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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

New Report on the Local Burden of Housing State Prisoners in County Jails

TACIR has completed its report on the financial burden and other effects on county governments from housing state prisoners in county jails, prepared at the request of commission members at the May 2016 meeting.

This report revisits the 2007 report Beyond Capacity: Issues and Challenges Facing County Jails.  TACIR staff conducted a examining the number of state prisoners being held in county jails and whether the number is increasing, capacities and overcrowded conditions in county jails, the cost borne by counties for medical care (including addiction treatment) of state prisoners held in county jails, whether the current amount the state reimburses a county for housing a state prisoner is reasonable, how the state chooses which prisoners are left in county jails, how state prisoners are assigned jobs like cooking or laundry service, and contractual obligations and limitations to housing state prisoners in prisons operated for counties by private contractors.

The final report suggests three recommendations:

First, Tennessee could improve access to the behavioral health services provided by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ criminal justice liaison program by expanding the program statewide.

Second, Tennessee could target funding to improve outcomes by providing financial assistance to counties to help implement programs proven to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for prisoners and communities, rather than only increasing per diem reimbursements to cover basic costs.

Finally, because adequate oversight and regulation of local jails is necessary for the state to balance its need for fiscally responsible management of the felon population with the responsibility to achieve the best prisoner and public safety outcomes, state law should be amended to give the Tennessee Corrections Institute clear legal authority to require local correctional facilities to comply with set standards, including authority for its Board Control to recommend that the Tennessee Department of Correction remove state prisoners from noncertified jails when conditions warrant.

This report is available on the Internet at http://www.tn.gov/tacir/topic/tacirpublications-by-date.

Friday, September 08, 2017


Program to award $10 million to projects that expand broadband to unserved areas

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) announced that it is now accepting Broadband Accessibility Grant applications until November 17, 2017.

Established by the recently enacted Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act (TBAA), this program aims to spread broadband access to more Tennesseans while promoting practices that increase deployment and encourage adoption. In total, $10 million is available in the first round of grants.

“Rural economic development is a top priority for TNECD and reliable broadband is a lynchpin of our efforts to encourage job growth in Tennessee’s rural communities,” TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe said. “About one-in-three residents in rural Tennessee do not have broadband access at recognized minimum standards. It is critical that we address this gap and ensure all Tennesseans have reliable internet access. Thanks to Governor Haslam’s leadership and the overwhelming support of the Tennessee General Assembly, TNECD will now be able to provide grants to help make broadband available to residents and businesses that currently go without it.”

The Broadband Accessibility Grants are meant to help offset the capital expenses of deploying broadband in currently unserved areas. Projects must serve locations without access to download speeds of at least ten megabits per second (10 Mbps) and upload speeds of at least one megabit per second (1 Mbps). Preference will be given to areas that are unlikely to receive broadband service without grant funding. Applicants must be authorized to provide retail broadband in the proposed service area.

Following the close of the application period, TNECD will hold a three-week online public comment period to receive additional input and information regarding submitted applications.

TNECD anticipates announcing grantees in January 2018 with projects underway in early in 2018.
More information on Broadband Accessibility Grants and TNECD’s broadband initiatives can be found here.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Team Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.


School Bus Driver Shortage Solution?

News accounts of Wilson County Schools bus driver shortage are not unique; a similar situation can be found all over the state. No wonder too; driving a school bus is a great responsibility, that is filled with stress, distractions and is prone to criticism.
The Lap and Shoulder Belt Bill may provide a solution to aid this stubborn problem. The school bus is the only vehicle on the road today for which a lap-shoulder belt is not federally mandated. The argument against school bus lap-shoulder belts wears thin as one considers that across the country there are about 20,000 injuries on school buses each year...a school bus accident locally last week certainly unnerved many. Parents wonder, "Why does my child leave the safety of my car where their car seat or lap-shoulder belt ensures the highest degree of safety, to get onto a school bus without any restraint system at all?
Two weeks ago I observed a simulated but very real school bus accident in Indiana. A big rig was driven into the side of a school bus at 35 mph. The bus was fitted with cameras and other data collection equipment. In the bus, crash dummies were both belted and unbelted. The horrific crash proved "fatal" for some unbelted dummies while the belted remained safely restrained.
A safety supervisor who began phasing in safety belts on all buses in his school district 5 years ago, told me of the benefits of the restraints beyond obvious improved safety. Because the students are buckled, discipline issues have reduced by 90%, and better behavior has considerably reduced driver distraction. Initially, only a few drivers wanted to drive the buses with restraints but as the other drivers saw how much improved the students' behavior was, they began to request buses with lap-shoulder belts. Before long all the drivers wanted safety belts on their buses.
Bullying is now minimal on district school buses. The penalty for bullying is suspension from school, and suspension is often a catalyst for dropping out. In his district, the safety belts have positively affected student retention. Today, not buckling up is now the most common offense. Because the rule is that if they don't buckle they don't ride; parents quickly fix that problem because not riding inconveniences them.
I asked if it was difficult to get the students to buckle up. He said that today, kids expect to wear a lap-shoulder belt so it wasn't hard at all. He added that even parents of kindergartners like the system as the first row or two are reserved for their little ones. A seat quickly converts from a lap-shoulder belt to a 5 point system. Parents get on the bus and buckle their wee one; upon arrival at school, the buckle is quickly released by the child with only 2 lbs of pressure.
Besides overall safety, two of the most important daily effects are that driver satisfaction and retention has greatly improved - which helps avoid shortages - and many parents who had previously driven their children to school, now send their kids
 on the bus because the bus now has a safer and calmer atmosphere.
Every day we entrust the safety of our community's children to our bus drivers. We count on them to ensure our children get to school and return home to us, each day, safely.
We also know that we need to attract the best, and ensure our best want to stay, by making their jobs less stressful and more rewarding.
The solution to both problems, it turns out, may be the same: let's pass House Bill 395 so that every student has a safe ride, and every driver has a safe bus.