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)



Protect The Dreamers - And Response

Children of illegal immigrants brought here as juveniles should be able to stay here.  When these children were brought to the U.S. they did not, willingly with any intent, violate immigration laws. They were too young to even know what immigration laws were. For many, this is the only home they have ever known. Now, as educated and otherwise law abiding young adults, it ... (click for more)

Coyote Jack's Won't Close - And Response

It is a shame that both Ms. James and Ms. Madhue will be disappointed when they are told that this establishment will not be closing; regardless of its deadly past.  Why, you ask?  Well, if as the article states that both Bella Vita and Coyote Jack’s are under the same ownership, that ownership lies within the hands, at least partially, by the Berke family.  Yes, ... (click for more)

Fleischmann Blames Senate Democrats For Government Shutdown

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann blamed Senate Democrats after the Senate’s failure to pass the Continuing Resolution (CR), putting a government shutdown into place. He said,  “I cannot fathom how Senate Democrats, knowing the severity of the issues in question, acted with such insensitivity using our children and our military as pawns, putting party over country. ... (click for more)

From Green Window Shutters To Forks And Spoons, Mount Vernon Restaurant Up For Auction

From the green wooden window shutters to the forks, knives and spoons, the landmark Mount Vernon Restaurant is up for auction. Marc Gravitt, of Gravitt Auction, said there will be an online auction starting Thursday morning and running through Saturday at noon. It will be handled as a "staggered close," he said. The first item will go first, then the second 30 seconds later, ... (click for more)

Howard Scores Career-High 41 In All-America Type Effort As Bradley Beats McMinn, 69-43

ATHENS, Tenn. – Bradley Central’s Rhyne Howard made no bones about it. She was extremely disappointed not making the McDonald’s All-America team announced earlier this week. And McMinn County’s Lady Cherokees paid a heavy price for Howard’s frustration. With the second-ranked Bearettes coming out of halftime with a shaky 30-24 lead and not playing their best basketball, ... (click for more)

East Hamilton Makes 'Short' Work Of Tyner

To say the East Hamilton basketball squad made short work of visiting Tyner Academy Friday night would be a bit of an understatement.   The Hurricanes made 24 shots in the 62-49 non-region battle victory in a game matching two of the area’s better squads and all but three of those makes came within a foot or so of the basket.  You heard that right: ... (click for more)