“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder
I got my second COVID vaccine last Friday and I hope most of you are working on getting vaccinated to help us all beat this virus. I also had a fun UT experience last Friday. I went to Fayetteville to see the new mural on public display on a strategic site with good exposure. It said “Everywhere you look, UT” and there is a wonderful mural of the word “Fayetteville” that has many historic and current pictures of things around the City of Fayetteville. I talked to some community leaders of Bedford County and Shelbyville about also doing something special in Shelbyville.
I got to visit with Bill Rich of Vanderbilt-Bedford and Darrell Blaylock of Lincoln Health Center last week. I learned about more of the challenges our local hospitals are facing. We are lucky to have these 2 talented professionals heading our 2 local hospitals.
We had a great night on Monday. Last Session, we passed a joint resolution with the Senate to honor Motlow State Community College’s 50th anniversary. We couldn’t present it to them at the Capitol last year due to COVID restrictions, but now that they finally opened the Floor back up for guests- we got them to the front of the line. Dr. Michael Torrence, Brenda Cannon, and about a dozen other faculty, board, and staff members joined us on the House Floor with the other State Representatives and Senators that have a Motlow Campus in their districts. We heard a little bit about the exciting things going on at Motlow and the Speaker joined us for photos. It was great to see everyone back together again.
On Tuesday of this week, I had four special guests come up from Shelbyville for a visit- Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham, County Commissioner Greg Vick, the mayor’s assistant- Anna Frazier, and our friend David Trisdale. I gave them a tour of the Capitol and then they got to see a House Committee in action. My assistant, Laura Bond, took Anna to the Legislative Library. They met with Eddie Weeks and he gave them information on how bills are drafted- as well as a very interesting history of how things have evolved over the last 300 years regarding legislation in TN. I took all of them to meet Speaker Cameron Sexton and Senator Shane Reeves came by for a lengthy visit to discuss happenings in the Senate.
While he was here, David Trisdale presented me with a flag flown over Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The flag was flown for 9 minutes and 11 seconds in honor of the 911 victims. I’m very proud of my flag and will take good care of it. I’ve watched David grow up over the years and he’s an outstanding young man. David has always been a hard worker and continues to serve our county and country well.
We had a few of the Governor’s initiative bills on the floor Thursday. Recent findings show that more than half of Tennessee’s prisoners released from custody are back in jail within three years. This is one of the factors that has contributed to the increase in the state’s custody population growth by more than 50 percent since 2009. House Bill 784 is one of these bills that aims to expand Tennessee’s successful Recovery Court System, which includes Veterans Courts, Mental Health Courts and Drug Courts for those charged with misdemeanor assaults. These courts have an excellent track record for individuals who require specialized and highly accountable treatment. This bill gives judges the discretion to provide treatment for individuals who need it when the facts of their case indicate that a recovery court is the best correction option available. It is often called the Alternatives to Incarceration Bill.
Legislation that seeks to protect the anonymity of citizens related to firearm ownership is moving through the House committee system. We’ve all become used to the privacy protections guaranteed by the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) over the last few years. House Bill 1171, also known as the Firearm Information Privacy Protection Act (FIPPA), seeks to do the same. If passed, it will protect Tennesseans who are exercising their right to own and purchase firearms. This legislation will create a Class A misdemeanor for any public personnel who intentionally discloses information about an owner of a firearm with the intent to compile a federal firearms registry or confiscation of firearms. The bill will act as a buffer between Tennessee and the federal government’s unconstitutional and invasive attempts to prohibit citizens from protecting one’s life, liberty and family. We stand committed to protecting the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Tennesseans. This bill will be on the House Floor next week.
Governor Bill Lee recently announced that TN was about to celebrate a big birthday. “Untold Tennessee” will be the theme for a yearlong celebration for our 225 years of statehood. There will be events and activities in all 95 counties. In addition, citizens are asked to submit stories that showcase their area of the state. For more information and updates, visit www.Tennessee225.com.
Please let me know if I can ever be of service to you or your family. You can reach my office by phone at 615-741-6824 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be winding down in Nashville soon, but my office is here for you year-round. I’m honored to serve District 62 and appreciate your continued support.