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Let your voices be heard and make your presence felt. (March 13, 2017)

Thank you to all the women who visited our State Capitol and Legislative Plaza last week for Women’s Day on the Hill. Your presence in the halls of our state government really made an impact. I would also like to personally thank the brave women who testified before the House Health subcommittee and shared their personal stories with my colleagues. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult that must have been, but I am eternally grateful that multiple strong women joined me to personally stare down those attempting to limit women’s access to healthcare, specifically reproductive healthcare. Thank you.

Carpe Diem
On Thursday morning, as I stood in line with my legislative colleagues to pay my respects to Senator Douglas Henry, my mind was consumed by the thought of him standing in that same spot on many occasions as a young legislator and lawyer with hundreds of legislative issues, constituent concerns, and client issues running through his mind. Knowing Senator Henry, I am confident that he savored every minute of service in that building and never once took it for granted. Since the first day I stepped foot in the State Capitol, I have remained acutely aware of the fact that I will only have the honor and privilege of serving my fellow Tennesseans for a limited amount of time. I walk past portraits of former legislators, paintings of governors and busts of statesmen every day, and every time I feel a renewed sense of urgency to accomplish all that I possibly can and fight for what I believe is right during the relatively brief window of time I have to serve in elected office.

None of us know what tomorrow has in store for us, and no politician knows how the next election will turn out. The only thing that we can control is what we do with today and the opportunities with which we are presented in any given capacity. This is the mindset and sense of urgency with which I operate. My style has admittedly ruffled a few feathers on both sides of the aisle at times, and I still have a lot to learn, but I refuse to waste a single, precious day as an elected official. I will never remain silent in the face of what I perceive to be an injustice or discrimination, and I will always speak up for those I represent and the values we hold dear. Each of you is doing your part to make an impact on our community in your own respective capacities, and I greatly appreciate it. You make a world of difference. In times such as these, a sense of urgency and a commitment to something greater than ourselves is needed more than ever. If our entire community collectively works to seize each day and make a difference, we will not only make a positive impact for the future but we will also honor the legacies of women like Betty Nixon and Mary Frances Lyle and men like Senator Henry and Spencer Hays, each of whom selflessly made the most of every day for the benefit of others.

Protecting Our State Parks
We recently succeeded in causing a postponement of Governor Haslam’s efforts to privatize our state parks. The announcement of an indefinite postponement was welcomed by state employees whose jobs are directly threatened by the Governor’s plans. Unfortunately, it appears that the governor is only taking a brief pause to fix an issue we raised in objection before re-issuing a revised RFP. We all care deeply about the character and quality of our state parks, and we must support the state employees who are being forced to ride an emotional roller coaster by a governor who has yet to provide any justification for his privatization plans.

Share your opinions about privatizing our state parks with Governor Haslam at (615) 741-2001 and Commissioner Martineau and Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill at (888) 891-8332.
Share your opinions about outsourcing jobs at our state colleges and universities with Governor Haslam and Terry Cowles at (615) 741-2001 and Commissioner Bob Oglesby at (615) 741-9263.

My legislation that is scheduled to be heard in subcommittees this week:
HB1246 – “Tennessee Pay Equality Act”
HB477 – “Tennessee Pay Equality Transparency Act”
*Both bills are scheduled to be heard in the House Consumer & Human Resources Subcommittee on March 15th at 3:00pm in LP29. All members of the public who wish to come and show support for equal pay are encouraged to attend.

My legislation that has been presented to subcommittees.
On Wednesday, March 1st, I presented HB374 (creates a sales tax exemption for required reading materials in high school and higher education classes) and HB46 (exempts professionals from the professional privilege tax during their first year practicing their profession) to the House Finance Subcommittee. Both bills received favorable review from the subcommittee. Because there are fiscal notes attached to each bill, they were procedurally placed “behind the budget” for possible review and adoption closer to the end of this legislative session as the governor’s budget takes shape.
After the governor adopted a chief component of my transportation funding proposal, HB1243 (TNFORWARD), I took the bill “off notice” in the House Transportation Subcommittee. I will wait to see what happens with the IMPROVE Act in the next few weeks before moving this piece of legislation forward.

3/10/17 Outsourcing win more about turf than trends – TN Ledger
3/9/17 Controversial bill limiting city discretion on contracts passes Senate – Knox News Sentinel
3/9/17 ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Put Off a Year – Memphis Daily News
3/8/17 Abortion Bill Moves in Legislature – News Channel 5
3/8/17 House subcommittee approves 1 abortion bill, halts another – The Tennessean
3/6/17 Heartbeat Bill Hits Hurdle – Memphis Daily News
3/4/17 Democrats celebrate pause in outsourcing of state parks – The Tennessean
3/3/17 Capitol View Commentary – News Channel 5
3/3/17 Editorial: Fetal heartbeat bill a waste of resources – Knox News Sentinel
3/2/17 Tennessee AG: Abortion bill ‘constitutionally suspect’ – The Tennessean
3/2/17 MorningLine: Proposed Gas Tax & Parks Privatization – News Channel 5
3/2/17 Tennessee postpones deadline for companies’ Fall Creek Falls outsource plans – Times Free Press
3/2/17 Fall Creek Falls Park Contract Postponed Indefinitely – Memphis Daily News
3/1/17 Tennessee lawmakers delay heartbeat abortion bill – The Tennessean
3/1/17 Parks Outsourcing on Hold – Nashville Post
3/1/17 Haslam administration postpones Fall Creek Falls State Park’s deadline for would-be hospitality services outsourcing – Times Free Press

2017, Vol. IV



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