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.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Weekly Wrap - February 28, 2016

Republican Lawmakers Move Forward with Legislation to Help Those Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

House Republican lawmakers voted unanimously this week to move forward with legislation designed to help those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

As introduced, House Bill 1206 will create the Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder — a dedicated committee that will focus solely on aiding those with special needs and their families.

Along with establishing a long-term plan for a system of care for individuals with ASD, the Council will also make recommendations and provide leadership in program development regarding matters concerning all levels of ASD services in health care, education, and other adult and adolescent need areas.

Specifically, the Council will be charged with seven tasks, including:

·       Assessing the current and future impact of Autism Spectrum Disorder on the residents of Tennessee;

·       Assessing the availability of programs and services currently provided for early screening diagnosis and treatment of ASD;

·       Seeking additional input and recommendations from stakeholders that include providers, clinicians, institutions of higher education, and those concerned with the health and quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder;

·       Developing a comprehensive statewide plan for an integrated system of training, treatment, and services for individuals of all ages with ASD;

·       Ensuring interagency collaboration as the comprehensive statewide system of care for Autism Spectrum Disorder is developed and implemented;

·       Coordinating available resources related to developing and implementing a system of care for autism spectrum disorder; and

·       Coordinating state budget requests related to systems of care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders based on the studies and recommendations of the Council.

The Council itself would serve under the Tennessee Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities and would be made up of the Commissioner of Health, the Commissioner of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Human Services, the Commissioner of Commerce & Insurance, the Deputy Commissioner of TennCare, the Commissioner of Mental Health & Substance Abuse, and six adult individuals who are either family members or primary caregivers of individuals with ASD.

The Autism Society currently estimates that about one percent of the world population has ASD, affecting over 3.5 million Americans. The organization also notes that Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.

The legislation is set to next be heard in the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee.




This week, my House Joint Resolution 528 moved forward in the committee process after receiving unanimous support from state lawmakers. The resolution now proceeds to the House Calendar and Rules Committee, the last stop it must make before reaching the full House floor for a final vote.

As introduced, the legislation affirms Tennessee’s authority over matters of the state, in accordance with the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Additionally, it calls for the federal government to halt its practice of overreaching into the affairs of state government.

Supporters cite the resolution is a direct result of concerns shared by constituents regarding the federal government’s heavy-handed involvement in the State of Tennessee.

Once HJR 0528 is signed, a certified copy of the resolution will be distributed to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker and the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation.


Student Testing Transparency Bill Receives Support From House Republicans

House Republicans moved forward this week with legislation that would put into law recommendations of an assessment taskforce made up of educators, legislators, parents, and other key representatives that worked for six months to study and identify best practices in testing for Tennessee students.

As introduced, House Bill 1537 acts on three main recommendations from the education task force, including:

  • Eliminating two unnecessary high school tests, reducing the overall number of tests given to students;

  • Allowing students to retake the ACT or SAT free of charge, giving them an opportunity to increase their scores and their options for postsecondary education; and

  • Renewing Tennessee’s commitment to test transparency by annually releasing statewide assessment questions and answers. This change in assessment procedure will provide parents, teachers, and students more information about the tests students take and more information about ways to best support students in their goals.

This legislation builds on the efforts of House Republicans to heavily invest in the future of education in Tennessee, working to ensure teachers have the tools they need and that students have the freedom and ability to reach their full potential.

In addition to this legislation, Republicans have also proposed investing 261 million in new dollars for Tennessee public education this year, including $104.6 million for teacher salaries — the largest investment in K-12 education without a tax increase in state history.



Legislation To Help Protect Consumers From Deceptive Advertising Practices Passes House With Bipartisan Support

Have you ever received a letter in the mail that looks just like a letter from the government telling you that you owe money, or that you have to purchase a copy of your deed, or a summons?

I am really proud to co-sponsor legislation to help curtail these deceptive advertising practices.  The bill passed on the full floor this week with bipartisan support from state lawmakers.

As passed, the ‘Government Impostor and Deceptive Advertisements Act’ prohibits mail advertisements that look like a summons or a judicial process notification. It also prohibits advertising that looks like a government document, whether it is through the use of language, seals and logos, or if it implies an unauthorized endorsement by a government entity. The bill prescribes a fine of up to $100 per advertisement for violation of the proposed law.

The purpose of the legislation is to help protect consumers from possible identity and monetary theft.

In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission received 4,175 complaints of identity theft from Tennesseans, and that number has steadily increased each year. Nationally, financial losses due to personal identity theft in 2012 totaled $24.7 billion, over $10 billion more than the losses attributed to all other property crimes.

Rectifying this problem is also why the Governor decided to requisition a new state logo.  Legally, the three-star logo is in such wide use by so many businesses the state cannot obtain a trademark.  A trademark would serve to restrict its use to the state of Tennessee only.  Therefore, the only solution was to create a new logo; one whose use can be restricted and one that can be defended in court.


Sex Trafficing Bill Advances

HB1693 by Chairman Coley is scheduled to be heard in the Calendar and Rules Committee this week – the last House committee before advancing to the House floor.  The bill will strengthen our laws to combat sex slavery by taking away certain defenses that defendants have previously relied upon. Specifically, it will no longer be a defense to prosecution that the child who was victimized consented to the act committed or was a member of law enforcement posing as a child. 



I have filed a bill to ensure that students use the restroom that is assigned to the sex on their birth certificate. I initially received quite a few hostile phone calls and emails from transgender activists but perhaps they realized that we are on firm legal ground as courts have recognized a constitutional right to privacy that includes a right not to be compelled by the Government to undress or be unclothed in the presence of members of the opposite sex... please read the bill by clicking above.



Past Issues of the Wrap

Weekly Wrap - January 24, 2016
Weekly Wrap - January 31, 2016
Weekly Wrap - February 7, 2016
Weekly Wrap - February 15, 2016
Weekly Wrap - February 21, 2016

My Mission

I have been asked many times why I serve in this public office - the job is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the pay is rather low ($19K per year), and you're always a target.

My service is my mission for my Lord. 

I had never, ever even thought of running for office nor desired to do so.  It just sort of happened.  Growing up my parents were very involved with the Republican Party - and it was a lot of fun. They taught me to have a healthy skepticism for the people who represented us, and to never stop paying attention, and to be involved.  So I was - with the West Wilson Republican Club.

About two years before I first ran I began to feel a strong calling from the Lord.  So strong, that I thought that perhaps the Lord was going to make my husband and me missionaries.  I struggled with this because my parents had both passed and the thought of selling the few belongings that I had to remember them was difficult but I finally came to terms with it and told the Lord that whatever He wanted, I would do it, even selling all of our belongings and my parents things. 

About six months later Michael and I attended the Wilson County Republican Party Regan Day Dinner.  Seated to my left was a preacher and to my right was my husband.  Our state was in the third year of an income tax fight, and I had protested against the tax for all three of them.  Our state representative approached the microphone and announced that she would be running for state Senate  in order to challenge the man who was the architect of the income tax - the crowd cheered.  With that announcement it was like a hand reached down from heaven taking hold of me saying "it is you, it is you, it is you." 

Overwhelmed by this feeling and what was happening I turned to my left and grabbed the preacher's arm.  He looked at me and asked me what was the matter.  "I feel like I am supposed to run for the House seat" I said.  "That's a good idea" he replied.  "No, no" I said as I turned to my husband and grabbed his arm.  Puzzled he looked at me and asked what was the matter.  "I feel like I am supposed to run for the House seat" I said.  "That's a good idea" he replied.  "No, no it isn't, it isn't" I said as I rose and started backing away form the table entirely overwhelmed. 

Over the next couple of days my friends from the Party convinced me to run - but like Jonah I wanted to run the other way.  However regretfully I knew I had to obey so I prayed "Lord, if you want me to do this please put the words in my mouth, please provide the money and please don't let anyone see any other signs but mine."

That prayer provided a comical opportunity for the Lord because my chief opponent ended up being a sign company owner.  He had 1800 signs - they were everywhere - for my one he had 3 or 4 because all I could afford was 500 signs.  However, it was amazing because as I knocked door after door after door so often people would say to me "Is anyone else running because I don't see any other signs but yours?" 

Oh how that tickled me but at the same time I knew that just because I felt called to run it didn't mean that I was called to win.  I knew that the Lord may have just wanted me to have the experience, perhaps to learn something, to humble me or to prepare me for something else.  No one was more shocked than I when I won.  And I knew, as I knew my own name, that this was the mission that the Lord had been prodding me towards.  I prayed that with His strength I might not ever squander a moment of this gift to serve Him. 



My mother was Roman Catholic and my father was Protestant.  That meant in order to marry mother my father had to make three promises; 1. To raise any children as Catholic; 2. To provide the children with a Catholic school education and; 3. To never witness to the children his Protestant faith. 

Thus I was raised Roman Catholic, I attended private Catholic schools, and my father never once explained the plan of salvation to me.  However, he couldn't help but witness to me through his character, and at times when the God-shaped hole in my heart that longed to be filled caused me to so deeply seek and at times to even question whether there really was a God, my father interceded and urgently assured me that who else but a God could create the great beauty and complexity of a flower, the vastness of the universe and the miracle of the human eye. 

I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 28 years old.  He had been calling me for many months through signs and through the testimony of Christians over the radio. That day I awoke in the morning and realized that church had already started - I leapt to my feet "Oh no!" I exclaimed "I'm late for church!"  My husband watched me fly out the door. 

I had finally arrived at the line in the sand - on one side was faith and trust and on the other was unbelief.  I rushed into the church and as I stood in the back of the packed service I suddenly had a sense that drops of beautiful golden light were falling upon me and around me - filling me with thoughts that were not my own but of love and faith and thoughts full of wisdom. I remember looking around wondering if anyone ease was having the same experience.  They apparently were not.  As I left the church someone handed me a bulletin.  I read the cover - it was Pentecost Sunday.  "It was the Holy Spirit - I have finally received the Holy Spirit." I thought to myself. 

When I got home I could finally read and understand the Bible - the veil had been lifted from my eyes. I spent the next three years immersed in the Bible. I found a Southern Baptist church. Studied Master Life. Soon our daughter was saved at church camp and then so was our son.  My husband remained in the Catholic church for a while but I would invite him on special days to our church; my birthday, Mother's Day and finally on Father's Day - the service was so very special. After the service we talked about it alone in our bedroom.  He said, "You know, when I attend that church it's like, it's like, it's like..." As he searched for the words I said "Is it like food?"  He replied "Yes, it's like food."  I said smiling "Michael, that's what its supposed to be like."  He prayed to receive Jesus Christ that night. 

My father was so happy.  My mother prayed to receive Christ at my father's funeral along with seven others.  My sister was saved and so was her husband and children - and so many others. 

I thank Jesus Christ for dying for my sins, and I thank Him for allowing me to be his servant. 

My prayer is still the same, I pray, that with His help, I will never squander a moment.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Weekly Wrap - February 21


Republican Lawmakers Move Forward with Pro-Military Legislation



House lawmakers moved forward this week with multiple pieces of legislation designed to help military members across the state.



One of those bills, set to be heard on the House floor next week, will allow the five soldiers killed in the Chattanooga terrorist attack that occurred in July to be eligible for the ‘Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal’. Currently, the medal is awarded to honor residents of Tennessee killed while serving on active duty or engaged in military support operations involving a conflict with an opposing foreign force.



As introduced, this new legislation expands on this criteria to also allow the honor to be bestowed on those military men and women killed on Tennessee soil during an attack specifically targeting service members.



The medal is awarded solely by the Governor or the Governor's designee to the immediate survivor of the recipient.



A second piece of legislation, the National Guard Force Protection Act, enhances protection at Tennessee National Guard facilities and military installations. The bill follows hearings regarding the safety of military installations by the state’s top leaders.



To fund the bill, the governor’s budget includes $1.6 million for an emergency phone systems, window film, magnetic locks, security camera systems, privacy screens, and bollards to protect soldiers at state military installations.



The legislation is set to next be heard in the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee.





Helmet Bill to be Heard in Finance Committee on Tuesday



A bill that may exempt motorcyclists from the requirement that they wear a crash helmet will be heard in Finance Ways and Means Committee this week.  The proposed bill would allow riders 21 years and older not insured with TennCare, to ride without a helmet. Tennessee’s current law requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, regardless of age or experience of the rider.



HB0700 by *Reedy, *Goins, *Weaver, *Casada, *McDaniel, *Rogers, *DeBerry, *Ragan, *Keisling, *Brooks K, *Alexander, *Butt, *Hill T, *Windle, *Sexton C, *White D, *Todd, *Sanderson, *Matheny, *Holt, *Powers, *Sexton J, *VanHuss.

(SB0925 by *Roberts.)



Traffic Safety - As introduced, exempts drivers and passengers over 21 years of age from the requirement to wear a crash helmet while operating or riding in motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, and motorized bicycles, if the person is covered by health or medical insurance other than insurance through TennCare; makes a violation of the helmet law a secondary offense. - Amends TCA Section 55-9-302.

Summary for *HB0700






Lynn Guest on News Channel 5’s Open Line



This week I was very proud to defend the pro-life position on Open Line with Rep. Sherry Jones defending the pro-abortion side.  Please watch for yourself and provide some feedback.






The Charitable Vehicle Prep Tag bill moved forward this week passing the full committee and is headed to the House floor.   The bill will assist ministries that refurbish vehicles in order to give them away to needed individuals.

Under current law, a ministry accepts a donated vehicle and must purchase a license plate in order to drive it on the public roads to take it for repair and to test drive the vehicle.  Most often the ministry only has the car for a few weeks so the purchase of the license plate for each vehicle they refurbish can add up to quite an expense.

Enter the Charitable Vehicle Prep Tag – much like a prep tag for an auto dealer which allows the dealer to use the tag on any vehicle in inventory – this tag will allow ministries to use a single tag for any vehicle they are refurbishing for donation to a needy individual.  This bill will save ministries a great deal of money.







The General Assembly is speaking up to support the Williamson County lawsuit filed by former state Senator David Flower of the Family Action Counsel of Tennessee through the resolution I filed called HJR529.



David’s lawsuit will hopefully end same sex marriage in Tennessee.  The legislature does not have standing to sue to our resolution in support of this lawsuit is also a great effort to defend separation of powers and the doctrine of severability.  


When the SCOTUS stated that Tennessee's marriage law was invalid they next also declared that same sex couples can now marry.  But this action in reality violates separation of powers; the SCOTUS cannot make law by decree - that power is reserved for legislatures.  Under the doctrine of severability, if the court is going to strike part of a law it cannot change the meaning of the law into something that the legislature had never actually voted to enact.

However, that is exactly what the Court did in this case, and exactly why we, as lawmakers, need to support this lawsuit.  Imagine the implications for the future if we let this action go unchallenged and unsupported; we as legislators would be giving into the court and allowing them to make law.  The language of the amendment that re-writes the resolution is below.





Gallop Poll: 2/3rds of Tennesseans Support State Government.



According to a recent Gallop poll - roughly 2/3 of TN residents have confidence in our State government---some states did not fare so well!  Take a look.  Thank you to my friend Robert Springer for bringing this to my attention.




House Republicans Call for Creation Of Task Force Aimed At Improving Care For Stroke Patients In Tennessee; Work Towards Improving AED Training



House Republicans this week joined together in support of legislation that seeks to create a task force designed to study and implement stroke best practices and treatment guidelines for the state.

Once created, the task force will be made up of designated members from key stroke centers and hospitals around the state, as well as various other health professionals.



The task force, with the assistance of the Department of Health and the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University, will be responsible for making recommendations to both the House and Senate Health Committees regarding improvements to the state’s treatment policies surrounding those who suffer from a stroke.



Strokes kill over 128,000 people each year in the U.S. It is the fifth highest cause of death in Tennessee and the leading cause of disability in the state. The goal of the legislation is to ensure the rapid identification, diagnosis, and treatment of strokes, and to help reduce the risk of preventable complications and stroke-related deaths throughout the state.



Supporters of the legislation believe the task force is a necessary addition to our state’s public health system, to insure the state is providing for the needs of families and individuals who are victims of a stroke.



Similarly, another piece of legislation has been filed with a similar goal in mind: helping to save lives across Tennessee.



Sudden cardiac arrest is one of America’s leading causes of death. For every minute a person goes without defibrillation during a cardiac episode, their chance of survival goes down 10 percent. According to studies, 50,000 lives can be saved annually by the availability and proper training of automated external defibrillators (AEDs).



Under new legislation sponsored this year, a requirement would be placed in state law for all public school personnel in the state who work in facilities that have one or more AEDs to have an annual training on how to use the machines along with information distributed informing personnel about the location of AEDs and the school’s response plan during an emergency.



In addition, the legislation calls for schools to also conduct an annual cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) drill for school personnel to practice the use of these life saving measures. For students enrolled in CPR classes, training for the use of AEDs will also be provided.





Early voting closes Feb 23 Wilson County for the March 1 presidential preference primary.



Early voting closes on Feb. 23 in four locations in Wilson County.



Vote Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.



Voting locations;

 Wilson County Election Commission office at 203 E. Main St. in Lebanon.



Mt. Juliet Community Center at 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy. in Mt. Juliet.



Watertown Community Center at 8630 Sparta Pike in Watertown.



Gladeville Community Center at 95 McCreary Road in Gladeville.



Voting locations;
Wilson County Election Commission office at 203 E. Main St. in Lebanon.

Mt. Juliet Community Center at 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy. in Mt. Juliet.

Watertown Community Center at 8630 Sparta Pike in Watertown.

Gladeville Community Center at 95 McCreary Road in Gladeville.

 Voting locations;
Wilson County Election Commission office at 203 E. Main St. in Lebanon.

Mt. Juliet Community Center at 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy. in Mt. Juliet.

Watertown Community Center at 8630 Sparta Pike in Watertown.

Gladeville Community Center at 95 McCreary Road in Gladeville.



Republican Majority Continues Work On State Budget



Earlier this month, Governor Bill Haslam delivered his annual State of the State Address to a joint convention of the legislature this week, unveiling his budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.



Haslam addressed multiple issues during the State of the State, the most prominent of which include job recruitment and workforce development, a continued push to make government more efficient and effective, and major investments in both K-12 and higher education.



Among other key points in the Governor’s speech was a focus on a balanced budget, low taxes, fiscal responsibility, and the proposal of 261 million in new dollars for Tennessee public education, including $104.6 million for teacher salaries — the largest investment in K-12 education without a tax increase in state history.



Including the current fiscal year’s appropriation, Haslam’s proposal will invest more than 414 million in new dollars in Tennessee schools. Additionally, Haslam proposed funding the 12th month of health insurance for teachers and doubling the state’s recurring contribution for technology needs at schools.



The Governor’s proposal also puts $100 million into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing it to an estimated $668 million on June 30, 2017. Once passed, the plan will repay $130 million from the state’s general fund into the transportation fund to help with future road project needs.



Other notable budget investments are:



·        $24 million in state funds for the Employment and Community First (ECF) CHOICES program to allow the state to serve more people currently on the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ waiting list and others eligible for services;

·        $12.8 million for facilities and homeland security upgrades for the Military Department;

·        $10 million for the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Rural Development Initiative; and

·        $1.27 million to increase the number of drug recovery courts from 41 to 50 and for two additional veterans courts.




Rural Economic Opportunity Act Moves Forward In House Committee Process



Legislation spearheaded by House Republicans to spur economic development across the state moved forward this week in the House committee process.



Known as the ‘Rural Economic Opportunity Act of 2016’, the legislation has two main parts. First, the bill would implement a new program called ‘PREP’ or ‘Propelling Rural Economic Progress’. This innovative program would allow grants from the PREP fund to be used to help rural counties build sites and infrastructure to make their communities more attractive to prospective companies.



Second, the legislation would restructure the county tier system making it easier for businesses in rural counties to qualify for job tax credits. This, in turn, would make it easier for businesses in those counties to expand and hire new workers.



As the 2016 legislative session continues, House Republicans will continue working to increase economic development opportunities in the state.



Additional information regarding this legislation can be found on the General Assembly website at http://1.usa.gov/1TnY9AX.





Our Baby Ben



Two years ago today our grandson Benjamin was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at just 23 months. It's been a long road for our daughter and son-in-law; for all of us really as we learn to manage the disease.



One thing that is frustrating for our daughter is that so many do not know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease; there is nothing one does to contract it nor can it be avoided. If your body develops the antibodies, you will get the disease.



Several insulin injections a day are the life-long life support of the Type 1 coupled with many finger pricks to check blood sugar. Sugar hasn't given them diabetes it actually saves their life when they go low. Parents wake each night at 2 am for blood sugar checks.



This disease is very expensive but thank God we have our Benny. Without insulin every Type 1 diabetic would have drifted off into severe illness and departed us.



Seeing him laugh and smile today with us and his sisters, he is so full of love and sweetness, I just want to forget how gravely ill he was 2 years ago.



Today we celebrate Benny's life. We're so thankful to our heavenly Father for this beautiful and wonderful little boy, nearly 4 years old now.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Weekly Wrap - February 15, 2016


House Republicans Back Historic Increase in Teacher Pay; Introduce Legislation to Reward Hard Work And Dedication Of Tennessee Teachers



Last week, Governor Bill Haslam delivered his annual State of the State Address to a joint convention of the legislature, unveiling his budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year with major proposed investments in both K-12 and higher education.

Since Republicans became the majority party in 2011, the state’s education system has experienced dramatic improvements — student test scores now lead the nation in growth, Tennessee has the fastest growing graduation rate of any state, students have experienced consistent gains on TCAP every year, and the ACT statewide average has increased to 19.4.

Along with $261 million in new spending proposed for K-12 investments — including $104.6 million for increasing teacher pay — additional bills include allowing every full-time certified public school teacher in Tennessee to receive a 25 percent discount on tuition to any state-operated institution of higher education, and legislation awarding teachers across the state with a $5,000 bonus if they receive performance evaluations reflecting above expectations” or “significantly above expectationsin at least four years during any five year period.

Major investments to aid the Drive to 55 initiative, the state’s effort to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential to 55 percent by 2025. These investments include $50 million for the Complete College funding formula for higher education, $20 million for the Drive to 55 Capacity Fund to help community and technical colleges meet the growing demand for degrees and certificates, and $10 million for the Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP) helping communities align degree and course offerings with the needs of the local workforce.

The 2016-2017 budget also invests $581.6 million to build new buildings and fix existing higher education facilities. This includes the top recommended capital projects for both the University of Tennessee (UT) system and the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR):
 

  • $85.5 million for a new Tennessee Tech University laboratory science building;
  • $39 million for a new dentistry building at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis;
  • $38.8 million for Tennessee State University’s new health science building; and
  • $36 million for renovations to UT-Chattanooga academic buildings.

 


Early voting is open in Wilson County for the March 1 presidential preference primary.

Because of unpredictable weather this time of year, early voting often becomes an important option for many.  Six other southern states will join Tennessee to help decide who will become the next president of the United States.


Whether voting early or on Election Day remember to bring valid photo identification such as a driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security as well as photo IDs issued by Tennessee state government or the federal government are acceptable even if they are expired.  College student ID cards are not accepted.


Vote Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Early voting closes on Feb. 23 in four locations in Wilson County.



Voting Locations;

Wilson County Election Commission office at 203 E. Main St. in Lebanon.

Mt. Juliet Community Center at 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy. in Mt. Juliet.

Watertown Community Center at 8630 Sparta Pike in Watertown.

Gladeville Community Center at 95 McCreary Road in Gladeville.

  


People often ask me from where does legislation derive – the truth is it can originate from any number of places; the Governor, a legislator’s own idea, a public policy organization or a lobbyist but I feel the best legislation is born from the people in the district I represent. 

The Charitable Vehicle Prep Tag bill is an act to help ministries that refurbish donated vehicles in order to give them away to people in need.  Under current law, a ministry accepts a donated vehicle and must purchase a license plate in order to drive it on the public roads to take it for repair and to test drive the vehicle.  Most often the ministry only has the car for a few weeks so the purchase of the license plate for each vehicle they refurbish can add up to quite an expense.

Enter the Charitable Vehicle Prep Tag – much like a prep tag for an auto dealer which allows the dealer to use the tag on any vehicle in inventory – this tag will allow ministries to use a single tag for any vehicle they are refurbishing for donation to a needy individual.  This bill will save ministries a great deal of money.

The best part of this bill is the story behind how it came about.  About six weeks ago, just two days before the bill filing deadline, I met Butch O’Neal at Courtney’s Restaurant in Mt. Juliet– he was having dinner with the other members of Gladeville Baptist Church’s vehicle ministry.  I almost didn’t make it to the meeting that night because of a meeting I was in at the legislature which ran later than I’d expected.  I hurried back to Mt. Juliet in order to attend the Mt. Juliet Republican Woman’s meeting at Courtney’s.  The ladies’ once a month meeting usually meets in the smaller room on the side but due to the extremely cold weather that night – management asked the ladies if they wouldn’t be more comfortable in the larger meeting room.  They accepted, so that happened to place the ladies in the same room as the Gladeville ministry’s dinner. Norma Otto introduced me to the group and that is when I learned of this expense and we discussed creating a prep tag much like auto dealers use.  Just imagine all of the events that had to coincide for Butch and I to meet that night for this bill to be possible.  However, what is truly amazing is that this was an annual dinner for the ministry - they only meet for this dinner once a year. 

That really gives me a thrill!



HJR 529 is a Resolution that I originally wrote in 2009 to assert and defend Tennessee’s state sovereignty to the Federal government.  I was very proud that it passed the House by a vote of 91 to 1. 

This vote truly reflected the sentiment that no matter the party – we state legislators are all very frustrated by the Federal government’s over reach – affecting the freedoms of citizens and the sovereignty of state legislatures. 

This Resolution is as relevant today as it was in 2009 - we need our constituents to understand how deeply frustrated we are as state legislators with the federal government.

Please click to see votes for HJR108 (106 General Assembly).  Click here to see my original blog post for HJR108. 

I hope to receive the same number of votes or better this year. 





The General Assembly is speaking up to support the Williamson County lawsuit filed by former state Senator David Flower of the Family Action Counsel of Tennessee through the resolution I filed called HJR529. 

David’s lawsuit will hopefully end same sex marriage in Tennessee.  The legislature does not have standing to sue to our resolution in support of this lawsuit is also a great effort to defend separation of powers and the doctrine of severability.  

When the SCOTUS stated that Tennessee's marriage law was invalid they next also declared that same sex couples can now marry.  But this action in reality violates separation of powers; the SCOTUS cannot make law by decree - that power is reserved for legislatures.  Under the doctrine of severability, if the court is going to strike part of a law it cannot change the meaning of the law into something that the legislature had never actually voted to enact. 

However, that is exactly what the Court did in this case, and exactly why we, as lawmakers, need to support this lawsuit.  Imagine the implications for the future if we let this action go unchallenged and unsupported; we as legislators would be giving into the court and allowing them to make law.  The language of the amendment that re-writes the resolution is below.


Resolution Commending Certain Tennessee Citizens for their defense of the Constitution

Whereas, on June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court, by a five to four decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (No. 14-556, 2015 WL 2473451 (June 26, 2015)), said “state laws … are … held invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples”,

Whereas, the express statutory requirement in TENN. CODE ANN. § 36-3-104(a) that the applicants for a marriage license be a “male and female” and that there be a valid license “before” a marriage can be solemnized would appear to “exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples”,

Whereas, as to the constitutional appropriateness of simply deleting the words “male and female” from TENN. CODE ANN. 36-3-104(a), the Tennessee Supreme Court, in State of Tennessee v. Crank, No. E2012-01189-SC-R11-CD, filed February 13, 2015, said even the “legislative endorsement of elision ‘does not automatically make it applicable to every situation; however, when a conclusion can be reached that the legislature would have enacted the act in question with the unconstitutional portion omitted, then elision of the unconstitutional portion is appropriate.’ (internal citations omitted),”

Whereas, given the history of the marriage laws of Tennessee, this General Assembly, some members of which voted for TENN CODE ANN. § 36-3-104(a), believe that TENN. CODE ANN. 36-3-104(a) would never have been enacted had the words “male and female” been deleted so as to allow two people of the same sex to marry,

Whereas, the majority in Obergefell ordered the state to issue marriage licenses notwithstanding its holding that state marriage license laws that “exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage” are “invalid,

Whereas, this particular aspect of its ruling raises the broader and even more important constitutional issue of which branch of government in our constitutional republic can enact or amend state laws,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that this body expresses its strong disagreement with the constitutional overreach in Obergefell v. Hodges that, in violation of the constitutional and judicially recognized principles of federalism and separation of powers, allows federal courts to order or direct a state legislative body to affirmatively amend or replace a state statute

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, this body concurs in the opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts, who in his dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges, said, “the Court’s accumulation of power does not occur in a vacuum. It comes at the expense of the people. And they know it,” and acknowledges the reminder of Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissenting opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges that “With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.


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Past Issues of the Wrap

HJR529 In Support of Williamson County Lawsuit against Obergefell Decision


The General Assembly is speaking up to support the Williamson County lawsuit filed by former state Senator David Flower of the Family Action Counsel of Tennessee through the resolution I filed called HJR529. 

David’s lawsuit will hopefully end same sex marriage in Tennessee.  The legislature does not have standing to sue to our resolution in support of this lawsuit is also a great effort to defend separation of powers and the doctrine of severability.  

When the SCOTUS stated that Tennessee's marriage law was invalid they next also declared that same sex couples can now marry.  But this action in reality violates separation of powers; the SCOTUS cannot make law by decree - that power is reserved for legislatures.  Under the doctrine of severability, if the court is going to strike part of a law it cannot change the meaning of the law into something that the legislature had never actually voted to enact.

However, that is exactly what the Court did in this case, and exactly why we, as lawmakers, need to support this lawsuit.  Imagine the implications for the future if we let this action go unchallenged and unsupported; we as legislators would be giving into the court and allowing them to make law.  The language of the amendment that re-writes the resolution is below.



HJR529 - Resolution Commending Certain Tennessee Citizens for their defense of the Constitution

Whereas, on June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court, by a five to four decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (No. 14-556, 2015 WL 2473451 (June 26, 2015)), said “state laws … are … held invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples”,

Whereas, the express statutory requirement in TENN. CODE ANN. § 36-3-104(a) that the applicants for a marriage license be a “male and female” and that there be a valid license “before” a marriage can be solemnized would appear to “exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples”,

Whereas, as to the constitutional appropriateness of simply deleting the words “male and female” from TENN. CODE ANN. 36-3-104(a), the Tennessee Supreme Court, in State of Tennessee v. Crank, No. E2012-01189-SC-R11-CD, filed February 13, 2015, said even the “legislative endorsement of elision ‘does not automatically make it applicable to every situation; however, when a conclusion can be reached that the legislature would have enacted the act in question with the unconstitutional portion omitted, then elision of the unconstitutional portion is appropriate.’ (internal citations omitted),”

Whereas, given the history of the marriage laws of Tennessee, this General Assembly, some members of which voted for TENN CODE ANN. § 36-3-104(a), believe that TENN. CODE ANN. 36-3-104(a) would never have been enacted had the words “male and female” been deleted so as to allow two people of the same sex to marry,

Whereas, the majority in Obergefell ordered the state to issue marriage licenses notwithstanding its holding that state marriage license laws that “exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage” are “invalid,

Whereas, this particular aspect of its ruling raises the broader and even more important constitutional issue of which branch of government in our constitutional republic can enact or amend state laws,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that this body expresses its strong disagreement with the constitutional overreach in Obergefell v. Hodges that, in violation of the constitutional and judicially recognized principles of federalism and separation of powers, allows federal courts to order or direct a state legislative body to affirmatively amend or replace a state statute

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, this body concurs in the opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts, who in his dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges, said, “the Court’s accumulation of power does not occur in a vacuum. It comes at the expense of the people. And they know it,” and acknowledges the reminder of Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissenting opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges that “With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.


HJR 528 State Sovereignty Resolution

HJR 529 is a Resolution that I originally wrote in 2009 to assert and defend Tennessee’s state sovereignty to the Federal government.  I was very proud that it passed the House by a vote of 91 to 1. 

This vote truly reflected the sentiment that no matter the party – we state legislators are all very frustrated by the Federal government’s over reach – affecting the freedoms of citizens and the sovereignty of state legislatures. 

This Resolution is as relevant today as it was in 2009 - we need our constituents to understand how deeply frustrated we are as state legislators with the federal government.

Please click to see votes for HJR108 (106 General Assembly).  Click here to see my original blog post for HJR108. 

I hope to receive the same number of votes or better this year. 

Charitable Vehicle Prep Tag Legislation

The Charitable Vehicle Prep Tag bill is an act I wrote to help ministries that refurbish donated vehicles in order to give them away to people in need.  Under current law, a ministry accepts a donated vehicle and must purchase a license plate in order to drive it on the public roads to take it for repair and to test drive the vehicle.  Most often the ministry only has the car for a few weeks so the purchase of the license plate for each vehicle they refurbish can add up to quite an expense.

Enter the Charitable Vehicle Prep Tag – much like a prep tag for an auto dealer which allows the dealer to use the tag on any vehicle in inventory – this tag will allow ministries to use a single tag for any vehicle they are refurbishing for donation to a needy individual.  This bill will save ministries a great deal of money.

People often ask me from where does legislation derive – the truth is it can originate from any number of places; the Governor, a legislator’s own idea, a public policy organization or a lobbyist but I feel the best legislation is born from the people in the district I represent. 

The best part of this bill is the story behind how it came about.  About six weeks ago, just two days before the bill filing deadline, I met Butch O’Neal at Courtney’s Restaurant in Mt. Juliet– he was having dinner with the other members of Gladeville Baptist Church’s vehicle ministry.  I almost didn’t make it to the meeting that night because of a meeting I was in at the legislature which ran later than I’d expected.  I hurried back to Mt. Juliet in order to attend the Mt. Juliet Republican Woman’s meeting at Courtney’s.  The ladies’ once a month meeting usually meets in the smaller room on the side but due to the extremely cold weather that night – management asked the ladies if they wouldn’t be more comfortable in the larger meeting room.  They accepted, so that happened to place the ladies in the same room as the Gladeville ministry’s dinner. Norma Otto introduced me to the group and that is when I learned of this expense and we discussed creating a prep tag much like auto dealers use. 

Just imagine all of the events that had to coincide for Butch and I to meet that night for this bill to be possible this year.  However, what is truly amazing is that this was an annual dinner for the ministry - they only meet for this dinner once a year. 

That really gives me a thrill!




Republicans Back Historic Increase in Teacher Pay


House Republicans Back Historic Increase in Teacher Pay; Legislation to Reward Hard Work And Dedication Of Tennessee Teachers



Last week, Governor Bill Haslam delivered his annual State of the State Address to a joint convention of the legislature, unveiling his budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year with major proposed investments in both K-12 and higher education.



Since Republicans became the majority party in 2011, the state’s education system has experienced dramatic improvements — student test scores now lead the nation in growth, Tennessee has the fastest growing graduation rate of any state, students have experienced consistent gains on TCAP every year, and the ACT statewide average has increased to 19.4.



Along with $261 million in new spending proposed for K-12 investments — including $104.6 million for increasing teacher pay — additional bills include allowing every full-time certified public school teacher in Tennessee to receive a 25 percent discount on tuition to any state-operated institution of higher education, and legislation awarding teachers across the state with a $5,000 bonus if they receive performance evaluations reflecting above expectations” or “significantly above expectationsin at least four years during any five year period.



Major investments to aid the Drive to 55 initiative, the state’s effort to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential to 55 percent by 2025. These investments include $50 million for the Complete College funding formula for higher education, $20 million for the Drive to 55 Capacity Fund to help community and technical colleges meet the growing demand for degrees and certificates, and $10 million for the Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP) helping communities align degree and course offerings with the needs of the local workforce.



The 2016-2017 budget also invests $581.6 million to build new buildings and fix existing higher education facilities. This includes the top recommended capital projects for both the University of Tennessee (UT) system and the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR):



  • $85.5 million for a new Tennessee Tech University laboratory science building;
  • $39 million for a new dentistry building at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis;
  • $38.8 million for Tennessee State University’s new health science building; and
  • $36 million for renovations to UT-Chattanooga academic buildings.