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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, March 20, 2016

Weekly Wrap - March 20, 2016

Restroom Bill Receives Approval from Sub-Committee

Legislation to state the girls use the girls room and boys use the boys room, and that students who feel that they are confused about their gender will be assigned a restroom that they can use passed the House Education Sub-Committee this week.  There was much testimony from those opposing the bill.

Please click here to watch the testimony on this bill.

Please click here to read an important report by the American College of Pediatricians that urges all school districts and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex.

The press reported this week that the Governor is against the bill – he is not.  I met with the Governor twice this week on this bill.

Rural Economic Opportunity Act Receives Unanimous Approval

Legislation spearheaded by House Republicans to spur economic development across the state received unanimous approval this week on the House floor.

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 these same businesses to expand and hire new workers.

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

HB1929 will extend immunity from civil liability to national guard members who are authorized by the military department to carry a personally owed handgun while in uniform and who use that handgun in self-defense or defense of others. The bill will be heard on Monday.

HJR 500 will be voted upon this week in the House – the resolution to condemn global Christian persecution.  Sadly, according to current global data reported by OpenDoorsUSA, there is massive suffering by Christians, including beatings, kidnappings, rapes, arrests, and forced marriages; and according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than sixty countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors.  The General Assembly wishes to express our concern and support of actions to end this persecution.

HJR 528 will run on the House floor this week – it will urge that all branches of the federal government desist from its practice of assuming powers and imposing mandates upon the states for purposes not enumerated by the Constitution of the United States.

Bill Aimed at Preventing Allergy Emergencies In Public Places Approved By House

The Tennessee House of Representatives this week passed House Bill 2054 to 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, the legislation 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.

Pro-Teacher Legislation Moves Forward in Tennessee General Assembly
GOP leaders cite commitment to public education across the state

This week, House Republicans moved forward with several key pieces of legislation within the Tennessee General Assembly designed to support teachers across the state, rewarding them for their hard work in the classroom.

Along with $261 million in new spending proposed for K-12 investments and $104.6 million for increasing teacher pay — the largest education investment in state history without a tax increase — additional bills this year include:

  • House Bill 1741, which allows 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.
  • House Bill 1537, which eliminates two unnecessary high school tests, allows students to retake the ACT or SAT free of charge, and renews Tennessee’s commitment to test transparency by annually releasing statewide test questions and answers to parents.
  • And, House Bill 2503, which creates a preference for retaining tenured teachers during a reduction of force by prohibiting their dismissal if another position is available somewhere in the school system.
As the 2016 legislative session continues in full-swing, House Republicans are committed to finding ways to show appreciation to the state’s high-performing teachers and working to support their success in the classroom.

Department of Economic & Community Development Now Accepting Applications for Tourism Enhancement Grant
Funding helps assist communities with tourism infrastructure and assets

House Republicans announced this week that the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development is now officially accepting applications for the Tourism Enhancement Grant — grant funding available to cities and counties to enhance and create new tourism infrastructure that will help spur economic growth across the state.

For many communities across Tennessee, tourism is the most important driver in the local economy. With funding made available through the Tourism Enhancement Grant, communities have the ability to invest in key assets — from new boat docks, to park pavilions, to signage, to scenic pull-offs, to public restrooms, to a multitude of other recreational infrastructure projects.

The grant is available for up to $50,000 with a match requirement based on economic status. The grant is also eligible for up to $20,000 for cities or counties who have a desire to develop a tourism asset plan.

All interested local governments must submit their completed applications by April 18, 2016.

Applications and additional information regarding the grant can be found at

Legislation to Further Enhance Growth of Captive Insurance Industry Gains Momentum in State House

Legislation sponsored to further enhance growth of Tennessee’s captive insurance industry gained momentum this week after receiving unanimous approval from the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee.

As introduced, House bill 2228 provides a road map for moving a captive insurance company from another state into Tennessee, along with providing a one-time tax holiday from the self-procurement tax for those captive companies that choose to relocate here prior to December 1, 2018.

A captive insurance company, often simply called a ‘captive’, represents an option for many corporations, groups, and businesses seeking to take financial control of their organizations and manage risks by allowing them to underwrite their own insurance.

In 2011, the House passed legislation which made the state’s existing captive insurance laws more effective, balanced, and flexible. At that time, Tennessee had only two captive insurance companies. By the end of 2015, Tennessee licensed 126 captives, putting the state on the map as one of the leading captive domiciles in the entire nation.

As supporters note, a thriving captive insurance industry is good for Tennessee businesses and Tennessee workers, as captive companies help reduce overall insurance costs which in turn results in more money for companies to invest in expansion projects and increasing employee pay.
The captive insurance industry has created hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars’ worth of investment assets under management in Tennessee, including an estimated $2.6 million in premium tax revenues projected to be generated in 2016.

Trio of Legislation Passes to Help Local Governments

I was very fortunate to sponsor three bills to help our local governments.
Current law allows for bi-annual local government budgets but conflicts in the law made the process almost impossible.  The city of Lebanon, who desires to create bi-annual budgets rather than annual, asked me to sponsor legislation to correct the conflicts in law. Bi-annual budgets are common in other states.  In fact, the state of Texas uses a bi-annual budget process.  Not all local governments will qualify because permission to use the process is granted through the state Comptroller and can be withdrawn upon determination that the government is not fiscally healthy enough to use a bi-annual process. Adjustments to the budget are possible through the budget amendment process and they are voted upon by the local legislative body.  The process will serve as a great time saver as departments who usually spend many weeks in budget meetings, will only need to do so biannually.  This bill passed last week.

HB 2419 As introduced, authorizes local governments issuing debt to prepare biennial budgets rather than annual budgets if the comptroller determines that the local governments have sufficient financial resources to more than adequately service their debts.

Some 911 districts have had difficulty with attendance by board members.  Currently, the board must appeal to a local court in order to remove a 911 board member who does not attend meetings.  HB2419 will provide a transparent, automatic process for poor attendance. Replacement members will be appointed by the county commission as per the current process to appoint members. This bill passed last week.

HB 2418 Emergency Communications Districts - As introduced, requires removal of members for failure to attend at least 50 percent of all regularly scheduled board meetings, rather than for having three consecutive unexcused absences; deletes procedure for removal by court order or petition of board or local governing body.

Fast growing counties find that the limit in current law of either 3 or 5 members to be appointed to boards of zoning appeals (BOZA) is too few given all of their work-load, and so they have requested legislation to raise the optional limit to 5, 7 or 9 members.  This bill passed last week.

HB 2417 Zoning - As introduced, increases number of members who may be elected to serve on boards of zoning appeals in certain counties and municipalities, as determined by local legislative bodies.

Past Weekly Wraps
Weekly Wrap - January 24, 2016Weekly Wrap - January 31, 2016
Weekly Wrap - February 7, 2016
Weekly Wrap - February 15, 2016
Weekly Wrap - February 21, 2016
Weekly Wrap - February 28, 2016
Weekly Wrap – March 6, 2016
Weekly Wrap - March 13, 2016

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