“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller
I was honored and excited to read to the Thomas School 1st graders this past Monday. My granddaughter, Anna Marsh, invited me and it was great fun to meet with the students and read to them and tell them about the importance of reading throughout their lives.
David Crowell came up to Nashville on Monday and Tuesday to be confirmed as a new Commissioner of the Tennessee Public Utility Commission. He got to meet with a lot of the Legislators on the Commerce and Utility committees. It was a pleasure to introduce him to the committee and carry the legislation to get him appointed.
Melonie Schiede from Shelbyville came by representing her college – Union University. Ms. Schiede is working to change the law concerning pharmacy benefit managers (PMBs). Also, several veterinarians from around the state joined me in my office to educate me on their industry’s new rules and regulations. Heather Vaughan and Staci Corder, both from Fayetteville, are leading their association and doing a great job.
On Wednesday, the Duck River Electric Co-op Leadership came to talk and discuss several pieces of legislation they support this legislative session. It was a pleasure to hear from Chairman Barry Cooper and Executive Director Scott Spence and several board members.
The Tennessee County Services Association Day on the Hill was this past week and I got to meet with Bedford County Mayor, Chad Graham and Lincoln County Mayor, Bill Newman. I also got to meet Lincoln County Commissioners Terry Lynn Rogers and Jennie Roles-Water at the Tuesday morning TCSA’s breakfast meeting.
The Transportation Modernization Act passed out of the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday with a unanimous yes vote. In the legislation, there is a provision for $300 million in state aid road funding which goes to our counties. This is more money than the counties normally receive in ten years. There is a lot of money going into maintaining and building roads. Bedford county will receive $3.2 million, Lincoln county will receive $3.2 million, and Moore county will receive $2.0 million. This money will really help out with our local road projects.
The pace picked up this week on Capitol Hill with lawmakers advancing several bills through committees and on the House floor. The House Education Committee had a hearing on Wednesday to focus on the impact of the bipartisan Tennessee Literary Success Act and Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act that was passed by the General Assembly in 2021. The General Assembly has placed a heightened focus on foundational literacy skills in recent years because of the critical importance of third-grade reading proficiency. Before the pandemic, only a third of Tennessee fourth graders were able to read at grade level. So, if the 3rd graders are not reading on grade level, they are subject to being retained. There are 18 bills filed to make changes to this proposal.
The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee advanced legislation to strengthen the punishment for those who sell certain dangerous and illegal drugs like fentanyl in Tennessee. This bill proposes to increase the punishment from a Class C felony to a Class B felony. “The only way we can try to hopefully deter some of the fentanyl poisonings in our state is to make our laws much tougher.” – per sponsor Powers.
House Bill 31 by Clay Doggett would add rape to the list of crimes that a defendant is not eligible for probation under the Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act of 1989. Last year, the General Assembly expanded the Truth in Sentencing Act to censor certain violent offenders and make them serve 100 percent of their sentence imposed by a judge or jury.
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.