Rep. Ryan Williams’s Newsroom

Chairman Ryan Williams helps guide $41.8 billion budget through House

February 11, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 11 2020

Contact: Jennifer Easton 615-741-5760

jennifer.easton@capitol.tn.gov 

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —State Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, this week signed his first budget bill as newly appointed chairman of the House Finance, Ways, and Means Appropriations Subcommittee of the Tennessee General Assembly.

As chairman, Williams will work with Republican leaders to craft a balanced state budget that builds on strategic investments and conservative priorities.

“While other states around the nation are raising taxes and dipping into their reserves, Tennessee’s economy has remained strong and resilient through this pandemic,” Williams said. “I’m very proud to continue the work of advancing fiscal policies that will further strengthen education, help businesses create new jobs and keeps taxes low.”

House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, in January appointed Williams to lead the newly created House Finance, Ways, and Means Appropriations Subcommittee. The committee serves as an arm of the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee which oversee all measures related to taxes, raising revenue, appropriation of state funds, deposits of all public monies and bond issues.

Gov. Bill Lee on Feb. 8 presented his $41.8 billion budget plan to members of the General Assembly in his third state of the state address. Key investments in Lee’s budget plan includes a $341 million spending increase for K-12 education, $200 million to expand broadband to every Tennessean, $931 million for capital maintenance and improvements, $150 million for pandemic relief and Covid-19 vaccine support, $200 million to improve local infrastructure, and $135 million to expand transportation.

U.S. News and World Report ranked Tennessee No.1 for fiscal management and stability in 2019 and 2020. Tennessee is one of only seven states in the nation to show positive economic growth since the pandemic began.

Tennessee’s is recognized for having the lowest debt per capita in the nation and zero road debt.   Tennessee holds the highest bond rating issued by all three of the nation’s credit rating agencies, which reflects extreme confidence in the Volunteer State’s preparedness in meeting financial commitments in tough economic times.

Williams represents the 42nd House District which includes part of Putnam County.

###

 

State Rep. Ryan Williams announces COVID-19 grant for Putnam County Health Department

May 14, 2020

NASHVILLE, TENN. – State Rep. Ryan Williams, R- Cookeville, today announced the Putnam County Health Department will receive $475,729 in federal funding to expand COVID-19 testing.

The funds were awarded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services (HRSA) as part of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Aggressive testing for COVID-19 will be the key to keeping our communities healthy as we work to safely open our economy back up,” said Williams. “Our county health department is an extremely vital resource center in the fight against this virus. I am grateful to our state’s leaders in congress who worked to make these funds available in our community.”

The funding for health centers is part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump on April 24.  In addition to providing funding for small businesses and individuals financially affected by COVID-19, it provides grants for hospitals and health care providers, and increased testing capabilities to help track the spread and impact of the coronavirus.

Across the U.S., health centers are currently providing more than 100,000 weekly COVID-19 tests in their local communities.

The Putnam County Health Department is one of 29 health centers in Tennessee chosen to receive federal dollars to assist during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

 

Representative Ryan Williams Announces More Than $370,000 In School Safety Funding For Putnam County

October 3, 2018

NASHVILLE) — State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) today announced more than $370,000 in funding for school safety upgrades at academic institutions in District 42.

The monies are a portion of approximately $35 million in budget funding — $25 million in one-time funding and $10 million in recurring grants — approved as part of Republican-led efforts during the 2018 legislative session to increase protections for our future leaders.

Each school system submitted funding requests for specific needs identified during a recent security review of facilities conducted by school officials and local law enforcement.

Dollar amounts were awarded based upon each district’s relative share of the Basic Education Program (BEP) — the formula through which state education dollars are generated and distributed to our schools.

Specifically, Putnam County Schools will receive $105,850 in recurring funds and $264,620 in non-recurring monies to be used for improvements to perimeter control, surveillance upgrades, and emergency planning.

As a member of the working group on school safety, Representative Williams led efforts to better protect our students, educators, and school staff members earlier this year.

“Our children should be able to focus solely on learning without having to worry about their safety,” said Representative Williams. “I am pleased to have participated in the discussions that resulted in Putnam County receiving this important funding. I appreciate the partnership between our  school leaders and members of law enforcement during their thoughtful review, assessment, and application for these grant dollars, and I look forward to working with them to identify additional solutions to upgrade safety for our students, educators, and schools in the years ahead.”

All 147 school districts in Tennessee received a portion of school safety funding. For more information, please clicking here.

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.

Small Business Endorses State Representative Ryan Williams in House District 42 Race

August 22, 2018

NASHVILLE, August 21, 2018 — The NFIB Tennessee Political Action Committee has endorsed State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) in the House District 42 race. Williams is one of eighty-eight statewide candidates to receive support from the PAC which is comprised exclusively of NFIB members.

“Representative Williams has clearly demonstrated he is a strong supporter of free enterprise and will stand with small business in the 111th General Assembly,” NFIB State Director Jim Brown said. “He is committed to promoting a positive business environment in Tennessee and truly understands the critical role small business plays in a strong economy.”

“I am honored to receive this endorsement from Tennessee’s leading small business association,” said Representative Williams. “Our small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, and the fact that Tennessee was recently named one of the national leaders in small business friendliness drives home their importance as it relates to our overall economic success. I will continue to support initiatives that allow these organizations to thrive because this will lead to additional job creation and enable more of our families to achieve their version of the American Dream.”    

The NFIB Tennessee PAC’s endorsement is important to the Williams campaign. Small-business owners and their employees vote in high numbers and are known for actively recruiting friends, family members, and acquaintances to go to the polls. The PAC’s support is based on the candidates’ positions and records on small business issues. 

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.

Republican Leaders Continue Their Fight To Protect Tennessee’s Early Childhood Educators

July 31, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — During the 2018 legislative session, members of the House Republican Caucus fought to protect Tennessee’s early childhood educators and hold them harmless in the wake of unexpected issues related to this year’s evaluation portfolios.

In March, Republican lawmakers unanimously supported passage of House Bill 1686 — sponsored by State Representative Eddie Smith (R-Knoxville). This measure guarantees that all termination or compensation decisions involving early childhood educators should not be based solely on data generated by the growth portfolio models for the 2017-2018 school year.

According to the Tennessee Department of Education’s website, portfolio growth models produce authentic student growth measures unique to an individual teacher’s students. Through the use of video, audio, and still pictures of student work, teachers can capture student growth in real time.

Any Local Education Agency (LEA) that receives voluntary funding must utilize the approved growth portfolio model in their evaluation of early childhood educators. However, many educators who have utilized this technology to capture a student’s personal growth have run into unforeseen issues this year submitting data.

In the wake of Tennessee House Democrats politicizing this important issue, Republican leadership condemned their actions and also renewed their pledge Tuesday to support our state’s early childhood educators.

“It is unfortunate that the Department of Education has experienced another round of issues related to testing and evaluations,” said House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville). “However, House Republicans have taken the lead to safeguard our educators and our schools so that they are not unfairly penalized for circumstances beyond their control. I am grateful to Representative Smith for his efforts protecting our teachers and am proud to stand behind the men and women who shape the future leaders of our communities and our state.”

“Once again, the Democrats have turned an important issue like teacher evaluations into a political game,” said House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Thompson’s Station). “Instead of using our early childhood educators as political pawns, perhaps they should focus on finding real solutions to important issues like we did earlier this year with passage of House Bill 1686.

“Our early childhood educators play a critical role in the creation of our next generation of leaders, and they do not deserve to be unfairly penalized for circumstances beyond their control,” said Representative Smith. “That is why we passed House Bill 1686and why we are committed to taking additional steps— if necessary — to protect our early childhood educators. We must continue to attract and retain the best and brightest educators. This will guarantee that our state’s future remains bright.”

Smith — a leader of the House Education Administration & Planning Committee — is in Nashville today to meet with officials from the Department of Education and has offered to assist officials in their review of portfolios.

Representative Williams, Senator Bailey Announce $333,500 Grant For Putnam County Parks & Recreation

July 20, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville), State Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta), and local leaders today announced a $333,500 Local Parks & Recreation Fund grant has been awarded to Putnam County Parks and Recreation by the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC).

The monies will cover half of the cost of a new soccer complex in Cookeville and other park improvements, with the county matching the grant to fund the remaining portion of the estimated $667,000 project.

Construction includes removing a concrete slab and asphalt to build a new soccer field. The project also includes a second soccer/multi-use field which will require grading and excavation work, as well as a retaining wall and an access road to the facility from Washington Road.

“I appreciate TDEC’s investment in our community, and I know this important funding will have a tremendous impact on our citizens and our future leaders,” said Representative Williams. “This new field will increase local revenue and will also provide a safe environment where our children can exercise and participate in soccer activities. I am grateful to Director Parish, his staff, and Deputy Governor Jim Henry for supporting our local community, and I congratulate and thank our Director of Parks and Recreation, John Ross Albertson and our local officials for their efforts securing this funding.”

“I am grateful to TDEC for its support and investment in our local facility and our area youth,” said Senator Bailey. “It was an honor to work with Representative Williams, John Ross Albertson with Putnam County Parks and Recreation and all of our local leaders to obtain this grant. Once completed, this project will improve the health and well-being of our current residents and also benefit our future generations.”

“I am very excited to hear that we are receiving this grant to expand our sports complex,” said Putnam County Executive Randy Porter. “Soccer and lacrosse are some of the fastest growing sports in our county. This grant will allow us to expand our complex and create a championship facility that will bring state tournaments to our community in the future.  I am very thankful to TDEC and our local legislators for their support and investment in our region.”

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.

Paul Bailey serves as Chairman of the Senate Transportation & Safety Committee. He is also a member of the Senate State and Local Government Committee. Bailey lives in Sparta and represents Senate District 15, which includes Cumberland, Jackson, Overton, Bledsoe, Putnam and White Counties. He can be reached by email at Sen.Paul.Bailey@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-3978.

State Representative Ryan Williams, House Republicans Fight To Bring New Jobs To Tennessee

May 8, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) and House Republicans continue to fight for job growth and economic development across all regions of our state.

In recent weeks, Republican lawmakers have passed several key initiatives designed to help Tennessee maintain its economic momentum — including House Bill 2310 and House Bill 2112.

House Bill 2310 provides tax relief for Tennessee’s small businesses and corporations on state economic incentive grants, as well as monies they borrow for expansion efforts in our state. The measure keeps taxes low and promotes business-friendly environments to support ongoing efforts to attract high-quality jobs.

A recent report suggests that House Bill 2310 may save Tennessee businesses an estimated $1.2 billion in tax increases over the next 10 years and give them an edge over neighboring states as it relates to landing elite employers.

House Bill 2112 adds a recruitment tool through tax incentives related to the Franchise & Excise (F&E) Tax. By law, any industry that is chartered or organized in Tennessee and is doing business here must register and pay the tax based on factors like property, payroll, and sales. House Bill 2112 reduces these factors for financial asset management companies who desire to move to Tennessee by removing property and payroll from the equation and using only a company’s sales factor.

This initiative has already led to global investment firm AllianceBernstein’s recent announcement that it is making a $70 million investment in a new Nashville headquarters. The move is expected to create 1,050 new jobs for Middle Tennessee residents.

“House Republicans have fought to bring high-paying jobs to all regions of our state, and recent news reports out of West Tennessee, as well as AllianceBernstein’s announcement, shows that we are making remarkable progress accomplishing this goal,” said Representative Williams. “High profile companies are coming to our state because they know that we have created an environment where they will be able to thrive and be successful. Our citizens who have the top-notch education and training needed to fill these new jobs also play a vital role in the recruitment process.”

Since 2011, the efforts of Representative Williams and House Republicans have led to the creation of almost 400,000 net new private sector jobs. Statewide unemployment remains near the lowest rates ever recorded in Tennessee’s 222-year history.

For more information about how House Republicans are advancing Tennessee’s conservative values, please click here.

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.

State Representative Ryan Williams Receives High Praise From His Community

May 3, 2018

Excerpt from the Herald Citizen

Indeed Representative Williams deserves a resounding “shout-out” for the $3M boost he secured for Tennessee Tech’s College of Engineering.

This significant boost will not only be of great benefit to the College of Engineering but to the entire university, the region, the state, and far beyond. It will enhance the ability of admission officers to continue to attract top-tier students; enable the administration to continue to attract outstanding faculty and staff; and will enable Engineering Departments to upgrade equipment. In the face of higher education budget reductions in our nation, what a most significant accomplishment for our beloved institution!

Equally impressive is Representative Williams’ foresight and persistence. Perhaps most important is his relationship with Governor Haslam and his legislative colleagues.

Obviously, this extraordinary feat came about because of the respect, friendships, and bonds he established over the years.

I sense that a resounding “shout-out” for our very perceptive, capable, and effective State Representative is in order!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 -Leo McGee

House Republicans Lead Efforts To Better Protect Tennessee’s Students

May 3, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — Throughout the 2018 legislative session Republicans lawmakers — led by House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) and House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Thompson’s Station) — have fought to strengthen protections against Tennessee educators who do not have the best interests of their students in mind.

House Republicans supported passage of five different initiatives that strengthen penalties against these individuals and reduce future instances of misconduct from occurring. They are the direct result of a recent report and recommendations made by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) designed to better protect our students. The measures include:

  • House Bill 1997: Enhances background checks for current educators and potential candidates.
  • House Bill 2009: Strengthens reporting of misconduct involving Tennessee teachers.
  • House Bill 2099: Improves the sharing of information and data regarding disciplinary action taken against educators.
  • House Bill 2165: Clarifies boundaries between educators and their students by updating the Tennessee Teacher’s Code of Ethics.
  • House Bill 2433: Improves school district transparency related to settlements involving teacher misconduct.

“As a father of two teenage children, I am proud to support my colleagues as we work to better protect our students from educators who do not have their best interests in mind,” said Chairman Williams. “These measures will increase student safety in classrooms and schools across our state by holding our educators to higher standards of behavior.”

“Tennessee students and their parents place their unwavering trust in their teachers,” said Leader Casada. “We must do all we can to ensure that trust is never betrayed, and these initiatives are a step in the right direction. I know we will continue to strengthen our laws related to this important issue in the days ahead.”

Representative Williams, Tennessee House Republicans Pass Fiscally Conservative Budget

April 23, 2018

Fiscally Conservative Balanced Budget Passed By House Of Representatives

In the final few days of this year’s legislative session, State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) and the House of Representatives passed Tennessee’s annual budget with a near-unanimous vote. The bill’s passage was the culmination of months of tireless work crafting a fiscally responsible and balanced budget.

The $37.5 billion budget builds on previous legislative priorities by making strategic and thoughtful investments across state government. Because of the conservative fiscal choices lawmakers have made over the last several years, Tennessee currently ranks as the lowest taxed and lowest debt state in the entire nation.

When Republicans became the General Assembly’s majority party, Tennesseans asked for fiscal responsibility to be a priority looking forward. The 2018-2019 budget holds true to that principle while ensuring Tennesseans get the services they expect from state government.

As other states struggle with out-of-control spending and growing debt, Republicans in Tennessee have made responsible decisions that will continue to ensure the state is positioned to be a top leader in the country on jobs. Since Republicans took control of state government in 2011, over 400,000 new private sector jobs have been created in Tennessee. Additionally, the state has experienced its lowest unemployment rates in Tennessee’s 222-year history while students have become the fastest-improving in the nation across math, reading, and science.

As part of the budget debate, lawmakers also worked together in fixing problems with one of the state’s standardized tests — called TNReady — that have once again plagued the 2018 testing assessments of schools across Tennessee. The discussions followed three days of problems tied to TNReady’s online testing platform, the most significant of which occurred on Tuesday when the Department of Education reported its testing vendor had experienced a cyber-attack on its computer system. The day before and after this attack, many students were unable to log into or complete their tests. These tests are vitally important to students, teachers, and schools across Tennessee because they count for large portions of final student grades as well as final teacher evaluations and school rankings. The solution agreed upon by lawmakers to address these TNReady problems include giving local education agencies the option to not count TNReady test scores for the year for both students and teachers, allowing each of these groups to be held harmless for the widespread TNReady failures experienced by school systems statewide in 2018.

Specific highlights of the 2018-2019 budget include:

  • Opioids — The multi-faceted plan, called Tennessee Together, is comprised of legislation, $30 million in funds through the budget, and other executive actions to battle opioids through the three major components of prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. In 2016, there were over 1,600 opioid-related overdose deaths, one of the highest in the nation, and statistics show the numbers are only increasing. Each day in Tennessee, at least three people die from opioid-related overdoses — more than the daily number of traffic fatalities. Tennessee Together limits the supply and dosage of opioid prescriptions, with reasonable exception and an emphasis on new patients, as well as education for elementary and secondary schools through revisions to the state’s health education academic standards. The plan increases state funding to attack the illicit sale and trafficking of opioids through additional law enforcement and training and includes updates to the controlled substance schedules in order to better track, monitor, and penalize the use and unlawful distribution of dangerous and addictive drugs — including fentanyl. Finally, the plan provides every Tennessee state trooper with naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose prior to paramedic arrival.
  • School Safety — House lawmakers approved recommendations made by a working group organized to make suggestions for immediate enhancements to school safety across the state as part of this year’s budget, including a review and risk assessment of all school facilities to identify vulnerabilities, an increase in available resources to help secure school resource officers, and a statewide technology application for anonymous reporting of security threats. The 2018-2019 budget and school safety plan doubles the amount of recurring school safety grant funding for schools, which can be used for resource officers or other facility security measures. To address immediate needs while further state, local, and federal conversations around school security and budgeting take place, total state school safety grant funding will increase by more than 500 percent for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Education — The approved budget fully funds education in Tennessee with more than $200 million in new funding for K-12 education, $55 million for a teacher pay raises, $114 million in additional funding for higher education initiatives, $11 million for an energy-efficient schools program, and $9 million in nonrecurring funds to purchase equipment at the 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology to improve and modernize a broad variety of workforce development programs.
  • Juvenile Justice — The Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 includes $4.5 million in the 2018-2019 budget for targeted investments that support evidence-based programming and community resources — especially in the state’s rural and distressed counties. The measure overhauls the current system of juvenile justice for the first time in more than 20 years by tackling inefficiencies and variations in the system. The program empowers members of local law enforcement communities to intervene in instances involving minor offenses in order to better address a youth’s underlying issues. It also limits probation and incarceration for minor offenses while maintaining judicial discretion. Research suggests that taking youths out of their homes and schools for minor offenses increases the risk of recidivism, diverts resources from youth who pose a risk to the community, and unnecessarily uses taxpayer dollars. Often, studies show, community-based services are more effective and are a wiser use of resources.
  • Economic Development — The 2018-2019 budget includes investments in several key business-friendly programs, including $128 million in new funding for employment job growth, funding to bring the state’s Rainy Day Fund to $850 million — the highest amount in state history, $15 million in broadband accessibility grant dollars, and $10 million in nonrecurring funds for the Aeronautics Development Fund to create jobs and investment opportunities in Tennessee’s aviation industry.
  • Additional Investments — Other important funding contained in this year’s budget includes $3 million in funds for school districts to address the extra costs associated with purchasing buses equipped with seat belts, $10 million for repairs on the state’s important short-line railroads, $11.7 million to help individuals with developmental disabilities, an additional $136 million for TennCare — the state’s version of Medicaid, and funding for capital construction projects and maintenance across the state.

With the budget officially passed, lawmakers now turn their attention to debating the last few legislative items for the year while remaining focused on continuing work to make Tennessee an even better place to live, work, raise a family, and retire.

 

Lawmakers Approve Legislation Ending Mandatory Emissions Testing

Representative Williams and House lawmakers this week passed legislation to end mandatory emissions testing for vehicles in Tennessee.

As passed, House Bill 1782 applies to residents of Hamilton, Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson Counties where vehicle emission 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 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 resulted from conversations with Tennesseans who have voiced concerns about the burdensome costs of testing on families across the state. Once the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation released a report last August revealing that all 95 Tennessee counties now meet federal air quality health standards, it became clear that mandatory testing was no longer needed.

Supporters agree that vehicle emissions testing is a perfect example of a well-intentioned government program with harmful, unintended consequences for Tennessee’s middle class, noting that the passage of this legislation will help relieve this burdensome regulation for Tennessee citizens.

For more information about this initiative, click here.

 

Measure Enhancing Security In Tennessee Passes In House

This week, Representative Williams and Republican lawmakers supported passage of a measure to strengthen safety and security in communities across Tennessee.

House Bill 2312 fights back against sanctuary cities by prohibiting state and local government officials or employees from accepting consular identification cards and other similar documents which are not authorized by the federal government or the State of Tennessee for identification purposes.

The bill is a preemptive measure to ensure that abuses seen in other cities in the U.S. to issue government identification cards to illegal aliens are not implemented here.

Matricula consular cards were prohibited as a source of identification for receiving a driver’s license under a law adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2003 after widespread abuse was reported.

The measure is the latest in a series of Republican-led initiatives designed to strengthen safety and security in cities and towns across our state.