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TNHDC Opposes Huffman’s Proposed Salary Changes for Teachers

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; June 20, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – House Democrats joined together to speak out against a proposal by the Haslam administration to cut teacher pay in Tennessee.

“If we are ever going to raise Tennessee’s educational standards, we must make our state more attractive to highly qualified, professional teachers,” said Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville). “Instead, Commissioner Huffman and the corporate special interests bankrolling the so-called ‘education reform’ movement have set their sights once again on attacking our public school teachers.”

Commissioner Huffman will present his proposed changes to the minimum teacher salary schedule to the State Board of Education on Friday, June 21. The new proposal will reduce steps in salary increases from 21 to four and eliminate incentives for doctorate degrees and post-masters training.

“Our teachers are this state’s greatest resource,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “Something this administration and self-proclaimed education reformers still fail to grasp is that putting teachers last will not put students first.”

“If this proposal goes forward, Governor Haslam will be breaking the state’s promise to thousands of teachers across the state,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner. “Teachers have invested their precious time and money into obtaining further education with the promise that they would be adequately compensated. Now, teachers are going to be left with thousands in debt and a broken promise from the state.”

View the proposed schedule for teachers HERE.

House Dems Applaud Haslam DCS, DIDD Appointments

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; May 21, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – House Democrats are applauding the move by Governor Haslam to appoint Interim Commissioner Jim Henry as the permanent Commissioner of the Department of Children’s Services.

“Jim Henry is a great public servant who is unquestionably the best choice to move DCS forward,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “His qualifications, knowledge and professionalism will be a stark contrast and welcome respite from the mismanagement and scandal we have seen from so many other Commissioners in this administration.”

Commissioner Henry assumed control of the Department of Children’s Services in February when then Commissioner Kate O’Day resigned. Since then he has taken positive steps towards fixing an agency that was mired in allegations of secrecy and poor handling of cases.

“We would also like to congratulate Debra Payne for being selected to fill Commissioner Henry’s role as Commissioner of DIDDS,” said Leader Fitzhugh. “This is an extremely important agency and I am confident that Deputy Commissioner Payne will be up to the task of leading this department with the same level of professionalism that Commissioner Henry did.”

TNHDC Thank Sen. Henry for Long Years of Service in General Assembly

Statement from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; May 8, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee House Democratic Caucus released the following statement on the news that Sen. Douglas Henry (D-21) will end his many years of service as a legislator after next year.

“Sen. Douglas Henry is the type of legislator we all aspire to be.

“Through numerous administrations and changes in leadership, Sen. Henry has remained a stalwart advocate for fiscal responsibility and Tennessee values.

“There is no greater champion for the State of Tennessee than Sen. Henry. He maintains a great affection for this great state which shines through in everything he does.

“While his decision means he will no longer serve as a legislator after this session, we are confident that he will maintain a leadership role in the Democratic Party and the State of Tennessee for many years to come.

“We thank Sen. Henry for his many years of dedicated service to our party and the people of Tennessee. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

TNHDC Praise Cooper’s Proposal to Constitutionally Guarantee Voting Rights

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; May 2, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – House Democrats are applauding a proposal by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) to enshrine the people’s right to vote in the constitution. On Wednesday, Rep. Cooper announced that he would introduce a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that fully guarantees the people’s right to vote.

“The Republicans have worked hard over the past decade to find new and creative ways to get around the Voting Rights Act,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner. “The so-called ‘reforms’ they have introduced amount to little more than a poll tax designed to keep the poor from exercising their rights. This proposed amendment would halt the GOP assault on our rights and preserve our democracy for future generations.”

Earlier this year the Republican super-majority pushed through a proposal that would eliminate various forms of identification from being accepted at the ballot box. Additionally, an initial proposal to allow college students to use their state-issued ID was stripped in order to make it harder for young students to exercise their right to vote.

“We have seen an assault on voting rights like we haven’t witnessed since the 1950s,” said Rep. Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville). “By guaranteeing the right to vote in the constitution, we can once and for all say that no man or woman should be denied their God-given right to suffrage.”

House Democrats Unsurprised by AG’s Voter ID Opinion

Statement from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus, April 13, 2011:

On A.G. opinion that Photo I.D. bill is unconstitutional.

(Nashville) — We have contended all along that this bill places an undue burden on those without driver licenses, particularly our senior citizens. We believe the measure is nothing short of a tax on voters.

We definitely agree with General Cooper that the bill “unduly burdens the right to vote and constitutes a poll tax in violation of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment with respect to federal elections and the Equal Protection Clause with respect to state and local elections.”