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.


Rep. Brian Kelsey: 2015 Yearly Review

The legislative year that ended last week felt largely like Act I of a two-act play. Many pieces of legislation moved in the right direction, but the final outcome was postponed to 2016, the second act of a two-year Tennessee General Assembly.  Scholarships for K-12 Students My 10-year push to provide Opportunity Scholarships once again passed the Senate but was mired ... (click for more)

System Of Granting PILOTs And TIFs Is Antiquated

Our system of granting PILOTs and TIFs is totally antiquated and without any justification.  No other city or county our size in Tennessee operates without guidelines related to granting tax breaks.  It is way past time for our elected officials to address this issue.    Our Chamber of Commerce and River City have had checkbooks with unlimited funds for way ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke Announces Plan To Provide High-Speed Internet At A Discount Price To Those With Low Incomes

Mayor Andy Berke, in his annual State of the City Address, on Monday announced the creation of the Netbridge Student Discount program. In the partnership with EPB, he said any family of a child eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch in schools can receive 100 megabits per second Internet at a cost of $26.99 per month." Mayor Berke said, "Think about it. Our low income families ... (click for more)

DA Tells Dalton Jury Cell Phone Of Skyy Mims Was Found At Murder Scene

District Attorney Bert Poston told a jury in Dalton on Monday that the cell phone of Skyy Mims was found at the scene of the murder of convenience store clerk DK Chaudhari. He said Ms. Mims carried out the robbery in order to get Lotto tickets that she hoped would bring her money to finance her budding musical career. He said she took 80 "$500 A Week For Life" tickets. The ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Softball Rally Thumps Baylor, 10-3

The Soddy Daisy Lady Trojans felt right at home Monday afternoon at Baylor. These two softball teams are annually among the best in the state and they've had some memorable games in years past, but Monday's game was all Soddy Daisy. Baylor scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning before the Lady Trojans sent 11 hitters to the plate in the third where they scored ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Netters Defeat Bradley County

The defending district champion Soddy Daisy girls (9-0) defeated Bradley County, 9-0, Monday, while the Trojan boys (2-8) were also victorious against Bradley Central., 7-2. Chloe Mitchell claimed an 8-0 win against Haylee Pell in No.1 singles while Jared Elrod of Bradley Central stopped Robert Sneed, 8-2, in the boys' No.1 singles match. The Soddy Daisy ... (click for more)