Legislative Update from Representative Johnny Garrett

March 29, 2019

The Garrett’s go to Washington

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to watch as my son laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.  While at this moving ceremony, the experience is one that I wish all could experience. We owe our freedoms in this country to the men and women that laid down their lives for us in distant countries.  Because of this sacrifice, I was proud to witness the wreath laying ceremony and it meant a great deal to me and Kara that our son was one of the students able to take part in this sacred tradition. It was such an incredible feeling to be among our nation’s heroes.

While there, the group was welcomed to the capitol by their Congressman, John Rose. It was great opportunity for the students of Goodpasture to meet their member of Congress. They were able to hear from him personally what Congressman Rose is doing for Tennessee and his constituents.

Bills coming up next week

HB673 on the House Floor Monday night, I will be presenting House Bill 673 which is a bill for one of the largest bank system in our Nation, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati (“FHLB Cincinnati”) and I’m proud to carry such an important piece of legislation for Tennessee consumers since my family does back to the Bank of Goodlettsville days.  The FHLB of Cincinnati is one of 11 banks throughout our Nation that loan other banks and insurance companies money so that they can continue its operations if or when the economy declines.  This legislation provides the same treatment for member banks as member insurance companies so fees charged to the m insurance company remain competitive in the market place.  This allows the insurance company to have more borrowing power with fewer fees.

HB395 will be heard by the Civil Subcommittee which I am a member of on Tuesday afternoon at 3:00. As introduced, the bill removes references and duties of the Tennessee Judicial Council which terminated June 30, 2009.

HB675 which will be heard during the Judiciary Full Committee on Wednesday at 12:30pm. As introduced, allows a revocable living trust that becomes irrevocable upon the death of the settlor to refer to a written statement of personal property not otherwise disposed of by the revocable trust; gives a trustee who has resigned or been removed the right and authority to petition the court for a release and discharge from all liability related to the trust, makes various other revisions.

HB676 will also be heard during the Judiciary Full Committee which I do sit on as the Vice-Chairman, as introduced, enacts the “Tennessee Disclaimer of Property Interests Act.”

HB393 also calendared for the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, as introduced, requires sheriff or constable serving process for actions in general sessions court to be identified by name and agency on the service return or in a supplemental affidavit; requires a private process server to provide a mailing or physical address on the service return or in a supplemental affidavit; clarifies failure to include the required contact information of process server will not invalidate effectiveness of service.

HB674 the Judiciary Committee will hear from me a lot on Wednesday, because as introduced, House Bill 674 revises various provisions related to stepparent visitation.  In Tennessee, a step parent who has a substantial relationship with their step child or step children have little rights to maintain a relationship with their stepchildren.  This bill allows for a step parent to petition the court to establish parenting time with a step child where they have a substantial attachment to the step child and a prolonged separation from the step child will cause harm to the child.  This is a great bill and I look forward to presenting it to the full judiciary committee next week.

Governors ESA Bill passed out of House Education

House Bill 939, also known as the Education Savings Account Bill, this legislation creates new opportunities for students who reside in areas with three or more low performing schools. House Bill 939 will now be heard by the House Government Operations Committee next week.

Proposed in the bill, ESA’s are only available at schools and providers authorized by the Tennessee Department of Education. It is important to note that all program expenditures will be subject to audit by the Comptroller’s office. 5 counties are currently qualified for the ESA program due to having 3 or more priority schools; Knox, Shelby, Davidson, Hamilton, Jackson-Madison.

When we invest in our students, teachers, and schools, Tennessee’s future looks bright.

Click here to read the full text of House Bill 939.

Tennessee’s Unemployment Rate Hits Record Low in February

According to Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD), the statewide unemployment rate in Tennessee dropped to a new historic low in February. The seasonally adjusted rate of 3.2 percent is 0.1 of a percentage point lower than the previous historic low.

Tennessee reached its previous record low unemployment rate of 3.3 percent in October 2018 and it remained at the level for four consecutive months. The state began tracking unemployment rates in 1976.

Over the past year, Tennessee’s February unemployment rate decreased from 3.6 percent of 3.2 percent.

House Republicans have worked hard to create a business climate that would create such a historically low unemployment rate, and they remain committed to legislation that will ensure Tennessee is the best state to live and work in.

House Republicans Fight To Address Distracted Driving

This week, House Republicans continued to address distracted driving in communities across our state by advancing House Bill 164.

The measure expands the offense of holding cellphones while driving from school zones to statewide implementation. The overall goal of the initiative is to improve public safety by reducing instances of distracted driving.

Tennessee currently ranks first in distracted driving deaths. Additionally, the number of deaths caused by distracted driving in our state is five times higher than our national average.

Click here to read the full text of House Bill 164.