The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
Hello Folks of the Fortieth! We are in full swing. All thirteen House Committees and twenty- four subcommittees are meeting on a regular basis. Budget Hearings are still in progress for the next few weeks, giving us a better snapshot of the state’s financial situation.
Economic Efficiency Legislation moved out of sub-committee this week. House Bill 3007 encourages departments to implement ways to reduce costs. As a legislator I cannot be afraid to do things differently. Words like consolidate, merge, reduce, and change should be embraced more by government and not feared. We must honestly evaluate the areas that are important and not mess with focusing resources on areas that are inconsequential. Last week in Education Committee I voted on a bill that would have eliminated unnecessary study committees. We need more legislation like HB2535 that removes excessive costs and limits government.
As a main co-sponsor of the Interlock Bill HB2768 I am excited to report that this bill is moving through Judiciary Committee next week. This is legislation that will literally save lives. DUI repeat offenders will be required to have this device installed on their vehicle. In addition, repeat DUI offenders will have portions of their fines sown back into our Critical Access Hospitals and Law Enforcement Departments who treat and see first hand the horrific results of DUI. This law is a step in the right direction.
Just to remind you, most bills that increase fiscal expenditure will not pass this session. As I continue our work, and despite a critical financial climate, this session has kept me focused on the infrastructure needs of my district. In particular, I am concerned with advancing vital projects such as: improving our bridges, roads, and completing our connection to high speed internet. These instrumental projects will ultimately go a long way to improving our job outlook. I am committed to this process and staying the course.
As I address serious issues concerning budget decisions, I am reminded of an old saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”. What we are experiencing today has been in the making for a long time, through growth of government and wasteful spending. However, in order to bring a true recovery we must make cuts and shrink spending, support legislation that limits government, and allow the economy to heal so job growth can get back on its feet again and, thus, consumer confidence can be restored. Although, the tunnel is longer than we would like, there is light at the end of this tunnel.
The Week Ahead
We have, for several years, filed and supported legislation that would require any member of the Tennessee General Assembly convicted of a felony to forfeit their state health insurance benefits. House Bill 2349 was approved by the State Government Subcommittee this week, and has been placed on the agenda in the House State and Local Government Committee for next week. The bill would require any member of the legislature to forfeit state health insurance benefits provided the conviction was in relation to their elected office, and would not apply retroactively or to family members who might be covered.
Also, next week there will be bills that focus on new legislation pertaining to illegal immigration. House Bill 0262 requires that all written examinations for driver license or intermediate driver license be in English. House Bill 0791 expands the offense of identity theft to include when someone knowingly obtains, possesses, buys, or uses the personal identifying information of another, including any dead or fictitious person, to obtain or attempt to obtain employment. House Bill 2744 creates a misdemeanor offense of possessing an open container of alcohol within the passenger area of a vehicle on a public highway. House Bill 2685 authorizes employers to require English be spoken in the workplace if necessary to conduct the employer’s business. All in all, it appears to be a productive week.
In closing, I would like to add that it is always a pleasure to see constituents from the district, whether it is to voice concern over legislation or visit the capitol and see where state law happens. Please, do not hesitate to call my office. It is truly an honor to serve you, The Great Folks of the Fortieth!