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.



Great Work, City Auditor

As a voter, I was skeptical about having an independent city auditor’s office. This office was created by referendum of the voters. The public wanted third party oversight of city government, for good cause.  I will be the first to admit I was wrong.  A primary problem was the auditor being hired and fired by the mayor’s office, who could also set the auditors operating ... (click for more)

Commissioner Mackey Asks All to Support Football Mocs

The moment that many of us have been waiting for six months is upon us---it is football time in Tennessee.  If you live within the greater Chattanooga area I am asking you to join me in looking upon the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as being our hometown football team.  And it is an exciting team that we can be proud of.    The Chattanooga Mocs will ... (click for more)

Plan Revived For 5-Story Boutique Hotel Next To The Walnut Street Bridge

Plans have been revived for a five-story boutique hotel next to the Walnut Street Bridge. Vision Hospitality Group said the yet-to-be named hotel will provide 90 rooms featuring high-end amenities and exemplary service in the city's art district. Plans for a similar hotel were announced in 2012, but the proposal was later withdrawn. The hotel is slated for 102 Walnut ... (click for more)

Grand Jury Says County Needs To Start "Immediately" On Funding A New County Jail

Members of the Hamilton County Grand Jury said in a final report that the county needs to start "immediately" on funding a replacement for the Hamilton County Jail. The report, read by Foreman Robert Smith, says, "The Jail is near and/or over capacity and understaffed!  Hard-working corrections officers are in constant danger.  Being responsible for 80-100 inmates per ... (click for more)

Big John Henderson Will Be Vols "Legend" At Sunday Opener

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – From 1999-2001, John Henderson cast a long shadow on the defensive line for Tennessee. Sunday, the man and the shadow return to Neyland Stadium for the first time since his final run through the “T”. Henderson will be honored before the Tennessee-Utah State game as the Legend of the Game, celebrating a decorated career at UT that saw the Nashville native pick ... (click for more)

Santiago No-Hits Smokies

Starting pitcher Andres Santiago no-hit the Tennessee Smokies (32-34) to lead the Chattanooga Lookouts  (32-32)  to a 1-0 win and propel them into sole possession of first place for the first time this season.  The no-hitter was the Lookouts’ first since June 1, 1996 when Travis Buckley threw one against the Huntsville Stars. Santiago was lights out since the ... (click for more)