The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
Greetings! We were successful Monday evening in passing landmark ignition interlock legislation through the State House of Representatives. House Bill 2768 will require certain DUI offenders to use an ignition interlock system, in which users must ‘blow’ below a certain blood alcohol content (BAC) level to turn on their vehicle. We have carried some form of the legislation for several years, and worked particularly hard this year in securing passage.
We contended that the legislation was needed to curb the number of repeat drunk drivers on Tennessee roads. Forty-eight other states have some form of ignition interlock, but Tennessee is only the fourteenth to impose mandatory use of the device on first time offenders.
Specifically, the bill requires anyone convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .15 or higher to use the ignition interlock device (IID). The sponsor also stated that the bill addresses a DUI from arrest to treatment to release.
Having already passed unanimously in the Senate, the bill is now headed to the Governor for his signature.
Lawmakers push ethics bill, measure passes House with overwhelming majority
We successfully passed an ethics measure Monday that would require any member of the legislature to forfeit state health insurance benefits if convicted of a felony offense related to their elected office. The law would not apply retroactively or to family members who might be covered.
Legislative leaders filed and supported this legislation despite hitting roadblocks in subcommittees. House Bill 2349 was approved by the full House this week with only 4 no votes. Having passed the Senate earlier this month unanimously, the bill is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.
State encourages homeowners to verify contractor licenses before hiring
In light of the historic flooding that has devastated parts of Tennessee, the Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) this week encouraged homeowners to verify the licensure of contractors they hire to repair their homes by using http://verify.tn.gov.
The department stressed the importance of residents not falling prey to fraud artists posing as a legitimate, licensed home contractors. Taking the time to make sure someone is licensed with the state is a fundamental first step when selecting a contractor to work on a home.
The TDCI also said that when selecting a contractor, it is also important to:
Get several bids. It’s best to get at least three bids and check references.
Get a written contract that includes the company’s name, address and telephone number. The contract should also include an anticipated start and completion date.
Take your time and do not get rushed into signing a contract.
Never pay more than 1/3 down and do not let the payments get ahead of the work.
Ask for proof of general liability insurance.
Make sure the contractor obtains the local permits for inspections.
Tennesseans can also check the Department’s monthly Disciplinary Action Reports to see if contractors have engaged in unlicensed activity or have incurred administrative action taken against them by the Department. Licensing for contractors also carries parameters that govern the types of jobs different licensees are permitted to perform.
House Bill 2665 was passed unanimously by the us on Monday and will create a veterans’ honor medal program to recognize and honor all Tennessee veterans. Having already passed the Senate, the proposal is now on its way to the Governor for his signature.
House Bill 2552, which passed on the House floor Monday night, clarifies the law on the purchase of used or secondhand items purchased by local government. As the law is currently written, local governments could not purchase equipment that is more than 10 percent above market value, or 10 percent below. The bill clarifies that there is no floor on how much a local government may pay (meaning no threshold on the amount of savings) and changes the ceiling to 5 percent above market value. This is legislation that could potentially save local governments across the state money.
House Bill 2952 would ban law enforcement from enacting ticket quotas, “may not establish or maintain, formally or informally, a plan to evaluate, promote, compensate, or discipline a law enforcement officer solely by the issuance of a predetermined or specified number of any type or combination of types of traffic citations.” The bill is headed to the Governor for his signature.
For the first time in 22 months, state revenues for the month of April came in $43.4 million above projections. Year-to-date collections are still down, to the tune of approximately $201.8 million for the first 9 months of the fiscal year which is 4.11 percent below projections.
In regards to the budget, a 650 million dollar cut has been proposed making it another 150 million more in cuts from the Governors original budget. Receiving the line by line assessments just yesterday, I will now talk and consider as I decide if this is something I can support. Still there are items that I believe we need to eliminate until a further date when our economy is on the mend. A lean and limited government is what must come from this budget. We simply can not spend what we do not have. Now is the time to prioritize and live within our means on a state level. The next two weeks we as legislators will be up to our eyeballs in numbers. Pray for wisdom and the courage to do what is right for Tennessee!
In closing, I encourage you to call my office if you are in need of assistance or would like to make a trip and see the capitol. As always, I am proud and honored to serve the 40th district of Tennessee.