“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” – Proverbs 21:3
I had a great meeting with the 4-H clubs of district 62 this past week. Thank you to Alex Sparks of Moore County, Dan Owen of Lincoln County, and Emily Osterhaus of Bedford County for stopping by my office to chat with several of their 4-H members. They had a busy week with all their meetings and tours of the Capitol.
I stopped by Webb School on Thursday to present Abby Cheeseman with a proclamation that Senator Reeves and I passed through the House and Senate. Ms. Cheeseman earned the title of TSSAA Division II, Class A Girls’ Individual State Cross Country Champion. Congratulations Abby!
On Tuesday, Ted and Chris Cox from Bedford County and John Fitzsimmons from Lincoln County with Emergency Medical Services stopped by my office for a visit. Seeing them for TN Ambulance Service Association Day on the Hill was a pleasure.
We had several contentious bills in our committees this week – several even made it to the House Floor. I always want to vote on the right way on legislation, but often the “right thing” is not so clear. We study, meet, and ask questions to try to figure out the best way to move forward. Many times as lawmakers, we are forced to make difficult decisions that could and do affect people’s lives in good and bad ways. I pray a lot!
Our education committee has advanced a bill to enhance third-grade literacy. This bill would expand fourth-grade eligibility by allowing students who score in the “approaching” category on the TCAP test to still be promoted to the next grade level if they score in the 50th percentile or higher on their most recent benchmark assessment provided by the state and given as a test. Parents would also be able to receive additional assistance from school administrators when filing a waiver to appeal their child’s retention. The legislation also requires a tutor to be assigned for 1 year to all students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade who are retained beginning with the 2023-24 school year.
We passed HB1342 on the House Floor, which is a bill that protects Tennessee workers’ rights. The bill states that an employer who accepts economic incentives from the State must protect workers’ rights by allowing a private ballot in union elections.
HB340 expands what constitutes a zero-tolerance offense to include threatening mass violence on school property or at a school-related activity. A violation would result in a student being expelled from school for at least one calendar year. It would be up to the local director of schools or the head of a charter school to determine whether the expelled student must attend an alternative school or virtual classes.
HB1503 aims to protect Tennesseans from being unexpectedly billed for out-of-network healthcare services that were provided at in-network facilities. As amended, the comprehensive legislation would hold patients harmless in surprise billing situations as well as establish an independent dispute resolution process for insurers and providers. It would also implement greater oversight of network adequacy standards. The Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act would not apply to TennCare.
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.