Rep. Travis: Weekly Wrap

Thursday, February 7, 2019 - by Rep. Ron Travis

House Republicans Introduce Legislation To Create Balance Within Community Oversight Boards

This week in Nashville, House Republicans introduced legislation aimed at creating balance within community oversight boards across Tennessee.  

Backed by Republican leadership, this legislation balances both the interests of our citizens to voice their opinion while also protecting the fundamental rights of officers and their families from malicious or politically focused persecution. 

Community oversight boards have existed since the 1950s, and there are presently no guidelines outlined in Tennessee state law that defines how they are created, who can serve on them, and what their specific function is. This measure provides much-needed structure to all current and future community oversight boards in Tennessee, which is critical to their overall success, as well as overall safety.  

House Bill 658  places guardrails on community oversight boards statewide in three significant ways: it removes subpoena power, requires reporting to the General Assembly, and limits the board to registered voters from the jurisdiction for which it serves. 

Additionally, the legislation promotes diversity among board members by ensuring membership is not restricted or limited based upon demographics, economic status, or employment history.  

Republican leaders support the brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives and make tremendous sacrifices as they serve their communities. At the same time, we understand the need for transparency and appreciate the desire of our citizens to hold our officers to a higher standard of conduct.  

Lee Administration Unveils Investment In Vocational Education Initiative

Governor Lee’s first legislative initiative builds public-private partnerships and doubles dual enrollment offerings 

This week, Governor Bill Lee rolled out his first legislative initiative, the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) to expand access to vocational and technical training for Tennessee students.  

According to the Governor’s press release, the GIVE initiative is a two-pronged approach that utilizes regional partnerships to develop work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities. Communities will now have the funding and flexibility to build programs that best reflect local needs and work directly with private industry to structure programming.  

GIVE also provides funding for high school juniors and seniors to utilize four, fully-funded dual enrollment credits for trade and technical programs. Previously, high school students only had access to two fully-funded dual enrollment credits. With access to four credits, students will now be better prepared for entry into the workforce within two years of graduation. 

Two grant programs will fund the initiative: GIVE Community Grants and GIVE Student Grants. Using the framework of the state’s Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP), the governor will recommend new funding in support of work-based learning through GIVE Community Grants. These competitive grants will go to regional partnerships between TCATs, industry, and K-12 to build new programs in work-based learning and apprenticeships, market-driven dual-credit opportunities, and the expansion of industry-informed CTE offerings at local high schools. 

GIVE Student Grants will be funded via the Tennessee Lottery and support expanded access to dual enrollment. 

Committee Conversations: House Transportation Committee Discusses REAL ID Act Of 2005

This week, members of the House Transportation Committee met with the Department of Safety to discuss changes to Tennessee driver’s licenses under the REAL ID Act of 2005. 

The federal measure was created in 2005 and was designed to increase security following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our nation. Its goal is to ensure people are not using false forms of identification when it comes to air travel, entering federal buildings, or accessing nuclear power plants.

Funding is allocated to states through federal grants to be used for additional security components like information technology, cameras, and key codes, special features on driver’s licenses, as well the implementation of an age verification system.

Currently, 43 states including Tennessee are in compliance. An additional five states are expected to reach this classification later this year. All are required to comply by October 1, 2022.   

Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office Reminds Tennesseans That Candles Must Be Held With Care 

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office wanted to remind consumers that candles must be handled with care to avoid the potential loss of life, injury, and property damage from an accidental fire. 

According to the Department of Commerce and Insurance, Tennessee fire departments responded to 71 residential structure fires that were started by candles in 2018 alone. These fires caused two civilian fatalities, four civilian injuries, two firefighter injuries, and more than $1.8 million in property damage. 

The SFMO offers the following tips to help keep Tennesseans safe from candle fires: 

When using candles, place them in sturdy, safe candleholders that will not burn or tip over.
Never leave a burning candle unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave a room or the home or go to bed.
Keep children and pets away from burning candles. Never leave a child unattended in a room with a candle. 
Never use a candle where medical oxygen is being used. The two can combine to create a large, unexpected fire. Medical oxygen can cause materials to ignite more easily and burn at a faster rate than normal. It can make an existing fire burn faster and hotter.
Lit candles should not be placed in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them, causing a fire.



Rock Star Educators

When Will The Chattanooga Police Department Do The Right Thing?

Remembering LaVaughn "Whitey" Cantrell


The school year is off and running, and the activity and energy are off the charts. Educators are relentlessly encouraging and instructing students in their classrooms. While I deeply respect ... (click for more)

Today, it was announced that the police officer who killed unarmed Eric Garner in New York, was fired. It has taken five years for that decision. On Jan. 2, 2004, unarmed Leslie Vaughn Prater ... (click for more)

Our community is blessed with many good Southern Gospel singers and groups. One such person was LaVaugh “Whitey” Cantrell. “Whitey” as he is known around here passed away on Friday. “Whitey” ... (click for more)


Opinion

Rock Star Educators

The school year is off and running, and the activity and energy are off the charts. Educators are relentlessly encouraging and instructing students in their classrooms. While I deeply respect those veteran teachers, who paved the way before retiring, I am seeing some incredibly talented instructors across the state in our schools today. I think we have more Rock Star Educators than ... (click for more)

When Will The Chattanooga Police Department Do The Right Thing?

Today, it was announced that the police officer who killed unarmed Eric Garner in New York, was fired. It has taken five years for that decision. On Jan. 2, 2004, unarmed Leslie Vaughn Prater died. The results of two official autopsy reports, one in Chattanooga and the other in Nashville, and conducted by different medical examiners, reported the findings. Their independent investigations ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Motorcyclist, 55, Killed In Collision With SUV On Tuesday Morning On Lee Highway

A motorcyclist was killed in a collision with an SUV on Lee Highway on Tuesday morning. At approximately 9:01 a.m., Chattanooga Police were notified of a serious traffic crash involving a motorcycle and a vehicle at 7500 Lee Highway. The CPD Traffic / DUI Unit responded to the scene. A GMC Acadia, driven by Gary A. Moore, 68, was traveling south on Lee Highway and merged ... (click for more)

Construction Set To Start Next Spring On $25 Million Chattanooga Airport Parking Deck; Terminal To Expand; Enplanements Continue To Increase

Terry Hart, president of the Chattanooga Airport, said at the August board meeting that it has been a good summer for the airport with enplanements in June increasing 12½ percent above last year and seven percent in July. For the first seven months of the year, enplanements are up 12 ½ percent with an increase of 2,500 arrivals and departures year-to-date over 2018. However, a leveling ... (click for more)

Sports

Grace Rally Tops Hixson In Volleyball Opener

High school volleyball teams have been practicing for several weeks and no doubt, are ready for a real match so they can show what they’ve learned so far. Monday was the first day of the season. No question some coaches were happier than others with final results, but it’s a good bet that all identified multiple areas where improvement needs to be made if they have a chance of ... (click for more)

VOLLEYBALL ROUND-UP

Opening night volleyball action saw CSAS defeat East Ridge, 3-0, while Rhea County blanked Red Bank. In other area matches East Hamilton continued to build on a great 2018 campaign with a 3-0 win over Silverdale, Lookout valley defeated Patriots, 3-0 and Boyd-Buchanan blanked Soddy Daisy. CCS won, 3-0, over Bradley Central. Opening night also saw one of last year’s state finalists ... (click for more)