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)


Wine And Gun Laws On July 1

Yay! We can buy wine at Wal-Mart! That's a huge step forward in the Tennessee vice world and we are all looking forward to 8 a.m. tomorrow when we don't have to go to a store where we might be seen by someone with whom we will share a pew on Sunday. Now you can buy your bubbly with your groceries, which truly makes July 1 like the New Years of the summer. Like it's January's counterpart, ... (click for more)

Time To Target The Criminal

While we are in the mood to give up our constitutional rights, why not go after a few in our justice system that protect the criminal and not restrict the law-abiding gun owner?  I for one would be more agreeable to keeping some of these killers off the streets. I gladly welcome TSA screening at the airport, I am pleased when they ask me for an ID at the bank even though ... (click for more)

Spiegel Says Walker County Could Make Payments On $8,705,000 Hutcheson Debt; James Says Letter is Heavy-Handed

Erlanger Health System CEO Kevin Spiegel has written Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell to say that Erlanger would consider taking payments on the $8,705,000 Hutcheson debt. Stuart James, special counsel for Walker County, called the overture "heavy-handed." Walker County earlier offered a $1.3 million "global settlement" that was rejected by Erlanger. Catoosa County ... (click for more)

Customer At East Ridge Gas Station Shoots And Kills Robber; He Had Been Trying To Take Female Clerk With Him

East Ridge Police said a customer at an East Ridge gas station early Thursday morning shot a robber, who was then found by police lying outside the station and was arrested.  The robber has died.  His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin. At 1:47 a.m., East Ridge Police responded to 4011 Ringgold Road, the Marathon Service Station, on ... (click for more)

Travis Hale New Softball Coach At Soddy-Daisy

Travis Hale, who spent one year under being groomed for the job, has been named the new softball coach at Soddy-Daisy High School. Hale, who previously was an assistant coach at Hixson and head coach at Loftis Middle School, was groomed for the job last season working under coach Wes Skiles, who has stepped down after four seasons. “I focused on paying attention to what ... (click for more)

Alex Smith Earns All-America Honors In AAU Volleyball

Alex Smith just graduated from Grace Academy in the spring after wrapping up an outstanding career with the Lady Golden Eagle volleyball team. The season didn’t go quite as well as they would have liked as Smith suffered an ankle injury and was sidelined toward the end at tournament time. However, all the news is not bad as Smith joined 10 other players who formed a team ... (click for more)