Haslam Formally Announces Legislative Agenda

Press Release from the Office of Gov. Bill Haslam, Feb. 17, 2011:

Legislation Focuses on Educating Workforce, Identifying Best Teachers, Revising Civil Justice System

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam today introduced his administration’s legislative package for the 2011 session, focusing on educating the workforce, identifying the best teachers and revising the state’s civil justice system.

Haslam’s legislative package is a single piece of his jobs agenda to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.

The legislation seeks to:

  • Make tenure tied to classroom performance; extend probationary time from three to five years
  • Lift the cap on charter schools and allow open enrollment
  • Allow the state’s Achievement School District (part of First to the Top) to authorize charter schools
  • Extend use of the lottery scholarship for summer courses and cap the total number of hours based on required degree completion
  • Limits non-economic damages for both healthcare liability action and other personal injury actions
  • Limits and clarifies standards for assessing punitive damages
  • Limits appeal bond amounts

“Our legislation being filed with the Tennessee General Assembly is tightly focused on opportunities to enhance job creation and is one piece of our agenda to make Tennessee more competitive in the Southeast,” Haslam said.

Other pieces of Haslam’s jobs agenda include streamlining state government and aggressively examining rules and regulations to assure this three-part test is met: will they make a difference, are they performance-based, and what the expected outcomes are.

Also, the Department of Economic and Community Development is focused on a top-to-bottom approach that aligns state efforts with returns on investment.

“These initial steps in transforming state government will lead to more efficiency and effectiveness and deliver excellent customer service,” Haslam said.