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Press Releases

Alexander Introduces Legislation to Repeal Individual Mandate

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; January 21, 2015:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 – Today, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), along with 20 other senators, introduced the American Liberty Restoration Act, S. 203, a bill that repeals Obamacare’s individual insurance mandate.

“Forcing Americans to purchase insurance goes against our nation’s history of individual liberty. This legislation strikes Obamacare’s individual mandate and restores the freedoms outlined in the Constitution.  Washington should continue to work towards finding a way to equip patients with the tools needed to obtain access to health insurance, but not in a way that attacks the spirit of the Constitution and our treasured history of limited government,” said Hatch.

“How can we continue to enforce the individual mandate when the law doesn’t clearly ensure that millions of Americans are allowed to receive subsidies to help cover the cost? How can we enforce it when Obamacare outlaws plans that fit family budgets?  Millions more Americans are in for sticker shock when they see how much they owe the IRS in April because of Obamacare. We need to focus on making health care plans affordable to Americans,” said Alexander.

The American Liberty Restoration Act would strike provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requiring individuals to purchase health insurance.  The individual insurance mandate in PPACA went into effect in 2014.

For the 2014 tax filing season, individuals who did not purchase health insurance will face a fine of $95 or 1% of their income, whichever is more.  For the 2015 tax filing season, that penalty will increase to $325 or 2% of their income, whichever is more.

Cosponsors of the bill include: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

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[gview file=”https://tnreport.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2015/01/The-American-Liberty-Restoration-Act-S.-203-1.pdf”]

Categories
Press Releases

Sens. Kyle, Harris to Take Part in Memphis Insure TN Roundtable

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus; January 20, 2015:

NASHVILLE – Senate Democratic leaders said they hope to learn some of the details of a plan to expand Medicaid in Tennessee at a legislative roundtable on the issue Wednesday in Memphis.

“We know that co-pays and premiums can serve as a barrier to receiving care for the poorest among us,” state Sen. Sara Kyle said. “In many cases, we are talking about families who work but still can’t afford basic necessities. Will they be able to afford the governor’s plan?”

“Under the plan, the state would make direct payments to employers to cover the employee’s share,” Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris said. “How much the state will contribute to these private insurance plans is still unknown, as far as I can tell. Look, we’re going to have to know real soon how much the state will contribute to private insurance plans.

“The incentive effects on this score could be alarming. Employers will have some incentives to reduce their employer coverage to whatever’s not paid for by public resources. I believe the governor’s got a cap on the private insurance subsidy, but I want these issues to be front and center. I’m glad he’s coming to Memphis to answer some of these questions. It’s absolutely the right thing to do. If we’re going to do this – and I hope we do – we have to do it right.”

Sens. Kyle and Harris are set to take part in a roundtable discussion on the Medicaid expansion plan at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Christ Community Health Services Frayser Health Center at 969 Frayser Blvd. in Memphis.

Categories
NewsTracker Transparency and Elections

House, Senate Speakers Assign Legislative Committee Memberships

The 109th Tennessee General Assembly officially convened its regular session Saturday afternoon, following the inauguration of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to his second term as Tennessee’s governor. The Legislature, which also concluded its week-long organizational session Saturday, will return to Legislative Plaza Feb. 2 to discuss Haslam’s Medicaid expansion proposal in a special session. The regular legislative session is scheduled to resume Feb. 9.

The bill filing deadline for both chambers was announced as the close of business Thursday, Feb. 12.

In the House, several changes were made in committee leadership, and the Education Committee was split into two separate committees: Education Administration & Planning and Education Instruction & Programs.

Senate committee chairmanships saw no changes.

The committee assignments for both chambers are as follows:

Senate

Commerce & Labor

  • Chairman: Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville
  • Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga
  • Sen. Dolores R. Gresham, R-Somerville
  • Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown
  • Sen. Reginald Tate, D-Memphis
  • Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson
  • Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston

Education

  • Chairman: Sen. Dolores R. Gresham, R-Somerville
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Reginald Tate, D-Memphis
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga
  • Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City
  • Sen. Steven Dickerson, R-Nashville
  • Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin
  • Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald
  • Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown
  • Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville

Energy, Agriculture & Natural Resources

  • Chairman: Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Frank S. Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta
  • Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville
  • Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville
  • Sen. Dolores R. Gresham, R-Somerville
  • Sen. Lee Harris, D-Memphis
  • Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Dickson
  • Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston

Finance, Ways & Means

  • Chairman: Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville
  • Sen. Steven Dickerson, R-Nashville
  • Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin
  • Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville
  • Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald
  • Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro
  • Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville
  • Sen. John Stevens, R-Huntingdon
  • Sen. Reginald Tate, D-Memphis

Government Operations

  • Chairman: Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville,
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Ed Jackson, R-Jackson
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Dickson
  • Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta
  • Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet
  • Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma
  • Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City
  • Sen. Lee Harris, D-Memphis
  • Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown

Health & Welfare

  • Chairman: Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald
  • Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville
  • Sen. Ed Jackson, R-Jackson
  • Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville
  • Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge
  • Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville
  • Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville

Judiciary

  • Chairman: Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma
  • Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville
  • Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga
  • Sen. Lee Harris, D-Memphis
  • Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis
  • Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Dickson
  • Sen. John Stevens, R-Huntingdon

State & Local Government

  • Chairman: Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Steven Dickerson, R-Nashville
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville
  • Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville
  • Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville
  • Sen. Ed Jackson, R-Jackson
  • Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin
  • Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro
  • Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville

Transportation & Safety

  • Chairman: Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Tullahoma
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Frank S. Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains
  • Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta
  • Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma
  • Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis
  • Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville
  • Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown
  • Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville

Calendar

  • Chairman: Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Lee Harris, D-Memphis

Ethics

  • Chairman: Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville
  • Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville
  • Sen. Reginald Tate, D-Memphis

Rules

  • Chairman: Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville
  • 1st Vice Chair: Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson
  • Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville
  • Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville

House

Agriculture & Natural Resources

  • Chairman: Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden
  • Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro
  • Rep. David B. Hawk, R-Greeneville
  • Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport
  • Rep. Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett
  • Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville
  • Rep. Steve McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads
  • Rep. Debra Moody, R-Covington
  • Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro
  • Rep. Jay D. Reedy, R-Erin
  • Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar
  • Rep. Art Swann, R-Maryville
  • Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston

Agriculture & Natural Resources Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett
  • Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer
  • Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden
  • Rep. Jay D. Reedy, R-Erin
  • Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar

Business & Utilities

  • Chairman: Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston
  • Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Barry Doss, R-Leoma
  • Rep. Kevin Dunlap, D-Rock Island
  • Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Tilman Goins, R-Morristown
  • Rep. Marc Gravitt, R-East Ridge
  • Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain
  • Rep. John B. Holsclaw, Jr., R-Johnson City
  • Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr., D-Nashville
  • Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga
  • Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Jay D. Reedy, R-Erin
  • Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station
  • Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna
  • Rep. Art Swann, R-Maryville
  • Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan

Business & Utilities Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Art Swann, R-Maryville
  • Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston
  • Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain
  • Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Marc Gravitt, R-East Ridge
  • Rep. John B. Holsclaw, Jr., R-Johnson City
  • Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville
  • Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville

Civil Justice

  • Chairman: Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah
  • Rep. Carson W. (Bill) Beck, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett
  • Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. John Forgety, R-Athens
  • Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Courtney Rogers, R-Goodlettsville
  • Rep. Leigh Wilburn, R-Somerville

Civil Justice Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett
  • Rep. Carson W. (Bill) Beck, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah
  • Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol
  • Rep. Leigh Wilburn, R-Somerville

Consumer & Human Resources

  • Chairman: Rep. Jimmy Eldridge, R-Jackson
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon
  • Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin
  • Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet
  • Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro
  • Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton
  • Rep. Johnnie Turner, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis
  • Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale

Consumer & Human Resources Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet
  • Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin
  • Rep. Jimmy Eldridge, R-Jackson
  • Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon
  • Rep. Johnnie Turner, D-Memphis

Criminal Justice

  • Chairman: Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown
  • Vice Chair: Rep. James (Micah) Van Huss, R-Jonesborough
  •  Rep. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia
  • Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville
  • Rep. Tilman Goins, R-Morristown
  • Rep. Antonio “2 Shay” Parkinson, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster

Criminal Justice Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville
  • Rep. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Tilman Goins, R-Morristown
  • Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown
  • Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville
  • Rep. James (Micah) Van Huss, R-Jonesborough

Education Administration & Planning

  • Chairman: Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Debra Moody, R-Covington
  • Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland
  • Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston
  • Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett
  • Rep. John J. DeBerry, Jr., D-Memphis
  • Rep. Kevin Dunlap, D-Rock Island
  • Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley
  • Rep. Eddie Smith, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Johnnie Turner, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro
  • Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis
  • Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale

Education Administration & Planning Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis
  • Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville
  • Rep John J. DeBerry, Jr., D-Memphis
  • Rep. Kevin Dunlap, D-Rock Island
  • Rep. Debra Moody, R-Covington
  • Rep. Eddie Smith, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro
  • Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale

Education Instruction & Programs

  • Chairman: Rep. John Forgety, R-Athens
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Billy Spivey, R-Lewisburg
  • Rep. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia
  • Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro
  • Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Roger Kane, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Sabi “Doc” Kumar, R-Springfield
  • Rep. Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett
  • Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr., D-Nashville
  • Rep. Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville
  • Rep. Joe Towns, Jr., D-Memphis
  • Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville

Education Instruction & Programs Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Roger Kane, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia
  • Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro
  • Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr., D-Nashville
  • Rep. John Forgety, R-Athens
  • Rep. Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville
  • Rep. Billy Spivey, R-Lewisburg

Finance

  • Chairman: Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin
  • Vice Chair: Rep. David Alexander, R-Winchester
  • Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville
  • Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland
  • Rep. Karen D. Camper, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah
  • Rep. Barbara Ward Cooper, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley
  • Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Mike Harrison, R-Rogersville
  • Rep.  David B. Hawk, R-Greeneville
  • Rep. Ryan A. Haynes, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain
  • Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough
  • Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville
  • Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet
  • Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga
  • Rep. Steve McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads
  • Rep. Steve McManus, R-Cordova
  • Rep. Larry J. Miller, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville

Finance Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Mike Harrison, R-Rogersville
  • Rep. David Alexander, R-Winchester
  • Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville
  • Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland
  • Rep. Karen D. Camper, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley
  • Rep. David B. Hawk, R-Greeneville
  • Rep. Ryan A. Haynes, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga
  • Rep. Steve McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads
  • Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin
  • Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville

Government Operations

  • Chairman: Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby
  • Vice Chair: Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge
  • Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin
  • Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley
  • Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer
  • Rep. Dan Howell, R-Georgetown
  • Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville
  • Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga
  • Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville

Health

  • Chairman: Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Barry Doss, R-Leoma
  • Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville
  • Rep. John J. DeBerry, Jr., D-Memphis
  • Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga
  • Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby
  • Rep. Mike Harrison, R-Rogersville
  • Rep. John B. Holsclaw, Jr., R-Johnson City
  • Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough
  • Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory
  • Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Sabi “Doc” Kumar, R-Springfield
  • Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson
  • Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma
  • Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville
  • Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro
  • Rep. Leigh Wilburn, R-Somerville
  • Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville

Health Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville
  • Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Barry Doss, R-Leoma
  • Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby
  • Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga
  • Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough
  • Rep. Sabi “Doc” Kumar, R-Springfield
  • Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma
  • Rep. Camera Sexton, R-Crossville
  • Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro

Insurance & Banking

  • Chairman: Rep. Steve McManus, R-Cordova
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton
  • Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin
  • Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin
  • Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville
  • Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga
  • Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville
  • Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville
  • Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown
  • Rep. Roger Kane, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Bill Lundberg, R-Bristol
  • Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma
  • Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City
  • Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon
  • Rep. Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville
  • Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro
  • Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin
  • Rep. David Shepard, D-Dickson
  • Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Joe Towns, Jr., D-Memphis

Insurance & Banking Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown
  • Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin
  • Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville
  • Rep. Steve McManus, R-Cordova
  • Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro
  • Rep. David Shepard, D-Dickson
  • Rep. Joe Towns, Jr., D-Memphis

Local Government

  • Chairman: Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan
  • Vice chair: Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna
  • Rep. Dale Carr, R-Sevierville
  • Rep. Jimmy Eldridge, R-Jackson
  • Rep. Marc Gravitt, R-East Ridge
  • Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden
  • Rep. Dan Howell, R-Georgetown
  • Rep. Larry J. Miller, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Antonio “2 Shay” Parkinson, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville
  • Rep. David Shepard, D-Dickson
  • Rep. Billy Spivey, R-Lewisburg
  • Rep. James (Micah) Van Huss, R-Jonesborough

Local Government Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Dale Carr, R-Sevierville
  • Rep. Dan Howell, R-Georgetown
  • Rep. Larry J. Miller, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Antonio “2 Shay” Parkinson, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna
  • Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan

State Government

  • Chairman: Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson
  • Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin
  • Rep. Ryan A. Haynes, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport
  • Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory
  • Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown
  • Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar
  • Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton
  • Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville

State Government Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton
  • Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory
  • Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport
  • Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson
  • Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville.

Transportation

  • Chairman: Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Courtney Rogers, R-Goodlettsville
  • Rep. David Alexander, R-Winchester
  • Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville
  • Rep. Carson W. (Bill) Beck, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Karen D. Camper, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Dale Carr, R-Sevierville
  • Rep. Barbara Ward Cooper, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown
  • Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville
  • Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge
  • Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton
  • Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station
  • Rep. Eddie Smith, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster
  • Rep. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro
  • Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston

Transportation Sub

  • Chairman: Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster
  • Rep. Barbara Ward Cooper, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville
  • Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City
  • Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station
  • Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge
  • Rep. Courtney Rogers, R-Goodlettsville
  • Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston

Calendar & Rules

  • Chairman: Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville
  • Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland
  • Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin
  • Rep. Jimmy Eldridge, R-Jackson
  • Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley
  • Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby
  • Rep. John Forgety, R-Athens
  • Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer
  • Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville
  • Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville
  • Rep. Williams Lamberth, R-Cottontown
  • Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr., D-Nashville
  • Rep. Bill Lundberg, R-Bristol
  • Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville
  • Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City
  • Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga
  • Rep. Steve McManus, R-Cordova
  • Rep. Antonio “2 Shay” Parkinson, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville
  • Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville
  • Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin
  • Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville
  • Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station
  • Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan

Ethics:

  • Chairman: Rep. Steve McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads
  • Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland
  • Rep. Karen D. Camper, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah
  • Rep. John Forgety, R-Athens
  • Rep. Ryan A. Haynes, R-Knoxville
  • Rep. Antonio “2 Shay” Parkinson, D-Memphis
  • Rep. Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville
  • Rep. David Shepard, D-Dickson
  • Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville
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Press Releases

Kelsey Files Bill to Offer ‘Opportunity Scholarships’ with a Local Control Provision

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; January 16, 2015:

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), January 16, 2015  – State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), filed legislation yesterday afternoon to create Opportunity Scholarships with a new “Local Control” provision. Senate Bill 122 mirrors Gov. Haslam’s “Tennessee Choice and Opportunity Scholarship Act” that passed the Senate last year with the addition of a new “Local Control” provision.

“All children deserve the chance for a quality education,” said Sen. Kelsey.  “This bill will focus on low-income children but will give local school boards more control in how to best design the scholarships for their students.”

As in the governor’s bill, Opportunity Scholarships of roughly $6,500 would be offered to low-income students to attend the school of their parents’ choice. The scholarships would be offered to all students eligible for free and reduced price lunch in schools performing in the bottom 5% of schools in the state. Free and reduced price lunch is offered to families making up to $44,000 annually for a family of four.

The scholarship program would be capped at 5,000 students in year one, 7,500 in year two, 10,000 in year three, and 20,000 in year four and thereafter.   If those caps are not reached each year, scholarships would be offered to other low-income children in those counties in which a school in the bottom 5% of schools is located.

The new local control provision would allow any local school board and county commission to opt into the program if it wants to. Local control would include the option to waive the low-income requirement. The “Local Control” provision could help residents in fast-growing counties save millions in property taxes. Rather than building a new $25 million school every two years, counties could instead send some new students into the Opportunity Scholarship program. A recent study by the Friedman Foundation estimates the bill could save Williamson County $319 million over the next five years and prevent a potential property tax rate hike of 6 to 7%.

“This is an idea whose time has come,” added Kelsey, who first introduced the idea in the Tennessee legislature ten years ago.

Last year, the bill passed the Senate as well as the House Education Committee before getting stuck in the House Finance Committee. New committee assignments for the next two years will be announced in the General Assembly tomorrow.

Senator Kelsey represents Cordova, East Memphis, and Germantown.  He served as a member of the Senate Education Committee and as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the last General Assembly.

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Featured Health Care NewsTracker

‘Insure TN’ Brouhaha Brewing Between House, Senate?

Disagreement appears to have developed between the Republican-dominated chambers of the General Assembly over how to handle Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” proposal scheduled for discussion in a special session beginning Feb. 2.

On Thursday, leaders of the Tennessee Senate’s GOP supermajority indicated the upper chamber will be holding off on committee votes on the issue until the House approves a resolution authorizing Tennessee to sign up for the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion funding.

But that doesn’t seem to sit well with some Republicans in the House.

“Apparently, there was a Senate Republican Caucus meeting yesterday where it was fantasized to the effect that we would go through this process on Insure Tennessee through several committees before they even considered it in the Senate, and I would like to dispel that silly notion that they had in that Senate Republican Caucus meeting,” Majority Leader Gerald McCormick said Friday morning on the House floor.

“That will not happen,” said the Republican from Chattanooga, who is expected to attempt to guide the governor’s Insure Tennessee plan to approval in the House.

Haslam’s Medicaid expansion plan — the centerpiece of which is a system of Affordable Care Act-financed vouchers to allow the purchase of private-sector health insurance by lower income Tennesseans — has been met with skepticism by many members of the Republican Legislature, even as GOP leaders have pledged to keep an open mind about the expansion.

According to an emailed statement Friday from the office of Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, the lower-chamber leadership was under the impression “that the House and Senate would each run the resolutions concurrently. “

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Press Releases

Harris Announces Appointment of 2 Memphians to State Boards

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus; January 16, 2015:

NASHVILLE – Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris is proud to announce the appointments by Gov. Bill Haslam of two distinguished Memphians – William Evans and William Troutt – to serve on state boards.

“I want to congratulate Mr. Evans and Mr. Troutt on their selection by the governor to these boards, which make crucial decisions about education in Tennessee,” Sen. Harris said. “I want to thank Gov. Haslam for recognizing their expertise, and I know they will serve Tennessee well.”

Appointed to the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, William Evans is the retired President and CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He currently serves on the Board of Memphis Tomorrow until July 2014. During Evans’ te4nure as its CEO, St. Jude was ranked annually in the top 10 best places to work in academia by Scientist magazine and ranked the No. 1 children’s cancer hospital by Parents Magazine and U.S. News and World Report.

Appointed to the State Board of Education, William Troutt is in his third decade as a college president, currently serving as president of Rhodes College in Memphis. A nationally recognized leader in education, he has chaired the American Council on Education and National Association of Independent Colleges at Universities, as well as national Congressional committees on education.

Sen. Harris filed the Senate Resolution 0001 and Senate Joint Resolution 0035 for their respective appointments Thursday, and they now await approval by the General Assembly.

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Press Releases

Ketron, Sargent File Bill to Boost Human Trafficking Training for Police

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; January 16, 2015:

NASHVILLE —  State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Representative Charles Sargent (R-Franklin) have filed legislation to give law enforcement and other officials more training to identify, investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking in Tennessee.  The bill calls on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to implement courses, which will also include information to help first responders and caseworkers find services to assist victims of the crime.

“We have seen far too many cases of human trafficking in Tennessee,” said Senator Ketron.  “Our state has made great gains in combatting human trafficking, but we still have a lot of work to do.  Training is essential to help us identify and prosecute this crime, as well as assist the victims.”

The General Assembly passed a series of bills addressing human trafficking after a 2011 Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) report showed 78 of the state’s 95 counties have reported the crime within their borders.  A follow-up to the report was released last year which showed that these statistics may be understated because first responders have not been trained to identify the crime.  The original report also included a survey from top law enforcement, caseworkers and court officials who deal with human trafficking cases which revealed that 79% felt that their agencies were not adequately trained to recognize and identify the crime.

“Training law enforcement and other first responders in the identification and recognition of human trafficking victims is a high priority,” added Representative Sargent.  “Unless victims are identified, they cannot be rescued or restored and those who are responsible will continue their criminal operations.  That is why is so important that we have this training in Tennessee to truly address this problem.”

Senate Bill 16 calls for the training courses to be implemented by January 1, 2016 and includes the hiring of four additional TBI special agents.  The legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) who has sponsored numerous bills strengthening Tennessee’s human trafficking laws.

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Featured Health Care NewsTracker

House Will Get First Crack at Haslam’s Medicaid Expansion Plan

It looks as if the Tennessee House of Representatives will take the lead on deliberations over Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to expand state Medicaid eligibility using federal Obamacare dollars.

The General Assembly is scheduled to go into an “extraordinary session” beginning Feb. 2 to approve or reject the Haslam administration’s “Insure Tennessee” plan, the centerpiece of which is a system of Affordable Care Act-financed vouchers for lower income residents to purchase private-sector health insurance.

The “vehicle” in the Legislature for discussing Insure Tennessee will likely be a “joint resolution” originating in the House that’ll be carried by the chamber’s GOP majority leader, Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga.

Before it gets to the full floor of the 99-member chamber, though, the joint resolution will have to win approval from several committees and subcommittees, among them the House Insurance and Banking Committee, the Health Committee, the Finance Committee and the Calendar and Rules Committee, a spokeswoman for Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, told TNReport.

McCormick indicated this week that the vote-count within the House GOP caucus appears very tight at present. There are 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats in the House. Fifty votes are required to pass a measure out of the chamber.

Although the Senate will likely hold hearings and discussions about Insure Tennessee while the resolution is working its way through the House, upper-chamber Republican leaders said Senate committee-votes won’t be taken until after — and only if — the resolution clears the House.

“If it fails in the first House sub(committee), we’re done,” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, who presides over the Senate, told majority-party lawmakers during a caucus meeting Thursday afternoon.

Both Ramsey and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris estimate that as many as three-quarters of their caucus remains undecided on the Haslam plan. Among them are Jack Johnson of Franklin and Randy McNally of Oak Ridge, who chair powerful committees that will likely handle the resolution.

Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate by a tally of 28-5. It takes 17 votes to pass a measure in the Senate.

“We have members who are outspokenly opposed to the proposal,” Norris said at the Senate GOP caucus gathering. “There are other members here supportive of it. But most members are just in the middle with open minds.”

Norris, who has himself voiced reservations about Haslam’s plan, said he’s hopeful there’s a full and robust discussion about all facets of the proposal. He described Insure Tennessee as “very complicated” in the way it touches on numerous aspects of state and federal law, the Internal Revenue Code and previous developments in the history of TennCare, the state’s program for administering the federal Medicaid system.

“All those things interrelate,” said Norris, a lawyer from Collierville. “Regardless of which side of the issue you may find yourself on, all these issues could be very important, whether you are against it, whether you are for it or whether you are unsure which way to go.”

He added, “What we are trying to do is lay out a timely and orderly process to get everyone through it in the best way possible, so that you can truly say that you are representing your constituents.”

Norris said one of the goals is to avoid the accusation of passing legislation “and not knowing what is in it.”

“Nobody wants to be in that situation,” he said.

Insure Tennessee has been offered by the administration as a two-year pilot program, and it includes incentives for healthier lifestyles. It is designed to enable the state to draw down Medicaid expansion funding through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to cover people making up to 138 percent of the poverty level — which could translate to more than 450,000 potentially eligible Tennesseans.

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Press Releases

Kelsey Files Bill to Block TN From ‘Operating Any Obamacare Exchanges’

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; January 15, 2015:

(NASHVILLE), January 15, 2015 – Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Representative Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin) today filed legislation that would prevent individuals and businesses in Tennessee from being assessed fees under Obamacare if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in the case of King v. Burwell.  The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on the case in March which, in effect, challenges the administration’s regulations on citizens in states which did not set up state healthcare exchanges in conjunction with the federal act.

“This bill will stop the IRS from penalizing Tennesseans for not signing up for Obamacare,” said Senator Kelsey.  “It also prevents Tennessee from operating any Obamacare exchanges in the future.”

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that the section of the law authorizing the government to distribute tax credits and assess penalties applies only when states choose to run their healthcare exchanges.  The law does not explicitly state that the tax credits and penalties apply when the federal government runs the exchange.  Tennessee is one of the 25 states that have chosen to force the federal government to run its exchange.  Senate bill 72 would prohibit Tennessee from running the exchange in the future if the plaintiffs receive a favorable ruling the case.  A decision on the case is expected by in June after the Tennessee General Assembly has adjourned.

“The Supreme Court could overturn half of Obamacare, and this bill will prepare our citizens for that,” Durham concluded.

A draft of the bill is available at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/109/Bill/SB0072.pdf

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Press Releases

Ramsey Re-elected Speaker of the Senate

Press release from the office of Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; January 13, 2015:

(NASHVILLE, TN), January 13, 2014 — 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 109th General Assembly. This will be Ramsey’s fifth two-year term as Tennessee’s Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate.

“Thank you for placing your trust in me,” Ramsey told senators and onlookers after being elected. “The people of Tennessee have placed great trust in all of us. They have called upon us in election after election to use our power wisely — and we have.”

“We made hard choices, just like any Tennessee family would have to, and balanced our budget. And when we have had to borrow money, we paid it back — promptly and in full,” Ramsey continued. “That is the Tennessee way.”

“This stands in stark contrast to the ways of Washington. As our federal government continues on a path into the economic abyss, Tennessee stands apart — committed to fiscal discipline and sanity,” Ramsey explained.

“Tennessee truly is the best state in the nation in which to live, work and raise a family,” Ramsey concluded. “As long as I am speaker, I will fight to preserve that reputation and continue our record of accomplishment.”

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.

After picking up an astounding 6 seats in 2012, the Ramsey Senate achieved an unprecedented 28 to 5 supermajority in the 2014 elections, a feat unmatched by either party in modern Tennessee history.