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.



Roy Exum: Maddy’s Bigger Victory

This Generation Is Falling To The Wayside - And Response (2)

Roy Exum: Just Say ‘I Love You’


There are two things that I suspect I am far better-versed than you are. The first is that after a half-century as an unquenchable student, my list of the greatest athletes in the history of ... (click for more)

As a 35-year-old mother of four daughters, I worry about them daily. I know how hard junior high school, as it was called back then, and high school were. With technology changes and social media ... (click for more)

A dear friend sends me a note that his mom, after 40 glorious years of teaching children in public schools, is dying. The death of a mom or dad is among the worst things a child must bear, watching ... (click for more)


Opinion

Roy Exum: Maddy’s Bigger Victory

There are two things that I suspect I am far better-versed than you are. The first is that after a half-century as an unquenchable student, my list of the greatest athletes in the history of UT athletics is better than yours. Oh, you can get the record books, the stat sheets, and an easy-to-find list of victories and do right well. But my edge is that I know what it took, the back-story, ... (click for more)

This Generation Is Falling To The Wayside - And Response (2)

As a 35-year-old mother of four daughters, I worry about them daily. I know how hard junior high school, as it was called back then, and high school were. With technology changes and social media taking over, these kids are losing their childhood and innocence far earlier than they should. There is so much more peer pressure on them to do things that are considered “cool”. Bullying ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Walker County Commissioner Announces Erlanger Debt Will Be Paid In Full In Current Tax Cycle

Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said on Wednesday that the county will pay off its $8.7 million debt to Erlanger Health System within the current tax cycle. The announcement was made on Walker County's Facebook page and can be found here . The debt was incurred during the prior administration of Commissioner Bebe Heiskell, when she backed $10 million of an infusion ... (click for more)

Littlefield Proposes Using Portion Of Hotel/Motel Tax Funds To Operate New Homeless Shelter

Former Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield is proposing that the city and county take $1 million each from the hotel/motel tax to operate a new homeless center. Mr. Littlefield told members of the County Commission on Wednesday that he believes it would be a justified use of the hotel/motel funds because restaurant and hotel operators often complain that homeless people are disturbing ... (click for more)

Sports

5-3A Softball: Lady Trojans Stop Lady Mustangs, 5-3, For Regular Season Title

At crunch time in Wednesday’s District 5-3A softball showdown between Soddy-Daisy and Walker Valley, the Lady Trojans delivered two heavy jolts to the Lady Mustangs. With the score tied at 3-3, Emily Higgins belted a two-out home run in the fourth inning. In the top of the seventh, Baylie Davis smacked a leadoff homer that easily cleared the left-center field fence and disappeared ... (click for more)

UTC's San Juan Gets Bid For NCAA Golf Regionals

Chattanooga Mocs senior Monica San Juan is headed to Opelika, Ala., for the 2019 NCAA Auburn Regionals. She one of 384 collegians vying for the NCAA Championship played May 17-22 at the Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark. But first is regional play May 6-8. Saugahatchee Country Club is one of four regional sites. Each site features 18 teams and six individuals with the ... (click for more)