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Ramsey: Unemployment Reform Shows Results

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; September 5, 2013:

(September 5, 2013, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today announced that a rise in the state’s unemployment trust fund has triggered a considerable tax cut for employers across Tennessee.

Recent reforms championed by Lt. Governor Ramsey and sponsored by Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) have eliminated waste, fraud and abuse in the system resulting in substantial trust fund savings.

“As I’ve traveled across Tennessee working with job creators to make Tennessee the best place to own and operate a business, employers always told me the same thing: reform our unemployment system,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “The General Assembly answered that call by passing many cost-saving reforms over the past few years. Today, job creators start seeing the results of our actions in their bottom line through cuts in their unemployment taxes.”

Tennessee’s unemployment fund balance recently rose to over $800 million surpassing the benchmark of $650 million which triggers the elimination of the 0.6% surcharge instituted in 2009 and lowers the tax rate overall for all employers in the system.

“This is truly outstanding news,” said Senator Johnson. “It is fantastic to see our reforms provide a significant tax cut for job creators. Every dollar saved in reduced unemployment tax is a dollar that can be used to expand existing businesses and hire more workers. These reforms clearly benefit not only the job creator but the job seeker as well.”

The General Assembly passed two reforms in the last few years that played a direct role in increasing the trust fund.

The Unemployment Insurance Accountability Act of 2012 (Public Chapter 1050) strengthened the definition of employee misconduct to ensure that those who have been fired for cause no longer receive benefits. The act also enacted new work search requirements for unemployment beneficiaries and provided for random audits to ensure the integrity of beneficiaries’ job searches.

Public Chapter 427 (passed in 2013) updated the unemployment misconduct definition to include conduct constituting a criminal offense for which the claimant has been convicted or charged. Additionally, the chapter mandates departmental training of unemployment hearing officers as well as increasing weekly audits from 1,000 to 1,500.

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Ramsey Re-elected as Senate Speaker for Fourth Term

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; January 8, 2012:

(NASHVILLE, TN), January 8, 2013 — The State Senate re-elected Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey today as Tennessee’s 33 senators met at noon on the first organizational day of the 108th General Assembly. This will be Ramsey’s fourth two-year term as Tennessee’s Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate.

“I want to thank you once again for placing your trust in me,” Ramsey told senators and onlookers after being elected. “It has been the honor of my life to serve Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate.”

“I have often said it matters who governs,” he continued. “I look forward to proving that statement true once again as we continue to answer November’s resounding call for less spending, more jobs and smaller government.”

“I especially look forward to continuing this legislature’s commitment to efficiency. Our last two legislative sessions were the first to end ‘on time’ in well over a decade. We plan to continue that tradition,” Ramsey stated. “The days of legislative sessions dragging into May and beyond are over.”

“As our federal government teeters on the edge of a fiscal cliff, Tennessee’s feet stand planted firmly on sound fiscal principles,” he added. “Tennessee is oasis of fiscal sanity in nation overwhelmed with debt. As long as I am Speaker, I will fight to ensure Tennessee remains a beacon to the nation.”

Tennessee’s conservative leader, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is the first GOP Senate Speaker in Tennessee in 140 years and the first from Sullivan County in over 100 years. In the 2008 elections, Ramsey led Tennessee’s Republicans to a gain of three Senate seats and a solid five seat majority. Under Ramsey’s leadership in 2010, Republicans both increased their majority in the Senate and elected a Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1969.

In 2012, the Ramsey Senate achieved an unprecedented 26 to 7 supermajority, a feat unmatched by either party in modern Tennessee history. Ramsey, currently serving his third term as Speaker, became the longest-serving Republican Senate Speaker in Tennessee history in 2009.

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Sullivan Co. Prosecutor Appointed to Judicial Evaluation Commission

Press release from the Office of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; November 29, 2012:

(November 29, 2012, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey today announced the appointment of Robert H. Montgomery, Jr. to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.

“The importance of a quality judiciary in a free republic cannot be overemphasized,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “Without high quality judges who interpret the law and do not legislate from the bench, the legislature cannot provide the conservative government Tennessee voters want. Rob was an outstanding assistant district attorney for Sullivan County and is an excellent jurist. I am grateful that he has agreed to bring his talents and skills to bear on this commission. I look forward to his contribution and his insight.”

A graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee College of Law, Montgomery spent nearly twenty years as a Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney. During that time, he was also the Sullivan County Highway Safety Prosecutor for eight years. In 2005, Montgomery received the President’s Award from the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference for service to his profession and community. He currently serves as Criminal Court Judge for the Second Judicial District.

The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission reviews the performance of appellate judges using surveys, interviews and other information, as required by law. The Commission uses these evaluations to publish a report in which the Commission recommends appellate judges for retention or replacement. Of the nine members of the Commission, two are appointed by the Speaker of the Senate, two are appointed by the Speaker of the House and five are appointed by the Judicial Council.

Among the qualities the commission looks for in the judges are integrity, knowledge and understanding of the law, an ability to communicate, preparation and attentiveness, service to the profession, effectiveness in working with other judges and court personnel.