House Majority Leader McCormick Says Political Parties Work Well Together In Legislature

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - by Hollie Webb
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick

Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick told Downtown Kiwanis Club members on Tuesday that within the state legislature, Republicans and Democrats "work very well together on a bipartisan basis."

He said, "We wish they would do that a little better in Washington. I think things would work a lot better up there if they'd do it the way we do in Tennessee."

 Born in Jackson, Tn., Rep. McCormick has served as the Majority Leader since 2010. A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, he also served in the military during the Gulf War.

 He said part of his job is not only negotiating between parties, but also negotiating between urban and rural factions of the population.

Rep. McCormick gave the example of the issue of rooster fighting, currently a misdemeanor offense in Tennessee.

 He said in urban areas, people pushed for this to become a felony. However, many more rural areas were strongly against this change in legislation.

 Overall though, he said with the help of Governor Bill Haslam, "We make the government work at the state level."

 Rep. McCormick said, "We have balanced the budget every year in the state of Tennessee."

 In fact, he told the Kiwanis Club, the state of Tennessee currently has a higher bond rating than the federal government.

He said, "Being fiscally responsible keeps our taxes low." He said since he has been in the House, legislation had been passed that cut taxes on investments while money has still been put back for a "rainy day fund."

He also pointed out that the House had been a part of tort reform in Tennessee, helping to reduce "trivial lawsuits."

Most importantly, he said, reforms to education legislation have been made. He said now there are "more charter schools than ever" and "students' scores have gone up faster than any other students' scores in America."

He also told the club, "We've passed legislation giving the local school boards more control over teacher compensation."

 Other important legislative actions of the House included passing laws to curtail methamphetamine production in Tennessee. He said before the state limited the amount of pseudoephedrine-containing medications that could be purchased over the counter, Tennessee was second only to Missouri in meth production.

 He said, "We literally had people going from pharmacy to pharmacy." After laws were passed, a prescription was required in order for any one person to purchase more than a certain amount of pseudoephedrine.

 However, he said, "Pharmaceutical companies fought this bill hard...They were irresponsible and needed to be called out on it."

 Though progress has been made, he said, "We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of challenges ahead of us."

 He said some of those challenges include an increasing problem with prescription drug abuse, prison overcrowding, and aging infrastructure.

 In terms of preparing more of the population for the workforce, Rep. McCormick said Governor Haslam has created a program called "Drive to 55," aimed at getting 55 percent of the state population to hold a post secondary degree. Currently, that number is at 32 percent.

 A recent bill passed called the Tennessee Promise will use extra money from the lottery fund to mentor students who might otherwise see college or technical school as unrealistic. With the help of a mentor, students will be able to explore job options and navigate complicated forms such as FAFSA.

 Rep. McCormick said, "Overall, I'm trying to help lead the state...on both sides of the aisle."

 

 

 


BFM Opens The 2015 Season With Double SNAP Every Saturday

The Brainerd Community Farmers Market will be back to normal season hours,10 a.m.-noon every Saturday starting this Saturday. Located at the corner of Brainerd Road and Belvoir Ave. in the parking lot of Grace Episcopal church, the Market is welcoming back some old friends and several new vendors. The market will be celebrating their awarded Community Foundation ... (click for more)

5th Annual See Spot Run K-9 5K Fun Run To Be Held Sunday

Animal Medical Professionals of Ooltewah are sponsoring the 5th Annual See Spot Run K-9 5k Fun Run on Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park in Collegedale at 9 a.m. Every participant entry fee benefits the AMP Angel Fund. "The Angel Fund is used to help our community care for their furry loved ones in times of great need. The fund has helped 20-30 dogs and cats a year since 2006 and ... (click for more)

Erlanger's Good Financial News Continues With $11.4 Million Profit For Past 3 Months; Profit At $25.3 Million After 9 Months

Erlanger Health System's good financial news keeps coming - with the announcement on Monday of a profit of $11.4 million for the past three months. Brit Tabor said the hospital has a profit of $25.3 million for the first nine months of the fiscal year. Kevin Spiegel, hospital president, said more good news is projected for the fourth quarter. Mr. Tabor said, "Our market ... (click for more)

Erlanger To Get $100 Million New Electronic Medical Records System

Erlanger Health System will be getting a new electronic medical records system costing just short of $100 million, Erlanger CEO and President Kevin Spiegel said Monday. He said the old Legacy IT system was the hospital's #1 dissatisfaction source. The hospital board is to be asked to approve the system, which will be paid for over several years, at the May board meeting. ... (click for more)

Time-Out On Housing PILOTs

Kudos to the? ?City Council? ?and County Commission for? ?beginning thoughtful discussions about housing PILOTs. A growing number of? ?citizens from across the political spectrum hope you? ?continue your ?good work by calling a time-out on? ?housing PILOTs until you? ?adopt policies and procedures about how these tax breaks are evaluated, monitored and enforced.  I suggest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why The British Attacked

This was a pretty big week exactly 240 years ago and what happened then is really important now. The British Army, after arriving in increasing numbers seven years before, decided to launch a sneak attack on Concord, Mass., and several other towns in mid-April of 1775. Their purpose was simple: take away every gun you can find. Confiscate every weapon of any kind. It was believed ... (click for more)