About Me

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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee and on the Finance Ways and Means Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Please Re-Elect Rep. Susan Lynn

Dear Friends,
Early voting begins today.  I ask for the honor of your vote; that you to would allow me to serve you again for the next two years.

I sent out a robo-call last night to let you know about a convenient, new early voting location located at Lighthouse Church on Saundersville Rd. at Saundersville Ferry Rd.  Voting is from 8 am – 6 pm, M-F and from 8 am – 1 pm on Saturdays.

While Washington DC has broken down, I hope you see a difference in our state government. Even compare us to any other state – our GDP growth is 6.4% - nationally it is 1%.  We are lean, we do not deficit spend, we balance our budget, we have cut your taxes and banned an income tax. I know that it is our Tennessee values that makes us different.

We want you and your family to feel pride in your work and schools.  Major employers are moving here - which in turn helps small businesses, unemployment is low, personal income is rising.
Our schools are the fastest improving in the nation, we have directed more money towards education than any other General Assembly ($1 billion) without raising your taxes.  Every graduating student can attend two years of community college or tech school for free by using lottery dollars.

Our infrastructure challenges are due to our tremendous growth but our roads are still rated the 3rd best in the nation and we are taxed the third least per mile driven.  We have a plan to meet those challenges by taking advantage of the massive budget surpluses generated by our economic expansion – last year we paid off half of a massive debt and directed that money to TDOT.  This year we will pay off the remainder, and direct that money plus budget surplus money towards transportation creating a new dedicated funding stream. Electric and hydrogen vehicles do not contribute to the road fund – we will agree on a plan this year so that they contribute too.  In the 2016 – 2017 budget that we just passed – the construction of Hwy 109 is funded and will start soon – in fact, TDOT projects are occurring on every state road in Wilson County.

I have passed many bills that I write to you about in my newsletter but as far as the big picture is concerned such as I mentioned above, it really has been a Republican lead team that has accomplished these good things through our Tennessee values.  I am honored to be a part of making Tennessee strong.  I ask you for your vote.

Thank you – Susan Lynn

ENDORSEMENTS
National Rifle Association
Tennessee Right to Life
National Federation of Independent Business
Tennessee Realtors Association
Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters
Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection
100% American Conservative Union
Americans for Prosperity – Taxpayer Hero

EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS
Lighthouse Church – Saundersville Rd.
Charlie Daniels Park – Mt. Juliet
Gladeville Community Center – Gladeville
County Election Commission – Main St., Lebanon
Watertown Community Center – Watertown
Hours – 8 am – 6 pm, M-F. Saturday, 8 am – 1 pm.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Tennessee Department of Education Shares Key Takeaways from First Round of ESSA Feedback

More than 2,000 Tennesseans weigh in on how to implement new federal law

NASHVILLE—Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen released a new report today highlighting the feedback gathered from educators, advocates, parents, students, and the public to determine how to implement specific components of the nation’s new education law: the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The department is using the input to draft Tennessee’s plan to transition to ESSA, which was co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and replaces No Child Left Behind.

Over the past six months, Commissioner McQueen and department leaders have hosted dozens of in-person and virtual feedback sessions across the state to gather input on how to craft a Tennessee-specific ESSA plan. More than 2,000 Tennesseans, representing 83 counties and 132 school districts, have participated in the discussion so far, with more opportunities in the future. Outreach efforts included inviting all of Tennessee’s 146 school district leaders to join regional meetings over the summer, participating in more than a dozen regional sessions hosted by the Tennessee School Boards Association to speak with school board members, and leading dozens of in-person and virtual sessions with classroom teachers and educators who serve in a variety of roles. 

Additionally, the department hosted a public feedback opportunity through an online form with supplemental questions for parents and students, which were translated into Spanish to further extend outreach to families. Further feedback methods were used to gather input from a variety of groups, including business leaders, school choice organizations, community groups, civil rights organizations, and other education advocates. Six working groups, comprised of about a dozen members each, are using the feedback as they work through specific policies.

“ESSA has given us an opportunity to build on what is working in Tennessee. We are the fastest improving state in the nation because of the groundwork our educators, families, and students have laid over the past few years, and we want to keep moving on that path. But we know we have room to continue to grow, and ESSA empowers us to make decisions that make the most sense for Tennessee’s children so we can do just that,” McQueen said. “Public feedback and support has been critical in Tennessee’s success, and as the state has drafted its transition plan to the new law, building on existing relationships and developing new connections has been a focal point.” 

Through the various avenues of feedback, some areas of consensus appeared, such as that the Tennessee ESSA plan should align to the state’s strategic plan, Tennessee Succeeds, and start with our current accountability framework. The most complex issues discussed by working groups and stakeholders tended to fall into three areas: accountability, assessment, and preparing students for postsecondary. The department will continue to engage with stakeholders during the next five months in preparation for submission of the Tennessee state plan to the U.S. Department of Education.

The department and working groups are still in the early stages of drafting the state plan, which will be available for public comment by the end of the calendar year. In early spring 2017, the department will work with stakeholder groups, the State Board of Education, and the Tennessee General Assembly as needed to recommend changes to state law and policy, as well as develop further guidance for school districts.

To view the report and to find more information, including a complete timeline and an outline of the current education laws and policies in Tennessee, visit the department’s ESSA webpage. For media inquiries, contact Sara Gast at (615) 532-6260 or Sara.Gast@tn.gov.

High School Graduation Rate Hits New High

Tennessee High School Graduation Rate Hits New High Under More Rigorous Criteria
NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that the 2015-16 graduation rate of 88.5 percent is the highest on record since the state changed to a more rigorous calculation of graduation rates in 2011.

The latest statewide graduation rate was up nearly a full percentage point since last year and overall has increased three percentage points since the state implemented the more rigorous calculations.

This year, nearly 60 percent of districts saw their graduation rates increase or stay the same when compared to last year’s rates.
“Our schools and districts should be proud of the work they have done to support students on their journeys to and beyond high school graduation,” McQueen said. “High school graduation is a critical step in allowing students to embark on their chosen paths in life. However, as more Tennessee students are earning their diplomas, we must ensure that they are all leaving with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and the workforce.”
Over the past few years, Tennessee has been raising expectations for both students and educators, and the state has seen significant gains as a result. These outcomes, including increases in graduation rates, are a testament to the work being done in schools across the state. The most notable gains and overall achievements are:

12 districts improved their graduation rates by five percentage points or more. The districts with the most significant gains were Alvin C. York (18.1 percent), Tullahoma City (11.6 percent), Trenton Special School District (11.1 percent), and Grundy County (10 percent).

95 districts—over 70 percent of the districts in the state—have graduation rates at or above 90 percent, up from 81 districts last year. Fentress County, Alcoa City, South Carroll Special School District, Milan Special School District, Meigs County, and Crockett County all had graduation rates at or above 99 percent.

76 districts—roughly 60 percent of districts in the state—had graduation rates at or above 90 percent for both 2014-15 and 2015-16.
More information, such as graduation rates for individual subgroups, will be available on the State Report Card, which will be released later this fall.

For individual district data, please reach out to your local school district or call Rep. Susan Lynn at 615-741-7462. Under More Rigorous Criteria
NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that the 2015-16 graduation rate of 88.5 percent is the highest on record since the state changed to a more rigorous calculation of graduation rates in 2011.

The latest statewide graduation rate was up nearly a full percentage point since last year and overall has increased three percentage points since the state implemented the more rigorous calculations.

This year, nearly 60 percent of districts saw their graduation rates increase or stay the same when compared to last year’s rates.
“Our schools and districts should be proud of the work they have done to support students on their journeys to and beyond high school graduation,” McQueen said. “High school graduation is a critical step in allowing students to embark on their chosen paths in life. However, as more Tennessee students are earning their diplomas, we must ensure that they are all leaving with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and the workforce.”
Over the past few years, Tennessee has been raising expectations for both students and educators, and the state has seen significant gains as a result. These outcomes, including increases in graduation rates, are a testament to the work being done in schools across the state. The most notable gains and overall achievements are:

12 districts improved their graduation rates by five percentage points or more. The districts with the most significant gains were Alvin C. York (18.1 percent), Tullahoma City (11.6 percent), Trenton Special School District (11.1 percent), and Grundy County (10 percent).

95 districts—over 70 percent of the districts in the state—have graduation rates at or above 90 percent, up from 81 districts last year. Fentress County, Alcoa City, South Carroll Special School District, Milan Special School District, Meigs County, and Crockett County all had graduation rates at or above 99 percent.

76 districts—roughly 60 percent of districts in the state—had graduation rates at or above 90 percent for both 2014-15 and 2015-16.
More information, such as graduation rates for individual subgroups, will be available on the State Report Card, which will be released later this fall.

For individual district data, please reach out to your local school district or call Rep. Susan Lynn at 615-741-7462.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection Endorses Lynn for Re-election

Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection (TVAP) have announced their endorsement of State Representative Susan Lynn for Re-election to the Tennessee House.  TVAP is a grassroots, all-volunteer, non-partisan political action committee (PAC) dedicated to electing Tennessee candidates based on their support and promotion of animal welfare legislation.

"Rep. Susan Lynn has been a champion for animals in Tennessee," said Anjie Crow, President of Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection. "For two years in a row, Rep. Lynn co-sponsored the Tennessee Animal Abuser Registration Act and sponsored a bill that aimed to strengthen animal cruelty laws by addressing important oversight concerns related to commercial dog-breeding facilities in Tennessee. She has also co-sponsored important pro-animal legislation over the years, and we are very pleased to be able to endorse her once again this year as an animal-friendly candidate!"

Payton Robbins, Legislative Liaison, TVAP wrote Lynn “We want to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to you for your support of animal legislation.  We understand the political climate for animals in Tennessee has been a tough one and we cannot thank you enough for standing strong when it comes to pro-animal legislation and standing against legislation that would be detrimental to Tennessee's animals.”

Lynn now adds the TVAP endorsement to her growing list endorsements and top rankings from Tennessee Right to Life, the NRA, NFIB, American Conservative Union, American’s for Prosperity, the Family Action Council, GNRC Legislator of the Year, Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Assn., Wilson County TEA Party, Mount Juliet Republican Women and the Wilson County Republican Party. 

Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly.  She severed from 2002 – 2010 and was re-elected in 2012.  She is chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources Sub Committee and on the Finance, Ways and Means Committee.


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HASLAM ANNOUNCES LEAP GRANT for LEBANON LOCATION

The Labor Education Alignment Program Grants (LEAP) support Drive to 55 by aligning workforce needs with higher education
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the recipients of the Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP) competition, a state initiative that supports the Drive to 55 by awarding grants to community and academic partnerships formed to help communities align workforce needs with higher education.
“If we can eliminate gaps in the skills needed by local manufacturers and other companies and the types of degrees and courses offered by local community and technical colleges, we can strengthen our workforce to meet industry demands,” Haslam said. “These LEAP grants help create programs that tie specific training and skills to current workforce needs, helping more Tennesseans qualify for good, high paying jobs. This is a key piece of our Drive to 55 campaign to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or credential to 55 percent by 2025.”
The General Assembly appropriated $10 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year budget for LEAP grants. Among the many recipients across the state the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) awarded TCAT Hartsville/Lebanon $944,009.

Rep. Susan Lynn who the legislative member on the board of GNRC stated "This grant will make a tremendous difference for our area students."

The LEAP competition required applicants to respond to a competitive Request for Proposals that was released on May 4, 2016. Proposals were reviewed and selected by the Governor’s Workforce Subcabinet, consisting of commissioners and staff from the following agencies:
Tennessee Board of Regents
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Tennessee Department of Education
Tennessee Department of Human Services
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
About the Drive to 55
In 2013, Governor Haslam launched the Drive to 55 to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. As a result, the Drive to 55 has established the Tennessee Promise program, the nation’s first scholarship and mentorship program that provides high school graduates last-dollar scholarships to attend two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees; reduced the number of college freshmen requiring remediation through the SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program; provided free technical college for adults through TCAT Reconnect Grants; created Tennessee Reconnect + Complete to help more adults return to college to complete unfinished degrees; developed a more comprehensive state approach to serving student veterans; and leveraged technology to enhance classroom instruction and college advising.
###

HASLAM ANNOUNCES LEAP GRANT for LEBANON LOCATION

The Labor Education Alignment Program Grants (LEAP) support Drive to 55 by aligning workforce needs with higher education
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the recipients of the Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP) competition, a state initiative that supports the Drive to 55 by awarding grants to community and academic partnerships formed to help communities align workforce needs with higher education.
“If we can eliminate gaps in the skills needed by local manufacturers and other companies and the types of degrees and courses offered by local community and technical colleges, we can strengthen our workforce to meet industry demands,” Haslam said. “These LEAP grants help create programs that tie specific training and skills to current workforce needs, helping more Tennesseans qualify for good, high paying jobs. This is a key piece of our Drive to 55 campaign to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or credential to 55 percent by 2025.”
The General Assembly appropriated $10 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year budget for LEAP grants. Among the many recipients across the state the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) awarded TCAT Hartsville/Lebanon $944,009.

Rep. Susan Lynn who the legislative member on the board of GNRC stated "This great will make a tremendous difference for our area students."

The LEAP competition required applicants to respond to a competitive Request for Proposals that was released on May 4, 2016. Proposals were reviewed and selected by the Governor’s Workforce Subcabinet, consisting of commissioners and staff from the following agencies:
Tennessee Board of Regents
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Tennessee Department of Education
Tennessee Department of Human Services
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
About the Drive to 55
In 2013, Governor Haslam launched the Drive to 55 to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. As a result, the Drive to 55 has established the Tennessee Promise program, the nation’s first scholarship and mentorship program that provides high school graduates last-dollar scholarships to attend two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees; reduced the number of college freshmen requiring remediation through the SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program; provided free technical college for adults through TCAT Reconnect Grants; created Tennessee Reconnect + Complete to help more adults return to college to complete unfinished degrees; developed a more comprehensive state approach to serving student veterans; and leveraged technology to enhance classroom instruction and college advising.
###

Friday, September 16, 2016

The House's Authority Expel a Member

State Representative Susan Lynn



Dear Members,

This letter is to assist in answering any questions regarding the House's action to expel a member this week, and to clarify issues regarding the historical precedent, constitutionality, and the rules and authority of the House.

HISTORICAL PRECEDENT 
There have been two expulsions since reconstruction in the Tennessee House of Representatives; in 1866 and 1980.  The first was during an Article III, Section 9 call by the Governor to Special Session.  In that Session six members were expelled at the same time by motion from the House floor.

Neither the expulsions, nor the authority of the House to conduct such business, were challenged.

An Article III, Section 9 call is the same call to Special Session that Governor Haslam made to the 109th General Assembly requiring our attendance this past week.

CONSTITUTIONALITY
Article III, Section 9 reads;

“He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly by proclamation, in which he shall state specifically the purposes for which they are to convene; but they shall enter on no legislative business except that for which they were specifically called together.”

The term 'legislative business' needs clarification. The Attorney General has opined that “the words ‘legislative business’ refer to substantive matters, rather than matters of procedural or administrative nature.”  See, Tenn. Op. Atty. Gen. 84-009 (January 10, 1984).

Each House is constitutionally incapable of performing legislative business on its own without the approval of the other body.  Therefore, according to the AG, any action which the House can independently perform on its own is not legislative business. 

Consequently, “they shall enter on no legislative business except that for which they were specifically called together” means that we cannot meet at the call of the Governor to fix the DUI law and then also take up Insure TN as some hoped to do.  And to be sure, no action of the Executive branch has any power to prevent the House from working on non-legislative business such as procedural or administrative matters of the House.  Expulsion from the House is a procedural matter on which the House may act independently – not legislative business.

The state Constitution gives clear authority to each House to discipline and expel members in Article II, Section 12;

“Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same offense; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the Legislature of a free state.”

Art III, Sec. 9 cannot be interpreted to render Art. II, Sec. 12 inoperable.

HOUSE RULES
House Rule 82, Ethics Code for the House of Representatives, is lengthy so I will not print the entire rule – only relevant portions; 
  • The purpose of the rule is “to establish standards of conduct for the representatives, to authorize the House Ethics Committee to consider alleged violations of this code, and to authorize the House Ethics Committee to render advisory opinions to the House.” 
Note that Rule 82 does not require an Art. II, Sec. 12 disciplinary motion or an expulsion motion to be referred to (or screened by) the ethics committee.  Such motions are made on the Floor of the House as was done in 1866 and in 1980.   The only limitation on expulsion is found under Art. II, Section 12; the House or Senate, as applicable, must vote to expel a member, and 2/3 of the body must vote in favor of expulsion to expel the member.
  • The ethics “code is in addition to and separate from standards of conduct that may be required under state or federal law.”
Criminal offenses are judicial matters which should be investigated by, and prosecuted by, the local District Attorney etc.  
  • The ethics code also states that “no complaint by a member of the House of Representatives alleging sexual harassment shall be received or considered by the [ethics] committee.” 
The Legislature’s Workplace Harassment Policy is set up to investigate sexual harassment complaints filed by the offended party.   Although there were accounts in the press of a sexual nature, no one filed a complaint.  
  • The ethics committee has the “authority to receive and consider complaints, based upon personal or constructive knowledge, concerning alleged violations of [the] House Ethics Code.”
Although Durham’s behavior was unbecoming, and press accounts covered a number of substantial issues, no member of the House filed an ethics complaint against Durham to bring about an Ethics Committee investigation.

AUTHORITY of SPEAKER
No House Rule prevents the Speaker of the House from taking action deemed necessary and appropriate for the good of the House such as naming a Special Ad Hoc committee, including a committee to consider matters that would fall under Article II. Sec 12.

Further, nothing prohibits a Special Ad Hoc Committee named by the Speaker from naming a third party to perform an investigation on behalf of the Committee.  In this case, the Ad Hoc Committee requested the Attorney General to assist the committee in investigating the conduct of Jeremy Durham.

The Committee’s request for the AG’s assistance is exactly the same procedure and investigative authority granted to the House Ethics Committee by Rule 82, Article IV, (c)(2) where it reads “[the Ethics] Committee may request the…Attorney General…to assist the committee in investigating any complaint received or initiated by the committee.”

CONCLUSION
Therefore, it is perfectly constitutional for the House to take up procedural business during a Special Session called by the Governor, and;

It is perfectly within the Speaker’s authority to name a Special Ad Hoc Committee, and;

It is perfectly appropriate for the Special Ad Hoc Committee to request the assistance of the Attorney General to perform an investigation, and;

It is perfectly permissible for the House to address the discipline or expulsion of a member from the floor of the House.

Please have confidence that the House followed historical precedent, constitutional authority, and the rules and authority of the House of Representatives. Please write back should you have any questions.

Thank you for your time, and blessings for your re-election.

Most sincerely,

Susan Lynn
State Representative 


State Representative, District 57 | State of Tennessee | 104 War Memorial Building | Nashville, TN 37243
615-741-7462 | rep.susan.lynn@capitol.tn.gov

Monday, September 12, 2016

Complaint Against Speaker Harwell is without Merit

UPDATE
Rep. Womick withdrew two of his ethics complaints and the other three were immediately dismissed for being without merit. 




We do not understand Rep. Womick except to say that as a Republican he makes a really great Democrat for attacking Republicans all the time. 

Today, Womick spoke passionately on the floor about marriage but just as soon as he was done speaking he defended Rep. Durham - a married man who 22 women have provided details of his harassment.

After Session on Tuesday Rep. Womick filed 5 ethics complaints against Speaker Harwell claiming that she hasn't handled the Durham affair correctly.

Perhaps we should file an ethics complaint against Womick, and several others because they knew about Durham's behavior according one member.


I did not know but I do know what the Speaker did as she learned of his behavior and as it grew more and more erratic and outrageous.  She addressed him – but he made denials.  She repeatedly asked him to resign his leadership position, to resign from the party, and to resign from the House – but he refused.   When some of the victims came forward she asked them to file a complaint so that his actions could be investigated – but they refused. 

She, along with others, urged us Caucus members to take away his leadership position, his party affiliation and to expel him but several members defended him, they didn’t want him to resign as Whip, or from the Caucus, nor from the House, nor did they want to vote him out of any of those positions. 

So to establish formal confirmation she named a committee to investigate his actions, and again, those same people did not support that decision. 

Next she banished him to the Rachel Jackson Building, permitting him only escorted access to the Legislature and the Capitol which we heard a few call harsh.  At the time I thought that they were simply misguided but yet now that we know the full breadth of the report your supporters still say that she did it all wrong.

Had the committee not released the report to the public who can doubt that the Representative would have claimed that it was not released because it contained no condemning information – thus, further victimizing the women?

I believe the Speaker handled everything as well as anyone could especially in the face of the few Caucus members who were apparently hoping it would all create political hay down the road.  No one can force anybody else to behave rightly, and no one can force anyone to resign – but for sure - the Speaker should have had the full support of the people who had knowledge of his activities.

It is a shame but it seems there has been a passive aggressive war waged by a few members for years now which makes everyone else in the Caucus feel uncomfortable.   There is an ugly, one-sided blog that is simply spiteful and at times libelous.  No Christian should even waste their time to read such injustice, and no Christian could ever write such injustice. 

I have a little book on ethics from the 1890's – on the topic of justice it says this;

People can do injustice by their thoughts. When we hear complaints or accusations against any person and readily believe them, without knowing what the accused would say in self-defense, we are generally unjust.  Even if a person be very much to blame, he will generally appear less to blame, when we understand the case fully, than he did after we had only heard what was said against him.  We must therefore be careful, and not judge hastily; and we must not, even in our minds, condemn the absent and unheard person.  We should not like to be judged and condemned thus; and it is unjust for us to form opinions in this way about others.  

I wish that blog would print that statement and offer a public apology for their many injustices.