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Crowe Announces Senate Subcommittee on TennCare, Long-term Care Oversight

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; December 10, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) today announced the formation of a Subcommittee on TennCare and Long-Term Care Oversight. The Subcommittee will be chaired by Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald).

“This subcommittee is charged with reviewing all aspects of TennCare and programs dealing with long-term care in Tennessee,” said Chairman Crowe. “The members of this panel are extremely experienced and knowledgeable. I am confident that these members will provide our committee with excellent insight into these programs as we move into the 2014 legislative session.”

Other members of the subcommittee are veteran lawmakers, Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) and Senator Doug Henry (D-Nashville). The first meeting has been set for December 19 when the panel will hear testimony regarding the state’s CHOICES program, as well as a new payment reform initiative proposed by TennCare. The Subcommittee is scheduled to hear from state health officials, Tennessee Hospital Association, Tennessee Health Care Association and Tennessee Medical Association at the meeting.

“It very important that we continue to monitor these programs, especially in light of changes coming from Washington” added Hensley, who is a physician. “We have a lot of work to do and I look forward to the challenge before us.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, December 19 at 10:00 am in Room 12 of the Legislative Plaza in Nashville.

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Haslam Proclaims March 29 ‘Vietnam Veterans Day’

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs; March 25, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder formally recognized and remembered Vietnam Veterans leading into the 40th anniversary of the withdrawal of troops.

On March 30, 1973, President Richard Nixon began withdrawing combat troops from Vietnam. Between 1961 and 1975, more than 49,000 Tennesseans served in Southeast Asia. Approximately 6,000 Tennessee troops were wounded in the Vietnam War and 1,289 Tennessee service members were killed.

Haslam publicly signed a Vietnam Veterans Day Proclamation which proclaims March 29 as a day of remembrance and recognition for veterans who served in the military during the Vietnam War. Haslam presented the proclamation to Vietnam Veterans of America Tennessee State Council President Barry Rice on behalf of all Vietnam Veterans. In 2008, Tennessee became the first state to proclaim a Vietnam Veterans Day.

“The State of Tennessee pauses to remember lives lost and publicly recognize those who came home to a lifetime of challenges after the Vietnam War,” Haslam said. “As the 40th anniversary approaches it is important to thank Tennessee’s Vietnam Veterans for their service and sacrifice.”

“The wounds of the Vietnam War are still fresh for many of our veterans,” Grinder said. “We hope remembrance and recognition from ceremonies such as this one will lead to continued healing for veterans scarred by combat and rejection.”

“We are honored to receive the public support of Governor Haslam and to feel the support of the State of Tennessee,” Rice said. “Support and encouragement is the greatest gift of gratitude Vietnam Veterans can receive to continue the healing process.”

Vietnam Veterans Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) and Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) co-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 0183 to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day and the 40th anniversary of the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam.

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Ramsey Appoints Crowe to Governor’s Council for Armed Forces

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey; Sept. 19, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey today announced the appointment of Senator Rusty Crowe to the Governor’s Council for Armed Forces, Veterans and Their Families.

“I cannot think of anyone more suited to serve on this council than my friend, Rusty Crowe,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “He understands the needs of veterans and their families because he is one of them. Rusty will bring a wealth of knowledge, an empathic ear and a compassionate heart to this assignment. No one will fight harder for our veterans.”

The Governor’s Council for Armed Forces, Veterans and Their Families is charged with facilitating collaboration and coordination of federal, state and local organizations and representatives to strengthen the system of care for servicemembers, veterans and their families. The Council collaborates closely with various veterans’ service and advocacy organizations that address unique challenges faced by the veteran population in Tennessee including mental illness, traumatic brain injury, employment, housing and education.

“I’m thankful to Lt. Governor Ramsey for giving me this opportunity to serve my fellow veterans in this manner,” said Senator Crowe. “I am both honored and humbled and look forward to getting to work.”

The current chairman of the Senate’s Health and Welfare Committee, Senator Crowe has led a storied career of public service. From 1967 to 1971, Senator Crowe served his country honorably in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Upon returning home from overseas, Senator Crowe continued his service to his country by joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Crowe served from 1987 to 1990 as Assistant Commissioner for the Department of Corrections, with responsibilities for minimum security prisons, probations and the department’s juvenile corrections services. Crowe has also worked as an adjunct professor and in Higher Education Administration for 23 years at East Tennessee State University.

Senator Crowe has been a state Senator since 1990. He currently represents Washington, Uncoi and Carter counties. He currently works for Mountain States Health Alliance, assisting with business development and government relations.

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AG Selection Measure Falls Short

A handful of state Senate Republicans jumped ship and joined ranks with Democrats this week to narrowly defeated a GOP-driven measure to change how the state picks its top lawyer.

The proposed constitutional amendment would have stripped away the Supreme Court’s power to appoint the attorney general and given it to the governor and the Legislature. The measure fell short by one vote Monday after three Republicans voted against the bill and another two refused to weigh in.

“This system, whether you agree with it or don’t, has functioned well, and it’s not time to amend it,” said Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, who voted against the measure. “As others have said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and I respectfully submit that’s the best response to proposals that would change our Constitution.”

The attorney general is too far removed from the people — as is the Supreme Court, which handpicks the AG, said Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, the measure’s sponsor. The arrangement makes for a conflict of interest any time the attorney general argues before the state’s highest court, she said.

“I doubt that anyone can say with a straight face that it is fair to have the state’s chief lawyers arguing the most important cases in front of the very members of the court who appointed him,” said Beavers, who chairs the Judiciary Committee.

Republicans in the Senate first turned their attention to the attorney general last year in their frustration over current Attorney General Bob Cooper’s refusal to join a national legal battle against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Cooper contends that hopping on the bandwagon to fight the so-called “individual-mandate” portion of the health system overhaul would have been a waste of time and money because the issue was already headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court is expected to announce in June a decision in the suit brought by 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Business and two individual plaintiffs.

Attempts last year to require the attorney general to be elected never advanced out of legislative committees. This year’s measure, SJR693, called for the attorney general to be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature to serve six-year terms. The attorney general currently serves eight-year terms.

The measure failed on a 16-15 vote. It needed 17 votes to stay alive, although it would have needed majority approval in the House and a supermajority, or two-thirds support, vote again before the 2014 election when voters would decide the issue.

Republicans voting against the change were Sens. Becky Duncan Massey of Knoxville; Doug Overbey of Maryville; Jim Summerville of Dickson. GOP senators who were present but opted against weighing in were retiring Sen. Mike Faulk of Church Hill and Rusty Crowe of Johnson City.