Education Reform, ‘Conservative Budget,’ Curbs on ‘Frivolous Lawsuits’ Top TNGOP’s List of Legislative Accomplishments

Press Release from the Tennessee Republican Party, May 23, 2011:

The 2011 Session of the 107th General Assembly adjourned Saturday, the earliest it has concluded in 13 years. It is calculated that taxpayers saved $450,000 in legislative expenses as a result. Republican control of both the executive and legislative branches of our state government brought about significant education reforms, a conservative state budget, and making Tennessee more attractive to businesses.

“This legislative session, Republicans are reaffirming that real leadership matters. Our Republican leaders have been committed to running a government that is both efficient and effective by setting clear priorities and addressing those priorities in a timely manner,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.

“With our Republican Governor Bill Haslam, Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell working closely together, this General Assembly was able to tackle some big issues regarding our economy, education, and government spending – issues that are of great concern to Tennesseans,” said Devaney.

The accomplishments of the first session of the 107th General Assembly include:

Tort Reform- Legislators passed much-needed tort reform which curbs frivolous lawsuits, making our state more desirable to businesses to relocate and expand in Tennessee. This legislation was an important part of Governor Haslam’s agenda to eventually make Tennessee the number one location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.

Education Reform- The cap on the number of charter schools that can be created has been removed, allowing more students access to high quality education options. The state has accumulated nearly $40 million in investments to support new charter schools from “Race to the Top” funding and from the private sector. Tenure reform has increased the amount of time that an educator can obtain tenure, which gives schools greater freedom to get rid of ineffective teachers. A new “collaborative bargaining” initiative was a landmark move to ensure that every teacher has a seat at the negotiating table, allowing good teachers to be rewarded for their hard work.

Conservative Budget- The state budget was reduced by over a billion dollars compared to last year, while investing in key priorities and restoring $70.4 million to the Rainy Day Fund.

“I also want to commend Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, Senate Speakers Pro Tempore Jamie Woodson and Bo Watson, Republican Senate Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheney, and House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart for their steadfast leadership in shepherding these landmark pieces of legislation into law,” concluded Devaney.