Rep. Charlie Baum’s Newsroom

State Reps. Bryan Terry and Charlie Baum working on legislation to address public safety in Tennessee 

October 19, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Representatives Bryan Terry, MD (R-Murfreesboro) and Charlie Baum (R-Murfreesboro) today announced they will introduce legislation aimed at deterring malicious intimidation and harassment of first responders. The ‘First Responder Safety Act,’ will address growing concerns related to threats made to public safety professionals while carrying official duties.  The initiative would be eligible to be introduced in the 2021 Tennessee General Assembly.

“Public safety is always a top issue concerning my constituents. With domestic destruction, intimidation, and lawlessness associated with rioting and violent protests, public safety is a high priority this year,” said Rep. Terry. “As I talk to our citizens, it is readily apparent they are disturbed by what they have seen across our nation, and they do not want chaos and lawlessness in Tennessee. They want peace and quiet, and they want law and order.”

The First Responder Safety Act aims at protecting Tennessee’s first responders by deterring acts that threaten or intimidate them or their families.  One of the key provisions is the creation of an offense of “bias motivated intimidation” when an individual maliciously and intentionally attempts to intimidate, harass, or terrorize a person classified as a first responder.

“There is a growing concern about the decline in recruitment and retention of law enforcement professionals nationwide at a time when state and local officials are working to improve community relations,” Baum said. “Reports of unprovoked attacks on police officers and first responders as well as the personal information of officers being stolen and shared on social media have made headlines nationwide.”

As a prime co-sponsor of the Racial Profiling Prevention Act of 2015, Rep. Terry is keenly aware of not only the need to improve confidence within the justice system, but also to ensure communities are able to provide necessary services to keep citizens safe.

“The recruitment and retention of high-quality law enforcement officers and first responders is paramount to ensuring the public’s safety.  Targeted attacks on these individuals deters quality applicants, and it expedites officer retirements, which creates safety challenges,” explained Terry.  “We understand the concerns some have with our justice system; I have always worked to make improvements, but we can’t allow acts meant to coerce or intimidate police and first responders to occur, especially when they negatively impact public safety.”

Reps. Baum and Terry this year co-sponsored House Bill 8005, a newly enacted law that strengthens assault penalties for physical attacks on first responders during official duties.  The First Responder Safety Act would address threats and intimidation that do not meet the criteria of assault, but still impact the duties of police officers, firefighters, and other first responders.

“We are looking to ensure that our first responders can perform their duties knowing that attacks, whether physical or non-physical, are a violation of the law,” said Baum.  “First responders protect our communities.  They have our backs and they need to know that our communities have theirs.”

Reps. Terry and Baum are currently drafting language for the proposal and are incorporating provisions and feedback from similar measures in other states. The 112th Tennessee General Assembly convenes on Jan. 12, 2021.

 

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MTSU-Meharry partnership will transform rural health care

September 14, 2020

Many in Tennessee state government share the goals of increasing access to health care, helping rural and distressed counties and providing additional funding for education.

The Middle Tennessee State University-Meharry Medical School Early Acceptance Program (MSEAP) provides a way for us to promote these three objectives. And I am pleased to report the State of Tennessee provided $1.2 million in funding for MSEAP in its 2020-21 fiscal budget.

MSEAP was developed under the leadership of MTSU President Sidney McPhee and Meharry Medical College President James Hildreth. It provides financial, academic, and experiential support for highly-qualified students to earn a bachelor’s degree (at MTSU) and complete medical school (at Meharry) on an accelerated path—faster—using efficiencies between the two academic institutions.

These efficiencies include a bridge program between the two universities, summer job-shadowing opportunities, and medical research opportunities while at MTSU. Students will also be exposed to unique aspects of rural medicine.

In return for this support, MSEAP students agree to practice medicine for at least two years in underserved areas after graduation.

The MTSU-Meharry partnership will promote increased access to health care, lower health care costs and enhanced health care quality.

The partnership will increase access to health care in rural and distressed areas by providing more doctors. The program plans to admit 10 to 15 new students per year. Over a seven-year cycle, 70 to 105 new doctors should graduate.

I have taught economics at MTSU for more than 20 years. Economic principles suggest an increase in supply puts downward pressure on prices. Based on my study of economics, I predict MSEAP will work to lower health care costs.

The MTSU-Meharry medical education program will also increase the quality of health care by using scholarships to attract the best students—those with the highest grades and test scores.

This is an example of Tennessee’s state government using its resources efficiently to support health care, rural and distressed communities, and education. Even amid COVID-related reductions in state revenue, policymakers are finding ways to support our priorities. I appreciate the strong support my colleagues in the Tennessee General Assembly and Gov. Bill Lee have provided for this important initiative.

I am grateful the leadership at MTSU and Meharry continue to provide innovative programs to help those in need.

State Rep. Charlie Baum (R-37th District) is a professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Murfreesboro and serves on the House Finance, Ways and Means, Education and Consumer and Human Resources committees. 

 

 

State Representative Charlie Baum Successfully Guides Governor’s Initiative Through The House

March 22, 2019

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — State Representative Charlie Baum (R-Murfreesboro) has successfully guided House Bill 1138 through the Tennessee House of Representatives.

The measure — which is part of Governor Lee’s legislative package this year — eliminates the amusement tax on small gyms, fitness studios, and similar entities across Tennessee. It levels the playing field for these facilities so they can compete against their larger counterparts, which obtained an exemption from this burdensome regulation in 1986.

Currently, Tennessee ranks in the bottom five states for obesity and fitness. The overall goal of this initiative is to promote a healthier workforce, reduce obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and improve the overall quality of life for the citizens of this state.

“I appreciate the Governor and House leadership for asking me to serve as co-prime sponsor of this legislation that tosses the gym tax,” said Representative Baum. “House Bill 1138 will not only support our smaller gyms and fitness facilities by increasing their business, it will lead to better health outcomes in cities and towns across Tennessee.”

Traditionally, the Governor’s legislation is sponsored by the House Majority Leader or the Assistant Majority Leader. Because Representative Baum has focused on supporting small business, eliminating burdensome regulations, and enhancing the overall health of Tennesseans, he was the ideal person to handle all details related to passage of this important measure.

“Representative Baum has already demonstrated he is a champion for small business during his first few months in our General Assembly,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland). “He did a great job guiding this legislation through the House, and I am grateful to him for all of his hard work.”

House Bill 1138 not only benefits our small businesses, it will have an incredible impact on the well-being of our citizens,” said Assistant Majority Leader Ron Gant (R-Rossville). “Congratulations to Representative Baum on getting this initiative passed, and I appreciate his dedication and his service to Tennessee.”

 For more information, please click here.

Charlie Baum serves as Deputy Whip for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly. Baum is also a member of the House Education, and the House Finance, Ways, & Means Committees, as well as the House Curriculum, Testing, & Innovation Subcommittees. He lives in Murfreesboro and represents Tennessee House District 37, which includes a portion of Rutherford County. Baum can be reached by email at: Rep.Charlie.Baum@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-6849.

 

House Majority Whip Rick Tillis Names State Representative Charlie Baum Deputy Whip

March 1, 2019

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — House Majority Whip Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg) today named State Representative Charlie Baum (R-Murfreesboro) to fill one of three Deputy Whip positions within the Tennessee House Republican Caucus.

Baum joins State Representative Justin Lafferty (R-Knoxville), and State Representative Chris Hurt (R-Halls) as Deputy Whips for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly.

“It is a great honor to be named Deputy Whip by Representative Tillis,” said Representative Baum. “I appreciate the trust he has placed in me to fulfill the important duties that come with this position, and I am eager to get to work.”

“Charlie Baum is one of the leaders of our distinguished class of freshman Republican lawmakers,” said Representative Tillis. “I appreciate his willingness to serve in this capacity, and his efforts will support our fight to uphold Tennessee’s values.”

In his role as Deputy Whip, Baum will assist in counting votes, as well as communicating with members about the Republican supermajority’s position on issues or legislative initiatives of great importance to our caucus. He will support Tillis, who has already done an incredible job as the fourth ranking officer within the House Republican Caucus in just his first few months in this leadership position.

“Representative Tillis has demonstrated strong leadership skills as our House Majority Whip, and he will serve as a great mentor for Representative Baum,” said Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin). “I appreciate his dedication and passion for serving our caucus and our state, and I know he, Representative Baum, and our other deputies will form an exceptional and effective team.”

Charlie Baum serves as Deputy Whip for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly. Baum is also a member of the House Education, and the House Finance, Ways, & Means Committees, as well as the House Curriculum, Testing, & Innovation Subcommittees. He lives in Murfreesboro and represents Tennessee House District 37, which includes a portion of Rutherford County. Baum can be reached by email at: Rep.Charlie.Baum@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-6849.