Rep. Mike Sparks’s Newsroom

Resolution Sponsored By Representative Sparks Recognizing Tennessee’s Fatherless Epidemic Passes

May 2, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — House members have unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) that recognizes Tennessee’s fatherless epidemic.

Senate Joint Resolution 108 urges resolution of societal problems stemming from fatherless homes and divorce. The measure encourages religious institutions, community, and government agencies, as well as elected leaders to partner together in an effort to break the cycle of societal issues involving children who come from homes with no fathers.

Research indicates that 63 percent of youth suicides are committed by fatherless children. Approximately 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from homes with no fathers. Seventy-one percent of all high school dropouts do not have fathers present in their lives.

A CNN list of the 27 Deadliest Mass Shootings in U.S. History also confirms that seven shootings have been committed by young males since 2005. Further research suggests that six of the seven were raised without their biological father present throughout childhood.

“This initiative calls attention to an issue in our state that does not attract a great deal of attention but is critical to Tennessee’s future success,” said Representative Sparks. “Together, I know we can create environments where our next generation of leaders are supported and loved. This will allow them to achieve their goals and dreams in life.”

For more information about Senate Joint Resolution 108, please click here.

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.

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.

State Representative Mike Sparks Appointed Vice-Chair Of Calendar & Rules Committee By Speaker Harwell

January 16, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) has been appointed Vice-Chair of the House Calendar & Rules Committee by Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville).

2018 marks his eighth year in the Tennessee General Assembly. As Vice-Chair of the House Calendar & Rules Committee, Representative Sparks and his fellow committee members will schedule bills for consideration on third and final reading and entertain debate on the merits of legislation recommended for passage by the eleven standing committees.

“I am honored to receive this appointment from Speaker Harwell to serve as Vice-Chair of the House Calendar & Rules Committee,” said Representative Sparks. “Together with my committee colleagues, I know we will further our work advancing sensible legislative initiatives that benefit all Tennesseans throughout the 2018 legislative session.”

“Representative Sparks has demonstrated his leadership during his service as a member of our General Assembly,” said Speaker Harwell. “We are fortunate to have him, and his knowledge and experience will benefit this important committee.”

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.

Representative Sparks, House Insurance & Banking Committee Members Produce Strong 2017 Results

July 17, 2017

(NASHVILLE) — Throughout the first half of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly, the House Insurance and Banking Committee was particularly active in the legislative process. Thanks to the hard work of State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) and fellow committee membersthe panel advanced a total of 23 legislative initiatives with eighteen of those bills being signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

These initiatives support business growth and development, cut prescription and health care costs, and improve communication between providers and patients. Some of the legislation includes:

  • House Bill 18: Reduces the cost burden of prescription eye drop refills for patients.
  • House Bill 77: Clarifies guidelines for insurance coverage of off-highway vehicles.
  • House Bill 150: Increases totals paid out to benefactors of deceased investors.
  • House Bill 280: Revises fee provisions for owners under the vehicle insurance verification program.
  • House Bill 304: Promotes business growth by reducing government regulations.
  • House Bill 338: Lowers health care costs and improves the quality of care public elementary and secondary school students receive.
  • House Bill 405: Protects licensed pharmacists from discrimination by managed health insurance providers.
  • House Bill 498: Improves communication between health providers and patients.

“Serving alongside the men and women on my committee is an absolute honor; Tennesseans are well-served by the dedicated members of the House Insurance and Banking Committee,” said the Committee Chairman, State Representative Ron Travis (R-Dayton). “As I reflect on our work in 2017, I believe we all fought diligently on behalf of small businesses, health care patients and providers, and the entire state. I look forward to continuing our work for the people of Tennessee during the 2018 legislative session.”

Furthermore, 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 Insurance and Banking Committee for their dedication to growth and stability throughout Tennessee,” said Speaker Harwell. “Their work during the 2017 legislative session will deeply impact and improve the lives of Tennesseans everywhere.”

Mike Sparks serves on the House Insurance & Banking Committee and the House Business & Utilities Committee, 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.

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