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)


Vote For Rhonda Thurman

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A Vote For Christie Sell Is The Right Choice

What a privilege it is to write this letter on behalf of Judge Christie Sell.  I met Judge Sell years ago, and have been very blessed to call her a friend and mentor over the last two years.  As a young female attorney in Hamilton County, it is extremely important to have a respected female mentor. Judge Sell has been that person for me. She swore me into the practice ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Stops Erlanger Foreclosure Of Hutcheson Hospital

In a ruling Friday, a Federal Court Judge in Rome agreed with Hutcheson Medical Center and Regions Bank to grant the request for an injunction, effectively stopping the foreclosure efforts of Erlanger Health System against Hutcheson. In stopping the foreclosure set for next Tuesday, the judge held that the public interest in keeping the hospital doors open was “insurmountable.”  ... (click for more)

Mediated Resolution Reached In TVA Kingston Lawsuits

A mediated global resolution has been achieved in 63 lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court involving more than 850 plaintiffs asserting claims against the Tennessee Valley Authority arising from the 2008 ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant. The resolution, outlined in documents submitted Friday to the U.S. District Court in Knoxville, comes after nearly two years of ... (click for more)

Live Viewing Party Of The National Championship Offered At First Tennessee Pavilion

Chattanooga Football Club fans will get one more chance to gather and cheer on the team as it battles for the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) National Championship powered by Mitre.  On Saturday, from 7-11:30 p.m. at the First Tennessee Pavilion, Big River Brewing Company, Volkswagen Chattanooga, Memorial, Finley Stadium, and EPB Fiber Optics are hosting ... (click for more)

Larry Fleming: Phil Schmidt Made Life Better For Those That Knew Him

The sad news came Thursday morning in a phone call from Jill Bowling, the daughter of Phil Schmidt, longtime photographer at The Chattanooga Times – for years he served as chief of the department – had passed away minutes earlier at TriStar-Centennial Hospital in Nashville. Through Jill’s tears she said, “Daddy died this morning.” It was a phone call I didn’t want to get and ... (click for more)