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.


Domestic Violence And Lost Focus

As a past victim of domestic violence, I am acutely aware of how serious this problem is. I am sorry that the Stone family has to have their personal drama played out to the world at 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00 every evening.   While the public is being entertained by the drama of all this, the real problems in this city are not getting the attention they deserve.  The shootings ... (click for more)

Memorial Day

I wanted to wish you all a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.  Memorial Day has always been a special holiday to me since I was born on Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day (May 30) before we started celebrating on the last Monday of May; prior to 1971 it was always celebrated on May 30.   My grandfather, who was a WWII veteran shot while on Iowa Jima, always ... (click for more)

Carmody Found Guilty Of First-Degree Felony Murder; Sentenced To Life In Prison

Patrick Carmody was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of first-degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery in Judge Barry Steelman’s courtroom on Friday. He was charged with the slaying of 21-year-old Chance LeCroy on Sept. 9, 2010. The state’s account of the incident claimed that Carmody, Ronald Pittman, and Billy Bob Partin traveled ... (click for more)

Pair Charged With Holding Girl In Chattanooga For Several Months As Sex Slave

Two Chattanooga men have been charged by federal authorities with kidnapping a young girl in Atlanta and holding her for several months in Chattanooga, where they hired her out for sex for money. Corrie Gillispie and Willie Watkins are charged with conspiracy, kidnapping and sex trafficking. Gillispie, 40, is also known as Big Tyme, Chattanooga Tyme and Profit Tyme.. ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats GPS Again For Second Straight D-II Title

MURFREESBORO – Baylor coach Kelli Smith was feeling no pain here at the Starplex Field No. 3 Friday afternoon after her team had beaten GPS for its second-straight D-II state softball crown, but that wasn’t the case late Thursday night. Smith, who now has two state titles as a Baylor player and eight as their coach, spent more than three hours in the local emergency room, only ... (click for more)

Silverdale Topples Meigs, 6-0, To Force Second Game For Class A Softball Title

(Story will be updated) MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Silverdale wanted a rematch with Meigs County. They got it Friday afternoon. The Lady Seahawks, who lost 3-1 to the Lady Tigers to open the Class A state softball tournament, fought back through the loser’s bracket and made the most of their second chance. Silverdale (42-4) scored six unearned runs – the outburst ... (click for more)