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TDMHSAS Presents Major Pre-Arrest Diversion Infrastructure Grant to Madison County

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Ed Jackson (R-Jackson) today joined Madison County Sheriff John Mehr and Representative Jimmy Eldridge (R-Jackson) as Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (TDMHSAS) Commissioner Marie Williams awarded a major mental illness grant to the Madison County Criminal Justice Complex.  The $3.1 million grant will go towards creating a behavioral health jail diversion program for those struggling with behavioral health needs.

Senator Jackson is Chairman of the Senate Corrections Subcommittee which oversees legislation regarding all local jails in Tennessee as well as 15 prisons which house state inmates.

“Presently, there are limited options for handling people with mental health issues who come into custody of law enforcement officers,” said Senator Jackson.   “This proactive approach to help Tennesseans struggling with mental illness or substance abuse disorders will ensure better access to proper treatment and care and keep them out of our jails.  This action, in turn, will make our communities safer and help alleviate overcrowding, saving taxpayer money.  It was great to witness our state and local governments coming together to tackle such an important and complex issue.”

The primary goal of the TDMHSAS Pre-Arrest Diversion Infrastructure Project is to reduce or eliminate the time individuals with mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorder spend incarcerated by redirecting them from the criminal justice system to community-based treatment and supports.  Key Community partners with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department include Pathways Behavioral Health, Aspell Recovery Center, Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency and the local court system.

“I am proud of the efforts our state and local government are making towards creating a safer, healthier, and more prosperous community,” Jackson concluded.

 

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Sen. Bowling announces Listening Meetings October 23-26

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) will hold October town hall Listening Meetings in District 16 on October 23-26. In her monthly meetings, Bowling offers assistance with state services and listens to concerns citizens have for the State Legislature.

“As we get closer to the start of the 2018 legislative session, I want to hear the views of the people of Senate District 16,” said Senator Bowling.  “We are facing many issues this year, including opioid abuse, jobs, healthcare, education and juvenile justice, to name a few.  I am also pleased to help local citizens access state government services.”

The meetings include:

 

Date County Meeting Location Time
Oct 23 Coffee County Admin Bldg. / Manchester 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Oct 23 Coffee County City Hall / Tullahoma 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Oct 24 Marion County Courthouse / Jasper 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Oct 24 Sequatchie County Courthouse / Dunlap 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Oct 25 Grundy County Courthouse / Altamont 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Oct 25 Franklin County Franklin Co. Annex / Winchester 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Oct 26 Van Buren County Fair Bldg. (Burritt College) / Spencer 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Oct 26 Warren County Warren Co. Admin Bldg. / McMinnville 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Sen. Bowling’s office can be reached year-round at 615-741-6694.

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Tennessee Building Commission approves $100,000 for Oliver Springs L&N Depot says Sen. Yager

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), October 12, 2017— State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) said that the Tennessee Building Commission approved the appropriation of $100,000 for the Oliver Springs L&N Depot today at their meeting in Nashville.   The funds were approved after Sen. Yager wrote Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin earlier this year asking for an appropriation for the project, laying out the reasons it should be included in Governor Bill Haslam’s budget.  Governor Haslam then placed the funds in his amended budget which was adopted by the General Assembly in May.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $200,000.

“The Oliver Springs Depot is a priceless landmark in desperate need of repair,” said Sen. Yager.  “Volunteers have made a herculean effort to restore it, but these funds will be crucial to finishing the restoration project. The Depot not only has great potential for tourism, it also preserves our community’s history for generations to come.”

During the State Building Commission meeting, Secretary of State Tre Hargett remarked, “Chairman Yager has been a strong advocate of this project and has worked very hard to see it approved.  My office, along with many others, has supported him during this process.”

The Depot was built in the 1890’s and served as a focal point in the life and commerce of the town.  It currently houses the town’s library and a museum of local history.

 

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SEN. KETRON RECEIVES TWO KEY AWARDS FOR WORK TO AID VICTIMS OF CRIME AND FOR DEDICATION TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN TENNESSEE

NASHVILLE – Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) recently received two major awards for his work to aid victims of crime and for his dedication to children and families in Tennessee.

On Friday, Ketron received the Legislator of the Year award from the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.  The award was presented during their annual Pearl and Pinstripes event in Nashville. Ketron worked with the Coalition to pass legislation in the Senate this year to change the standard for when a court may terminate parental rights to a child who was conceived as the result of rape to help victims.   He also passed legislation to delete a provision in previous law that allowed an alleged offender the right to have notice of and suspend all action concerning their victim’s claim for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund.

On Monday, he received an award from the Child Advocacy Centers at their Connecting for Children’s Justice Conference in Murfreesboro recognizing him for “dedication to the children and families of Tennessee connecting for children’s justice.” Ketron has been a strong supporter of child advocacy in the State Senate.  He shared the Child Advocacy Center honors with House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Thompson Station).

In addition, Ketron was recognized at the End Slavery Voice of Freedom event on Tuesday in Nashville for his efforts to combat human trafficking.  He passed several bills this year aimed at curbing the problem and providing more services for minor victims.

“All of these groups are phenomenal partners in working to make Tennessee a stronger place for families and children,” said Sen. Ketron.  “I am humbled to receive these two awards and appreciate all the good work that these organizations do to make Tennessee a safer and better place to live.

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SENATE HEALTH AND WELFARE COMMITTEE LOOKS AT WAYS TO PREVENT ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES IN TENNESSEE

NASHVILLE -- The Senate Health and Welfare Committee tackled the problem of preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) during their recent fall meeting in Nashville, calling for more coordination to ensure at-risk children are being served.  Lawmakers on the committee heard from the state’s foremost experts representing various departments and agencies of state government and the Tennessee Academy of Pediatrics regarding actions being taken to prevent ACEs and its wide-ranging impact on Tennesseans.

ACEs are stressful or traumatic experiences that range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. Decades of research has shown these experiences increase the risk for many negative health and well-being outcomes later in life, including heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, obesity, suicide, violent behavior, cancers and early death.  Studies also show a link between such childhood trauma and offenders entering the criminal justice system.

“Many of the problems we are trying to solve with our adult populations could be solved earlier if we can get to them when they are young enough to make a difference,” said Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City).  “We want to ensure that Tennessee is doing everything we can with our resources to prevent such experiences from occurring at the earliest age possible.”

Approximately 34.8 million children in the U.S. are impacted by ACEs, with Tennessee having a significantly higher rate than other states.  A 2016 study showed 61% of Tennesseans had at least one adverse childhood experience, while 27% had three or more.  Research shows a $7 return for each $1 spent on programs targeting the earliest years of development.

“If we can break the cycle, that needs to be done early,” added Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin), who successfully passed legislation this year to enhance the state’s ACEs prevention efforts.  “We wanted to try to facilitate some discussion concerning how different agencies could work across sectors in an effective partnership to attack this problem from a holistic perspective, rather than in isolation.  The bottom line is how many lives we can change and how many we can save.”

Early detection and prompt intervention is key to preventing ACEs.  The state’s Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program supports evidenced-based home visiting services to at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children.  The voluntary program, which provided 19,961 home visits to 3,235 parents and children in 1,656 families in 2016, individually-tailors support services to prevent traumatic experiences as early as possible.  The state leverages federal funds to implement such high-performing models as the Health Families America, Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers and Nurses for Newborns, which provide a wide range of services to Tennesseans in need.

The state also has the Help Us Grow Successfully (HUGS) Program which is a targeted home-based case management program coordinated by local health department staffs through TennCare.  In addition, the Department of Education’s Building Strong Brains:  Strategies for Educators is a free training program offered to empower school leaders and teachers to address chronic childhood trauma in the school and classroom.

“This was a very important meeting,” added Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville), who has also spearheaded legislative efforts to prevent ACEs.  Overbey is a member of the Juvenile Justice Task Force, which is also studying preventative measures that can be incorporated into the criminal justice system utilizing ACEs studies.  “The takeaway from this meeting is that the legislature is very much interested in what we are doing to serve the children and youth of our state, especially in making sure we get services to those who have unfortunately had adverse childhood experiences.  Let’s lower the walls of the silo so we communicate and talk with each other to the benefit of all the people of the state,” he concluded.

 

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SEN. BAILEY TO SIT OUT REMAINDER OF TITANS SEASON

Pledges donation equaling cost of his season tickets to local organizations honoring those who protect and defend this nation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) today responded to numerous media inquiries regarding his social media posts expressing disappointment and opposition to numerous NFL football players’ #TakeAKnee protests. Over the weekend, Sen. Bailey posted on both Twitter and Facebook his disappointment in opposition to players not taking the field and standing for our National Anthem prior to kickoff. Bailey posted on Facebook, “I will not lend support for those who would disrespect America, by refusing to pause and stand in honor of our National Anthem.”

Sen. Bailey said today he would make good on his promise to leave his premium season ticket seats empty, saying, “I won’t witness the hijacking of pre-game ceremonies that disrespect our flag and challenge the honor of any of the men or women who have sacrificed to preserve our freedoms to enjoy these leisure-time activities.”

For the remainder of the season, Sen. Bailey said, he will leave his five 50-yard line seats vacant and donate an amount equal to the tickets value, split between two worthy organizations. The two organizations are C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors), an organization which provides assistance to the families of fallen law enforcement officers, and the Upper Cumberland Honor Guard, which provides a proper military burial for veterans.

Sen. Bailey added, “My donation to these two organizations is meant to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our communities, as well as veterans no longer among us to stand in respect to our flag. I encourage others to do the same.”

Senator Bailey said his actions are not done in his role as an elected official, but as a Titan fan and season ticket holder.

“As Americans, we respect everyone’s right to protest, but dissent is a two-way street. My actions are to voice displeasure and disappointment at the current NFL teams’ behavior, which I believe disrespects those who have sacrificed their lives for our country, as well as law enforcement officers killed in their sworn duty to protect and serve our communities,” he continued.

Bailey concluded by encouraging all Titan fans to remember the words of the NFL commissioner Elmer Layden who introduced the National Anthem to pre-game activities during the turmoil and sacrifice of World War II, “The playing of the National Anthem should be as much a part of every game as the kickoff. We must not drop it simply because the war is over. We should never forget what it stands for.”

The Upper Cumberland Honor Guard can be reached at 370 S. Lowe Ave., PMB 212, Cookeville, TN 38501-4730 or [email protected].  C.O.P.S. can be reached at by contacting Trish Mundy at (615)364-9094.

 

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Sen. Bowling announces September Listening Meetings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) announced the schedule for her town hall Listening Meetings in District 16 today. In her monthly meetings, Bowling offers assistance with state services and listens to concerns citizens have for the State Legislature.

 

"I look forward to talking with area citizens about how we can make our state a better place to work and live,” said Senator Bowling.  “I want to be open and available to hear from the people of District 16 about the issues we face, as well as offer any assistance with state government agencies.”

 

The September meetings include:

 

Date County Meeting Location Time
Sept 25 Coffee County Admin Bldg. / Manchester 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Sept 25 Coffee County City Hall / Tullahoma 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Sept 26 Marion County Courthouse / Jasper 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Sept 26 Sequatchie County Courthouse / Dunlap 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Sept 27 Grundy County Courthouse / Altamont 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Sept 27 Franklin County Franklin Co. Annex / Winchester 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Sept 28 Van Buren County Fair Bldg. (Burritt College) / Spencer 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Sept 28 Warren County Warren Co. Admin Bldg. / McMinnville 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

 

Sen. Bowling’s office can be reached year-round at 615-741-6694.

 


National conservative organizations spotlight Sen. Jackson as their “Legislator of the Week”

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) –  The American Legislative Exchange Council, America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators, and Freedom Works, a national organization which promotes free markets and individual liberty, has named Senator Ed Jackson (R-Jackson) their State Legislator of the Week.  Each week, ALEC and Freedom Works showcase one lawmaker nationwide who embodies the principles of limited government, free markets, and federalism.

 

In their article spotlighting Jackson the groups interviewed him on the most challenging issues facing Tennessee.  Jackson listed healthcare and drug addiction as top issues for 2018.

 

“Over one-third of our state’s budget is all areas of healthcare,” said Sen. Jackson.  “Our state has huge challenges with everything from general health, mental health, health care costs, drug addiction, availability of healthcare in rural areas, the developmentally disabled, and shortages of health care workers. I sit on the Health Committee in the Senate and we have a great and challenging agenda before us in 2018.”

 

Jackson said he is most proud of his work as Chairman of the Corrections Subcommittee.  He said the position of chairman also presents one of his biggest challenges as a state lawmaker.  Tennessee has 15 state prisons located across the state. Eleven of those facilities are operated by the Department of Corrections and four are privately managed.  The committee oversees the budget and legislation regarding them as well as local jails.

 

“We have a great deal of work and improvements that need to take place in our state,” added Jackson.  “The corrections budget is the fifth largest line item in our budget at one billion dollars. We are looking at what other states are doing to make improvements and are meeting regularly with corrections, judicial and law enforcement to see what is working best across our state.”

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TRACY PRAISES ACTION BY GOVERNOR HASLAM TO HELP ENSURE TAXPAYERS DO NOT PAY WELFARE BENEFITS TO ABLE-BODIED RECIPIENTS

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) – Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) praised action taken by Governor Bill Haslam today to reinstate federal work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that were  waived in during the 2008 economic recession.   Tracy also applauded the governor’s efforts to strengthen the program’s integrity and encourage self-sufficiency through legislation to be proposed in the 2018 session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

 

The move comes after last week’s announcement that unemployment in Tennessee fell to an all-time low of 3.3 percent.  It also follows legislation sponsored by Sen. Tracy earlier this year to reinstate work requirements waived in 2008.  Tracy deferred action on the bill after the Department of Human Services assured him they were looking to eliminate the work waivers as unemployment rates in Tennessee decrease.

 

“The unemployment rate is at a record low,” said Sen. Tracy, “We need to make sure that recipients who are able to work are looking for employment, attending a job training program or fulfilling the other requirements in order to receive SNAP benefits.”

 

“We certainly want to take care of those who are in need,” he added.  “Taxpayers, however, should not foot the bill for able-bodied recipients who are not trying to gain employment which undermines the integrity and stability of the program.”

 

Presently, 85 of the 95 counties in Tennessee offer waivers exempting citizens from fulfilling certain requirements necessary to receive SNAP benefits. These requirements include working 20 hours per week, volunteering for an approved charitable organization for 20 hours per week, or attending a school or job training program.  Under the governor’s plan, the state will reestablish work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) receiving SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) in 70 counties beginning February 1, 2018.  The waiver will remain in 16 counties designated as distressed.

 

Other reforms announced by Governor Haslam that will be proposed in the 2018 legislative session include:

  • Seeking approval to join a multi-state cooperative to identify dual participation in programs;
  • Strengthening investigations of multiple EBT card replacements;
  • Increasing the ability to investigate fraud with additional tools;
  • Reducing the fiscal cliff for families meeting the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF or Families First) work requirements by providing a work incentive transitional benefit;
  • Encouraging family stabilization by linking the TANF maximum benefit to the current standard of need.

 

 

 

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Senator Jackson to attend national summit on public safety

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Ed Jackson (R-Jackson) will attend a summit hosted by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Association of State Correctional Administrators in Washington, D.C., in November. The two-day summit will gather leaders from all 50 states to build a better understanding of the crime, arrest and correctional system trends in their jurisdictions.

“When working with the corrections system, the biggest challenge is not a shortage of ideas, but sifting through the massive amounts of data and information presented by many different stakeholders,” said Jackson. “This summit gives us the opportunity to join other states in studying the national landscape of crime, corrections and behavioral health trends. Through this summit, we will study the highs and lows of the national trends and get a better understanding of what can best serve Tennessee.”

In preparation for the summit, data will be collected on crime, arrests, recidivism, correctional populations and other criminal justice system metrics for all 50 states. The data will then be analyzed and used as examples of lessons learned, case studies and research-based principles at the summit.

Each state team will include the state director of the department of corrections, a key state lawmaker, a person who channels the perspective of local law enforcement and a state- or local-level behavioral health official.

“Through our focus and collaboration, we can work towards developing the most effective solutions to the difficulties Tennessee’s correctional system faces and create new improvements to keep Tennessee safe for generations to come,” added Jackson.

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Three Stars of Tennessee Award honors five Tennessee heroes

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), September 11, 2017 -- State Senator Becky Duncan Massey (R-Knoxville) joined Governor Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David Purkey and other state officials on Monday to present the state’s Three Stars of Tennessee Award. The awards honor five Tennessee heroes who dedicated their lives for the safety and security of their fellow citizens.
The awards were presented posthumously to the families of Putnam County EMS Paramedic Carmen Burnette, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent De’Greaun Frazier, Metro Nashville Police Officer Eric Mumaw, Tennessee Department of Transportation HELP truck operator James “J.R.” Rogers, Jr. and Maryville Police Department Officer Kenneth Moats.
The event, which is held on September 11 each year, took place in Conservation Hall at the Executive Residence in Nashville.
Senator Massey spearheaded legislation in 2014 to recognize law enforcement, firefighters and medical first responders who exhibit brave and heroic sacrifices in the line of duty. This is the fourth presentation of the annual awards since passage of that act.
“Every day in Tennessee brave men and women put on their uniforms and report for duty with the knowledge that they may pay the ultimate price for the job that they do,” said Senator Massey. “It is very appropriate that we honor the sacrifices made by Tennessee heroes like these who have demonstrated nobility through their selfless actions. No words seem adequate to express our gratitude and admiration for the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to selflessly serving others.”
In addition, First Responder Recipient awards were given to 34 first responder agencies from state and local governments in Tennessee.
“The tragedy of 9/11 serves as a reminder each year of the sacrifices made by our first responders,” added Sen. Massey. “These awards are a small token of our appreciation for the jobs they do every day for our citizens.”
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Background:
• Ms. Burnette died during surgery for a condition suffered while rendering emergency care for a patient
• Agent Frazier was killed while operating an undercover drug operation
• Officer Mumaw drowned in the Cumberland River while trying to prevent a woman from committing suicide.
• Mr. Rogers was struck while assisting a stranded motorist on I-40 in Nashville
• Officer Moats was shot while responding to a disturbance call
Photo:
L.to R. Senator Massey; Maryville Police Department Officer Donnie Carroll; Lisa Burns, mother of officer Kenneth Moats; Maryville Police Department Captain David Graves and Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David Purkey.


Faison, Dickerson Announce First Meeting Of Joint Committee On Medical Cannabis

WHAT:
State Representative Jeremy Faison (R–Cosby) and State Senator Steve Dickerson (R–Nashville) today announced the first meeting of the Joint Committee On Medical Cannabis. The event will be the first in a series of gatherings scheduled across the state to study, evaluate, analyze, and undertake a comprehensive review regarding whether the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes is in the state’s best interest. The group will also make recommendations about future legislation to members of the Tennessee General Assembly during the upcoming 2018 legislative session.

***All media is invited to attend.

WHO:
State Representative Jeremy Faison, Co-Chairman
State Senator Steve Dickerson, Co-Chairman
State Representative Sheila Butt, Member
State Representative Bob Ramsey, Member
State Representative Sam Whitson, Member
State Representative Raumesh Akbari, Member
State Senator Richard Briggs, Member
State Senator Rusty Crowe, Member
State Senator Joey Hensley, Member
State Senator Jeff Yarbro, Member
Medical marijuana stakeholders

WHEN:
Thursday, September 21, 2017
8:00AM – 1:00PM

WHERE:
Tennessee Tower, Nashville Room 1
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave.
Nashville, TN 37243

CONTACT:
Doug Kufner
(615) 741-1100, ext. 44289
[email protected]

Darlene Schlicher
(615) 741-6366
[email protected]

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Sen. Roberts appointed to Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Disability Services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) has been appointed by Lt. Governor Randy McNally to serve on the Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Disability Services. The committee will review all disability services in the state, discuss ways to better streamline services and improve their quality, access and affordability.

“This committee will take a comprehensive look at the scope of disability services and how they are delivered by various state government departments and agencies so we can remove any barriers,” said Sen. Roberts. “It is very important that these services are streamlined and that agencies across state government are coordinating with one another for the benefit of these citizens.”

The committee will hold hearings in all grand divisions of the state and solicit input from consumers, advocates, providers and state departments.

“A cooperative approach to disability services helps enable affected citizens to fulfill their potential,” added Sen. Roberts. “I look forward to working with my colleagues toward that goal.”

Other members appointed to the committee are Senators Becky Massey (R-Knoxville), Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma), and Sara Kyle (D-Memphis). Representatives serving are Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland) Sabi Kumar (R-Springfield), Debra Moody (R-Covington), Darren Jernigan (D-Old Hickory) and Ron Lollar (R-Bartlett).

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Sen. Jackson encourages farmers, businesses to apply for AEF grants

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Sen. Ed Jackson (R-Jackson) is encouraging food and agriculture business, farmers and other entities in District 27 to apply for grants awarded through the Agriculture Enterprise Fund (AEF). The AEF is administered by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Economic and Community Development.

“I am proud to represent the place some of the most hardworking farmers and businesses in the state call home,” said Jackson. “These farms and businesses support our community and economy, and receiving these grants can give them the funding to maximize that support and grow their business.”

The AEF is an incentive program created through the Governor’s Rural Task Force to support job creation and economic development through facilitating agricultural development throughout the state. Grants will be awarded to projects with the opportunity to have an impact on local farm income, access to markets, increased capacity or agricultural innovation.

“I look forward to these deserving farms and businesses securing this funding and continuing to support their communities for years to come,” added Sen. Jackson.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but interested applicants are encouraged to apply early. Applications can be submitted at www.tn.gov/agriculture/topic/agriculture-enterprise-fund.

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Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron to represent Tennessee at Historic Convention of the States

NASHVILLE, (September 6, 2017) – Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) is among seven Tennessee legislators who will join delegates from across the nation in Phoenix, Arizona on September 12 at the Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention. This assemblage will be the first national convention of the states convened since 1861, when states met to discuss an amendment they hoped would avert civil war. The purpose of the upcoming convention in Phoenix is to prepare for an anticipated convention convened under Article V of the U. S. Constitution to propose a balanced budget amendment and to recommend a set of rules under which such a convention would be governed.

“The vast majority of states, like Tennessee, have constitutional or statutory mandates to balance their budgets,” said Senator Ketron. “Even during tough economic years, most states have been able to prioritize their obligations and make tough choices. The federal government should be expected to do the same. The planning convention is an important step in the process in bringing such an amendment to rein in out-of-control federal spending.”

Article V provides that upon the application of two-thirds of the state legislatures, Congress shall call a convention of the states to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The attempt to head off a sovereign debt crisis is not a new one. Ronald Reagan championed the cause of a balanced budget amendment in the 1980s. In his 1982 Address before a Joint Session of the Indiana State Legislature he stated, "The Federal Government has taken too much tax money from the people, too much authority from the states, and too much liberty from the Constitution." Today, with 27 of the required 34 applications passed for an Article V convention, Senator Ketron will help prepare the nation for an exercise of the states' constitutional liberty, which will begin to restore a balance of power between state and federal governments and limit the spending that is quickly becoming an overwhelming burden on the U.S. economy.

Other Tennessee lawmakers attending the convention include Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains), Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Representative Jay Reedy (R-Erin), Representative Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) and Representative Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro).

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Tennessee Delegation heads to Balanced Budget Planning Convention

NASHVILLE – The seven Tennessee lawmakers representing the state at a Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention in Phoenix, Arizona next Tuesday have filed a resolution to begin the process of preparing for an Article V convention. Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains), Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), Representative Jay Reedy (R-Erin), Representative Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) and Representative Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) will represent Tennessee at the first national convention of the states convened since 1861, when states met to discuss an amendment they hoped would avert a civil war.

The purpose of the upcoming convention in Phoenix is to prepare for an anticipated convention convened under Article V of the U. S. Constitution to propose a balanced budget amendment and to recommend a set of rules under which such a convention would be governed. The resolution submitted to the convention by the Tennessee delegation is the first draft of rules presented for consideration.

“The resolution filed by our delegation will serve as a guide to the discussion to get the ball rolling on rules to govern an Article V convention to balance the federal budget,” said Sen. Bell. “Our nation’s founders, Mason and Madison, insisted there be a method to amend the Constitution, fearing that at some point in the future the federal government would grow to such a size that they would become deaf to the concerns of the states. This is contained in Article V. Looking at our national debt, which has now reached a $20 trillion, we as a state have a duty and responsibility to try and rein this in.”

“I am looking forward to the planning convention and working with other legislators across the country on this important national issue that can be detrimental to our nation’s future,” said Rep. Powers. “It is an honor to represent the state of Tennessee as a delegate in this capacity.”

“In the state legislature, we know our constituents, work hard to represent their interest and protect the dollars they trust us with through state taxes,” said Sen. Ketron. “It is our duty to hold Congress to the same standard of diligence and responsibility. We have this opportunity afforded to us by our Founding Fathers and the Constitution to take up the concerns of our constituents when they neglect them.”

“As we go into to the first Article V Convention since 1861, it’s important that we recognize the historical significance of the convention and the opportunity we as states have been given by the Founding Fathers,” said Sen. Niceley. “The Tennessee delegation’s resolution is important to setting the rules and laying the groundwork for an orderly and productive convention.”

“The massive debt accumulated in Washington poses great harm to our economy and security,” added Sen. Green. “I am very pleased that Tennessee is taking the lead in posing the resolution. It will serve as the beginning point for discussions on how an Article V convention can be organized so we can move forward with budget reform.”
“The folks in Washington have operated with utter disregard to fiscal responsibility for far too long,” said Rep. Reedy. “This planning convention will go a long way toward allowing states to take the lead in order to end government waste and curb our nation’s spending habits.”

"I am honored to be a delegate to the Convention of States Planning Session in Arizona this month. I am looking forward to meeting again with state legislators who believe that it is time for states to propose amendments to the Constitution,” said Rep. Butt. “Congress has failed to propose amendments, and Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to meet and propose amendments. The Founding Fathers realized that the time would come when the federal government would not be willing to restrain itself. It is time for states to fulfill that role afforded to us in the Constitution.”

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Sen. Massey appointed Chairman of Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Disability Services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Sen. Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) has been appointed to co-chair the Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Disability Services by Lt. Governor Randy McNally and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell. Massey will be co-chairing the committee with Rep. Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland).

The committee will review all disability services in the state, discuss ways to better streamline services and improve their quality, access and affordability. The committee will also hold hearings in all grand divisions of the state and solicit input from consumers, advocates, providers and state departments.

“As legislators we have the unique opportunity to study the vital services our state provides to some of Tennessee’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Massey. “Regardless of what district we are elected to serve, we do our best to connect our constituents with the services and information they need. Through our review, we can better understand the challenges those with disabilities face, use that knowledge to better streamline access to services and promote independence within the community.”

Massey’s expertise on disability services comes from decades of experience as the executive director of the Sertoma Center, making her the only business woman in the general assembly who is a provider of social services. She has served on the Statewide Planning and Policy Council for the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and she has also been awarded the Freedom Award for Legislative Excellence from Disability Rights TN for her service.

“I look forward to working with the committee to ensure that our departments are functioning efficiently and best serving our state,” added Massey.

Other legislative members of the committee are Sens. Janice Bowling, Sara Kyle, Kerry Roberts, Reps. Sabi Kumar, Debra Moody, Darren Jernigan and Ron Lollar.

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Sen. Ketron speaks on panel at Better Health Better Learning Summit

Dr. Shirley Holt-Hale, Chris Sanders, Senator Bill Ketron and Caroline Young

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) spoke today to educators, administrators and stakeholders from across the state at the Better Health Better Learning summit hosted by Tennessee Score and Nashville Health. The conversation focused on the intersection between legislation and community involvement in reforming education to encourage healthier habits among students.

Ketron is sponsoring the Tom Cronan Physical Education Act when the legislature convenes in January. If passed, the act will require all public elementary school students to participate in a physical education class at least two times a week.

“Physical education is about more than just getting our students to move, it’s about learning the foundations of health that will carry our students on to a healthy life,” said Ketron. “You can be the best artist, you can be the best musician, you can be the best brain surgeon, but if you don’t have your health later in life, it means nothing.”

Aside from Ketron, the panel consisted of former Tennessee Titans football player Chris Sanders, retired physical education instructor Dr. Shirley Holt-Hale and Executive Director of Nashville Health Caroline Young as moderator.

“It’s almost impossible for people my age to change their habits, but children can have a huge effect on their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles,” said Ketron. “If we educate the children, they have the opportunity to tell their families to quit smoking and start eating right. By understanding healthy living, children have the opportunity to change the culture and make Tennessee healthier for generations to come.”

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Sen. Yager announces registration for fifth annual Grant Conference at Roane State Community College

AGENDA: Yager - Grants Conference Agenda draft - August 28 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Sen. Ken Yager (R-Kingston) announces that registration is now open for his fifth annual Grant Conference. The conference will be held on Wednesday, September 20, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Roane State Community College in Harriman.

The conference will focus on providing local governments, community groups and nonprofits pertinent information on available grants and the best practices for preparing a competitive application.

“With speakers from the state, local and federal level, this year is shaping up to be the best yet,” said Yager. “Throughout the day, we will hear from speakers with a wide range of experience and expertise on the grants available in their fields and how to best capitalize on them. This is a wonderful opportunity to unite, learn and work together to make our community stronger.”

Admission to the conference is free, but registration is required. Registration is open until September 15th at www.kenyager.com.

The conference will be held on Wednesday, September 20th at 276 Patton Lane in Harriman in the O’Brien Theatre from 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. EST. Check-in for the event begins at 8:00 am EST.

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Sen. Bowling announces August Listening Meetings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) announced the schedule for her town hall Listening Meetings in District 16 today. In her monthly meetings, Bowling offers assistance with state services and listens to concerns citizens have for the State Legislature and upcoming General Assembly session.

“My highest priority in office is to represent the interests of my constituency the best I can,” said Bowling. “I believe that this goal can be met by providing a listening ear and understanding the issues that matter most to District 16. As we look to begin the second session of the 110th General Assembly this spring, these meetings are a wonderful opportunity prepare to turn words into actions.”

The August meetings include:

Date County Meeting Location Time
Aug 28 Coffee County Admin Bldg. / Manchester 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Aug 28 Coffee County City Hall / Tullahoma 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Aug 29 Marion County Courthouse / Jasper 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Aug 29 Sequatchie County Courthouse / Dunlap 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Aug 30 Grundy County Courthouse / Altamont 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Aug 30 Franklin County Franklin Co. Annex / Winchester 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Aug 31 Van Buren County Fair Bldg. (Burritt College) / Spencer 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Aug 31 Warren County Warren Co. Admin Bldg. / McMinnville 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Sen. Bowling’s office can be reached year-round at 615-741-6694.

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