Hello, fellow Folks of the Fortieth! Session has adjourned for the week, and most members have headed home for the weekend. The hallways are quiet; while here in 105, I pause to collect my thoughts for this week's update on the Hill. A book titled "Ancient Wisdom" sits on the shelf above me. How timely the text for today speaks: If you want to be wise, catch yourself from thinking or saying, "Who cares?" or "What does it matter?" Instead consider why you momentarily want to shut down. Pray immediately that God would keep your heart and head in the game.
Honestly, when Thursday rolls around, it is very easy to embrace a "Who cares?" attitude. But there is something about spending yourself in hard work that produces energy and passion in your heart and soul. I believe we are wired not to run away from reality, but to transform it. Pressing forward, and working together to make Tennessee even better is the mission statement from this Rep, and also from many of my colleagues, as well.
In the House, we continue the trend of cutting taxes: sales tax on food from 5.25 to a flat 5%; raise the Hall Tax Exemption for seniors from $16,200 to $26,200 for single filers, and $27,000 to $37,000 for joint filers; HB64 exempts Tennessee businesses from paying a portion of their annual excise tax, allowing businesses to use that money for expansion or other necessary costs.
Workers' Compensation Reform Act of 2013 will create a system that is more fair and efficient, and will provide better outcomes for employers and employees, and it continues gaining support from both employers and employees across the state. The current state workers' compensation system was created in 1919--very much in need of an overhaul! Tennessee is currently one of only two states that adjudicate workers' claims in trial courts, which results in some of the highest medical costs related to workers' comp in the nation. Debate on the chamber floor is scheduled for April 11.
Transportation Sub and Full are closed, as are many other committees. The House Chamber will shortly be set for long days as we work toward completion of this session by April 20. . .or soon thereafter.
In My Bag of Bills, HB119 will be heard in Finance Full before it goes into one last committee called Calendar and Rules. HB119 places the strictest possible limitations on the use of EBT cards, plus penalizes those establishments and welfare recipients who abuse them. HB68, also in Finance Full next week, protects children in cases where mental health history is on record when considering child custody cases. HB1295 will be in Criminal Justice Full on Tuesday. This bill is paramount in order to protect children inside the womb and outside the womb. Yes, the week was a whirlwind, and next week promises to be a repeat.
Coffee and Conversations happen every Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, along with yours truly, will be presenting the Trousdale County Senior Center with the first ever Innovative Grant Award on April 5, at the Senior Center in Hartsville. "High five" to the Trousdale Seniors who submitted the best concept designed to encourage more senior participation in their community. FYI, they won 5,000 bucks! Oh, and their proposal? Change a portion of the Center into a coffee and juice bar, complete with a library and internet connection hot spot, to make their Center more appealing to the baby boomer population! You rock!
Saturday is a full day, as well, as Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder will come to Trousdale to greet our area veterans and visit the Trousdale Medical Center as we continue to bring better ways to serve our veterans closer to home.
Please do not hesitate to call my office, 615-741-2192, for any questions or assistance. Hey, have a great week--and may the good Lord take a likein' to you!