Rep. Travis: Legislative Review

Thursday, January 24, 2013 - by Rep. Ron Travis
Legislature to reconvene Monday for State of the State

General Assembly will resume normal schedule; committees to meet for first time

The 108th General Assembly will reconvene in a joint session on Monday evening to hear the governor’s State of the State, capping a two week recess. Lawmakers will hear what will top the governor’s legislative agenda for the year, and receive details about the state budget.  

Beginning Tuesday, House committees will begin meeting for the first time. The House Finance, Ways and Means Committee will receive a budget overview from the Commissioner of Finance and Administration, and an update from the Department of Revenue. The two briefings kick off several months of budget hearings in the committee as lawmakers examine the state’s budget and begin to craft one for the year.

Corporate Leader Joins Haslam Higher Education Initiative

Governor Bill Haslam announced this week that Randy Boyd, Chairman of Knoxville-based Radio Systems Corporation, has joined his administration as a higher education special advisor. Boyd will spearhead the Haslam Administration's effort of increasing the overall quality of higher education in Tennessee. 

Boyd’s background in education includes the establishment of TnAchieves, a non-profit organization that he helped found in 2009. Since that time, TnAchieves has helped send over 3,200 low-income and first generation high school students to college free of charge.

Boyd will work directly with a group appointed by Governor Haslam to further the Administration’s agenda of improving educational standards in Tennessee. The group includes Governor Haslam, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), the Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), and the President of the University of Tennessee. Boyd will work full-time, but has chosen to forfeit a state salary and work on a volunteer-only basis.

Department of Safety Expands Self-Service Kiosks

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced this week that it has successfully placed thirty self-service driver's license renewal kiosks in various local government offices and driver service centers across the state.

The new kiosks allow individuals to update and renew their driver's license without waiting in line, a move officials hope will aid in reducing overall wait times at driver service centers statewide. The Department hopes to expand to at least forty kiosks over the coming months.

Department of Environment & Conservation Launches Interactive State Park Map Program

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has officially launched its new Geographic Information System (GIS) website that provides users with interactive maps of all 54 state parks and 82 natural areas across Tennessee.

The website, www.tnstateparks.com/findapark, allows enthusiasts to examine detailed satellite and topographical maps of their favorite hiking trails and natural areas. 

By providing more in-depth information about park and natural area amenities and accommodations, TDEC officials hope this new mapping program will help individuals better plan and prepare for camping trips, family outings, and general state park visits.  

Aeronautics Grants Announced For Eight Tennessee Airports

The Aeronautics Division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation announced grants to help eight airports across the state on various projects of need, including expansions, security upgrades, and general maintenance projects.

The grants, which total $446,436 in all, have been awarded to the following airports:

• Elizabethton Municipal Airport (Carter County)
• Arnold Field (Lauderdale County)
• Brown Field (Marion County
• Rockwood Municipal Airport (Roane County)
• McGhee Tyson Airport (Knox County)
• Lebanon Municipal Airport (Wilson County)
• Scott County Municipal Airport (Scott County)
• Tullahoma Municipal Airport (Coffee County)

The week ahead…

Monday, January 28
10:00 a.m. – Joint Government Operations Committee Hearing (LP 12)
1:30 p.m. – Joint Government Operations Committee Rule Review (LP 30)
5:00 p.m. – House Session (House Chambers)
5:45 p.m.  – Joint Convention of House and Senate (House Chambers)
6:00 p.m. – Governor’s State of the State Address (House Chambers)

Tuesday, January 29
9:00 a.m. – Insurance & Banking Committee (LP 16)
9:00 a.m. – State Government Committee (LP 29)
10:30 a.m. – Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee (LP 16)
10:30 a.m. – Consumer & Human Resources Committee (LP 30)
12:00 p.m. – Education Committee (LP 16)
12:00 p.m. – Local Government Committee (LP 30)
1:30 p.m. – Transportation Committee (LP 16)
1:30 p.m. – Business & Utilities Committee and Subcommittee (LP 29)
1:30 p.m. – Government Operations Committee (LP 30)
3:00 p.m. – Finance, Ways & Means Committee (LP 16)
3:00 p.m. – Education Subcommittee (LP 30)
3:00 p.m. – Criminal Justice Subcommittee (LP 31)

Wednesday, January 30
9:00 a.m. – House Session (House Chambers)
10:30 a.m. – Consumer & Human Resources Subcommittee (LP 30)
12:00 p.m. – Civil Justice Committee (LP 31)
1:00 p.m. – Joint Transportation & Safety Committee (LP 12)
1:30 p.m. - Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee (LP 29)
1:30 p.m. – Transportation Subcommittee (LP 30)
3:00 p.m. – Insurance & Banking Subcommittee (LP 29)


Thursday, January 31
9:00 a.m. – House Session (House Chambers)


Shine The Light On IDB Board Members

The recent news that IDB member Chris Ramsey is not a city resident makes me wonder what kind of accountability do these people have to the taxpayers? I've posed the question before: Who is on the board? Since it is such a mystery as to who is on the board and whether they are even legitimately qualified to sit on the board, how can they be trusted to handle millions of taxpayer ... (click for more)

Immigration

Remember when Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, except for those brown-skinned Spanish-speaking children from south of the Rio Grande”? Yea, me neither. But you’d pressed hard-pressed to find any among the Republican Tea Party crowd who don’t believe (or at least wish strongly enough to believe, which is good enough for $COTU$) ... (click for more)

Rhasean Lowry, 34, Charged In Death of 3-Year-Old Girl

Rhasean Lowry, 34, was arrested for abusing a three-year-old girl, and then criminal homicide after she died. Last Tuesday, the Chattanooga Police Department was called on a suspected child abuse case. Lowry took the victim to a local hospital and he stated the victim fell down steps. Doctors advised that the victim’s injuries were the result of blunt force trauma consistent ... (click for more)

City IDB Member Who Made Motion For $9 Million Black Creek TIF Had Not Lived In City For Years

A City Industrial Development Board (IDB) member who made the motion to approve a controversial $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) had not lived in the city for years, City Attorney Wade Hinton confirmed. Chris Ramsey, a BlueCross BlueShield official, was not present at an IDB meeting on Tuesday morning. Five other board members were. Citizen Helen Burns ... (click for more)

Fast-Starting Vols Gear Up For Another Mobile QB

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – It’s a new week for Tennessee’s football team, but the challenge that awaits in Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon will be a familiar reminder of the one the Volunteers just completed. The Volunteers have a short week to prepare for Arkansas State, a team much like Utah State, which relies heavily on a dual-threat quarterback and a physical front line. ... (click for more)

Chris O'Brien And Andres Santiago Named To Southern League's Weekly Honors

Tuesday, the Southern League announced that Chattanooga Lookouts’ catcher Chris O’Brien has been named Southern League Player of the Week and pitcher Andres Santiago was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for the period of August 25-September 1.  O’Brien is the fourth Chattanooga Lookouts’ position player to earn a weekly accolade from the league this season while ... (click for more)