Rep. Clark Boyd’s Newsroom

Representative Clark Boyd Addresses TNReady Issues

April 19, 2018

In recent days, The TNReady assessment process has been plagued by yet another round of issues. Like many of you, I am extremely disappointed in the continuous flaws associated with current testing methods. 

You have expressed your concerns to me about TNReady, and I want you to know that I hear you loud and clear, and I share those very same concerns. This entire process has been extremely frustrating and upsetting for our parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, and most importantly — our students.

With these groups in mind, my colleagues and I in the House chamber have taken the lead to try and resolve this issue, rather than waiting for the Tennessee Department of Education. 

In recent days, we have participated in extensive conversations, a hearing to obtain additional information about this week’s failures, and have also begun the process of advancing legislation in order to quickly address this important issue.

We must have a testing system that is reliable and accurate. The consensus among all of us is that this year’s results should not be used in the evaluation of our students, teachers, or schools. I believe these groups should not be penalized for unforeseen circumstances like those that occurred this week.

Education is the cornerstone of the foundation of our state’s future leaders. As a member of our General Assembly, I have prioritized the academic goals and dreams of our students while also working to ensure that our teachers have all the tools they need in order to focus on what is most important — educating our students.


Finding a resolution to this problem remains a top priority. I look forward to working on this important issue that is impacting our entire community, and I will continue to advocate for you in the coming days as we work to ensure that similar problems are avoided in the future.

Measure Sponsored By Representative Boyd Overhauling State’s Welfare System Passes In House

April 13, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — This week Republican lawmakers passed an initiative sponsored by State Representative Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon) designed to overhaul Tennessee’s welfare system.

House Bill 1822 — which passed by an 88-7 vote tally — requires able-bodied adults who receive cash benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to meet reasonable work requirements in order to continue receiving benefits. Additionally, House Bill 1822 curbs instances of fraud, waste, and abuse within the current system by allowing Tennessee to partner with surrounding states in order to ensure there is no double dipping of welfare benefits.

The passage of House Bill 1822 is the latest in a series of Republican-led efforts — which includes House Bill 1551 also sponsored by Representative Boyd designed to implement work requirements on able-bodied citizens who receive assistance from the state.

Work requirements for entitlement programs encourage self-sufficiency and less dependence on government benefits. In 1996, Congress passed bipartisan welfare reform requiring able-bodied adults to work in order to receive benefits under both SNAP and TANF. The change resulted in millions of people nationwide moving off government assistance and back into the workforce.

In fact, for the first time in more than a decade, the number of Tennesseans receiving SNAP benefits, formerly called food stamps, dropped to less than 1 million this past January.

“This measure guarantees the program’s integrity and ensures that state resources are managed in the most efficient and effective way possible,” said Representative Boyd. “We want our citizens to have meaningful employment, and we also want to make sure that those who are receiving benefits are doing so in good faith and are not taking advantage of the system.”

House Bill 1822 now awaits Governor Haslam’s signature. For more information about this initiative, please click here.

Clark Boyd serves as a member of the House Insurance & Banking Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee and Subcommittee. Boyd lives in Lebanon and represents House District 46, which includes Cannon, and part of Wilson and Dekalb Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Clark.Boyd@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7086.

Representative Boyd’s Resolution Confirming Karen King’s Appointment To State Textbook Commission Passes

April 3, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — Monday evening, House members voted unanimously to support passage of  House Joint Resolution 716 sponsored by State Representative Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon).

The measure confirms Cannon County resident Karen King’s appointment to the State Textbook & Instructional Materials Quality Commission. It is comprised of one member from each of the state’s grand divisions — usually a school’s principal.

Members receive appointments to serve on the commission from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. King was selected to represent the Middle Tennessee Division; her term runs from January 18, 2018, through December 31, 2020.

King is serving in her tenth year as a principal in the Cannon County school system. In recent years, she has worked closely with the Tennessee Department of Education as a leadership coach. Additionally, King has served as the statewide chair of the Tennessee Principal Study Council between 2015-2017 and also led her school to Reward status in both achievement and growth. She was also one of nine regional finalists for the 2013 Tennessee Principal of the Year award.

“It is an honor for me to support Karen King’s efforts as she works to improve the quality of course materials used to educate our students,” said Representative Boyd. “Her knowledge, leadership, and experience will serve the commission well, and I know she will be a valuable resource for our entire state.”

For more information about House Joint Resolution 716, please click here.

Clark Boyd serves as a member of the House Insurance & Banking Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee and Subcommittee. Boyd lives in Lebanon and represents House District 46, which includes Cannon, and part of Wilson and Dekalb Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Clark.Boyd@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7086.

State Representative Clark Boyd Hosts Wilson County Constituents In House Chamber

April 2, 2018

NASHVILLE—Last week, State Representative Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon) hosted constituents from Wilson County in the House chamber.

Representative Boyd welcomed Senior Pastor John F. Hunn of Immanuel Baptist Church to serve as Pastor of the Day in the House chamber on Monday, March 26. Pastor Hunn is Boyd’s family pastor and is also a graduate of Cumberland University; he obtained his Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Since 2008, Pastor Hunn has dedicated himself to service and ministry in Lebanon.

“Pastor Hunn is not only my pastor, but he is also a friend, a prayer-warrior, and a trusted leader in our community,” said Representative Boyd. “It was an honor to host my good friend on the Tennessee House floor.”

Additionally, Representative Boyd welcomed the talented voices of the Wilson Central High School Chamber Choir. Under the direction of Lynn Morin, these young performers offered a stirring rendition of the National Anthem  prior to the House taking up its legislative business. The group has performed at several venues and events across our state and has also accepted an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City next year.

“These young artists have dedicated countless hours to their craft and it clearly showed. I thank them for blessing our legislative body with such a fantastic performance, and I speak for my colleagues when I say that we wish them all the best in the future.”

Clark Boyd serves as a member of the House Insurance & Banking Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee and Subcommittee. Boyd lives in Lebanon and represents House District 46, which includes Cannon, and part of Wilson and Dekalb Counties. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Clark.Boyd@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7086.

Representative Boyd, House Republicans Advance Welfare Reform

March 26, 2018

NASHVILLE—Recently, Tennessee House Republicans passed House Bill 1551 — sponsored by State Representative Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon) — which reinstates work requirements for certain able-bodied citizens receiving benefits through the state’s Medicaid program, TennCare.

House Bill 1551 instructs the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration to file a new waiver that allows Tennessee to implement reasonable work requirements for TennCare enrollees. Thanks to an important decision by the Trump Administration, the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued new guidelines for state Medicaid programs; this allows Tennessee to file a new Medicaid waiver with the federal government.

“In the Volunteer State, we believe in offering a hand up, not just a handout. These new requirements will open up the door for many TennCare recipients to find meaningful employment and begin working towards no longer needing government subsidized healthcare,” said Representative Boyd. “I am proud to sponsor this common-sense piece of legislation.”

Under the new TennCare waiver, certain able-bodied recipients would be able to fulfill their work requirements by working part-time, volunteering in their community, or by receiving job training that will give them the tools to find substantive employment.

For more information, please click here.

Clark Boyd serves as a member of the House Insurance & Banking Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee and Subcommittee. Boyd lives in Lebanon and represents House District 46, which includes Cannon, and part of Wilson and Dekalb Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Clark.Boyd@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7086.

State Representative Clark Boyd’s Capitol Hill Review: 03/16/18

March 16, 2018

House Passes Bill Outlawing TennCare Reimbursements To State’s Abortion Providers

Republican-led measure aimed at protecting sanctity of life awaits passage in Senate

Monday evening, House Republicans passed legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon) outlawing TennCare reimbursements to the state’s abortion providers.

House Bill 2251 aims at protecting the sanctity of life by eliminating taxpayer funding to facilities that perform elective abortions. It does not impact the availability of other critical health care services offered to Tennessee women.

While some believe taxpayer dollars have been banned from funding abortions in Tennessee, documents from the Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration show providers across the state have received almost $1 million in funding from 2012-2017. Supporters of House Bill 2251 hope to change this by ending taxpayer assistance to these facilities once and for all.

The legislation passed this week is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to protect Tennessee’s unborn.

During the 2017 legislative session, Republican lawmakers passed the Tennessee Infants Protection Act; it prohibits abortions after 24 weeks — except in medical emergency — and requires testing to determine the viability of an unborn child if a woman is at least 20 weeks pregnant. The Tennessee Infants Protection Act also holds physicians who perform late-term abortions accountable for their actions.

For more information about House Bill 2251, please click here.

 

Initiative Supporting Tennessee’s Caregivers Heads To Be Signed Into Law

This week, Republican lawmakers — including Representative Boyd — voted unanimously to pass legislation that supports Tennessee’s caregivers. Now that it has passed in the House, it will be sent to the desk of Governor Haslam to be signed into law.

House Bill 1498 assists caregivers by enabling them to take an occasional, much-needed break from their responsibilities caring for elderly or vulnerable family members by offering additional support services from community organizations.

These brief recesses allow caregivers to recharge and also provide opportunities for them to interact socially with others. Studies indicate that breaks are one of the main requests made by those seeking counseling related to the stresses that are often associated with caring for elderly or vulnerable family members.

Caregiving is a labor of love, but it can also be a tremendous challenge. The daily responsibilities ranging from providing transportation, cooking meals, helping with bathing and dress, or even managing a family member’s finances can become overwhelming. House Bill 1498 supports the state’s caregivers by helping them realize they are not alone as they strive to provide the best possible care for their loved ones.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons, 40 million Americans help parents, spouses, and other loved ones live independently at home each day. Here in Tennessee, there is a critical need. Our state’s elderly population is expected to climb from its current level of 974,000 to almost 1.4 million over the next 15 years.

House lawmakers appreciate the selfless actions of Tennessee caregivers and are committed to providing additional resources that support them in their daily work.

For more information about House Bill 1498, please click here.

Business Expansions On Steady Rise Across State

As another example of the upward swing in Tennessee’s economy, there have been numerous major business expansions recently announced by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and House Republicans. Over the last few months, dozens of companies, both from within the state and from other parts of the country, have decided to expand their operations in Tennessee. With these expansion projects, thousands of jobs will be created along with hundreds of millions of dollars invested into local communities.

Some of the most prominent of the recently announced expansions include:

  • FedEx Corporation, Shelby County — The Memphis hub project includes construction of a new facility and installation of state-of-the-art sort systems, construction of a bulk truck loading building, and a new area to improve package handling. The new $1 billion investment is in addition to current FedEx facility that already employs over 11,000 team members.
  • Green Applications, LLC, Johnson County — A leading supplier specializing in LED lighting products for commercial, residential, marine, and automotive applications, Green Applications will expand operations in Mountain City, investing $1 million and creating 50 new jobs over the next five years.
  • JDS Technologies, Inc., Scott County — The second of JDS’ manufacturing facilities in Tennessee, the new facility means an investment of $2.2 million and the creation of 110 new jobs.
  • Master Tool & Die, Inc., Sullivan County — Founded in Kingsport in 1988, Master Tool & Die provides custom machining, welding, fabrication, and other services for businesses throughout the southeast. Their new expansion will yield $557,500 in local investment and 25 new jobs to the area.
  • DENSO, McMinn County — Expansion of the automotive supplier’s new facility in Athens means 320 new jobs and community investment of $190 million.
  • Asurion, LLC, Davidson County — Nashville-based Asurion is a global technology company that provides support solutions and protection for smartphones, tablets, consumer electronics, and other devices. The company operates in dozens of countries and has 17,000 employees worldwide — Nashville’s new expansion means an additional 400 jobs for Tennessee.

For more information about these expansions and to view other industry announcements from across the state, visit the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development website at www.tn.gov/ecd.

 

Tennessee Continues Trend Of Record Low Unemployment, Record Low Tax Burden In 2018

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development this week announced that unemployment across Tennessee has remained at a record low since the start of 2018. In addition, Wallet Hub — a nonpartisan organization focused on the financial industry — has officially ranked Tennessee as the lowest taxed state in the entire nation.

The unemployment rate in January of 2018 was 1.2 percent lower than the rate for the same month one year ago and has remained 3.3 percent since September 2017. Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate has been below 4 percent since May 2017.

As multiple studies have noted, this long stretch of low unemployment is a testament to the economic climate in the state, allowing employers the ability to continue to tap into Tennessee’s talented workforce to create high-quality, high-paying jobs. The wholesale trade sector in Tennessee saw the biggest gain in jobs during January. Health care and social assistance ranked second in job growth during the month.

More than 3.1 million Tennesseans are currently working in Tennessee, a number that sets a state record.

While many politicians in Washington and around the country continue policies of reckless spending and partisan bickering, lawmakers in Tennessee have proudly passed initiatives that exercise fiscal restraint, save money for the future, and fully-fund the state’s educational priorities.

Because of this stark contrast with the rest of the nation, Tennessee has rapidly climbed the ladder as one of the overall best-managed states in the country. Coupled with the fact that Tennessee is one of only a handful of states with a higher bond rating than that of the federal government — a major indicator that showcases our state’s stable fiscal environment — it is easy to see why so many are looking to Tennessee for economic guidance.

Other recent awards for the state include:

  • Being named the 3rd best state in the nation for business by Business Facilities Magazine;
  • Placing 2nd place in Site Selection magazine’s annual Prosperity Cup, which ranks states based on overall tax and business climate;
  • Ranking 2nd in the country for transportation/road quality and 2nd in cost of living by CNBC;
  • And being named the #1 state in the nation for retirement by Bankrate.com.

These accolades are in addition to the other accomplishments Republican lawmakers have achieved since 2011, including cutting more than $800 million in taxes over the last 7 years and education advancements that have led to the fastest improving student test scores in the entire country.

There is no doubt that in Tennessee, things are moving in the right direction. Through a strong partnership of the General Assembly’s Republican majority and the work of Governor Bill Haslam, Tennessee has been successful in attracting job-creators, inspiring entrepreneurs, and putting people back to work. While Washington and many states around the country are struggling to come together, Tennessee is truly doing things the right way.

Clark Boyd serves as a member of the House Insurance & Banking Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee and Subcommittee. Boyd lives in Lebanon and represents House District 46, which includes Cannon, and part of Wilson and Dekalb Counties. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Clark.Boyd@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7086. 

State Representatives Susan Lynn & Clark Boyd, Department of Education Announce Critical Growth Funds

February 22, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mount Juliet), State Representative Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon), and the Tennessee Department of Education today announced that Wilson County Schools and Lebanon Special School District have both received district growth funding to support education initiatives in Wilson County.

Specifically, Wilson County Schools received $746,000 and Lebanon Special School District received $176,500.

This funding is a direct result of a Republican-led effort to not only fully fund education in Tennessee but also provide an additional $18 million towards school district growth.

These significant investments in many Tennessee school districts will allow growing schools to maintain the necessary resources so that they can continue offering quality education for our state’s young leaders.

“We have made education a priority of the House Finance Committee; we’ve increased funding for K-12 education by over $1.2 billion over the last 7 years while cutting taxes for hardworking Tennesseans.  Wilson County has great schools, and these much needed additional funds help our fast growing districts,” said Representative Lynn.

“Providing a quality education for this next generation of Tennesseans is a top priority for me. I am honored and proud to work with my Republican colleagues as we continue that fight today and every day,” said Representative Boyd.

This funding has been so well received by parents, education officials, and teachers that Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam added another $18 million in growth funds to his proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

Susan Lynn is the Chairman of the House Consumer & Human Resources Subcommittee. Lynn is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources, House Finance Ways & Means and House Ethics Committee, as well as the Joint Fiscal Review Committee. She lives in Mount Juliet and represents House District 57, which includes part of Wilson County. Lynn can be reached by email at Rep.Susan.Lynn@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7462.

Clark Boyd serves as a member of the House Insurance & Banking Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee and Subcommittee. Boyd lives in Lebanon and represents House District 46, which includes Cannon, and part of Wilson and Dekalb Counties. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Clark.Boyd@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7086.

State Representatives Clark Boyd & Terri Lynn Weaver, Department of Education Announce Critical Growth Funds

February 21, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon), State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster), and the Tennessee Department of Education today announced that DeKalb County Schools have received district growth funding to support education initiatives in the county.

Specifically, DeKalb County Schools received $120,500.

This funding is a direct result of a Republican-led effort by Tennessee General Assembly members to not only fully fund education in Tennessee but also provide $18 million to cover school district growth as part of Governor Bill Haslam’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

These significant investments will allow many of our state’s school districts with soaring populations to maintain proper student to teacher ratios so that they can continue offering quality education for our next generation of leaders.

“Providing a quality education for this next generation of Tennesseans is a top priority for me,” said Representative Boyd. “I am honored and proud to work with my Republican colleagues as we continue that fight today and every day.”

“As our community grows, so should our schools,” said Representative Weaver. “I’m delighted to be a part of such a critical effort to provide the resources that our educators need to invest in our students.”

The inclusion of growth funding as part of the budget has been so well received by parents, education officials, and teachers that the governor has added an additional $18 million in growth funding as part of his proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

Clark Boyd serves as a member of the House Insurance & Banking Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee and Subcommittee. Boyd lives in Lebanon and represents House District 46, which includes Cannon, and part of Wilson and Dekalb Counties. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Clark.Boyd@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7086.

Terri Lynn Weaver serves as Chairwoman of the House Transportation Subcommittee. She is also a member of the House Transportation Committee, as well as the House Education Administration & Planning Committee. Weaver lives in Lancaster and represents House District 40, which includes Smith, Trousdale, and part of DeKalb and Sumner Counties. She can be reached by email at: Rep.Terri.Lynn.Weaver@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-2192.

State Representative Clark Boyd’s Capitol Hill Review: 02/16/17

February 16, 2018

House Republicans Continue Work On Key Budget Initiatives

This week in Nashville, State Representative Clark Boyd and his House Republican colleagues continued their work on several key budget initiatives, including moving forward with bills on the education, juvenile justice, and opioid fronts.

Recently, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to give all Tennesseans access to college free of tuition and fees through the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs. To assist in ensuring those incoming students complete college and enter the workforce with degrees or certificates in a timely manner, House Republicans are moving forward this year with the Complete to Compete initiative. Once passed by the legislature, this new plan will restructure financial aid requirements for Promise and HOPE scholarships to keep students on track for on-time completion, and requires community colleges to implement structured, ready-made schedules for all incoming full-time students based on their academic program.

Additionally, House members completed initial steps this week in passing the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 — an initiative created based upon recommendations made by members of House Speaker Beth Harwell’s Joint Ad-Hoc Blue Ribbon Task Force on Juvenile Justice. 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 uses taxpayer dollars unnecessarily because community-based services are often more effective and cost-efficient. The Juvenile Justice Reform Act will tackle these problems and help strengthen families and communities while promoting public safety and ensuring a responsible and conservative use of state resources.

In addition to the Complete to Compete initiative and Juvenile Justice Reform Act, House members continue discussions on the Tennessee Together program, a multi-faceted plan comprised of legislation, $30 million in funds through Governor Haslam’s proposed budget, and other executive actions to battle opioids through the three major components of prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. Similar to the Juvenile Justice Act, the Tennessee Together plan incorporates recommendations made by Speaker Beth Harwell’s Ad Hoc Task Force on Opioid Abuse.

Other notable budget highlights investments for the year include:

  • More than $200 million in new state funding for K-12 education, including additional funds for teacher compensation;
  • Nearly $100 million for higher education initiatives;
  • $128 million for job growth investments, including programs that target rural communities;
  • And investments to bring the state’s Rainy Day Fund to $850 million — the highest ever amount in state history.

Republicans Advance Welfare Reform Initiatives

This year, Representative Boyd and Republican lawmakers are leading efforts to reform Tennessee’s welfare system, including reinstituting work requirements for those receiving benefits from the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and TennCare.

By reinstituting work requirements for SNAP, approximately 58,000 able-bodied adults who are not currently meeting the work requirement but still receive assistance will now be able to capitalize on an overabundance of jobs in order to secure meaningful employment. This will help move them along a pathway from dependency to independence and self-sufficiency.

The restoration of these stipulations will not impact residents who currently depend on these key benefits in 16 Tennessee counties still designated as distressed by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. They will also not apply to Tennessee’s senior citizens or disabled residents.

Similarly, House Bill 1551 directs the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration to file a waiver instituting reasonable work requirements for TennCare enrollees. The measure comes as the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued new guidelines for states, allowing Tennessee to implement work requirements on citizens who receive TennCare benefits.

As leaders of the state, House Republicans want Tennessee residents to have meaningful employment so they can take care of their families and make contributions that enable communities to continue their economic development and prosperity. These new initiatives accomplish these goals while also ensuring state resources are managed in the most efficient and effective way possible.

 

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Ending Mandatory Emissions Testing

Representative Boyd and House lawmakers this week introduced legislation that would end mandatory emissions testing for vehicles in Tennessee.

Once passed, House Bill 1782 will apply 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 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 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.

House Bill 1782 will first be heard by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee.

For more information about this initiative, click here.

 

Legislators, Department of Education Announce Critical Growth Funds

This week in Nashville, legislators partnered with the Tennessee Department of Education to announce critical funds that will go to support education initiatives across Tennessee.

The funding is a result of efforts by the General Assembly last year to not only fully fund education in the state, but also provide $18 million to cover school district growth as part of Governor Haslam’s 2017 budget.

These significant investments will allow many of the state’s school districts with growing populations to maintain proper student to teacher ratios so that they can continue offering quality education for the next generation of leaders.

Funding advocates agree that when the legislature is able to supply teachers and students with the resources they need in order to achieve their educational goals and dreams, everyone in the state benefits.

Because of the popularity of the 2017 growth funds, an additional $18 million in funding has been proposed as part of the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget.

State Representative Clark Boyd’s Capitol Hill Review: 02/09/18

February 9, 2018

 

Boyd Signs On To Sponsor Key Republican-led Initiatives

This week, State Representative Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon) signed on as a sponsor of several critical Republican-led initiatives. They strengthen the state’s TennCare and SNAP programs by instituting work requirements for these programs.

House Bill 1551 directs the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration to file a waiver instituting reasonable work requirements for TennCare enrollees. The measure comes as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued new guidelines for states, allowing them to implement work requirements on citizens who receive these benefits.

Additionally, Representative Boyd signed on as a sponsor of House Bill 1822. This measure institutes reasonable work requirements for those who receive assistance through the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Representative Boyd is also sponsoring passage of five additional bills during his first legislative session in the House chamber.

Representative Boyd, House Republicans Cut Taxes On Automobiles For Tennessee’s Disabled Military Heroes

This week, Representative Boyd and House Republicans unanimously passed legislation aimed at reducing taxes on automobiles for Tennessee’s disabled veterans.

House Bill 15 — sponsored by Boyd — exempts a new or used vehicle that is sold, given, or donated to a disabled veteran or service member from the sales and use tax.

It is the latest in a series of Republican-led initiatives designed to support Tennessee veterans and military families. During the 2017 legislative session, House Republicans fought to reduce the amount of property tax owed by veterans, elderly, and disabled homeowners.

Additionally, Republican lawmakers supported several key pieces of legislation last year that helped veterans pursue their educational dreams without fear of financial struggle — including the Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsman (STRONG) Act. The measure provides last dollar-scholarships to our state’s service members who meet eligibility requirements. House Bill 433 — also a Republican-led initiative — unanimously passed last year. It assists veterans by determining how their military training can count as college credit at Tennessee’s colleges and universities.

For more information about how House Republicans are advancing Tennessee’s conservative values and fighting for our military servicemen and women, please visit: https://tnhousegop.org/.

Legislation To Improve Quality Of Care For Tennesseans Battling Addiction Gains Support

Legislation designed to improve the quality of care for Tennesseans who are battling addiction gained support this week in Nashville.

As part of the ongoing efforts of House Republicans to address Tennessee’s opioid and drug crisis, House Bill 1929 — known as the Stopping Addiction & Fostering Excellence (SAFE) Act — ensures that patients who utilize recovery houses receive high-quality care that empowers them to end the cycle of addiction.

The SAFE Act enables providers at these facilities to focus their efforts on implementing more customized and targeted treatment plans for patients. Additionally, House Bill 1929 streamlines operational guidelines while strengthening partnerships between the facility and its local municipality.

Tennessee’s opioid epidemic claimed the lives of more than 1,600 Tennesseans in 2016 alone. Every day in our state, at least three people die from opioid-related overdoses. This is more than Tennessee’s daily number of traffic fatalities.

While the federal government has only just commenced conversation about the opioid epidemic, Tennessee leads the way in fighting the situation here at home. In addition to House Bill 1929, House leaders are also moving forward with other major pieces of opioid legislation to combat the state’s opioid problem head-on, including the Tennessee Together plan.

Tennessee Together is a multi-faceted plan comprised of legislation, $30 million in funds through Governor Haslam’s proposed 2018-2019 budget, and other executive actions to battle opioids through the three major components of prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. The plan incorporates recommendations made by Speaker Beth Harwell’s Ad Hoc Task Force on Opioid Abuse.

 

House Republicans Back Legislation Providing Tennesseans A Fresh Start                     Through Education

House Republicans this week introduced a measure aimed at giving Tennesseans a fresh start in life by utilizing the state’s available education opportunities.

House Bill 1780 permits an individual who has a Class E felony conviction to apply for a records expunction immediately after he or she earns a certificate or degree under the Tennessee Reconnect program.

Passed in 2017, the Tennessee Reconnect program offers all adults without a degree access to community college tuition-free and at absolutely no cost to taxpayers.

Currently, citizens who have paid their fines, court costs, and restitution are eligible to apply for a Class E felony records expunction after a five year waiting period. House Bill 1780 keeps current stipulations for Class E offenders in place but reduces the required wait time to apply for records expunction to as little as 12-18 months in some instances.

This reduction provides a fresh start for residents, decreases recidivism, and minimizes the use of taxpayer funds to cover incarceration costs.

According to the Tennessee Department of Correction, instances of recidivism have decreased by more than three percent statewide from 2010-2016. However, the state’s recent opioid crisis is leading to a larger number of drug-related arrests, as well as repeat offenders.

A survey conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice estimates that the state spent $723,680,760 on prison expenditures in 2015 alone.

While House Republicans have worked to reduce recidivism in Tennessee, citizens still have to bear the high expenses of incarceration. This new initiative not only saves taxpayer money but also encourages those who desire a fresh start to take advantage of the state’s many education opportunities so they can capitalize on a greater number of high-quality jobs currently available.