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Legislative Update from State Rep. Chris Hurt


Meeting with Haywood County School Board Members  

This week members of the Haywood County School Board visited my office in Nashville and met with me. We discussed many issues pertaining to education that they were concerned with and I listened as they gave their thoughts on what the state can do to better improve public education. As a former school teacher and now state representative it is great to see and hear from constituents from the 82nd District who can help me to better represent them in Nashville especially those who are deeply engaged in the public education process.

Higher-Education Subcommittee Passes HB 1665

This week in the House Higher-Education subcommittee we considered HB 1665 which was being carried by Jason Hodges, D – Clarksville. Rep. Hodges bill requires public institutions of higher education to classify a student who is the spouse or dependent child of a service member as an in-state student for tuition purposes, regardless of the spouse’s or dependent child’s domicile or place of residence. I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice the members of our armed services make and was happy to support this bill as it passed out of the subcommittee with unanimous support.


Transportation Committee Passes HB 1712

This week in the transportation committee we considered HB 1712. This bill, being carried by Jason Powell, D- Nashville, directs the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations to study the cost, feasibility, and infrastructure of expanding railroad passenger service in this state through the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak. Having Amtrak expand their role in Tennessee and provide cost-effective transportation is something I am interested in seeing. Earlier this year Amtrak officials came to the House Transportation Committee and gave a presentation explaining their hopes to expand in Tennessee. This presentation included possible routes from Nashville to Atlanta and from Nashville to Memphis. I supported this bill as it passed out of the House Transportation committee and am interested to see what TACIR will discover should the bill become law.


Governor’s Initiatives Begin Journey Through House

This week in Nashville, almost three dozen administration bills began making their way through the House chamber. These initiatives build upon Tennessee’s recent momentum and are key components of Gov. Bill Lee’s agenda for the 2020 legislative year. Some of them include:

  • House Bill 2223:  Clarifies the Department of Agriculture is responsible for establishing the standards applicable for certain donations of food. Strengthens a food donor’s immunity against liability for damage resulting from distribution of apparently wholesome food. House Bill 2223 will now be heard by members of the House Judiciary Committee.
  • House Bill 2227: Creates a rural Brownfield Tax Credit Enhancement Program. These brownfield sites are locations in our rural communities where former industries once stood. House Bill 2227 will allow companies looking to reinvest in these properties and the communities they serve to receive a tax credit in order to encourage them to relocate and create new jobs. The measure now moves to the Finance, Ways, & Means Committee.
  • House Bill 2242:  Ensures integrity within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and will help our Department of Human Services to fight instances of fraud, waste, and abuse within this program. House Bill 2242 now heads to the House State Committee for additional discussion and debate.


Republican Lawmakers Approve Legislation Creating 32nd Judicial District

Republican lawmakers on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a measure designed to create a new judicial district in Tennessee.

House Bill 1156 was approved in the House chamber by an 84 to 5 vote, and it creates a new 32nd judicial district.

This new district will serve the citizens of Hickman, Lewis, and Perry Counties. Currently, they and Williamson County comprise the 21st judicial district.

The 32nd judicial district will allow for more specialized legal attention to better address the unique needs of citizens in these counties by reducing the backlog of court cases currently on the books because of Williamson County’s exponential growth. Additionally, the bill would allow Williamson County to become its own standalone judicial district.

Republican leaders are committed to providing new resources and additional support to our local judicial and law enforcement communities. This will ensure we remain tough on crime and hold the worst of the worst accountable so we can continue to create safe communities across Tennessee.


Legislation Lowering Tennessee’s Business Income Tax Gains Support In House

A measure designed to lower Tennessee’s business income tax (excise tax) is gaining support in the House.

House Bill 2301 is a fiscally responsible approach to attract new business to our state and to encourage small business owners to reinvest into their communities by beginning the process of lowering the excise tax from 6.5 percent to 6 percent over a five year period.

The measure would reduce the tax by one-tenth of a percent every year over the next five years, provided revenue growth remains above two percent.

House Bill 2301 also contains built in safety mechanisms that are based upon revenue collections, in the event Tennessee suffers an unexpected economic downturn. If the revenue growth rate is more than one percent but less than two percent, the tax would remain flat.

Should the state’s revenue grow less than one percent, than the tax rate will increase incrementally in the same manner in which it decreased (one-tenth of a percent).

Finally, if revenue collections demonstrate a negative growth rate at any point in the process of lowering the tax, this rate would then return to the original 6.5 percent.

Cutting the business income tax on businesses will put money back into the pockets of owners so they can expand and create new jobs.



Spencer Bristol Act Heads To Finance Subcommittee

Legislation honoring the life and legacy of Hendersonville Master Patrol Officer Spencer Bristol is closer to a vote in the House chamber.

The Spencer Bristol Act holds criminals accountable by significantly increasing penalties for evading arrest when a law enforcement officer is injured or dies during a pursuit involving a fleeing suspect. House Bill 1805 is scheduled for discussion and debate in the House Finance Subcommittee next week.

Currently, evading arrest is a Class D felony punishable by not less than two years and not more than 12 years in prison. This initiative enhances that penalty to a Class A offense, punishable by 15-60 years in prison.

The Spencer Bristol Act also increases penalties for causing serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer during a pursuit from a Class D felony to a Class C felony.

Officer Bristol was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 30, 2019 pursuing a fleeing suspect following a crash and high-speed car chase that began in Hendersonville and ended on Interstate 65 in Goodlettsville.

House Bill 1805 is expected to be heard by members of the Finance, Ways, & Means Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.



Legislation Improving Transportation for Disabled and Aging Citizens Moves Forward

Members of the Finance, Ways, & Means Subcommittee this week approved legislation aimed at improving transportation options for Tennessee’s disabled and aging populations.

The Tennessee Accessible Transportation and Mobility Act of 2020 creates an office within our Department of Transportation dedicated to expanding and improving accessible transportation.

Public transportation is a challenge in certain areas; it can be especially difficult for the disabled and aging. The new office created through House Bill 1596 will be tasked with identifying and working to eliminate barriers to reliable forms of public transportation for these specific populations.

House Bill 1596 heads to the Finance, Ways, & Means Committee for additional discussion on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020.



Good Samaritan Sentencing Enhancement Act of 2020 Advances Out Of Criminal Justice Subcommittee

Members of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee this week backed House Bill 1816, also known as the Good Samaritan Sentencing Enhancement Act of 2020.

This permissive legislation creates a sentencing enhancement for individuals who commit offenses against those rendering emergency care or assistance to crime victims and who are classified as Good Samaritans.

House Bill 1816 will now be heard by members of the House Judiciary Committee next week.



General Assembly Honors Northeast Tennessee Heroes

Members of the Tennessee General Assembly honored members of the Mountain Electric Cooperative this week for saving the life of a motorist trapped during a mudslide and local flooding event on Feb. 11 in Johnson County.

Linemen Cody Bryant, Rick Courtner, Charlie Grindstaff, Mollie Ingle and Dakota Tester rushed into action to save a woman after her truck was overrun by high water in a swollen creek. Risking their own lives, the group pulled the motorist from her nearly submerged vehicle, made sure she was safe, and then quietly returned to their jobs.

Thursday was an opportunity for House members to recognize these humble and courageous heroes who went above and beyond during a stressful situation that could have ended in unimaginable tragedy.

Those who attended the ceremony at the capitol in Nashville were presented with a House Proclamation as a small token of appreciation for their dedication and service to the citizens of Johnson County and Tennessee.



Additional Notes


  • New Republican Whip Johnny Garrett named six of his Republican colleagues as Deputy Whips this week. They include: State Representatives Charlie Baum, R-Murfreesboro; Clay Doggett, R-Pulaski; Kirk Haston, R-Lobelville; Esther Helton, R-East Ridge; Rusty Grills, R-Newbern; and Lowell Russell, R-Vonore. As Deputy Whips, these members will assist in counting votes and communicating with members about the Republican supermajority’s position on issues and legislative initiatives of great significance for our caucus.


  • The annual “Ag Day on the Hill” event is set to get underway at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This year’s event coincides with National Agriculture Week and recognizes the important contributions made by our farmers and forestland owners. The 2020 Ag Day on the Hill will feature a cow milking competition and will also provide opportunities for agriculture organizations and agencies to discuss this important industry with their elected officials.



You May Contact Representative Hurt:

425 5th Avenue North, Suite 500

Nashville TN 37243

Phone: 615-741-2134

Fax: 615-741-1446

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 44183

E-mail: [email protected]








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