Rep. Floyd: Capitol Hill Report

Thursday, January 16, 2014 - by Rep. Richard Floyd

Republicans Come Together To Kick Off A Jobs-Focused Legislative Session 

This week marked the beginning of the second half of the 108th General Assembly, with the House of Representatives gaveling into session on Tuesday at “high noon” in accordance with the Tennessee Constitution.

Having now officially convened, a number of issues await legislators in Nashville, with House Republicans vowing to make private sector job creation the top priority for the General Assembly.

Tennesseans can also expect Republicans to take up measures that will solidify the state’s ranking as a business-friendly, right-to-work state. In addition, the House Majority will work together to pass a number of proposals to continue improving both the state's economic outlook and education. 

With regard to the state budget, officials say revenues have come in below expectations, meaning there will have to be some trimming to how much the state can spend this year. Nevertheless, Republicans have committed themselves to once again crafting a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that does not raise taxes. Just as Tennesseans across the state must live within their means, House Republicans have promised to continue managing taxpayer dollars in a thoughtful, fiscally prudent manner.

Tennessee Named ‘2013 State Of The Year’ For Economic Development 

Earlier this week, Business Facilities magazine, a national economic development publication, officially named Tennessee as its ‘2013 State Of The Year’ for economic development, based on the state’s huge success over the last twelve months in recruiting new business and promoting economic development across Tennessee.

Cited in the magazine’s report were the state’s top five economic development projects of 2013, which created a total of 6,900 jobs, $3.2 billion in capital investment, and included seven expansions and three new recruitments.  

This new award comes on the heels of other recent accolades for Tennessee, including being named #1 state in the nation for automotive manufacturing strength for an unprecedented four years in a row. Tennessee was also ranked in the top five states with the best business climate by Site Selection magazine and as the fourth best state in the U.S. for business in Chief Executive Magazine’s Annual Best & Worst States for Business Survey.

The top economic development projects for number of jobs created and amount of capital invested named by Business Facilities include: 

Top Five Projects for Jobs
•        Hankook Tire Co., Ltd (Montgomery County): 1,800 jobs
•        ARAMARK (Davidson County): 1,500 jobs
•        Nissan North America, Inc. (Rutherford County): 1,400 jobs
•        Calsonic Kansei North America, Inc. (Bedford, Marshall and Rutherford counties): 1,200 jobs
•        UBS (Davidson County): 1,000 jobs

Top Five Projects for Capital Investment
•        Eastman Chemical Company (Sullivan County): $1.6 billion
•        Hankook Tire Co., Ltd (Montgomery County): $800 million
•        International Paper Company (Shelby County): $321 million
•        Nike, Inc. (Shelby County): $276 million 
•        Alcoa, Inc. (Blount County): $275 million

Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Launches New Website For Families

Led by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam, the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet announced this week they have officially launched a new website, www.kidcentraltn.com

, aimed at helping families across the state more easily find and navigate information and resources related to state government.  

The website, described as a “one-stop shop” for families, gathers important information from across different state agencies, making it more convenient for families to find exactly what they need. It also gives individuals a platform to search for various state-related content areas, especially programs related to children’s health, education, and development. 

Through www.kidcentraltn.com, parents can receive recommendations for relevant articles and services that might benefit their family. In addition, the website offers families the ability to download a mobile app to search for needed services as well as a directory of all state services available. For more information, visit www.kidcentraltn.com.

House Of Representatives Undergoes Annual Ethics Training 

The House of Representatives participated in their annual ethics training this week, with the Executive Director of the Tennessee Ethics Commission, Drew Rawlins, leading the training session. All 71 House Republicans were present, completing their required two hours of training per General Assembly. 

The Tennessee Ethics Commission was created in a special session called by the Governor in 2005 in the wake of the Tennessee Waltz scandal. House Republicans supported stringent ethics requirements in an effort to clean up corruption on Capitol Hill. During that session, the Tennessee Ethics Commission was established to sustain the public's confidence in government by increasing the integrity and transparency of state and local government through regulation of lobbying activities, financial disclosure requirements, and ethical conduct.

Conservation Easement With The Land Trust Isn't The Answer

Like Councilmember Annette Allen's committee, I support preserving our Signal Mountain park lands and green spaces and applaud the committee's time and attention to their mission.  But a conservation easement with the Land Trust for Tennessee is not the answer.  There are many other alternatives, if necessary. The attorneys for the town and the Land Trust for Tennessee ... (click for more)

Amendment One Protects Women From Greedy Abortionists

In 2000, the Supreme Court essentially "removed from the people all power, except by constitutional amendment, to enact reasonable regulations of abortion" as stated by Justice Mickey Barker.  As a consequence of this decision, the states informed consent law was struck down (which is normally given to anyone having a surgical procedure).  Also, the requirement that riskier ... (click for more)

Erlanger Finishes Fiscal Year With $18 Million Profit

After a major loss the year before, Erlanger Health System finished the fiscal year with an $18 million profit, officials announced Monday night. It was well ahead of the $2 million gain that Erlanger had budgeted for, and far better than last year's $8 million loss. The profit was boosted by a first-time $19,587,000 from a Public Hospital Supplemental payment and essential ... (click for more)

Chancellor Rules That IDB Must Reimburse Attorney Fees, Other Legal Costs For Helen Burns Sharp On TIF Lawsuit

Chancellor Pam Fleenor has ruled that Helen Burns Sharp, who sued over the validity of a $9 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for a planned major development on Aetna Mountain, should be reimbursed her discretionary costs as well as her attorney fees. Ms. Sharp said in a recent court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka were $74,427 at the time. The ... (click for more)

Tennessee Gets Down To Final Preparations For Georgia

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.   – Tennessee’s first Southeastern Conference road trip to Georgia on Saturday (noon kickoff on the SEC Network) will be a homecoming for 17 Vols. That fact is not lost on those players, from freshmen wanting to make a first impression to those, like   A.J. Johnson , playing against the Bulldogs and in their home state for the final time. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Golf Team Second At Wolf Run Intercollegiate

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team is tied for second after 18 holes at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate. The Mocs and Florida Gators each shot 295 over the opening 18 to trail Illinois by 11 at 285 at Wolf Run Golf Club. The day’s docket had a scheduled 36 holes. Afternoon storms sent teams from the course prior to finishing. The remaining holes will be completed starting at 9:30 ... (click for more)