Thank you Tennessee Republican Party for endorsing me as a true conservative putting people first!
Each of these incumbent candidates had been previously endorsed by the TRA and continues to “walk the talk” at the legislature by maintaining a consistent voting record aligned by at least 80% with the guiding principles of the TRA.
They were unanimously endorsed Saturday, June 9th at TRA Nominating and Endorsing Convention.
Small Business Endorses Candidates in 20 Legislative Primaries
NFIB, Tennessee’s leading small-business association, today said it has endorsed candidates in 20 state legislative primary races. The endorsements were made by the NFIB Tennessee Political Action Committee, which is comprised exclusively of NFIB members.
State primaries are Thursday, Aug. 2, with early voting beginning July 13 and ending July 28. The NFIB Tennessee PAC plans to announce all statewide endorsements for the Nov. 6 general election later this summer.
“NFIB endorses candidates who strongly support small businesses and who are dedicated to protecting free enterprise,” said Jim Brown, Tennessee state director, noting seven of the 20 endorsed primary candidates are NFIB members. “These candidates have a proven track record of standing up for small businesses and promoting a positive regulatory, labor and tax environment for Tennessee’s job creators.”
The NFIB Tennessee PAC’s endorsement is important to these campaigns. Small business owners and their employees vote in high numbers and are known for actively recruiting friends, family members, and acquaintances to go to the polls. NFIB has pledged it will activate its grassroots network on behalf of these campaigns. NFIB’s political support is based on the candidates’ positions and records on small-business issues.
Senate (NFIB members in bold)
2, Art Swann
27, Ed Jackson
33, Reginald Tate
House (NFIB members in bold)
4, John B. Holsclaw Jr.
6, Micah Van Huss
8, Jerome Moon
9, Gary Hicks
11, Jeremy Faison
35, Jerry Sexton
40, Terri Lynn Weaver
43, Paul Sherrell
46, Clark Boyd
49, Mike Sparks
57, Susan Lynn
70, Barry Doss
75, Tim Wirgau
76, Andy Holt
83, Mark White
90, John DeBerry Jr.
92, Rick Tillis
Greetings Fabulous Fortieth District,
House Republicans Pass ‘Tennessee Together’ Plan To Help Combat Opioid Epidemic
While the federal government has only just commenced conversation about the opioid epidemic, Tennessee leads the way in fighting the situation here at home. This week, House Republicans passed legislation to combat the state’s opioid problem head-on: Tennessee Together.
Tennessee Together is a multi-faceted plan comprised of legislation, $30 million in funds through the proposed 2018-2019 budget, and other executive actions to battle opioids through the three major components of prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. The plan incorporates recommendations made by Speaker Beth Harwell’s Ad Hoc Task Force on Opioid Abuse.
In 2016, there were over 1,600 opioid-related overdose deaths, one of the highest in the nation, and statistics show the numbers are only increasing. Each day in Tennessee, at least three people die from opioid-related overdoses — more than the daily number of traffic fatalities.
Legislative solutions included in Tennessee Together include limiting the supply and dosage of opioid prescriptions, with reasonable exception and an emphasis on new patients, as well as education for elementary and secondary schools through revisions to the state’s health education academic standards.
Additionally, the plan invests more than $25 million for treatment and recovery services for individuals with opioid use disorder. These services will include an increase in peer recovery specialists in targeted, high-need emergency departments to connect patients to treatment immediately.
Tennessee Together increases state funding to attack the illicit sale and trafficking of opioids through additional law enforcement agencies and training, and includes updates to the controlled substance schedules in order to better track, monitor, and penalize the use and unlawful distribution of dangerous and addictive drugs — including fentanyl. Finally, the plan provides every Tennessee state trooper with naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose prior to paramedic arrival.
House Republicans are dedicated to working closely with the Governor to address Tennessee’s opioid problem. While the Tennessee Together plan is a huge step in the right direction, expect additional time and resources to be spent on the opioid front in the coming days.
Advocates Applaud Passage Of New Adoption Legislation
House lawmakers joined together this week for the unanimous passage of House Bill 1856. The bill streamlines the adoption process in Tennessee, adding updates to the law desperately needed to serve children and families across the state better, advocates say.
House Bill 1856 simplifies the surrender form — which was previously very complicated — and updates the language to reflect what the courts have ruled on the issue.
The bill also clarifies parental abandonment, makes the law consistent with U.S. Supreme Court cases on absentee fathers and protects biological fathers attempting to assert parental rights. It eliminates the six-month prior residency requirement for adoption petitioners and expands the opportunity for active duty military personnel to use Tennessee as their legal state of residence to adopt children here.
The bill makes big changes to current law, but most importantly, it streamlines the process and makes it easier to understand. This is important for children in Tennessee because it allows them to be in a more stable environment in a much timelier manner.
Having passed the House, the bill now awaits passage in the Senate. For more information on the legislation, click here.
Tennessee Stolen Valor Act Passes In General Assembly
Legislation increases penalties against those who impersonate military heroes
Wednesday morning, House members unanimously passed a measure to strengthen identity protections for our military veterans.
House Bill 2130, also known as the Tennessee Stolen Valor Act, is designed to safeguard the identities of Tennessee veterans who serve the state and nation by cracking down on instances of theft and fraud involving those who attempt to imitate them.
The measure creates a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, as well as a fine of up to $2,500, for anyone who impersonates a veteran or individuals who fraudulently represent their service with the intent of obtaining money, property, services, or any other tangible benefits.
The legislation comes after a recent case in Northeast Tennessee involving a con artist who lied about his military service to steal from veterans. The initiative is the latest in a series of Republican-led measures designed to honor Tennessee veterans and their service.
Over 10,000 Adults Have Applied For Tennessee Reconnect Scholarship
Application opened in February; Adults can continue to apply at www.TNReconnect.gov
This week, House Republicans joined with Governor Haslam to announce that over 10,000 adults have applied for Tennessee Reconnect, the state’s program for adult learners to earn an associate degree or technical certificate tuition-free.
The application for Tennessee Reconnect opened on February 15 of this year and 10,497 applications had been submitted as of April 10. Tennessee Reconnect is a groundbreaking program that covers tuition and mandatory fees at a Tennessee community or technical college for eligible adults that do not yet have a college degree.
Among those who have applied for the scholarship, more than two-thirds have previously enrolled in college and just more than half of all applicants have attended college in the past five years. The average age of applicants is 34 years old and nearly 90 percent of those who applied plan to work while enrolled through Reconnect.
The Tennessee Reconnect program was passed by the General Assembly in 2017. Adults hoping to enroll in community or technical college in fall 2018 are encouraged to apply by April 15 to ensure time to complete all enrollment steps. The application for Reconnect requires four simple steps:
Complete the application at TNReconnect.gov
Apply to a local community college or eligible Tennessee Reconnect institution,
File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at FAFSA.ed.gov,
And enroll in a degree or certificate program at least part-time.
The Tennessee Reconnect program is part of the broader Drive to 55 initiative — the push to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. Studies show that by 2025, at least half the jobs in Tennessee will require a college degree or certificate.
Tennessee is the first state in the nation to offer all citizens, both high school graduates and adults, the chance to earn a postsecondary degree or certificate tuition-free.
Initiative Promoting High Paying Jobs In Tennessee Passes
House Republicans passed a measure that promotes high paying jobs in Tennessee this week on the House floor.
House Bill 1917 continues the Go Build Tennessee Program through 2024 in order to raise awareness about an abundance of high paying jobs available in communities across the state. The measure strengthens existing partnerships so that students who are interested in the trade industry can utilize Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) campuses to learn the skills they need in order to pursue these high paying careers.
The Go Build Tennessee program was created with the passage of the Go Build Tennessee Act in 2015. It established a nonprofit corporation and board to run the program funded by $3 million collected by the state in surplus licensing fees.
Since Go Build Tennessee began, 74 percent of students in our state said they were more likely to pursue a career in the trades after hearing the program’s message.
Construction and trade jobs are some of the highest paying in Tennessee with an average salary well above median household incomes in most communities. The overall goal of this initiative is to address a shortage of qualified applicants for current vacancies.
Because He Lives,
Terri Lynn Weaver
Greetings Fabulous Fortieth District,
In a case heard by the Supreme Court in 1819, Daniel Webster said, “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy.” Keeping taxes low is a fundamental principle for all levels of government. Less taxes means more money in your pocketbook. History tells us of the excessive taxes Britain burdened upon the colonies without their representation. The very reason they ventured across the Big Pond from Europe was due to the high discriminatory taxes that stifled economic growth and penalized certain groups of people. Free markets and limited taxes equals maximizing your wealth.
Tennessee has and continues to follow the formula of a low tax base. Currently, we are the lowest taxed and lowest debt state in the nation. By cutting taxes, we have boosted our economic growth due to years of strategic, fiscally conservative, and thoughtful investments across our great state. Because of you, the Folks of the Fortieth, you have afforded me the task to be vigilant and to ensure limited government remains contained. High Tax States like California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and New York, could learn some lessons from our red state. Check out the website howmanytalks.com. The data will fascinate you!
A week ago the Governor Haslam introduced his amendment for the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget proposal that will be considered by this 110th General Assembly. With a 37 billion dollar budget, this includes additional improvements for broadband, higher education, opioid addiction, and school safety. This budget amendment will be introduced to us in the final weeks of the legislative session. The budget is the final thing we will vote on and that is expected to be sometime in the middle of April.
To have a job and provide for your family is a blessing indeed. It is paramount that folks can take care of their families and in return make their communities a better place to live. By instituting work requirements for those who receive benefits from the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and TennCare, approximately 58,000 able-bodied adults who are not meeting the work requirements but still receiving assistance, will now be able to take part in the overabundance of jobs. Incentivizing them to move from dependency to self-sufficiency, HB1551 seeks to meet that goal. This legislation will not apply to Tennessee’s Seniors or disabled residents.
When touring all my K-12 schools this past fall, I was asked by many of our teachers and principals to help give us relief from the complicating methods of state testing. HB2247 is designed to not only save 6M dollars on the cost of testing but will simplify testing methods for students as well. Not only that, it will free up additional resources by restoring the time lost in giving the tests, so teachers can do what they do best, TEACH! I will continue to work to make the testing process as seamless as possible and continue work to identify other areas where we can improve. Some of the best news I’ve heard in a long time that I would love to share is that last fall, high school graduation rates for the 2016-2017 school year reached 89.1% - the highest in recorded state history! Salute to our students and teachers!
Our National Motto - “In God We Trust” can now be displayed in schools across Tennessee. With passage of HB2368, perhaps this will help future generations of students better understand the importance of faith and remind them that the very bedrock of our Nation was built on the principles of The God of the Bible.
Because He Lives,
Terri Lynn Weaver
Greetings Fabulous Fortieth District,
You have heard me repeat this quote numerous times by Theodore Roosevelt, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
Friday morning began with Coffee Conversations in Carthage with citizens of my district engaging in discussions such as in-state tuition, second amendment rights, and how blessed we are to live in Tennessee. Every Friday morning these conversations continue with the folks of the fortieth to which I am ever grateful to work for.
Currently I am focused on the Transportation needs of the district. Beginning with Dekalb County, Senator Pody and I met with TDOTs Joe Deering, Assistant Chief Engineer, Wes Hughen, Director of Project Development and Ken Flynn, Director of Operations from the Chattanooga Office headquarters of Region 2. Focusing on two major road projects, it was an open meeting to the public so we could be on the same page concerning dates and the estimated time of what I refer to as “moving dirt” when the machinery shows up to begin the onsite construction. More specifics about the different phases of HWY 56 and HWY 70 will be forthcoming in May or June.
Here are some numbers of interest for Tennessee:
Interstates: 1,104 miles
State Maintained HWY miles: 13,884
Total HWY miles: 95,523
Waterways: 946 navigable main channel miles
Airports: 74 general aviation, 5 commercial, 142 heliports
Railroads: 18 shortlines (842 miles) 6 class 1 railroads (2,177 miles)
Transit: 28 systems serving all 95 counties
Bicycle: 4,497 miles
Pedestrian: 270 miles of greenways, sidewalks and trails.
In my Transportation Sub committee we passed HB2211 which is an extension of the no hand held devices while driving in a school zone, passed last year to include roads, highway and streets. With the number of fatalities due to texting reaching the number of DUI’s or better, many of us believed it was time to make the hard decision that could change the behavior for better behind the wheel.
Over in the Senate, the companion bill SB2539 did not pass. We are going to have to address the seriousness of distracted driving when it comes to our phones. Technology is progressing however unfortunately the sound of a text ding or the ring of a call beckons us to answer. That split second to respond can and has taken lives.
Tennessee continues to trend record low unemployment and record low tax burden in 2018. In fact, Tennessee has officially been ranked as the lowest taxed state in the entire nation according to a organization focused on financial industry called Wallet Hub. Our unemployment rate has remained 3.3% since September 2017. We have been blessed! Since 2011 we have cut taxes by 800M! With keeping more money in the pockets of Tennesseans there is no doubt Tennessee is moving in the right direction attracting job-creators, inspiring entrepreneurs, and putting people back to work. Plus we are ranked number 2 in the country for transportation/road quality and 2nd in cost of living by CNBC.
So in closing we are indeed fortunate. Let us count our many blessings and continue together toward “work worth doing” to make Tennessee even greater!
Honored to work for you,
Terri Lynn Weaver
Greetings Fabulous Fortieth District,
With daylight savings time creeping up on us and the sound of falling rain against the window, I fell victim to the couch for a Sunday nap. Still groggy and still raining, there is nothing like a hot cup of coffee to liven me up! Oh, that TN would embrace either the nice weather surprises that we have been having or stay cold a bit longer, I’d love it for the weather to just make up its mind. HB1881 would establish daylight savings time as the standard time in Tennessee. It will be heard in state government subcommittee on Wednesday. Tomorrow I intend to sign on to that bill!
Transportation Sub, to which I chair, is winding down. We will meet three more Wednesdays. This week we will hear, along with stats and testimonies, HB2211, which prohibits talking on a hand-held device while driving on any road, highway or street. It will expand the law we passed last year prohibiting talking on your phone while driving in a school zone. New numbers for accidents caused by texting will rock your world as it did mine after I saw the facts. Too many lives are being lost because distracted drivers are not focusing while behind the wheel.
School safety is a high concern on the Hill and the Governor’s School Safety Working Group met on Thursday to begin their review. All the schools in Tennessee have safety plans in place and the task force will be reviewing those policies and procedures. HB2208 allows certified firearms instructors to train teachers who want to participate and already have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. This bill is permissible, requires 40 hours of initial training and 16 hours annually to train with local law enforcement in the event a live shooter enters our public schools. Many members have signed on to this bill, myself included, because doing nothing is not an option. Guns by themselves are not evil. A gun on its own does not start a killing spree. Senseless gun legislation that would weaken our second amendment rights would not have stopped that horrific event or those prior or the next one to come. We must protect our schools our communities as well as fix our broken mental health system and punish immediately those acts of evil who kill our children!!!!
I will be presenting HB2690 this Tuesday in the House subcommittee of Administration and Planning. Passage of this bill creates additional privacy protections for student’s education and health records and prohibits release of student records in certain circumstances without parents informed written consent. Parents are not comfortable with the amount of data being collected that innovative technology now provides. Hopefully we can stop this intrusion of data grabbing off the backs of our children.
Remember you can watch our committees live on video streaming off the Tennessee General Assembly website.
It is looking like the middle of April is the schedule date for the 110th to adjourn or as we refer to it as sine die. Once the committees have listened to all bills placed on notice, we will spend all our time on the House Floor. With this being an election year, and a big one at that, members want to finish the people’s business, return home, and focus on campaigns. It’s a fast train indeed however I am reminded one of life’s greatest prizes is to work hard at work worth doing. You, the Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth, give me the pleasure to work and serve you. I am in hopes you offer that honor again in 2019.
Terri Lynn Weaver
Greetings Fabulous Fortieth District,
Monday, February 26th, will mark the 56th day of the 110th General Assembly. Last week, we had full calendars in most of the committees on the House side. Committee closures are beginning to be announced so that sub-committees can be planned to end by the closing of March. The pace has been kicked up a notch for bills to be put on notice in order to be heard this year.
Visits at the Capitol
Many of those visiting the Cordell Hull Building last week were in awe at the process and the procedure to which bills move into becoming laws. I can’t emphasis it enough, how much I enjoy folks from the fortieth joining me in Nashville.
Looking towards the up coming elections.
This year is a big election year for counties. With an open US Senate race, governor’s race, various congressional seats on the ballot, plus about a third of the State House seats on the ballot, I am reminded of that song... Sign, Sign, everywhere a sign, by Five Man Electrical Band. Tennessee will have vacancies in seats we have not seen in a while, thus driving a larger turnout.
Remember, if you are not registered to vote you can do so online #GoVoteTN. Look for the GoVoteTN app on your phone to inform you of who your candidates for local, state, and federal offices in your district. The app can also tell you the location of the polling locations.
HB2131 is legislation I signed on as a co-sponsor that will withhold state funds to a local government for the next subsequent fiscal year if a local government were to sell, remove, relocate, or destroy a historical memorial after a waiver was denied to them by the Tennessee Historical Commission. What happened in Memphis was unconscionable! Currently there is a court case in the Davidson Chancery Court that needs to play itself out. We will continue to monitor as we work together to protect our history!
Update on IMPROVE Act
One of the first COMPLETED projects under the IMPROVE ACT was the Holmes Creek Road Bridge over Fall Creek in Dekalb County. Under this plan, there are 526 bridges, at a cost of 400M, to be completed within 14 years. That is a heavy lift but things are getting done in the 40th District!
Terri Lynn Weaver
Greetings Fortieth District!
I hope you and your loved ones had an enjoyable President’s Day. This week, I am reminded of one of my favorite and compelling biographies “Washington,” by Douglas Southall Freeman. Reflecting on the writing of George Washington whether in his letters or his famous farewell address of September 17, 1796, his wisdom is still to be rivaled to this day. Abigail Adams once said, “take his character altogether and we shall not look upon his like again,” about George Washington and I believe that still holds true. Happy Birthday President Washington.
Serving District 40 continues to be one of my life’s greatest pleasures and when asked by a constituent about certain issues that matter to them, I make it my mission to seek out an answer and bring them a response. One question, came to me via a typed letter in the mail that I thought would be great to share with you “Loopers.” The topic of the letter was regarding the election security of Tennessee and how we protect our state’s election infrastructure.
The General Assembly has given several tools in state law to help identify and remove ineligible voters. Specifically, there is cross-referencing of the National Change of Address data from the United States Postal Service and county elections commissions who send notices to these voters who have moved out of the county and or out of state, is routinely done in order to keep our ballot box secure and current. Also, there are tax records and data kept by Department of Motor vehicles that tighten up the voter rolls as well. Concerning deceased voters, Tennessee constantly compares the voter roll to available lists of deaths provided by the Tennessee Office of Vital Records and information purchased by the death information from the Social Security Administration. Tennessee also checks for non-U.S. citizens by comparing data with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
In 2009, shortly after Secretary Hargett’s appointment, thousands of felons or deceased voters who were still on the voting rolls were removed. Protecting data transfers, modernizing infrastructure and voting machines, plus keeping voting information current is not an easy task; however, under Secretary Hargett’s watch our state is vigilant to ensure our system is secure and modern.
Last Friday @Coffee Conversations in Carthage, we discussed considering legislation to make the first Tuesday of November not only voting day, but also a holiday. In lieu of the low turnout of voters across our state compared to the number of registered voters, perhaps closing businesses would be two-fold. It could bring more awareness of the importance of voting and give those who work long hours the opportunity to go vote. Stats show early voting is favored by many and gives flexible windows of time to cast your vote. Back in the day though, I remember when all businesses pulled the shade and left a notice, “Closed. Gone to vote.” Something to think about.
Online Voter Registration
Please note Tennessee's new online voter registration system. It’s easy and convenient.
click here. Since launching the online voter registration, 9,887 have updated their names or addresses online and 7,287 Tennesseans have registered to vote.
Legislation on the Move
This week I will present HB2682 which requires the Governor to highly consider military veterans to serve on Boards of State Institutions of higher education. HB2688 amends current law that allows the state treasurer to invest in bonds, notes and treasury bills. Passage of this bill would allow a state agency to invest in government- sponsored enterprises that were created by the U.S. Congress to enhance the flow of credit. HB1829 designates the last full week of February each year as “Tennessee Songwriters Week,” promoting Tennessee’s musical heritage by recognizing contributions of past and present songwriters of this state.
Terri Lynn Weaver
THE FOLLOWING FILES ARE IN PDF FORMAT.
Past Loop Reports