I want to thank the bi-partisan Select Committee on Redistricting- especially Chairman Curtis Johnson and Attorney Doug Himes. We had several meetings over the fall and early this year and I feel like we have come up with a very good plan. After a very lengthy discussion, we passed the bills on the Floor to create our new legislative districts. This is always a very intense process and we’ll have to do it again in 10 years after the next census data is released.
I’m excited to have Moore County added to District 62. While I won’t officially represent Moore County unless I win re-election in November, I’m enjoying getting to meet everyone and learning more about my potential constituents. I met with Mayor Bonnie Lewis, Sheriff Tyler Hatfield, and Supervisor of Teaching & Learning Danny Mooney. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be of service.
The bill filing deadline is next week, so we are starting to discuss our important legislation for the year. We had a caucus meeting this week and talked about our priorities for the remainder of this Session. We need to make sure we pass good bills and not a bunch of junk. Our main goal is to keep our economy strong and provide a good environment for businesses and families to thrive.
Speaking of legislation, I am often asked to explain the process of “how a bill becomes a law”. Sometimes the idea comes to us from a lobbyist, but often it comes to us from constituents or local elected officials. When there is an issue affecting the community that needs to be addressed, I will do a little research to see if there are any existing laws about the issue. It is possible that an existing law could be amended to address the issue. If none is found, then a bill is drafted by the Office of Legal Services and sent to the House Clerk’s Office to be assigned to the appropriate committee. The law requires that I get co-sponsors for the bill from the Senate. If it’s something that would help Bedford, Lincoln, or now Moore County, I usually talk to Senator Shane Reeves first. If it’s a bill related to a specific industry, I approach senators who may be sympathetic to our issue and ask them to be a co-sponsor.
After the bill is passed out of the sub-committee, the bill is sent to the full committee for a hearing. As presenter of the bill, I may be asked questions about the bill for clarification about the issue before it is voted on. Often the different Departments or interested parties are present to help answer questions from the other members. Once the bill is passed by the full committee, the bill is sent to the Calendar and Rules Committee to be approved and placed on a calendar to be heard on the House Floor- unless it has a fiscal note. Bills that cause the state to spend money must pass through the Finance Committee before going to Calendar and Rules in order to be placed on the Floor. Once on the Floor, I present the bill for a final vote by all the House members. A majority vote of at least 50 passes the bill. When a bill is passed in the House, an identical bill must also be passed by the Senate before reaching the Governor’s desk for his signature. Once the Governor signs a bill, it is officially law.
I was in Nashville for committee meetings last week, but there was an exciting ground breaking in Shelbyville for the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm on Frank Martin Road near the Walmart Distribution Center. This $30 million investment will provide up to 70% of Vanderbilt University’s electrical power needs. In addition, they are able to use land that had previously been difficult to develop because of flooding concerns. Everyone is very excited for this new development. It’s projected to bring jobs and tax revenue to Bedford County.
Almost every week, I brag about the great things happening in the State of Tennessee. One of the most important is our conservative fiscal strategy. Together, we have:
- Lowest debt per capita of any state.
- 1 fiscally stable state in the nation. – U.S. News
- Lowest overall taxes of any state/no income tax
- No transportation debt.
- The lowest interest rate in the state’s recorded history.
- Third- lowest tax burden in the nation.
- 1 state for affordability. – Bankrate 2021
- Our cost of living is 10.3 percent below the national average. – Roofstock
- Third best state in the nation to retire. – Bankrate, 2021
- Tenth fasted-growing affordable state. – Roofstock
- Seventh in the 2021 Freedom Index of Most Free States.
- One of 15 states with a AAA bond rating. — S&P Global
- More than tripled our savings account (Rainy Day Fund); the fund is now at its highest level in state history — $1.55 billion.
First comes the snow, then comes the potholes. My family and I enjoyed the beautiful winter weather, but sometimes the aftermath following a winter storm isn’t as much fun. TDOT is working hard to make repairs on our state highways, but if you see a pothole in your area, you can report it for repair by going online to www.tn.gov/tdot/maintenance/potholes. There you can fill out the Maintenance Request form. You can also contact the Region Office at 615.350.4300 or email them at [email protected]. Be sure to note the exact location including the route, mile marker, and any nearby cross streets or interchanges. Of its $9.1 million allotted yearly budget for pothole patching, $3.3 million has been spent so far.
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 [email protected]. I’m honored to serve District 62 and appreciate your continued support.