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State Rep. John Holsclaw’s Capitol Review

Republican Leaders Honor Fallen Officer Spencer Bristol

This week in Nashville, House Republican leaders honored the life and legacy of Hendersonville Master Patrol Officer Spencer Bristol by introducing the Spencer Bristol Act.

Officer Bristol was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 30, 2019 pursuing a fleeing suspect following a crash and high-speed car chase that began in Hendersonville and ended on Interstate 65 in Goodlettsville.

The Spencer Bristol Act holds criminals accountable by significantly increasing penalties for evading arrest when a law enforcement officer is injured or dies during a pursuit involving a fleeing suspect.

Currently, evading arrest is a Class D felony punishable by not less than two years and not more than 12 years in prison. This initiative enhances that penalty to a Class A offense, punishable by 15-60 years in prison.

Additionally, the Spencer Bristol Act increases penalties for causing serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer during a pursuit from a Class D felony to a Class C felony.

Republican lawmakers are proud to support this initiative honoring this fallen hero. We proudly stand with the brave men and women who protect and serve our communities, and we will continue to fight for them throughout the 2020 legislative session.

Republican Lawmakers Join Governor for Pro-Life Announcement

Members of the House Republican Caucus joined Gov. Bill Lee Thursday for a significant pro-life announcement designed to enhance Tennessee’s status as a national leader on this important issue.

During the announcement, the Governor unveiled components of a comprehensive proposal that includes a prohibition of an abortion when a fetal heartbeat exists.

Lee’s proposal would also build upon successes in other states while incorporating innovative approaches to enhance existing law, including requiring a mother to undergo an ultrasound prior to an abortion. Additionally, this plan would prohibit an abortion when a physician is aware that the decision to seek a procedure is motivated by the race, sex, health, or disability diagnoses of the unborn child.

Tennessee is a strong pro-life state, and conservative leaders remain committed to protecting our most innocent and serving as a powerful voice for our unborn.

 House Republicans Pursue Tax Cut Legislation This Year

House Republicans this year will prioritize legislation that provides additional tax cuts for hardworking Tennesseans.

These cuts include legislation designed to create a Food Tax Holiday for 2020 across the state through House Bill 1697. This initiative would exempt the retail sale of food and food ingredients from a 4 percent sales tax for the months of June and July.  However, local taxes – up to 2.75 percent – would still be collected by cities and counties.

Because most Tennessee students are out of school in June and July, this will help families better provide food for their children during summer months, especially those who rely on free and reduced lunches throughout the school year.

Republicans are also considering reductions in the corporate tax, which currently sits at 6.5 percent — one of the highest rates in the entire southeast region. This burdensome tax penalizes businesses by taxing their net earnings. By reducing it, additional revenue should allow our businesses to reinvest and potentially expand operations, which could create new jobs.

Legislation to advance recent progress made eliminating the professional privilege tax is also being considered for the 2020 legislative session. Republican leaders last year slashed $22 million worth of this unnecessary tax on accountants, architects, athletic agents, audiologists, chiropractors, dentists, engineers, landscape architects, optometrists, pharmacists, podiatrists, psychologists, real estate brokers, speech pathologists, and veterinarians.

Tennessee is the lowest tax and lowest debt state in the entire country. By continuing to eliminate burdensome regulations, cutting red-tape, and slashing taxes, Tennessee will remain a national economic leader.

State Capitol Lit To Raise Awareness To Slavery And Human Trafficking

The lighting at the State Capitol this week was lit in blue on Wednesday in order to raise awareness about slavery and human trafficking in Tennessee. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), human trafficking is the second-fastest growing criminal industry in the state.

In recent years, legislators have enhanced laws related to these specific crimes through a series of bills in efforts to combat this issue. This push comes after a 2011 (TBI) report showed 73 of the state’s 95 counties have experienced cases related to this heinous criminal activity. Because of our recent efforts strengthening human trafficking laws, Tennessee continues to lead the nation and has earned the top distinction from Shared Hope International for its human trafficking laws.

Unemployment Rates Remain Steady To Close Out 2019

Newly release data from the Department of Labor & Workforce Development indicates unemployment rates remained near record low levels for the month of December.

For the second consecutive month, the state recorded a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.3 percent. This figure is 0.1 percentage point away from the state’s all-time low unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, which was recorded in February of 2019.

Employers continue to create new jobs across Tennessee. Non-farm employment increased by 2,000 positions in December, and the manufacturing trade/transportation/utilities and leisure/hospitality sectors also reported the greatest number of new hires.

Nationally, unemployment also remains steady. The national seasonally adjusted rate for December 2019 is 3.5 percent — the same as November.

John Holsclaw serves as Chairman of the House Employee Affairs Subcommittee. He is also a member of the House Consumer and Human Resource Committee, Commerce Committee, Business Subcommittee, and Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Holsclaw lives in Elizabethton and represents House District 4, which includes Unicoi and part of Carter Counties. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by calling (615) 741-7450.

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