“It is the supreme art of a teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
We had another really busy week at the Legislature with 497 bills scheduled for hearings. Last week, 68% of the bills were passed or taken off notice throughout the full committees. I passed one bill on the House Floor on Monday, another one on Thursday, and six more out of committees. March is the busiest month for the legislature and it is going smoothly so far.
HB878, which protects the rights of marriage officials in Tennessee, passed the House Floor last week. This bill would prohibit a person from being required to solemnize a marriage in Tennessee.
Last Thursday, we confirmed Dwight Tarwater as an appointee to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Mr. Tarwater was Governor Haslam’s staff attorney for several years. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Mr. Tarwater since I have been coming to Nashville. I even got to host him at the Walking Horse National Celebration 3 or 4 years ago.Mr. Tarwater is an excellent candidate for the Tennessee Supreme Court and I know will do a great job!
Last Friday morning, I attended the Lincoln County Farm Bureau’s legislative breakfast and got to see many friends and farmers. I was able to tell them about all the happenings at the State Capitol. The Farm Bureau woman prepared a great country ham breakfast for a huge, hungry group.
Monday & Tuesday were the Municipal Service Associations days on the hill, and I got to visit with Shelbyville mayor, Randy Carroll, and city manager, Scott Collins. They got to experience one of our floor sessions and meet many of my legislative friends. Michael Whisenant from G-Squared in Fayetteville came up to Nashville with his son Drew on Monday. Michael and I had a productive meeting with the Department of Transportation (TDOT) where Michael got to tell them about what his company is capable of doing to help TDOT.
Clint Insell with the Cherokee Distillery stopped by with some of his co-workers to give me an update on the industry. I also ran into Phillip Noelle in the halls of Cordell Hull on Tuesday. Philips is our Bedford County 911 Director and also heads up the 911 board for all of Tennessee.
On Wednesday morning, I had the pleasure of visiting with the Youth Leadership Summit students hosted by the Tennessee Electric Co-op. Nickie Tucker of Fayetteville Public Utilities brought Quentin Pace of Fayetteville High School and Emma Bradford from Lincoln County High up for a Q&A session. I think they learned a lot of valuable information about how our state government operates.
One of Governor Lee’s major initiatives this year is to move our teachers’ minimum base salary to $50,000 by the 2026-2027 school year. The proposed minimum salary from the Department of Education is $40,000 for the current school year. This proposal would directly and positively impact 7,588 teachers in Tennessee. It would begin by moving our salary schedule to $42,000. this year. This goal will move us ahead of Mississippi and South Carolina and we would begin to catch up to competing states such as Florida and Alabama.
I’m honored to serve as your state representative and please call or email if I can ever help. 615-741-6824, [email protected]. You are also welcome to come up to the Capitol and stop by my office at 610 in the Cordell Hull building.