Haslam's Legislative Agenda Underscores Top Priorities

Bills Promote Jobs, Education, Efficient Government, Lower Taxes And Public Safety

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam on Tuesday announced his priorities for the 2013 legislative session, building on momentum from his past proposals focused on attracting and growing Tennessee jobs, pursuing meaningful education reform, managing an efficient and effective state government, and strengthening public safety.

“In working together over the past two years with the Legislature, we’ve accomplished a lot for the people of Tennessee, and I look forward to working with the 108th General Assembly in the same way,” Governor Haslam said. “Our proposals represent our top priorities of making Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs, continuing to improve education, being the best managed state in the country, and keeping our citizens safe.”

The governor’s legislation:

· Strengthens the state’s attractive business climate through the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Improvement Act by reforming worker’s compensation laws to simplify the process and to make it more equitable for both the employer and employee. Additional details here.

· Completes the governor’s two-year plan to cut the state’s portion of the sales tax on food and groceries from 5.5 percent by taking the last step and reducing the sales tax from 5.25 percent to 5 percent, a reduction that affects every Tennessean. Additional details here.

· Establishes WGU-Tennessee, an online competency-based program with curriculum geared toward the 800,000 adult Tennesseans with some college credit but no degree. The program also emphasizes mentors who guide these adult students through the academic process. Additional details here.

· Rewrites and simplifies the Criminal Gang Enhancement statute by clarifying the definition of “criminal gang offense” and creating a list of specific offenses considered criminal gang offenses. Additional details here.

· Gives Tennessee parents another option for school choice through a program that allows students in the lowest income brackets in the lowest performing schools to attend other schools. Additional details here.

· Encourages college accessibility by creating an endowment to provide need-based, “last dollar” scholarships or grants to Tennesseans pursuing a degree from a postsecondary institution. Additional details here.

· Reduces the Hall Income Tax burden on seniors for the second time since 2011 by exempting single filers with a total annual income of $33,000 or less and joint filers with either a spouse 65 years or older and having total annual income of $59,000 or less. Additional details here.

“We’re proposing to cut taxes further, address college affordability and encourage degree attainment, improve the environment for job creation and make Tennesseans safer,” Governor Haslam said. “Tennessee is different. We’re not like Washington or other states because we work together to get things done for Tennesseans, and we’ll continue to focus on the things that matter most to Tennesseans.”

The governor will also strongly support SJR 2/HJR 8 regarding judicial selection, which is up for two-thirds vote this year in the General Assembly.

The Haslam administration has filed a total of 59 non-budget related bills, but the above pieces of legislation represent the governor’s priorities. 


Severe Storms In South May Create Holiday Travel Chaos

AccuWeather reports rain and thunderstorms, some capable of producing severe weather, will affect much of the South from  Tuesday  into Christmas Eve.   Despite this week being the first week of winter, it may seem like spring in the South for a day or two. The rain and storms will be spawned by a Christmas Eve storm as it gains strength and begins ... (click for more)

Tennessee To Join Lawsuit To Challenge Obama’s Executive Action On Immigration

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery on Monday notified the appropriate parties that the state will join a lawsuit brought by attorneys general and governors from 24 other states to challenge the president’s recent executive action on immigration. Mr. Slatery said, “Our office has carefully considered whether to join this lawsuit and concluded that it is in the best interest ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 10 Tasks For This Week

In 1993 a 95-year-old man named William Snell created a list called “Life’s Little Instructions.” His list has swirled around in the Internet ever since and it is, indeed, a delightful checklist to keep us focused in the right direction. Curiously, when I read over it this past weekend, it dawned on me that if each of us would try to accomplish just 10 items on Mr. Snell’s list ... (click for more)

UTC Cagers Host UAB Tonight at McKenzie Arena

UAB’s talented point guard Nick Norton has been at three schools in three years. Before one prematurely concludes the 19-year-old can’t find a home for his basketball talents, it should be noted that his dad, Randy Norton, – the current UAB women’s basketball coach - has something to do with the “let’s get out the GPS and see where we go next” lifestyle. Nick, a true freshman ... (click for more)

Hawks Defeat Riverdale, 55-43, For Rhea Title

EVENSVILLE, Tenn. – Hamilton Heights had a chance to win the boys and girls title in the Rhea County Holiday Hoops tournament Saturday night. The Hawks delivered. The Lady Hawks came up short. Once-beaten Hamilton Heights, getting pivotal back-to-back 3-pointers by Silas Adheke and Joan Duran in the final two minutes and sterling efforts by Ezekiel Balogun and Abdulhakim ... (click for more)