Rep. Pat Marsh’s Newsroom

Speaker Pro Tem Pat Marsh’s Letter to the District

April 16, 2021

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” – Thomas Jefferson

The Governor’s supplemental budget came out Tuesday.  I had been anxiously awaiting the document to see what else would be funded this year. As with most things around here, I was surprised to see some things listed and disappointed that others didn’t make the final cut.  We are still working on the House budget appropriations, so I have my fingers crossed that I can get money for a few needed projects in our District.

I only have 2 remaining bills to present this session.  One is in its last committee and then the other will be on the Floor Thursday.  I shouldn’t have any problems with them.  The one on the Floor deals with the state fair relocation from Nashville to Wilson County.  Most all of the partners involved with this are happy and excited about the move.  The Governor has put $5 million state dollars in the budget to help Wilson County get ready for the change. The other one seeks to let our county trustees hire collection agents to collect past due funds.

I was happy to learn this week that the Secretary of State has awarded over $9,000 to the Shelbyville/Bedford County Library to fund broadband hardware, software, and training.  This money came from the TN Broadband Accessibility Act and will help our library a lot.

The Secretary of State also held a big ribbon cutting to officially open up the new State Library and Archives building this week. Many of our former governors were in attendance and it was a great event.  The new building is 3 stories tall, 165,000 square feet, and had been in the works since 2005.  It has a 40% increase in storage over the old location- which was the oldest archives building that had not been expanded or renovated in the nation.  I was excited to have a front row seat and was highly impressed by the tour given by Secretary Hargett.  They even have a robotic automated storage and retrieval system that holds 75% of the current collection and can get any requested item to you in less than 2 minutes.

It’s been fairly quiet around here as far as visitors go.  We are still under a lot of Covid protocol, so there haven’t been any groups or Days on the Hill.  However, we did have a visit from radio host, Candace Owens.  She recently moved to Tennessee and we presented her with a House Joint Resolution.  We also had a visit from former Governor and Senator Lamar Alexander where he addressed us during a Joint Convention with the Senate.

On Wednesday, Speaker Cameron Sexton handed the gavel to me and I presided over Session that morning.  It’s still new to me, but our staff is very knowledgeable and well prepared, so they kept me from embarrassing myself too badly.  I’m honored to serve in my new role and I appreciate all the support of Speaker Sexton and his leadership.

I’ve been proud to support legislation that aims to make sure Covid-19 vaccines remain voluntary during committee this week. Not only will House Bill 575 ensure that status of a person’s vaccination cannot be required by any state entities in Tennessee, but it also prohibits a state or local government from mandating a private business to require “vaccine passports” or proof of a Covid-19 vaccine as a condition for entering their premises or utilizing their services.  It also removes authority from county boards of health to enforce and adopt rules and regulations regarding Covid-19.  They will still serve as an advisory body to the elected county mayor, but the actual decisions will be left up to the mayor.  While I was proud to get my vaccination and would encourage others to do so, I also firmly believe that it should be a personal choice.

On Wednesday, we heard and passed House Bill 1513.  The bill created the Textbook Transparency Act, which makes textbooks that are adopted by the state of Tennessee and used by public schools available online. Currently, there is only a 90-day timeframe to view this information.  This bill requires publishers to make these materials available for as long as they are actively being used in the classroom.

The House of Representatives recently passed a resolution this week urging Tennesseans to register as organ and tissue donors. House Joint Resolution 103 encourages all residents of Tennessee to step forward and register to become an organ and tissue donor so that the lives of others can be saved. 110,000 Americans are currently on the organ donation waiting list, while only 41% of Tennesseans are registered to become donors.  For more information on how to register to become an organ and tissue donor, visit Be The Gift – Donor Registration Campaign (bethegifttoday.com).

We are predicted to have less than a month left of Session and I’m looking forward to the finish line.  It’s an honor to serve in Nashville, but I also enjoy being back home in District 62.  If I can ever be of service, please email me at rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov or give me a call at 615-741-6824.  My assistant, Laura, is in the office year round and can help me find a solution to your concern.

Speaker Pro Tem Pat Marsh’s Letter to the District

April 9, 2021

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

The first week of April in the TN House of Representatives was a very busy time with 388 bills going through the committee system.  Six of the subcommittees closed last week with another 14 set to close this week.  The House leadership is predicting that we should be able to adjourn by the 1st or 2nd week of May.

I was proud to host Shane Hooper, the new industrial recruiter of Shelbyville/Bedford County, here on Tuesday.  He got to meet some of my legislative friends, sit in on two or three committee meetings, and watch Senator Reeves in action in a committee.  I had a meeting with Speaker Sexton that afternoon and Shane got to attend the meeting with the Speaker.  Shane is doing a fine job and we are all hopeful that we will have some new industries come our way soon! Sen. Reeves and I also had the honor of meeting Debbie Schroeder from Fayetteville this week.  She came up to the Capitol to meet us and was able to watch a little bit of Session.

I received some interesting facts last week about Tourism in Tennessee.  Money spent on travel in TN in 2019 was $23.3 billion with $1.92 billion in state and local tax revenues. This was almost 6% more than 2018.  In House District 62, Bedford and Lincoln Counties, we had $56.3 million spent on traveling and visiting our attractions.  This resulted in almost $2 million in local tax receipts.  Tourism is a huge business in TN and it’s only getting bigger.

We sent House Bill 786 to the Governor this week for his signature.  This bill was referred to as the Tennessee Constitutional Carry Bill.  It will permit the vast majority of all law-abiding Tennesseans and visitors to carry a handgun for the defense of themselves and others without first obtaining government permission.  In order to qualify, a person must be at least 21 years old (or 18 if they have been honorably discharged from the military), lawfully possess a handgun (must pass background check by TBI), and be lawfully present in the place they are carrying.  If someone has been convicted of misdemeanor stalking, has two or more DUIs in the last 10 years (or more than one in five years), or has been treated or diagnosed with certain mental disorders, they do not qualify to carry under this legislation.  In addition, it increases the penalties for theft of firearms and modifies existing law to ensure that criminals who misuse firearms serve more of their sentences before they are paroled.

In addition, we passed legislation that addresses Tennessee’s teacher shortage. House Bill 533 simplifies the process for teachers who are moving to Tennessee to receive an appropriate teaching license, helping qualified teachers get into classrooms quicker.  The bill allows out-of-state educators who possess the equivalent of a Tennessee professional teacher’s license in their current state to receive a Tennessee professional-level license without being required to take an assessment or receive certain evaluation scores.

We also have a bill to make changes to how Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) operate in Tennessee. House Bill 1398 ensures patients can use the pharmacies they choose and trust rather than being forced by their insurance companies to use specialty pharmacies that often don’t meet patients’ needs. This is particularly important for patients with chronic, complex or rare diseases. It also helps support our small, local pharmacies over big box stores.

Speaking of small businesses, we were proud to send the “Business Fairness Act” to the governor’s desk for his signature.  House Bill 855 provides businesses with the assurance that they cannot be forced to close while larger competitors stay open.  This bill gives businesses the choice to follow any set of guidelines, state or local, that allows them to operate at the capacity that works best for them and their customers and employees. This is great for our counties that don’t have the same issues that Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville face.

I want everybody in Shelbyville and Bedford County to know that our Driver’s License Center will be opening in a new location soon!  The old center was very small and out of room.  The virus actually forced its closure.  Bedford County Mayor Graham has made available space for the Dept. of Safety and the city, county, and state have all partnered up to pay for the building remodeling project.  We should have a larger, nicer building with plenty of parking soon. The location is in the back of the old doctors’ office building behind the old hospital.

If you are ever in Nashville, please feel free to stop by our new office in the Cordell Hull Building, Suite 610.  It’s an honor to serve District 62 and I appreciate being able to visit with my constituents. You can also reach me by phone at 615-741-6824 or rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov.

Speaker Pro Tem Pat Marsh’s Letter to the District

March 26, 2021

“Discipline helps you finish a job, and finishing is what separates excellent work from average work.” –Pat Summitt

Legislators are hard at work at the State Capitol this week. The committee system and the House floor sessions are packed with many pieces of legislation.  The State House has 482 bills in our committees this week.  Many of these bills will die in committee or will not be funded and therefore not pass into law.

One bill that might be of interest to you is the Tennessee Information Protection Act.  It requires large technology companies to fully disclose to consumers what information is being collected about them through their online activities.  Online platforms will be required to disclose up-front exactly what personal information will be collected and how they intend to use it. Tennesseans will have the ability to “opt-out” of the selling of their personal information to third parties without discrimination.

Another item of interest is that David Crockett will finally be honored with a statue on Capitol grounds.  A commission was created in 2012 to find a home for the statue and we have finally found a place.  It will have a prime spot on a pedestal above the tunnel entrance to the Capitol and can be easily seen as people drive down one of the main roads in downtown Nashville.

Many committee chairmen have already announced their last calendars.  When this happens, they will likely be closing in the next 2 weeks.  That means that the end of Session is just around the corner.  Over the last 4 or 5 years, the Legislative Session has ended around the 1st of May.

We are starting to get out to more meetings and events back in our district.  The Lincoln County Farm Bureau had a legislative update breakfast last week and I got to visit with several friends in Fayetteville.  We had a great talk and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast cooked by the Farm Bureau membership.

Also last week, Senator Shane Reeves and I had dinner with Shelbyville Mayor Wallace Cartwright, new city manager- Josh Ray, and the members of the entire council.  We had some great discussion about the city’s needs and about things going on at the Capitol.

Senator Reeves and I also had a productive Zoom meeting with Matt Ledbetter and many members of the Bedford County Farm Bureau.  The Farm Bureau of TN really helps me out on Ag related bills and the legislators listen carefully when the Farm Bureau speaks.

I ran into our great District Attorney, Rob Carter, in the hall outside of one of the committee rooms.  He was up here making sure that we don’t mess up some of the laws he’s trying to enforce.

I went with several legislators to the Governor’s Prayer Service at the Opry House at 7 am on Wednesday and witnessed a wonderful hour of beautiful music, inspirational speeches, and much needed prayers. Former Governor and Senator Lamar Alexander even treated us to a rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the piano from the Opry stage.  Governor Bill Lee’s short talk and prayer was inspirational and helped me start off the day in a great way!

My wife, Mary, and I went last week to get our first vaccine for the virus and already feel much safer.  I want to encourage all of you to go get the shot and let’s end this terrible situation.

If I can ever be of service, please let me know. You can reach my office in the Cordell Hull Building by phone at 615-741-6824 or email rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov. I’m honored to serve District 62 and look forward to seeing everyone again soon as we start to open back up.

Speaker Pro Tem Pat Marsh’s Letter to the District

February 12, 2021

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.” -Abraham Lincoln

We started back in Session full-time on February 8th at 5 pm and at 6 pm we heard the 2021 State of the State address by Governor Lee.  The Governor did a fantastic job in his presentation and I was very excited to hear some of his proposals and budget ideas for the 21-22 fiscal year.

The Governor started off talking about the state’s response to the virus, the tornado that hit Nashville last March, and the downtown explosion on Christmas Day.  He said that we all mourn the more than 10,000 Tennesseans we have lost in these deadly events this year. I would like to mention a few of the main pointers that I took from his speech that will affect our district.

  • US News came out with their report saying Tennessee was #1 in fiscal responsibility in the nation
  • The Governor plans to visit all 95 counties this year for our state’s 225th birthday
  • $120 million for K-12 teacher raises
  • Over $16 million for local jail reimbursements
  • Add 20 additional TBI agents and spend $2.3 million for body cameras
  • Allocating $200 million for broadband internet expansion
  • Added $5.5 million to the Ag Enhancement program- making it $27.5 million in total (There have been over 16,000 projects with spending of $85 million over the last 15 years)
  • Adding $200 million to local government recovery
  • And putting another $50 million into our state’s rainy day fund- bringing it up to $1.5 billion with over $500 million in the TennCare rainy day fund

We started our committee assignments this week and I have 15 bills that I will be presenting in the coming weeks.  My main standing committees that I serve on are: Health, Transportation, State, and Calendar and Rules.  I also serve on the Health and State subcommittees.  I really don’t know much about Health and I am excited to be able to hear proposals, debates, and presentations on health issues and policies in our state.

I was proud this week to sign on to and vote for HJR0065.  This is a resolution urging Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to ensure the U.S. Supreme Court remains composed of nine members.  We need to preserve the independence of the judicial branch and prevent new and future administrations from being able to change it to fit their political agenda. Currently, the number of Supreme Court Justices is set by Congress and this would make the number permanently set at 9.  It has passed the House and is on its way to the Senate.  Hopefully, the folks in D.C. will take notice and take action.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to have lunch with our new Industrial Recruiter for Shelbyville, Shane Hooper.  I asked the assistant commissioner of ECD, Sammie Arnold, to come to town and meet and visit with Shane.  We were fortunate to have Josh Ray (Shelbyville’s new city manager) and Keith Weaver of Uncle Nearest Distillery also in attendance.  The lunch meeting was very productive and interesting.

I’ve moved my office at the Cordell Hull Building this year and I’m now in Suite 610.  I have more room to hold meetings with committee members, constituents, and lobbyists.  When we have the building open back up to the general public, I hope you will have a chance to come to the Legislature and visit. In the meantime, please reach out to me at 615-741-6824 or rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov if I can be of assistance to you or your family.

Pat Marsh’s Letter to the District

January 15, 2021

The challenge is to do good things without harming the good things we already have in place.

-Unknown

We started back in Legislative Session at 12:00 noon on January 12th.  We always start Session on the second Tuesday of January every year.  Each start is full of excitement and this year was no different with lots of new people and lots of extra security.

This year starts the 112th General Assembly, which will last for 2 years.  On Tuesday, we all got sworn in by Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Holly Kirby.  Then we held the vote to elect our new Speaker of the House- Cameron Sexton.  Speaker Sexton is a good friend of mine and came into the House a year after I did.  Next, I was honored to be elected Speaker Pro Tempore.  My role will be to help the Speaker in his daily duties and also to relieve him from time to time at the House podium when we are in Session.  I am looking forward to being on our leadership team and helping our state become even better and healthier.

On Wednesday, we met in Session and started the 1st and 2nd readings of some of the proposed bills before adjourning until that afternoon. Then we headed over to the War Memorial Auditorium at 10 am to meet with all of the Senators for a joint Session to elect our constitutional officers. Jason Mumpower was elected Comptroller of the Treasury, Tre Hargett was reelected as Secretary of State, and David Lillard was reappointed as Treasurer.  All three of these men have been around for several years and are very qualified to lead our state.  They help contribute to our positive business environment, manage our bonds and revenues, and make sure our boards, citizens, cities, and counties are being run in an efficient and legal manner.

We continued our Floor Session that afternoon and the committee assignments were announced for the next 2 years.  I was placed on 7 regular committees and a few special ones.  I am on the Health Committee, the Health Subcommittee, the Transportation Committee, the State Government Committee and one of its Subcommittees- Public Services, the Government Operations Committee, and the Calendar and Rules Committee. I am also chairman of the House Rules Committee, a member of the Ethics Committee, and chairman of the Ethics Subcommittee.  It’s going to be a very busy year!

On Thursday, I was asked by Speaker Sexton to run the House Floor Session at 1 pm.  I was very apprehensive and nervous about standing at the podium and looking over 98 of my peers.  However, it seemed to go well and I didn’t make any big mistakes.  The next time will be much easier and certainly less stressful!

We had several committee meetings on Thursday afternoon to discuss the TennCare Block Grant Resolution and then took it up on the House Floor Friday morning.  There was a lengthy, heated discussion that lasted for about 2.5 hours on if we should or shouldn’t go forward with the proposal.  It finally passed- 70 to 22.  For well over a year, I heard testimony from both sides and a lot of information from TennCare directly.  I think it was the right thing for our state to do.  If you would like more information on the Medicaid Shared Savings Plan that we passed, please email my office at rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov and we will be glad to send you additional information.

Sen. Reeves and Rep. Marsh announce $1.5 million infrastructure grants for Bedford Co.

September 15, 2020

State Sen. Shane Reeves (R-Murfreesboro) and State Rep. Pat Marsh (R-Shelbyville) today announced  three Community Development Block (CDBG) Grants have been awarded in Bedford County with a combined total of more than $1.52 million.  The infrastructure grants include $398,400 to Bedford County for water system improvements; $500,000 to Shelbyville for sewer improvements and $625,000 to Wartrace for water line extensions.

“Clean water is vital to both the health of our citizens and the economic well being of Bedford County,” said Sen. Reeves.  “The improvements these grants will make to our infrastructure are significant and reflect a greater investment in our communities.  We are very pleased that these funds have been awarded and congratulate our local officials for their successful application.  We were pleased to support it.”

Rep. Marsh said, “These grants will help us complete projects that will lay the groundwork for future economic development opportunities, additional jobs and ultimately enhance the quality of life for all of our residents. I thank our local leaders for their partnership in securing these funds.”

The lawmakers made the announcement in conjunction with an announcement by Gov. Bill Lee and the Department of Economic and Community Development regarding the award of CDBG grants statewide.  The funds were allocated under a procedure authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly.  ECD administers the grant program based on priorities set at the local level where community needs are best known.

 

Chairman Pat Marsh’s Letter to the District

June 19, 2020

“Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.” Steven Wright

The Tennessee House of Representatives returned to the House Chamber last week following a 10 week recess caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Floor Sessions resumed inside the Capitol with certain safety measures in place to allow only a very few visitors to the gallery. We have heard many legislative proposals that deal with policy and many that have been focused on budget shortfalls caused by COVID-19. We have passed some very good pieces of legislation that should help make our state better.

I was honored to be chosen by Governor Lee and his team to be on the Stimulus Group that worked on and presented the plan for $200 million for the TN Small Business Relief Program.  There will be awards to about 28,000 TN businesses with more than 73% earning annual gross sales of $500,000 or less. Our small businesses are the backbone of our local and state economies and we are committed to fighting for them as we all rally and recover in the near future.

We adjourned sine die at 3:15 a.m. on Friday after we passed a balanced budget for this current year and also for the 2020-2021 years.  It was an emotional week and evening.  Tensions were high. For a bill to pass, the House and Senate must agree on the same version.  There were several points of disagreement, and therefore many conference committees between the House and Senate.  We originally thought and planned on a $500 million surplus in our current year, but now after the virus and the business closures, we learned that it will be a $500 million shortfall.  So, we had to go back into our budget and cut enough spending to balance the budget. Very hard chore! And next year’s budget, which we had already passed when the virus hit, looks to be a billion dollars lower than first predicted.  More changes and even more cuts!

We passed HB 2134 this past week which is known as the Teacher Discipline Act.  It states that a Local Department of Education must create a process that would allow for a teacher to remove a student who causes repeated disruptions in the classroom and send that student to the principal’s office for disciplining action- including the possibility of permanent removal.  Unfortunately, the Senate didn’t get this bill passed this Session.

We have really been through some tough times and I have been really upset and sad. We had the state and its finances in such good shape and now in 2 or 3 months we have seen it all fall apart.  So many great businesses are still not open and those that are open are struggling to survive.  It’s going to take a while, but we will rebound and be a better state because of it.

Due to the virus and many safety measures, the Senate had decided to only take up a few bills that have budget or COVID-19 issues.  Therefore, many bills that we are working on in the House and presenting to committees were not passed in the Senate.  We have done a lot of preparation and the staff has put in many hours of work, but the bills will be dead, since the Senate didn’t pass them.  We will have to start over from scratch next year. I have 15 bills this Session and 10-12 will pass.

I had a meeting with Comptroller Justin Wilson and Assistant Comptroller Jason Mumpower last week and they presented me with 2 nice proclamations.  Lincoln and Bedford Counties both had perfect audits by the state auditors.  That is an amazing accomplishment and congratulations to both county mayors and their finance managers- Cole Bradford and Robert Daniel!

One bill that I’m really proud of that Senator Reeves and I just passed is the legislation that prohibits cities, counties, and municipalities from banning livestock shows and exhibitions in our state.  These entities can still regulate and make sure zoning and other rules are followed, but they just can’t ban them. This will keep our shows viable for many years and protected from being shut down by extreme radical groups.

Now that we have adjourned, we are done with the 111th Legislative Session and the 112th will start back up the 2nd Tuesday of January next year.  I am running again for the House seat, District 62, and am very fortunate that I don’t have an opponent this time. Thanks for allowing me to serve you and be your Representative!

 

CHAIRMAN PAT MARSH’S LETTER TO THE DISTRICT

March 20, 2020

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” – Helen Keller

 

We are in a “hurry up and pass the budget” mini session and expect to take a break at the end of the week until June 1st.  All regular calendars in committees and on the Floor have been suspended so we can focus on our constitutional requirement to pass a budget.  They’ve also put many safety measures in place around the Capitol and the Cordell Hull Building.  Our building is closed to everyone except elected members, staff, and the media. Half the chairs have been removed from the committee rooms to spread us out and members are even encouraged to sit in and vote from the House Gallery to prevent us from being too closely together on the House Floor.  Since this is normally the busiest time of the year for us, it’s eerie to see the empty halls and the missing lobbyists, constituents, and liaisons.

 

The Governor is supposed to have us a barebones budget this week for us to pass and make sure we don’t shut down if the unexpected happens and we can’t get a quorum back before July 1st.  When we come back, we’ll look at what they consider “appropriations amendments” that deal with funds for bills that aren’t included in the budget, local government projects, and government agencies.

 

I still have 8-10 bills that I need to finish up this year.  None of them made the short list related to the budget or other time sensitive subjects such as elections or education, so I hope we get to them when we come back from this break.  They did pass out our local bills, so that is good news.

 

We are working very hard with the state departments to see if we can get aid out to those most negatively affected by the virus.  Many meetings and planning sessions are going on all over the place to see what our TN government can do to help our citizens. We are getting daily press releases about their efforts and I wanted to share a few of them with you.

 

One example is TANF Emergency Benefits during COVID – 19.  The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) will be issuing Emergency Pandemic TANF which is an emergency cash assistance program for those impacted by COVID-19. To qualify, a family must:

  • Have children under 18 in the household
  • Be at or below the 85th percentile of the State Median Income. (Below approximately $52,000 a year for a family of 3)
  • Be able to show they are impacted by COVID-19. (Examples: job loss due to employer closure for COVID-19)

The emergency benefits will be available for up to 2 months. The benefit is $500 for a family of 1-2 people, $750 for a family of 3-4, and $1000 for a family of 5+.  TDHS encourages individuals who wish to apply to go ahead and begin gathering birth certificates, tax returns, school attendance records, or other documentation, to verify that there are children in the household. This program is NOT currently operational but the Department is anticipating the program details, including qualifications and requirements, will be available within the week. They want to ask Tennesseans in need to apply online when the application becomes available at https://www.tn.gov/humanservices.html in order to encourage social distancing.

 

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development is also doing their best to help and they have new resources available for employers and employees impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. The Department updated its www.tn.gov/workforce website to put information and resources in a convenient place for workers and employers to access. Employees have the opportunity to learn more about the unemployment benefits process and can also find answers to many of the questions they may have as they deal with the impact COVID-19 is having on their source of income.

 

Individuals out of work due to COVID-19 can file for Tennessee unemployment insurance benefits by visiting www.Jobs4TN.gov. Several different eligibility factors will determine the approval of a worker’s claim. The COVID-19 emergency has created a tremendous amount of new unemployment claims and the Department is processing those claims as quickly as possible.

 

Gov. Bill Lee announced on Wednesday that he has submitted a request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance to the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Once the declaration is made, all Tennessee small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have suffered economic injury as a result of COVID-19 will be eligible to apply for disaster loan assistance of up to $2 million per applicant. The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable or other bills that can’t be paid due to the disaster’s impact. Additional information about Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance, along with instructions on where to apply, will be announced once the declaration has been received. Small businesses are encouraged to learn more about resources offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration at www.sba.gov.

 

The Department of Safety is also trying to make things easier and limit in person visits.  At this time,most State Driver Services Centers are still open. In addition, starting March 20th, the Department is waiving the requirement that you have to appear in person if you need a new photograph taken through October 1, 2021. This will allow some of you to renew online and not have to go to the Driver Service Center. In addition, all Driver Licenses, Learner Permits, Commercial Driver Licenses, Photo Identification Licenses (ID), and Handgun Carry Permits that would normally expire between March 12, 2020, and May 19, 2020, will be extended for six months from the expiration date.  The Department will issue a letter of extension that you will need to keep with you during this extension.

 

My prayers are with you and your families.  Please be smart and stay away from the danger and don’t panic.  We will get through this.  Our state and our country are in good shape and our citizens are mostly loving, giving, and caring.  We will all work together to take care of each other.  We are called the Volunteer State for a reason!  My assistant and I will be working remotely for a few weeks, but you can still leave a message at 615-741-6824 or by email at rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov and we will get back to you.

Chairman Pat Marsh’s Letter To The District

March 13, 2020

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

This has been a super busy week at the Legislature with many visitors and long committee meetings.  We had 710 bills in the committees this week, compared to 461 last week.  I had 4 bills and a resolution on the House Floor Monday night.  I passed the Antique Slot Machine bill in the House that night, so now we wait on the Senate to pass it out and the Governor to sign it so it can become legal to own these antique collectibles.

The big event of this week was the arrival of all the folks from Lincoln County for Hamburger Day on the Hill.  We had Fayetteville City Mayor Michael Whisenant and Lincoln County Mayor Bill Newman on hand to help us greet all of the Legislators, staff, and special guests to their much anticipated and appreciated lunch.  It’s always one of the favorite days of the year and you could smell the grills all around the Capitol.  Governor Bill Lee even came down to shake the hands of the Livestock Association members who were busy flipping burgers. Despite his hectic schedule, he was happy to see them and tried to stay as long as he could.  Rujena Dotson, Carolyn Denton, and the Fayetteville Lincoln County Chamber always put a lot of hard work into this event every year and it shows.  People are still talking about how much they loved their slaw burgers and keep asking me about next year!

That same Wednesday, we hosted approximately 55 members of the Leadership Bedford Class of 2020.  Senator Reeves and I welcomed them and then we had breakfast on the 2nd Floor of the Cordell Hull Building. We had several speakers lined up to tell them about various topics that are of interest here at the State Capitol.  After the morning talks, they met the Governor for a photo on the Capitol steps and went to Woolworth’s for lunch.  Carol Garrette worked diligently to help us put this together and we appreciate her efforts. It’s always good to see so many young people interested in their government and the adults that support them.

Speaking of leadership groups, we had a visit from Leadership Lincoln on Thursday.  Class Leader Jim Malone brought his group up early from Fayetteville that morning.  He’s a pro, so he always does a great job of showing them what they need to see around here.  Representative Rick Tillis, Senator Shane Reeves, and I gave them an update about what’s going on and got some feedback on a few controversial bills that have been introduced this year. Secretary of State Tre Hargett talked to them about elections and then a few of the lobbyists held a roundtable discussion and Q&A.  The group headed up to the House Gallery where I was able to introduce them from the Floor.  They got to see me present a local bill for neighboring Shelbyville and witness a heated discussion on the “Bible Bill”.  I always hear great things about everyone that comes into contact with this group and my office looks forward to their visit every year.

I greatly enjoyed the breakfast meeting with the Lincoln County Farm Bureau last Saturday.  We had a large crowd that enjoyed the country ham breakfast with all the fixings cooked by the men and ladies of the Farm Bureau.  That night, I also got to visit Bell Buckle Mayor Ronnie Lokey at the Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Chili Supper.  They had a chili cooking contest and I ate some delicious chili.

As you heard, we had a terrible tornado that hit several Middle Tennessee cities and counties.  I can see a lot of the Nashville destruction from my Cordell Hull office.  We heard in Davidson County alone, over 16,000 private structures and over 500 businesses were affected by this storm. I got a call from my friend, Jerry Harris, who works closely with the Walking Horse industry to tell me about Rowdy Ranch Catering and Tony Edwards of Shelbyville.  Sponsored by The Walking Horse Trainers Association, Rowdy Ranch traveled to Putnam County early last week.  They fed over 1,400 people a buffet lunch to help out victims of the terrible tornados.

Lynn Hulan and Hannah Byrd Little each came by for a visit during Tennessee Library Legislative Day.  They were up here opposing legislation that would add a layer of censorship to their boards.  HB 2721 would add a parental library review board to address what they consider age inappropriate sexual material.  This bill is currently stuck in committee on the House side, but it looks like the discussion will continue next week.

I also met with the Central TN Home Builders and they gave me some interesting facts about homeownership in TN:

  • There are 2,654,532 total households in the state
  • $334,961 is the median new home price- which requires a yearly income of $88,808 to qualify for a loan
  • State, local, and federal mandates account for 25% of the cost of new construction- that’s near $85,000
  • For every $1,000 increase to the cost of a new home, 3,545 potential home buyers are priced out of the market.

While we need to make sure buildings are safe and going to last, these numbers clearly show how the overregulation of government can have a huge negative effect on our families and businesses.

With everyone uncertain about what’s going to be happening over the next few weeks with the Coronavirus threat, we are going to be going full steam ahead next week. Since we are constitutionally required to pass the budget, I know that will become a major focus so we can get back home and stay in our districts.  If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to call my office at 615-741-6824 or send me an email at rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov.

 

 

 

Chairman Pat Marsh’s Letter To The District

March 6, 2020

“Hope itself is like a star – not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.” -Charles Haddon Spurgeon

We have 461 bills set to be heard in our committees this week. I have 10 bills that I’m presenting and am hopeful that they will all pass and move on the House Floor in the next couple of weeks. One of these is HB 1904 that I’ve been discussing the past few weeks. This antique slot machine bill passed out of the Calendar and Rules Committee and was placed on the regular calendar for Monday, March 9th. Support continues to be strong and it’s still moving in the Senate.

The big news this week is the large tornado that hit parts of Downtown Nashville, Wilson, and Putnam Counties. The state offices in these areas closed Tuesday and our morning committee work was postponed that day. Our prayers are with everyone touched by this tragedy.

I was honored to get to read to two classes at Thomas Magnet School on Monday morning. This week is Read Across America and it honors Dr. Seuss and all the great books he authored. I got to read to my grandson Walker’s second grade class and teacher Mrs. Mandy Simon and also to my granddaughter Maddie’s class and teacher Mrs. Becky Chapman.

On Thursday, we passed HB 618- more commonly known as the “Slow Poke Law” on the House Floor. Under this law, people who aren’t using the far left lane to pass other vehicles can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50. The bill has already passed the Senate, so it’s on the way to the Governor for his signature.

I stood with Governor Lee last week as he announced Tennessee’s historic constitutional carry legislation. HB 2817 extends the right to carry a handgun to all law-abiding citizens with or without a permit through constitutional carry who are 21 and older, except in current restricted areas. Additionally, the proposal sends a strong message to violent criminals, felons, and those who illegally obtain a firearm through a series of increased penalties for firearm-related crimes. These include:

● Increasing the penalty for theft of a firearm to a felony;
● Providing a sentencing enhancement for theft of a firearm in a car;
● Increasing the minimum sentence for theft of a firearm from 30 days to 180 days;
● Increasing the sentences for unlawful possession of a firearm by violent felons and felony drug offenders, possession of a handgun by a felon, and unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or allowing a juvenile to possess a handgun.

This will make Tennessee the 16th state in the nation to enact constitutional carry. We have a lot of work left to do on this bill to make sure there are guidelines to keep our citizens and law enforcement safe, but I’m excited to see our Second Amendment rights upheld while the penalties for the crooks are increased.

Christy and Rick Womack came up Monday night to witness our Legislative Session and to see how our ideas become law. We had a good visit and thankfully everyone was safe that night during the storm.

Most of our appointments were canceled on Tuesday due to the tornado damage, but things began to ramp back up on Wednesday. Melanie Hamilton and Jane Tucker came by with Moms Demand Action to talk about the proposed constitutional carry legislation. Also, I saw Tony Patterson from the Lincoln County Recovery Court at their meet and greet that morning. He invited me to come back in April to this year’s graduation. Great program!

The TN Health Care Association had a legislative reception that evening and I got to visit with Cheryl Pendergrass of Lincoln County. She is the director of the Lynchburg Nursing Facility. I also enjoyed a visit with John Lavender of Lincoln-Donalson Care Center of Fayetteville. I want to thank you both for all the difficult but needed and appreciated work you do. Did you know that in TN we have almost 37,000 people employed in nursing homes with almost 27,000 patients? The average annual cost per patient is $79,442. Almost 90% of those patients have their care paid for by government programs.

We are looking forward to an exciting time next week. Not only will we have Leadership Bedford and Leadership Lincoln here, but Wednesday is Hamburger Day on the Hill. Carolyn Denton with the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Chamber was here on Wednesday passing out tickets. All the legislators, staff, and even the Governor look forward to this event every year. They show up hungry because the Lincoln County Livestock Association grills the burgers right outside their windows all morning.

As always, feel free to stop by my office at the Cordell Hull Building Suite 676 or give me a call if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach me at (615) 741-6824 or by email at rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov. You can also find information on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RepPatMarsh/.