I sincerely appreciate all of you who came out early on a Monday morning to our latest Coffee with Clemmons at Elliston Place Soda Shop to visit with me and Tamara. There were a lot of new faces and several familiar ones. For those who were unable to make it, just remember that I love coffee and talking politics and policy. If you want to gather a group of friends and neighbors, just email us, and I’ll be there.
You are letting your voices be heard and making your presence felt
Many of you have taken time out of your busy schedules to join me and my colleagues at the State Capitol on Monday evenings. I cannot describe how much of a difference it makes and how much I personally appreciate it. I know my colleagues feel the same.
One of my chief concerns and something that really perplexed me during my first term in the state legislature was how members of the supermajority could get away with repeatedly voting against the best interests of their constituents on any number of issues ranging from property tax relief for disabled veterans and seniors to pay raises for public school teachers. Then I spent some time travelling the state and confirmed what I suspected. A lot of people have no idea what their state legislators are doing while they are in Nashville. Their legislators certainly are not going out of their way to enlighten them, and the skilled but limited press corps’ reach only goes so far. This is why your participation and presence at the State Capitol is so important and why you are making so many Republicans nervous. You are watching, and most importantly, you are spreading the word about what they are doing through social media and other means. This supermajority has excelled by sprinting through session, conducting business in secret, passing harmful legislation before anyone knows what is happening, and distracting voters with knee jerk issues. Having large numbers of people in the Capitol holding signs that read, “We are watching” is this supermajority’s worst nightmare.
The more people know about Republicans’ legislative shenanigans, the faster we will turn this state around. Please keep it up. Keep watching. Keep holding all of us accountable. Together, we can and will make a difference.
My 2017 Legislative Package
HB1243 – TNFORWARD – Restores and strengthens the state’s existing transportation fund, creates a new, dedicated revenue stream for alternative forms of transportation and empowers local governments to generate new revenues for their respective transportation needs.
**I will be presenting this bill to the press and public today at 1:30pm in LP29. You are welcome to attend or watch the presentation on FacebookLive at /johnrayfortn.
HB1246 – Tennessee Pay Equality Act – Ensures equal pay for women.
HB477 – Tennessee Pay Equality Transparency Act – Protects employees from inquiring about or disclosing their salaries to coworkers
HB479, 480, 1244, 1245 – Strengthen and enforce mental health parity laws and require reporting on the issues to and within the state
HB48 – Requires that half of the application and processing fees for handgun carry permits and lifetime handgun carry permits be donated annually to nonprofit organizations that are:
(1) Tax exempt;
(2) In good standing; and
(3) Established for the sole purpose of providing financial assistance to the families of police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical staff employed by an official police or firefighting organization in Tennessee who lose their lives or are the victims of serious, traumatic, and disabling injury in the line of duty.
HB423 – Allows any duly registered voter to vote by mail and requires that all such votes be counted
HB374 – Creates a sales tax exemption for all reading materials required for high school or college classes.
HB49 – Requires state agencies to present an electronic report to the fiscal review committee each month for any contracts for services procured through competitive means in excess of $5 million.
HB46 – Exempts professionals from the professional privilege tax during their first year practicing their profession
HB424 – Reduces the barrel taxes on locally brewed beer to the median of surrounding states
HB47 – Requires mandatory minimum sentences for possession and/or use of a semi-automatic firearm during the commission or attempt to commit a felony
HB478 – Establishes a cap on the amount healthcare providers can charge for copying medical records
I am also cosponsoring a host of other bills introduced by my colleagues. This list includes, but is not limited to, legislation intended to eliminate the sales tax on groceries, diapers, etc., prevent state parks from being privatized, and reform sentencing guidelines.
Join Us to Protect Our State Parks from Privatization
Sen. Harris and I will be hosting a public meeting at Montgomery Bell State Park this Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 2:00pm, and all are invited to attend. Please RSVP HERE.
Please remember to follow me on Twitter at @JRClemmons and Facebook at /johnrayfortn.