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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, a member of the Finance Ways and Means Committee and the Ethics Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Weekly Wrap - February 2, 2014

Gunmaker Beretta Announces Plans For Major Business Expansion In Sumner County
World’s oldest firearms manufacturer to invest $45 million, create 300 new jobs

This week, House lawmakers joined with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty to announce Beretta USA, the world’s oldest firearms producer, will expand its operations by building a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing and research and development facility in Sumner County at the Gallatin Industrial Park.

The huge economic development news follows announcements last week of the $25 million expansion of Colgate-Palmolive in Hamblen County and the $8 million, 1,000 new job expansion of Conduit Global in Memphis.

The expansion by Beretta consists of a $45 million investment and the creation of 300 new Tennessee jobs.

Founded in Italy in 1526, Beretta is privately owned and operated by members of the 15th and 16th generations of the Beretta family. Across the world, Beretta supplies quality firearms to consumers, including the standard sidearm of U.S. soldiers since 1985, the M-9 pistol.

The company is expected to complete construction on the facility this year and will make firearms at the new Gallatin plant for both their sporting and tactical product lines.

During the announcement, Beretta officials cited Tennessee's reputation as a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights and pro-business economic climate as playing major roles in the decision to expand to the state. Beretta also operates a plant in Maryland, which recently passed stricter gun laws and drew threats from Beretta on relocating. Beretta initially started with a list of approximately 80 locations across seven states to expand, including areas in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia.

The news from the worldwide gun manufacturer comes after lawmakers worked diligently during the last legislative session to cut taxes, remove bureaucratic barriers to business, and create an overall friendlier, more business-oriented environment across the state to help spur job creation. The news also follows Business Facilities magazine, a national economic development publication, officially naming Tennessee as its ‘2013 State Of The Year’ for economic development, based on the state’s huge success over the last twelve months in recruiting new business and promoting economic development.

For more information about Beretta, visit www.berettausa.com.

Governor to Deliver Annual State Of The State Address
On Monday, February 3rd, Governor Bill Haslam will give his annual State of the State Address to a Joint Session of the Tennessee State Legislature. During the speech, lawmakers will hear what will top the Governor’s legislative agenda for the year and receive details about the state budget.
As the General Assembly awaits the State of the State Address, House lawmakers are busy filing legislation to help pave the way for job growth in Tennessee’s private sector. This focus on economic development is expected to dovetail with the priorities of the Haslam Administration.
The Governor’s address will begin at 6:00 p.m. CST and can be viewed live by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at www.capitol.tn.gov and clicking the Video section.

State Representative Susan Lynn Works with State Agency to Secure New Signage for Safer Route to Providence Mall and Address Other Providence Area Road Issues
(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Susan Lynn (R–Mt. Juliet) announced this week that she has been working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) over the last several months to secure new signage to better alert drivers of the safest, quickest, and most secure route to Providence Marketplace from Interstate 40 eastbound.  On Wednesday, the Department of Transportation confirmed they have made the decision to move forward with the new signage that will highlight exit 226C as the exit where mall traffic should exit.

The new sign will soon be placed along exits 226 A, B and C.  It will indicate that exit 226C is the direct route for mall traffic.  This will discourage mall goers from using exit 226A which requires drivers to cross three entire lanes of southbound traffic in order to turn onto Providence Way—creating a dangerous situation for all drivers involved.

In addition to this road remedy, Representative Lynn also spoke with TDOT concerning two additional issues.

The first was a discussion regarding complaints over standing water on I40 east by the ball fields. Though the area is still under construction, complaints are that rainwater has been seen pooling in this area during inclement weather.  As construction draws to its conclusion repaving will soon take place and Lynn wanted to make sure that all are aware that this grading issue exists.  "TDOT officials were very appreciative and will immediately investigate this issue with the contractor." stated Lynn.

The final issue discussed during the meeting with TDOT concerned creating a solution to ease the traffic congestion at Providence and Interstate 40.  Currently there are two northbound lanes in front of Providence but upon crossing over the highway the left lane suddenly turns into a westbound entrance for I40.  "This surprises drivers and frustrates other drivers in the right lane."  stated Lynn.  Another problem is the long line of traffic that collects on Providence Way while waiting for the light at Mount Juliet Road.

After discussing the issues and potential solutions, an idea was settled upon that may actually solve three separate problems.  Pending the results of a traffic study, exit 226B could be straightened in order to align it with the current I40 east-bound entrance on ramp.  A signal would also be added to control the exiting traffic from 226B.  Eliminating the clover leaf which currently allows traffic to flow onto Mount Juliet Road northbound at will, would free up an entire lane so that both northbound lanes of traffic in front of Providence could continue to freely flow north on Mount Juliet Road; instead of the left lane becoming an I40 eastbound turning lane as it is now.  Finally, the proposed changes would also allow two turning lanes from Providence Way onto Mount Juliet Road northbound, easing the long line of traffic that collects here waiting to turn north onto Mount Juliet Road.

"City Manager Kenny Martin is owed a great deal of credit for suggesting so many possibilities in a recent letter to TDOT concerning the issues at Providence and I40," said Representative Lynn. "In addition, our officials at TDOT are some of the finest state employees we have, and they have my great respect for their knowledge and ideas, and for the interest they show in working to solve our road issues.  Free flowing roads improve our quality of life and advantage our businesses. Thankfully, TDOT officials agree with this fact and are helping us remedy these important situations."

Susan Lynn is Chairman of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee. She lives in Mt. Juliet and represents District 57, which encompasses a portion of Wilson County. She can be reached by email at Rep.Susan.Lynn@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7462.

Education Task Force Appointed To Study Basic Education Program Formula

A task force made up of elected officials and top education analysts from across the state was announced earlier this week at the request of Governor Bill Haslam. The group has been directed by the Governor to study Tennessee’s Basic Education Program (BEP), which is the state’s funding formula for K-12 schools.

The formula takes factors such as local property and sales tax revenue into account when calculating how much money Tennessee school districts will receive from the state each year. A number of districts, both large and small, have raised questions and concerns about the formula and whether it distributes funds in a fair and equitable manner.

The most recent revision to the BEP, known as BEP 2.0, was adopted in 2007.

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman will chair the task force, and members will include:

  • Rep. Harry Brooks (R–Knoxville), Chairman, House Education Committee
  • David Connor, Executive Director, Tennessee County Services Association
  • Sen. Delores Gresham (R–Somerville), Chairman, Senate Education Committee
  • Chris Henson, Chief Financial Officer, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
  • Kevin Krushenski, Research Analyst, Tennessee Municipal League
  • Larry Martin, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration
  • Gary Nixon, Executive Director, State Board of Education
  • Larry Ridings, Tennessee School Systems for Equity
  • Lynnisse Roehrich-Patrick, Executive Director, Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations
  • Justin Wilson, Comptroller of the Treasury
  • Mark Cate, Chief of Staff, Governor’s Office (ex officio member)

The task force will meet over the next several months and will make recommendations to the Governor by the end of the year.

Wine in Grocery Stores Legislation Passes Key House Hurdle
Legislation to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine across the state passed key hurdles this week as two separate bills moved forward in the House committee process.
The first of the two bills passed out of the House Local Government Committee and grants local communities the ability to hold a referendum vote to allow wine to be sold in area grocery stores. Referendum votes can currently be called to allow liquor by the drink, package stores, and similar measures.
The second bill passed through the House State Government Committee and addresses the more complex areas of the wine debate. Details include mandating a 20 percent markup over wholesale prices on wine and prohibiting grocery stores from selling on Sundays, to match requirements for liquor stores. Liquor stores, meanwhile, would be allowed to sell other items for the first time, including newspapers and magazines, corkscrews, glassware, T-shirts, alcohol mixers, and snacks. The bill also sets July 1, 2016 as the implementation date of allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores assuming the local referendum passes, allowing liquor store owners time to update their business models if needed.
The House legislation differs substantially from the Senate's measure, which has already passed the full body. If both pass the legislature, they would have to be reconciled before communities could hold their first referendum on wine in grocery stores.
Thirty six states, including six of Tennessee’s eight border states, currently allow the sale of wine in retail stores.

The two bills in the House will next be heard in the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee. If passed there, the proposals could be heard by the full House in mid-February.
Bill Information is Easy to Find
If you'd like to see all of the current legislation filed in the Tennessee General Assembly, please visit my web site.  I provide an easy method to view the proposed laws with which you may have an interest in three easy steps:

1. www.susanlynn.net  
2. On the menu bar click on Bills
3. Under the heading bill search click on BILL SUBJECT

All current bills can be found by subject.  Simply click on the letter of the alphabet that pertains to your topic; for instance, gun bills can be fund under G for guns but also under F for firearms.

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