Thursday, February 21, 2019 - by Rep. Ron Travis
House Republicans Unveil The CARE Plan
Groundbreaking legislation to increase access, improve rural health and empower patients
This week in Nashville, House Republican leaders unveiled a patient-centered, free market approach to transform healthcare in Tennessee by unveiling the CARE plan.
This legislative package includes 11 different initiatives that will all reshape healthcare in Tennessee through Consumerism, increasing Access, improving Rural health systems, and Empowering patients to ensure individuals and families to make all medical decisions, instead of insurance companies or the government.
The innovative plan will create price transparency and more data on healthcare prices, launch an All-Payer Claims Database that will provide consumers with information to contain costs and improve health system performance through the utilization of local data, eliminate confusion and streamline billing, promote competition, improve drug pricing affordability, utilize telehealth and telemedicine to increase rural healthcare access, recruit innovative healthcare professionals, physicians, and biotech companies to our state, assist families in caring for sick children despite their financial status, explore options to increase access to behavioral health services, and secure block grant funding so Tennessee can create a patient-centered healthcare system to address our unique needs.
These initiatives will increase access and the quality of care available to Tennesseans, while driving down overall costs and protecting all patients — with or without preexisting conditions.
The CARE Plan will be implemented throughout the duration of the 111th General Assembly.
Republican Lawmakers Join With Governor To Announce New Investment in School Safety
Republican Lawmakers joined with the governor to announce a new investment in school safety to better protect teachers and students and prepare against the threat of violence.
They are proposing a $40 million investment for the school safety grant fund. Legislation filed will provide additional changes to existing law to prioritize the distribution of these grants to school resource officers.
Approximately 500 Tennessee schools do not currently have SROs, and changes to the law will enable them to fill these positions. The proposal also accommodates underserved counties working to secure schools and fill SRO positions by adjusting limited match requirements to be proportional to districts’ fiscal capacity.
The new funding plan also enables schools that currently have an SRO to pursue grants to fund other safety priorities such as implementing building security measures or developing innovative violence prevention programs.
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Department of Education will jointly oversee programming and grant funds while also providing threat assessment tools.
Republican Leaders Repeal the Gym Tax In The Upcoming Budget
This week, Republican leaders announced plans to repeal the amusement tax on gym memberships as part of the governor’s upcoming budget.
The nearly 10 percent amusement tax is placed on memberships to gyms, fitness centers and health clubs and disproportionately impacts small business owners. On the books since the mid-1980s, the gym tax represents approximately $10 million in state revenue.
According to the Department of Health, Tennessee ranks 40th in the nation for physical activity and 35th for adult obesity. Recent estimates show that illnesses related to diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease cost Tennessee more than $5.3 billion annually in direct and indirect costs.
House Republicans Introduce Legislation To Create Green Alert System
House Republicans introduced legislation this week to create a Green Alert system within the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to help identify and locate a missing veteran at risk because of a physical or mental health condition related to their military service.
Under House Bill 35, if the TBI receives a report that involves a missing veteran at risk, the agency can issue an alert providing for rapid dissemination of information statewide regarding the missing veteran at risk. TBI will attempt to make every effort to disseminate the information as quickly as possible when the status of a missing veteran at risk has been reported to a law enforcement agency. This measure also authorizes the TBI to use the infrastructure of America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) alert system to the extent permissible to facilitate a Green Alert.
According to a recent report from the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 470,000 veterans live in Tennessee. Nationally, our veteran population is closing in on 20 million citizens.
Tennessee House Republicans remain committed to and fighting for our active duty servicemen and women, veterans, and our military families. They have made tremendous sacrifices in the name of freedom.
Department of Conservation Seeks Environmental Achievers
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the 2019 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards.
The Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards include 10 unique categories: Building Green, Clean Air, Energy and Renewable Resources, Environmental Education and Outreach, Environmental Education and Outreach (school category), Land Use, Materials Management, Natural Heritage, Sustainable Performance, and Lifetime Achievement (professional and volunteer).
Any individual, business, organization, educational institution, or agency is eligible, provided it is located in Tennessee and the project was completed during the 2018 calendar year. All nominees must have a minimum of three consecutive years of overall environmental compliance with TDEC. Self-nominations are encouraged.
A panel of judges representing agricultural, conservation, forestry, environmental, and academic professionals will select award recipients based on criteria including level of project or program completion, innovation, and public education. The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2019. Award recipients will be announced in June 2019.
For more information about each category, judging criteria, and nomination forms, click here.