Haslam Announces 2018 Legislative Agenda

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Governor Bill Haslam on Thursday, announced his legislative agenda for the 2018 session, continuing his focus on leading the nation in jobs, education, and efficient and effective government.

“We have made so many strides in higher education and workforce development, and we must not let up now. One of our top priorities this year will be making sure our students who receive Tennessee Promise and HOPE scholarships compete college on time, helping us reach our Drive to 55 goal,” Governor Haslam said. “You’ll also see much needed reforms to Tennessee’s juvenile justice system that will strengthen families and communities while promoting public safety and ensuring a responsible and effective use of limited resources.”

The Complete College Tennessee Act of 2018 (HB 2114/SB 2259) is part of the governor’s Complete to Compete initiative to help ensure students stay on track for on-time college completion and enter the workforce with aligned credentials. While we have improved college access, our completion rates at our public two- and four-year institutions are 26 and 57 percent, respectively. Key points in the legislation include:

· Restructuring the financial aid conditions for Tennessee Promise and HOPE scholarships to require that students take 30 credit hours in 12 monthsor risk losing a portion of their scholarship.

· Requiring community colleges and technical schools to implement structured, ready-made schedules based on the degree program of incoming full-time students.

The Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 (HB 2271/SB 2261) is based on a comprehensive review of Tennessee’s juvenile justice system and recommendations from a task force on juvenile justice led by House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris. The comprehensive legislation focuses on:

· Investing in evidence-based programming and community resources, so that where a youth resides no longer determines what services he or she receives.

· Reserving detention and out-of-home placement for youth who have committed serious crimes or pose a public safety risk.

· Implementing research-based reasonable limits on length of custody so youth are not placed into the system indefinitely.

· Requiring a comprehensive plan for uniform data collection from judicial system and state agencies.

· Expanding performance-based metrics for providers of children’s services and community-based treatment.

· Requiring a validated risk-and-needs assessment to develop individualized case plans to determine the services and actions needed for rehabilitation.

The governor has also proposed the UT FOCUS Act (HB 2115/SB 2260) to empower the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees to oversee multiple campuses and operate more efficiently and effectively, similar to the governing boards established for the state’s other four-year universities. The legislation includes:

· Reconstituting the board from 27 members to 11, including the commissioner of agriculture and at least two representatives from each of the state’s grand divisions and five UT alumni. Members will be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the General Assembly.

· Modernizing the statutory responsibilities of the Board of Trustees.

· Creating seven-member advisory boards for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; University of Tennessee at Martin; University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; and UT Health Science Center.

Last week, the governor proposed two bills tied to the TN Together plan to end opioid addiction in Tennessee. The first bill (HB 1831/SB 2257) limits the supply and the dosage of opioid prescriptions for new patients, with reasonable exceptions. The second (HB 1832/SB 2258) creates incentives for offenders to complete intensive substance use treatment programs while incarcerated and updates the schedule of controlled substances to better track, monitor and penalize the use and unlawful distribution of opioids and specifically adds synthetic versions of the drug fentanyl, which is linked to an alarming number of overdose deaths.


Chattanooga Man Indicted On 4 Counts Of Rape Of A Child

Trenton Man, 29, Charged With Having Sex With 16-Year-Old Chattanooga Girl

Investigation Finds There Was No Threat To Soddy Daisy Middle School Student


A Chattanooga man has been indicted on four counts of rape of a child. The charges were brought against Maurice Ladell Davis, 29. It says the alleged incidents involved a child between ... (click for more)

A 29-year-old Trenton, Ga., man has been charged with having sex with a 16-year-old Chattanooga girl. Bobby James Walter Black, of 2780 Highway 136, was charged with aggravated statutory rape. ... (click for more)

An investigation found there was no threat to a Soddy Daisy Middle School student as was rumored, authorities said. On Monday a Soddy Daisy Middle School administrator was made aware of an ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Chattanooga Man Indicted On 4 Counts Of Rape Of A Child

A Chattanooga man has been indicted on four counts of rape of a child. The charges were brought against Maurice Ladell Davis, 29. It says the alleged incidents involved a child between the ages of four and 12 and it occurred in the defendant's bedroom. Davis has an extensive criminal record, including a charge of attempted first-degree murder in 2008. He received a suspended ... (click for more)

Trenton Man, 29, Charged With Having Sex With 16-Year-Old Chattanooga Girl

A 29-year-old Trenton, Ga., man has been charged with having sex with a 16-year-old Chattanooga girl. Bobby James Walter Black, of 2780 Highway 136, was charged with aggravated statutory rape. Authorities said they began investigating a report by a school counselor where the girl attends. A Child Protective Services worker filed for emergency temporary custody of the girl, ... (click for more)

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Roy Exum: ‘Easy Eddie’ & Butch

Not an hour’s drive from where I now sit is one of the best restaurants in all of Tennessee. Its been some years since I last ate supper at High Point, a legendary mansion restored to elegance by the current owners but, back in the ‘60s, I got a wide-eyed teenager’s peek at the place one Sunday afternoon. What’s this? 14-inch walls filled with sand to stop a G-man’s bullet? Escape ... (click for more)

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