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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.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Weekly Wrap - April 10, 2016

Bill Aimed At Preventing Allergy Emergencies In Public Places Heads To Governor’s Desk To Become Law

Legislation aimed at preventing allergy emergencies in public places now heads to the desk of Governor Bill Haslam for final signature before becoming law. Once signed, the bill will allow epinephrine auto-injectors to be available in public spaces that attract groups of people and where exposure to allergens could pose a risk to those who know they have allergies and those who are unaware that they may be at risk for anaphylaxis — a severe, sometimes life-threatening, allergic reaction.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 94 to 0.

As passed, House Bill 2054 authorizes trained individuals as well as others acting under the supervision of a physician to provide or administer an epinephrine auto-injector under certain circumstances, which would allow organizations such as scout troops, daycares, colleges and universities, restaurants, sports arenas, and other business entities to obtain a prescription and have the life-saving medication on hand for use in an emergency.

The bill also protects those who prescribe, dispense, and administer epinephrine auto-injectors under the provisions of the bill from civil liability. It does not, however, protect against gross negligence, and entities that choose not to have auto-injectors available are protected from civil liability as part of the legislation.

Advocates agree this legislation will make a difference for Tennesseans that suffer from life-threatening allergies and provide another safety measure for them in a variety of public places across the state.

It is estimated that at least one in 13 children in the U.S. is living with a food allergy, and according to federal guidelines, epinephrine is the treatment that should be given first when a person is experiencing a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Nineteen states have passed similar legislation — 16 of those laws were passed in 2015, including in Michigan, New Jersey, Kentucky and West Virginia. Legislation is also pending in additional states including: Ohio, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

2016-2017 Budget Amendment Introduced

Legislation proposes additional investment for local transportation needs, student enrollment growth
This week, Governor Bill Haslam unveiled additions to the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget that will be considered by the 109th General Assembly in the coming days.

As introduced, the appropriations amendment closely follows the original budget proposal presented to the legislature on February 1, and it recognizes $60 million in savings from state departments returned to the General Fund.
In the amendment, Haslam proposes adding $12 million to the $130 million originally presented to repay the state’s Highway Fund. If the budget is approved as amended, $42 million of the total $142 million would go to the transportation needs of local governments as part of the state aid program.

Other notable funding priorities in the budget amendment include:

• $9 million to fund additional K-12 student enrollment growth during the current year;
• $2.43 million for a 1 percent provider rate increase with the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD);
• $1.3 million to increase the work being done with adverse childhood experiences (ACE);
• $1.04 million to leverage Tennessee State University’s land grant status;
• $18.2 million to restore a 1 percent provider rate reduction in TennCare; and
• $1 million to support growth in the state’s captive insurance program; and

The appropriations amendment is customarily introduced in the final weeks of the legislative session each year for consideration and approval by the General Assembly.

House Lawmakers Pass Legislation To Serve Families Of Fallen Tennessee Soldiers
Legislature approves in-state tuition for children whose parents have lost their lives while protecting Tennessee.

This week, the House of Representatives unanimously approved House Bill 1407 to help serve the families of fallen Tennessee soldiers.

As passed, the legislation provides in-state tuition to any college in the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Board of Regents systems for children of military parents who die as a result of a targeted attack on Tennessee soil.  The in-state tuition would be available to these children regardless of their domicile or place of residence during the child’s enrollment in the institution.

This legislation is in direct response to last summer’s tragic attacks in Chattanooga, and helps to ensure Tennessee serves any future victims and their families. As supporters note, it is the duty of the legislature to do everything in its power to care for these families who have given so much to their state and country.

After passing in the Senate earlier this session, House Bill 1407 now awaits the signature of Governor Bill Haslam before becoming law.

The full text of House Bill 1407 can be found by visiting http://goo.gl/a4EL0C.

Legislation To Increase Awareness And Prevention Of Sexual Assault On College Campuses Passes House With Overwhelming Support

Legislation sponsored aimed at increasing awareness and prevention of sexual assault on college campuses passed the House of Representatives today with bipartisan support from state lawmakers.
As passed, House Bill 2409 requires each public college in the state to require all incoming freshmen during orientation or introductory studies to receive instruction aimed at increasing the awareness and prevention of sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and date rape. The bill also strongly encourages institutes of higher education to offer instruction of these same topics to all grades at some point during the school year.

With recent reports in the news media concerning alarming stories about sexual assault and harassment on college campuses, lawmakers feel this legislation is a strong step forward in reminding students about the importance of doing all they can to keep campuses safe. Through efforts to collaborate and work with state colleges — with students, parents, faculty, and staff — legislators are seeking to cultivate and sustain a campus culture that is free of sexual violence and characterized by caring and respect for one another.

The full text of House Bill 2409 can be found by visiting http://goo.gl/zceWrp. Having passed both the House and Senate, the legislation will now travel to the desk of Governor Bill Haslam to be signed into law.

Bill To Cut Fraud And Abuse In Tennessee’s Welfare System Passes House With Unanimous Support

Legislation aimed at cutting fraud and abuse in Tennessee’s welfare system was approved this week on the House floor in Nashville.

The proposal makes critical changes to the way the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) contracts with and monitors organizations that receive taxpayer money to feed children and adults who need temporary help from the government. The bill passed with a unanimous 94-0 vote.

The legislation comes after investigations and audits from the Comptroller of the Treasury that identified financial mismanagement and fraud within some of the federal food programs administered by DHS. Approximately $80 million flows through DHS for program services each year.

As passed, House Bill 1940 directs the Department of Human Services to conduct background checks on each applicant of the subrecipient or sponsoring organization. It also requires sponsoring organizations applying to participate in any food program administered through the Department to obtain and maintain a performance bond. If a contract is awarded, the Department must perform both unannounced and announced physical site visits during the subrecipient monitoring process and report their findings.

Similarly under the bill, DHS must develop subrecipient monitoring plans utilizing analytical procedures that must be submitted to legislative leaders and the State Comptroller on an annual basis. In addition, the bill requires the inspector general of DHS to submit a report summarizing the results of any substantiated investigations concerning fraud, waste, and abuse regarding the child and adult care food program and summer food service program every three months.

The legislation brings more transparency and accountability to aid programs overseen by Tennessee Department of Human Services and will help further protect taxpayer dollars by catching bad actors attempting to abuse state food and welfare programs.

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