NASHVILLE, (July 3, 2018) — Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) is set to receive a major award for being a consistent and tireless advocate for arts and education in Tennessee. He has been selected to receive the Lamar Alexander Founder’s Award of Distinction from the Tennessee Arts Academy, the nation’s premier program for professional development in arts education.
Norris has been the primary sponsor of the state’s budget for eight consecutive years, during which state funding for kindergarten to twelfth grade education has increased by $1.5 billion. He was the primary sponsor of Tennessee Promise, which provides tuition-free education to graduating high school seniors. He has also been instrumental in providing annual funding for the Tennessee Arts Academy and in preserving and supporting Tennessee’s specialty license plate program, which provides millions of dollars to the arts, including arts education. As a member of the General Assembly’s arts caucus, he created the state’s Gift-A-Tag Program to boost sales of specialty plates.
Norris is also a lifetime member of the Tennessee Parent Teacher Association and has twice been named its Legislator of the Year. He has pioneered funding for programs addressing adverse childhood experiences, including the ACE Awareness Foundation and the University of Tennessee’s Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth. He has championed the cause of juvenile justice reform for many years. He sponsored the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 and also enacted changes to prevent the incarceration of juveniles in solitary confinement.
The award will be presented to Norris at the group’s Bravo Awards Banquet and Performance which will take place at the Curb Event Center Arena on the Belmont University Campus in Nashville on July 11 at 6:30 p.m.