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,, 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)

Roy Exum: A Vol Is Worth $521,854

The definition for the term “fair market value,” this from the IRS tax code, “is the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.” So a recent article in Business Insider has just revealed a University of Tennessee scholarship ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

1 Shot And Killed In St. Elmo; 2nd Person Taken To Hospital

One person was shot and killed in St. Elmo. Another person was taken to the hospital. The person transported was driving a Lincoln that was behind the church off of Virginia Avenue. A possible suspect was in the Lincoln. Neighbors said that car stayed where the crime scene is. More information to follow. (click for more)

6 People, Including 4 Children, Die In Mobile Home Fire In Trion, Ga.

Six people, including four children, died in a mobile home fire at Trion, Ga., on Sunday night. The fire broke out on Airport Road in Chattooga County. Sheriff Mark Schrader said, "It is with a heavy heart tonight that I report that a residential fire has claimed the lives of six people, two adults and four children. The fire occurred around 11:00 p.m. in the Airport subdivision, ... (click for more)

UTC Women Fall To UNCG 1-0 To End Regular Season

 The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s soccer team fell 1-0 at UNCG Sunday afternoon to close out the regular season. The Mocs end the year at 6-10-2 overall and 4-4-1 in the Southern Conference and tie the Spartans (7-10-2, 4-4-1 SoCon) for fifth in the standings.   “It was another tough result,” Chattanooga head coach Gavin McKinney said. “We did, however, ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Draws Top Ranked Greeneville, CCS Opens With Madison Magnet

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame drew the top-ranked Greeneville in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A/AA state tournament.  Notre Dame is scheduled to play Greeneville on Wednesday at 8 p m. (EST)  in Murfreesboro. CCS will play Madison Magnet in the first round on field #1 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) . CCS and Greeneville met in the state championship game ... (click for more)