing Passes

April 19, 2018

HB 1782 passes by 96-0 vote tally in House Monday night

(NASHVILLE) – An initiative sponsored by State Representative Tim Rudd (R- Murfreesboro), State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna), State Representative Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro), and State Representative Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro) requiring counties to take all necessary steps to end mandatory vehicle emissions testing in Tennessee has passed in the House chamber.

House Bill 1782 — approved by a 96-0 vote tally by House members this week — is a permissive bill that would apply to residents of Rutherford County where emissions 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 came following a report from the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) released last August revealing that all 95 Tennessee counties met federal air quality health standards; after this report was issued, it became clear to the Rutherford County Legislative Delegation that mandatory testing was no longer needed.

“The mandatory vehicle emissions testing requirement places unnecessary stress and financial burdens on hardworking families,” said Representative White. “House Bill 1782 moves Tennessee away from the annual emissions testing requirement, and I know this move will have a positive impact on Rutherford County residents.”

“Those who can least afford to participate in vehicle emissions testing are being unfairly penalized,” added Representative Terry.  “I am proud to have sponsored legislation that will enable them to save more of their hard-earned money and also maintain total air quality.”

“As an entrepreneur in and around the auto industry most of my life, and as a former employee of the auto industry, I have seen first-hand the financial strain that vehicle emissions testing places on our families,” said Representative Sparks. “Our state has improved our clean air and reached attainment, and I am pleased that my colleagues support House Bill 1782 because it is a solution that will create more financial flexibility for our citizens while protecting their health and preserving our environment.”

“Vehicle owners in Rutherford County should not be punished as air quality standards have been met,” said Representative Rudd.  “Emission testing is not only time-consuming, but it has costs attached; these costs are especially hard for our working families. I am pleased that House Bill 1782 makes managing their finances a little easier.”

House Bill 1782 now awaits passage in the Senate. For more information about this initiative, click here.

Representative Terry’s Initiative Improving Opioid Abuse Reporting Passes In House

March 21, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — This week, Republican lawmakers supported passage of a measure sponsored by State Representative Bryan Terry, MD (R-Murfreesboro) that improves reporting on instances of opioid abuse.

House Bill 2004 establishes an opioid abuse and diversion intake line, managed by the Tennessee Department of Health, for the purposes of receiving allegations of opioid abuse or diversion.

Additionally, the measure directs all allegations to the appropriate licensing boards or law enforcement officials in order to evaluate them. House Bill 2004 also requires employers who prescribe, handle, and dispense opioids to inform employees of the complaint line and grants immunity to anyone who reports information in good faith.

In 2016 alone, there were over 1,600 opioid-related overdose deaths in Tennessee, one of the highest rates in the entire nation. Statistics show those numbers are only increasing. Each day in our state, at least three people die from opioid-related overdoses — more than the daily number of traffic fatalities.

As a physician and as Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee, Representative Terry has led the charge in Tennessee’s efforts to tackle the opioid crisis. Terry has sponsored several initiatives related to the opioid crisis and has worked closely with Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), Governor Bill Haslam, and additional members of House leadership to advance a legislative package designed to address all sides of this paramount issue.

“House Bill 2004 is just a part of our much larger effort in addressing an extremely complex issue that has unfortunately impacted many of our citizens,” said Representative Terry. “I look forward to additional collaboration with my colleagues so that we can continue to create innovative solutions in order to help our citizens end the cycle of addiction.”

“As the prime co-sponsor of House Bill 2004, I appreciate the effort and leadership Chairman Terry has displayed on the opioid issue and on this legislation,” said Speaker Harwell.  “Information is a key to combatting the opioid epidemic.  This legislation improves Tennessee’s ability to identify bad actors and take action against them.”

For more information about House Bill 2004, please click here.

Bryan Terry, MD serves as Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee, as well as a member of the House Health and Civil Justice Committees. He lives in Murfreesboro and represents House District 48, which includes the eastern half of Rutherford County. Terry can be reached by calling (615) 741-2180 or emailing: Rep.Bryan.Terry@capitol.tn.gov.

Speaker Harwell and Chairman Terry Sign On To The Medical Cannabis Only Act

February 26, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee Dr. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) today signed on as co-sponsors to the Medical Cannabis Only Act. Both Speaker Harwell and Chairman Terry believe that inaction at the federal level is harming patients.

“I believe it is time for us to take action on the state level with regards to medical marijuana,” said Speaker Harwell. “I am in favor of this legislation, which does not allow for the smoking of medical marijuana–I am not in favor of that approach. However, the federal government continues to be a roadblock for legitimate research or medical uses of medical cannabis, but other states have enacted laws to help patients, and Tennessee should do the same.”

“The inaction and hypocritical stance at the federal level puts many patients in a bind and hinders medical research and treatment. States need to stand up for patients,” said Dr. Terry.

The Medical Cannabis Only Act, sponsored by Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) and Senator Steve Dickerson, MD (R-Nashville), would allow chemical extracts from cannabis in an oil-based form to be used for strictly defined medical purposes. Use of the raw plant and flower would still be illegal.  The Act would require a specific diagnosis from a physician, a consultation with a pharmacist for medicine therapy management, and expand research into medical uses of cannabis in Tennessee.  An appointed commission would set dosage amounts for patients. The bill is permissive which means that counties would need to pass a referendum to allow and regulate participation in their communities.

“States that have enacted a medical cannabis program have seen a decrease in opioid use. While I don’t see this as a cure-all for the opioid epidemic, I do see a true medical cannabis program, such as is being proposed, as another tool for the medical community in this fight,” said Speaker Harwell.

“Adding a non-opioid modality, such as cannabis extracts, to the arsenal of treatment options for pain can certainly be beneficial in the war on opioid abuse, but there are other conditions that the bill addresses like Crohn’s Disease and seizure disorders which can help Tennesseans. Cannabis oils are not a panacea, but for some patients, it can make all the difference in their quality of life. As opposed to the unknown of recreational or pseudo-medical cannabis, this bill is structured with the patient and true medical therapies in mind,” added Dr. Terry.

One such patient whose life changed with cannabis-based treatment is Alexis Bortell, the twelve-year-old from Texas who is suing the Federal government over her medications.  She developed intractable seizures at the age of seven, and by age nine, had tried and failed multiple medication regimens. Faced with a high-risk medication or brain surgery, her family, with the guidance of physicians, opted to move to Colorado and try cannabis-based therapy.  By day 33, she quit having seizures and has been seizure-free for three years.  Though willing to testify before the House in support of the Medical Cannabis Only Act, Tennessee, and Federal laws prohibit her traveling with her medication.

“My dad and I spoke to Dr. Terry about my situation. I am living proof that treating with medical cannabis can change and save people’s lives. Except for the risks of not having my medicine and the federal and state restrictions, I live a normal and productive life. No more seizures. No more hospital visits. No more talk of experimental brain surgery. I’ve been told that there are around 70,000 Tennesseans with seizure disorders and about 5,000 of those are kids like me,” stated Alexis. “It takes courageous leaders like those supporting the Medical Cannabis Only Act to speak out on medical cannabis. I’m hoping that other legislators have the courage to join them so I can come to Tennessee. I hear it is a beautiful state.”

“My daughter is nine, the same age of Alexis when the Bortells had to make a difficult medical decision,” stated Dr. Terry.  “Having spoken with them on various occasions, they absolutely made the right decision, and it’s one we would make for our daughter if faced with the same circumstances. We need to fix draconian laws that force families into those situations.”

The Medical Cannabis Only Act is set to be heard in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday, February 27.

State Rep. Bryan Terry’s Capitol Hill Review: 2/22/18

February 23, 2018

State Representative Bryan Terry’s Capitol Hill Review: 02/16/18

February 16, 2018

Representative Bryan Terry’s Capitol Hill Review: 02/09/18

February 9, 2018

State Representative Bryan Terry To Serve On New Wellness Caucus

November 15, 2017

Panel tasked with improving health and well-being for Tennesseans

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) today announced that he will serve on a new Wellness Caucus created by members of the Tennessee General Assembly and in collaboration with the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness.

The caucus is chaired by State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) and Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixson). It consists of 37 members — including 28 Republicans — from both the House and Senate who will study and propose new solutions to important health and wellness issues in communities across the state.

While Nashville is considered a healthcare hub for our entire nation, Tennessee still remains one of the least healthy states in the country. Approximately one in four adults smoke, and one in five high school students uses tobacco. Additionally, 33 percent of the state’s population is classified as obese, and type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure are at near-epidemic levels in all regions of the state.

Caucus members will help shape future public policy so that Tennesseans impacted by some of these adverse health conditions are able to make lifestyle changes that will improve their health and overall quality of life.

“I am honored to be asked to serve on this new Wellness Caucus,” stated Representative Terry, who is also Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee. “Many of the health problems we face in our district including the opioid epidemic, diabetes, and hypertension impact all regions of Tennessee. This caucus provides an opportunity for all members of the General Assembly — including those who do not currently serve on our health committees — to establish goals and shape the future landscape of health and well-being in our state.”

For more information about the Governor’s Foundation for Health & Wellness, please visit http://healthierTN.com.

Bryan Terry, MD serves as Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee, as well as a member of the House Health and Civil Justice Committees. He lives in Murfreesboro and represents House District 48, which includes the eastern half of Rutherford County. Terry can be reached by calling (615) 741-2180 or emailing: Rep.Bryan.Terry@capitol.tn.gov.

New Law Helps School Personnel Assist Students During An Adrenal Crisis

April 4, 2017

(NASHVILLE) — This week, House Republicans passed legislation sponsored by Representative Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) that authorizes school personnel 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.

“When children experience a medical emergency like an adrenal crisis and need treatment, every second counts,” said Representative Terry. “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.”

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.

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

Bryan Terry serves as Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee. He is also a member of the House Health and House Civil Justice Committees. Terry lives in Murfreesboro and represents House District 48, which includes part of Rutherford County. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Bryan.Terry@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-2180.

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House Republicans Pass Legislation Protecting The Identities Of Minor Victims Of Crimes

March 28, 2017

(NASHVILLE) — This week, House Republican lawmakers unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Representative Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) designed to protect the identities of Tennessee minors who fall victim to crimes, including sexual crimes.

House Bill 344 limits public accessibility to the identities of minor victims of crimes, unless a court waives confidentiality at the request of the victim’s parent or legal guardian. This 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.

“Those who have suffered from these types of atrocities should not be subjected to additional emotional or psychological damage caused by having their identities and other sensitive information revealed to the public,” said Representative Terry. “This bill protects the victims and also ensures that offenders will be held accountable for their despicable 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

Bryan Terry serves as Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee. He is also a member of the House Health and House Civil Justice Committees. Terry lives in Murfreesboro and represents House District 48, which includes part of Rutherford County. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Bryan.Terry@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-2180.

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