Rep. Floyd: Capitol Hill Review

Thursday, February 14, 2013 - by Rep. Richard Floyd
Department of Economic & Community Development Gives Positive State Outlook

During House budget hearings this week, Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Bill Hagerty presented lawmakers with a positive overview of  the success Tennessee has had over the last several months in creating an environment statewide where businesses have the opportunity to grow and thrive.

Since the election of Governor Haslam, Hagerty announced, nearly 80,000 new jobs have been created in Tennessee.
In addition, large employers such as Nissan and Volkswagen have already announced future expansions in the state.

With the guidance and support of the legislature, the Department believes the next several years will show even greater strides towards making Tennessee the most successful job-recruiting engine in the entire Southeast.

“While I wish the weather were better outside,” Hagerty stated, “I think overall things are shining here in Tennessee.”

Crime Prevention Bills Score First Legislative Victory

Republican lawmakers on the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee this week passed a series of bills which continue the push for crime prevention in Tennessee. 

Building on the success Republicans had during the 2011-2012 legislative session to cut down on crime across the state, this new crime prevention package addresses issues related to crimes against children, criminal gang offenses, and human organ trafficking.

In total, fifteen bills have been filed, including:

House Bill 520, which changes the offense of promoting prostitution of a minor from a Class E felony to a Class A felony – a move which will greatly increase the punishment for such crimes;

House Bill 131, which increases penalties for gang members who commit trafficking for commercial sex acts;

And House Bill 357, which adds to the law books a new offense for the trafficking of human organs.

Governor Haslam Requests Disaster Recovery Assistance

On Monday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam formally requested assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help individuals and businesses in Henderson, Carroll, Chester, Decatur, Hardin and Madison Counties recover from wind, tornado and flooding damages that occurred on January 29, 2013.

The assistance, if approved by the SBA, will come in the form of low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses, and non-profit organizations seeking to repair or replace real estate, personal property, equipment, or business assets that were damaged or destroyed during the January storm.

MADD Partners with Lawmakers to Advocate for Ignition Interlock Legislation

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) joined with legislators this week to call for the advancement of House Bill 353, a piece of legislation which would update state law to require the installation of ignition interlock devices for all future convicted drunk drivers in Tennessee.

Interlock devices are small pieces of equipment attached to the steering wheel of a car with a tube that the driver must breathe into in order to allow the ignition to start.  The newest ignition interlock technology makes it easier for courts to require DUI offenders to utilize the device, including cameras to ensure that the person tested is the correct driver.  

Currently, 17 states require interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.




We Need Reconciliation And Not Division

The news is reporting that Mayor Berke is withdrawing city maintenance from the Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery. I would suggest that this move is short-sighted and likely to defeat the very goals the mayor has in mind. There are better ways to handle this.  A recent Marist poll indicates that a majority of people do not want Confederate memorials removed. Even 40 percent ... (click for more)

Calm The Anti-Confederate Hysteria

I am hoping this newspaper can in some way calm this "confederate hysteria" that seems to be steam rolling at a rapid pace.  My family helped pioneer this region and yes....fought for the "southern cause". My ancestors are buried all throughout the area and my family's cabin is commemorated at the Chattanooga/Chickamauga park.  Without exaggeration...I fear my family's ... (click for more)

Coolidge Park Crowd Gets Twilight, Cricket Chirping As Solar Eclipse Arrives

A crowd at Coolidge Park and the nearby Walnut Street Bridge got twilight and cricket chirping as the heralded solar eclipse finally arrived at mid-afternoon Monday. As the moon moved across the sun around 2:30 p.m., birds quit chirping and began to roost. Crickets started going full force. Lights on the Market Street Bridge began to flicker on. The event, sponsored by Comcast, ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Airport President Gets New Contract Amid Double-Digit Growth, Improvements

Chattanooga Airport President Terry Hart has been given a six-year extension on his contract amid double-digit passenger increases and a host of airport improvements. There is no increase in his $158,377 pay, but the board plans to put in annual performance reviews with some built-in bonuses. Jim Hall, vice chairman of the Airport Board, said it is also important that the ... (click for more)

UTC Soccer Battles Eastern Kentucky To 0-0 Tie

The UTC women’s soccer team battled to a 0-0 tie against Eastern Kentucky Sunday afternoon at Finley Stadium in non-conference action.   The Mocs remain unbeaten at 1-0-1 while Eastern Kentucky moves to 0-1-1 on the year.   “There’s a reason why they were co-regular season champions in the Ohio Valley Conference last year and made a run to the conference tournament ... (click for more)

Covenant Names Neal Young Head Men's Basketball Coach

After a national search of candidates, the Covenant men's basketball program has a new head coach as director of athletics Tim Sceggel has named Neal Young the 16th head coach in program history. Young comes to Covenant after spending the last four years as head coach at Goshen (Ind.) College. In addition to his head coaching role at Goshen, Young was an associate athletic ... (click for more)