John Ray serves on the House Health Committee and Health Subcommittee, as well as the Business & Utilities Committee during the 110th Session of the Tennessee General Assembly (2017-2018). For a list of legislation that John Ray introduced this year, please click here. (*Please note that some amendments and captions may not be updated in the state's online system.)
During his first term in the state legislature (2015-2016), John Ray primarily focused on education, Nashville’s dire need for affordable and workforce housing and public transportation, including mass transit, and increased safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. John Ray authored and passed four bills during his first term as District 55's state representative.
HB 1174 and HB 1351 will facilitate the development of affordable and workforce housing in Nashville, one of which will help facilitate the mission of the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing and non-profits with similar aims. HB 904 will facilitate our state’s recruitment and retention of highly trained educators and educational administrators by preventing the state board of education from denying instructional leader licensure based solely on an applicant’s completion of a leadership preparation program outside of Tennessee. Sen. Lee Harris (D-Memphis) and Sen. Yarbro carried these bills in the Senate.
John Ray also successfully secured a commitment from TDOT to conduct a needs assessment of public transportation in Tennessee and report its findings to the legislature. This written commitment made John Ray's legislation mandating this study unnecessary. Having previously pored over related data, he fully expects to be able to use this report in the coming years to fight for legislation and funding to plan and build a comprehensive local and regional mass transit system.
HB1487 is intended to protect the integrity of bike lanes and increase safety for bicyclists across the state by creating penalties for drivers who inappropriately operate their vehicle in a dedicated bike lane.
John Ray also proudly cosponsored several bills during his first term that gained passage. In 2016 alone, John Ray was a prime cosponsor of the following bills that will become law:
HB1164/SB1143 – Rep. Johnnie Turner’s bill creates a special joint committee to study issues relative to lupus.
HB1742/SB1626 – This bill establishes an online voter registration system in Tennessee that is to begin on July 1, 2017.
HB2022/SB1953 – Rep. Bill Beck’s bill allows for the construction and operation of a mass transit system on the shoulder of interstates, highways or right-of-ways on the state system.
HB2407/SB2093 – This public-private partnership (“P3”) legislation will serve as a long-term tool for helping to regulate and fund future private development, redevelopment, and operation of any mass transit system intended for shared passenger transport services to the general public.
HB2421/2049 - This bill adds Alzheimer's Tennessee as an additional organization from which local law enforcement agencies may seek assistance with regard to the missing citizen alert program that aids in the identification and location of missing citizens, particularly those who have wandered due to dementia or physical impairment.
HB2025/HB1956 – Rep. Harold Love, Jr.’s bill encourages the department of health to create a comprehensive state oral health plan.
HB1823/SB1677 – This bill authorizes a pharmacist to sell contraceptives over-the-counter without a doctor’s prescription.
HB2331/SB2373 - This bill mandates that a health insurance entity’s reimbursement or coverage for telehealth services be the same as services received through in-person encounters without any distinction or consideration of the geographic location, or any federal, state, or local designation or classification of the geographic area where the patient is located.
HB2616/SB2635 - This bill requires the department of education to develop procedures for identifying characteristics of dyslexia through the universal screening process required by the existing RTI2 framework or other available means. The dyslexia screening procedures for children in kindergarten through second grade must include phonological and phonemic awareness, sound symbol recognition, alphabet knowledge, decoding skills, rapid naming, and encoding skills. This bill requires every LEA to implement the dyslexia screening procedures, and provides that dyslexia screening may be requested for any student by the student's parent or guardian, teacher, counselor, or school psychologist. The department will provide appropriate professional development resources for educators in the areas of identification of and intervention methods for students with dyslexia. The bill also creates an eight-member dyslexia advisory council to advise the department of education on matters relating to dyslexia.
HB1757/SB2303 – Rep. Harold Love, Jr.’s bill authorizes the commissioner of health to create the maternal mortality review program and create a maternal mortality review and prevention team.
HB1407/SB1431 – Under this bill, dependent children under 23 years of age whose military parent died as a result of a targeted attack that occurred in Tennessee and who enrolls in a state higher education institution will qualify for in-state tuition.
HB1837/SB2606 – The bill is aimed to facilitate entrepreneurial growth in our region. It requires that the financial assistance provided through contracts, grants and loans to programs of scientific and technological research and development provided by the Tennessee technology development corporation includes matching grants to Tennessee's industries and universities to conduct applied research of strategic importance to Tennessee's economy.
HB1730/SB1842 – This bill modernizes our certificate of need laws for health care providers and facilities.
HB1731/SB1466 - This bill makes changes to the present law requirements for the operation of a pain management clinic.
HB2370/SB2424 – Rep. Mike Stewart’s bill mandates that TDOC report any assault or aggravated assault by an inmate against a correctional officer, guard, jailer, or other full-time employee of a penal institution, local jail, or workhouse, to the appropriate district attorney general for prosecution.
HB1907/SB2183 – This bill removes the eight-bed limitation on traumatic brain injury residential homes.
HB1537/SB2540 – This bill, which followed the introduction of a similar bill by Rep. Kevin Dunlap last year, adds transparency to the state’s mandated tests for students and parents.
HB2212/SB2450 – Rep. Jason Powell’s bill requires timely notification from a public water system in the event of increased levels of lead or copper in drinking water that exceed federal and state thresholds.
HB2029/SB1738 – This bill creates a seven-member horse racing advisory committee to develop recommendations for legislation related to the establishment of horse racing in this state, with the ultimate goal of vesting a state governmental entity with plenary power to control and regulate horse racing in Tennessee.
HB2088/SB1979 – This bill creates a task force to address ongoing scope of practice issues between nurses and doctors. The task force will be required to develop a plan to educate the public and health care professionals about the advantages and methods for a transformative health care delivery system that addresses the need for accessible, equitable, and affordable care provided by the appropriate healthcare professional. The task force must develop potential public policy options to address any barriers to the adoption of best practices.
HB1419/SB2508 – This bill was a response to the Measurement, Inc. online testing snafu that caused our schools and teachers to waste several hours preparing for an online test that crashed on the first day of testing. Teachers and schools should be protected from any negative consequences of the system’s failure with regard to evaluation scores.
HB2530/SB2149 – Rep. Mike Stewart’s bill allows local legislative bodies to establish a program allowing indigent persons who have been convicted of driving while their license is suspended or revoked to complete community service in lieu of paying the fine or costs for the conviction.
HB1270/SB1372 – Rep. G.A. Hardaway’s bill adds victims of: domestic assault; vandalism or false imprisonment where the victim of the offense is a domestic abuse victim; violation of an order of protection or restraining order; and, stalking to those who receive victims’ rights and seeks to make them aware of the Tennessee statewide automated victim information and notification service provided by the Tennessee sheriffs’ association.
HB1438/SB1553 – This bill encourages the department of military to implement the force protection enhancements at National Guard facilities, at the discretion of the adjutant general.
HB2579/SB2570 – This bill is designed to assist retailer businesses and simplifies their reporting to the commissioner of revenue and limits assessments that may be conducted under certain circumstances.
Despite his best efforts, some of John Ray's legislation was roadblocked by the Republican supermajority in the Tennessee House of Representatives. The following bills were defeated, mostly along party lines, in the legislature in 2016:
HB1468/SB1674 would have brought our state’s child safety seat laws up to date with national safety standards. It was passed by the Senate 32-0 and by the House 68-19 before being recalled prior to being sent to the Governor for his signature. After being recalled, it was sent back to the House Transportation Committee where it was effectively killed and sent to summer study.
HB905/SB1387, the bipartisan sponsored “Moving Tennessee Forward Act,” was intended to create a new, dedicated revenue source at the local level for mass transit and transportation infrastructure projects. It was effectively killed and sent to summer study in the Senate State and Local Government Committee despite my Republican co-sponsor's best efforts. After this action, I presented the bill and my intentions for same in the House Transportation Subcommittee before taking it off notice.
HB1947/SB2298, the “Tennessee Pay Equality Act,” as amended, was intended to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work when all factors are equal. This bill was defeated in the House Consumer and Human Resource Subcommittee along a party line vote.
HB1797/SB1926 would have provided some much needed legislative oversight over the Governor’s outsourcing efforts. After I successfully got the bill passed through the House State Government Subcommittee and State Government Committee, the bill, with no fiscal note as amended, was inexplicably placed behind the budget and ultimately sent to summer study by the House Finance Subcommittee.
HB1409/SB1432 was intended to protect our local tourism and entertainment economy by providing some clarity to the overly vague “Guns in Parks” bill that was passed. The House Civil Justice Subcommittee defeated the bill along a party line vote.
HB1967/SB2036 would have ensured that persons who have committed certain criminal offenses are unable to own firearm retail establishments or sell firearms in a retail setting was defeated along a party line vote in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.
HB1950/SB2296, the “Respect for Tennessee Taxpayers Act,” as amended, would have required the State of Tennessee to accept reimbursement monies from the federal government for Medicaid expansion. The bill was given a fiscal note and placed “behind the budget” by the House Finance Ways & Means Subcommittee.
To see all bills and resolutions sponsored and co-sponsored by John Ray, click here. (*Please note that several sponsored bills were merely "caption bills" filed to serve as placeholders for possible future legislation if any need arose after the bill filing deadline.)
Search for all bills or resolutions introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly here.
- Parent of John (4), Finn (2), and Henry with wife, Tamara.
- Attorney, co-founder of law firm.
- Chairman of the Board, Nashville RBI (Returning Baseball to the Inner Cities).
- Past President, Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors, Inc.
- Co-founding Member, Board of Directors, Friends of Sevier Park, Inc.
- Former Member, Tennessee Civil Service Commission – appointed by Governor Bredesen.
- Former Member, Metro Board of Fair Commissioners – appointed by Mayor Dean.
- Former Political Director, Tennessee Democratic Party, and Former Legislative Aide, U.S. House of Representatives.
- University of Memphis School of Law and Columbia University.