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.

Kudzu Incursion On Scenic Highway

I don't know if I am the only Lookout Mountain resident to notice that Scenic Highway is about to be one and a half lanes. Kudzu is encroaching over the guard rail and onto the road. In many places you can no longer tell where the road ends and the guard rail begins. A number of new and older drivers don't need to be guessing about where the road ends. Tommy Dickinson (click for more)

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Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

Worley-Powered Vols Clobber Utah State, 38-7, In Opener

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee, trying to snap out of the doldrums of four consecutive losing seasons, started its 2014 campaign in fine fashion Sunday night before a season opening sellout crowd of 102,445 that endured a heavy rain story 30 minutes prior to kickoff. And senior quarterback Justin Worley, who missed the final four games in 2013 after undergoing thumb surgery, was ... (click for more)

Lookouts Reach Southern League Northern Division Playoffs With Doubleheader Win Over Smokies

The Chattanooga Lookouts are now playoff bound after sweeping a double-header against the Tennessee Smokies  to clinch the Southern League North Division for the second half of the season. The first game of the double-header was backed by a masterful gem of a game thrown by the starter for the Lookouts, Steve Smith (W, 3-2). Smith dominated the Smokies' lineup from top ... (click for more)