Rep. Travis: Legislative Wrap Up

Saturday, August 31, 2013 - by Representative Ron Travis
Over the last several weeks, House lawmakers have joined with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community to announce numerous major business expansions from all across the state. With these expansion projects, thousands of jobs will be created along with millions of dollars invested into local Tennessee communities.

Some of the most prominent of the recently announced expansions include:

UBS Financial Services, Davidson County — The global financial services firm has chosen to expand its Nashville operations and has committed to invest $36.5 million and create 1,000 new high-wage jobs.

Gap Inc., Sumner County — Located on Gap Boulevard in Gallatin, the global retailer will expand its Sumner County distribution center over the coming months, creating 90 new jobs and investing $35 million in the community.

Dot Foods, Dyer County — Dot Foods, the nation’s largest food redistributor, will invest $24 million and create 157 new jobs in Dyersburg and surrounding areas.

Jack Daniel Distillery, Moore County — In response to global demand for its world famous Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg has committed to investing $103 million for the addition of new stills, barrel warehouses, and other related infrastructure to support its growing operations. The expansion will result in 94 new full-time positions over the next five years.

Surface Igniter LLC, Blount County — Earlier this month, Surface Igniter LLC pledged to relocate its headquarters and manufacturing facility to Maryville, investing $108 million and creating 108 new jobs. 

Miller Industries, Greene County — The towing equipment manufacturer will invest $1.8 million in its new expansion in Greeneville, creating 58 new jobs.

For more information about these expansions and to view other industry announcements from across the state, visit the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development website at www.tn.gov/ecd.

State Agency Provides Assistance To Tennessee Small Business Owners

Created by the General Assembly in 2010, the Office of Small Business Advocate (OSBA) is the primary contact for Tennessee small business owners who need assistance with specific business issues or have general questions about state agencies, regulatory compliance, or other business-related topics.

In addition, if a small business owner feels that his or her business has been subject to unfair enforcement actions by a state agency, the business owner can seek assistance and relief from the OSBA.

With 97% of the companies in Tennessee being classified as “small businesses”, the Office of Small Business Advocate provides an invaluable resource to business owners across the state, providing help and information to the entrepreneurs who are the backbone of creativity and job production in Tennessee.

To contact Tennessee’s Small Business Advocate, Lauren Plunk, call (615) 401-7806 or email her at smallbusiness.advocate@cot.tn.gov.

House Lawmakers Announce 2013 Reward School Recipients

House lawmakers joined together this week to announce that multiple schools across the state have been named as part of the 2012-2013 Reward School program by the Tennessee Department of Education. The designation means the schools are in either the top 5 percent of all schools in the state for annual academic growth or the top 5 percent for overall academic achievement.

The Reward School program spans 52 districts across the state and includes 169 total schools.

House leaders praised the news, thanking teachers, administrators, and students for all their hard work in achieving the important educational goals.

The 2012-13 Reward Schools made their impressive accomplishments during a year when Tennessee saw consistent gains on the statewide Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) testing. As schools across the state made improvements and reached higher levels of proficiency, the Reward Schools led the way in overall school performance.

A complete list of Reward Schools can be found by visiting: tn.gov/education/accountability/reward_2013.shtml.

House Speaker Beth Harwell to Host 2013 Right Women, Right Now Summit

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) announced this week that House Speaker Beth Harwell will host its 2013 ‘Right Women, Right Now’ Summit on September 9th and 10th in Nashville. Harwell, who serves as a co-chair of the RSLC’s initiative to identify, train, and support women for elected office, will lead the Summit’s efforts to find and recruit strong women leaders from across the nation.

Harwell will also join with women leaders from other states to host the event, including Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch of Wisconsin, and Secretary of State Kim Wyman of Washington.

While women represent over 50% of the total population in the U.S., the number of women of both parties in statewide elective office positions is 75, or 23.1 percent. Only five governors (10 percent) are women. Within the United States Congress, the numbers are even lower, with the total number of women of both parties accounting for only 18.3% of the total legislative body.

Additional details about the ‘Right Women, Right Now’ organization can be found by visiting http://rightwomenrightnow.com.

Tennessee To Expand ‘Drive To 55’ Education Initiative

In September, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will join with House lawmakers to expand the state’s ‘Drive to 55’ education initiative, a program which aims to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with some sort of college degree to 55 percent by the year 2025. The initiative will work hand-in-hand with the recent launch of Western Governors University Tennessee, an online school which seeks to expand access to higher education for all Tennesseans.

WGU Tennessee offers accredited degree programs in business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and various health professions.

Differing from most brick-and-mortar institutions, WGU Tennessee uses an innovative learning model called competency-based education. Instead of earning a degree based on credit hours or time spent in class, students must demonstrate their knowledge of required subject matter through rigorous testing procedures.

According to the 2010 Census, 1 in 5 Tennesseans over the age of 25 have some college but no degree, a number WGU Tennessee hopes to change. 

For more information about WGU Tennessee and the ‘Drive to 55’ initiative, visit http://tennessee.wgu.edu/ or call 1-855-948-8495.


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Tennessee Broadband Expansion Bill Sought By EPB Put On Hold For Now

Advocates for broadband expansion in Tennessee, including Chattanooga's EPB, announced Tuesday that efforts to extend community-based fiber optic networks are being placed on hold for now "because there is not enough support among state lawmakers to change a state regulation that prevents the expansion of municipal fiber optic systems." EPB earlier won a ruling from the Federal ... (click for more)

Haslam Adds K-12 Funds In Budget Amendment

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  Maybe it was just East Hamilton’s turn to win a tight game. After dropping 5-4 and 2-1 decisions to District 5-AAA rivals Bradley Central and McMinn County, respectively, the Hurricanes weren’t about to lose their third straight one-run decision in league play on Tuesday. So, Kyle Cox and Matt Milita, two of the team’s five seniors, decided to do something about ... (click for more)

Central Scores Early, Hangs On To Beat Red Bank, 7-6

Central baseball coach Glen Carter could finally breathe a sigh of relief. His Purple Pounders had bolted to a 7-0 lead in the first three innings of Monday's 6-AA skirmish with the Red Bank Lions and things were looking pretty good for those guys in purple. But it all came down to Red Bank's final at-bat.  The Lions sent eight hitters to the plate and scored ... (click for more)