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.

Roy Exum: ‘No’ To Schools Budget

When the Hamilton County Commissioners and officials of the Hamilton County Department of Education met for 3 ½ hours on Tuesday, they studied a proposed budget of roughly $385 million – this $24.2 million over an anticipated $361 million in revenues. Now let’s pretend it is a Tuesday night at your own kitchen table and your favorite son – after misbehaving in a somewhat stunning ... (click for more)

No More Money For Schools

Re: County Commission Told To Fully Fund County Schools Improvement Request Would Take 28 1/2-Cent Property Tax Increase; 78 School Personnel Would Be Added No. No way. Really, NO! is not a big enough word to express my sentiments here. Even the exclamation point doesn’t add enough to do the job properly.  Mr. Coppinger said, “They are saying if you do this, we’re ... (click for more)

Federal Government Sues Life Care's Forrest Preston, Saying He Received Millions In Medicare Funds He Was Not Entitled To

Federal attorneys have sued Forrest Preston, founder and chairman of Cleveland, Tn.,-based Life Care Centers of America, claiming that he was "unjustly enriched" by receiving Medicare funds he was not entitled. The civil suit in Chattanooga Federal Court asks for the return of "millions of dollars." The government earlier sue Life Care on similar charges based on allegations ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Drug Dealer Found With Numerous Drugs, Guns, $25,000 Cash

Jamie Chuy is facing federal charges after a search by police turned up a large amount of drugs, guns and cash at his Chattanooga residence. Chuy is charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of meth as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm. In the search on March 28 at 1404 Rowewood Dr., officers found eight kilograms of meth in a black duffel bag ... (click for more)

Hurricanes Whip McMinn County, 9-1, In 5-3A Baseball

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Three times Jordan Gorman set the table. Nick Woods punched three hits to the outfield and drove Gorman home in the third, fifth and sixth innings, powering East Hamilton to a 9-1 victory over McMinn County in the opening game of the District 5-3A baseball tournament at Cleveland High School on Wednesday. “Our mission was to win this game,” Gorman said, ... (click for more)

District 5-3A Softball Tournament Plans Finalized By Coaches

District 5-3A softball coaches are now ready for the second season. They hope their teams are, too. At a luncheon to finalize plans for the district tournament on Wednesday, the opening pairings were set in stone and play will begin Friday with three games, each starting at 5 p.m. at the highest seeded team. Second-seeded Soddy-Daisy (24-7) will host No. 7 Bradley ... (click for more)