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Haslam Requests SBA Assistance for Mid-TN Flood Recovery

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 22, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has requested assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help individuals and businesses in Metro Nashville and Davidson County and its contiguous counties recover from the severe storms and flash flooding that occurred on August 8-9, 2013.

The additional Tennessee counties that would be eligible for SBA loans are Cheatham, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson as damage to homes and businesses occurred in multiple locations.

A joint Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and SBA damage survey shows more than 190 homes and 46 businesses in Davidson County sustained minor or major damages and/or loss of inventory.

“The impact on affected individuals and business is significant, and a disaster declaration from the SBA will help speed their recovery from this flood,” Haslam said.

The SBA provides low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, non-profit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

On Thursday, August 8, a severe weather front with heavy rain – in excess of 10-inches in some locations – moved across portions of Davidson County and Sumner and Wilson counties. First responders performed nearly 200 water rescues and high water covered numerous roadways and low-lying areas.

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Haslam Requests Disaster Recovery Assistance from SBA

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; February 11, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has requested assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help individuals and businesses in Henderson County and the contiguous counties recover from wind, tornado and flooding damages that occurred on Jan. 29, 2013. The additional counties that would be eligible for SBA loans are Carroll, Chester, Decatur, Hardin and Madison as damage to homes and businesses occurred in multiple locations.

A survey by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the SBA indicates more than 25 homes and businesses in Henderson County sustained uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of their estimated pre-disaster fair market value.

“If Henderson County is designated by SBA, the assistance provided will help Tennesseans rebuild in the wake of these storms,” Haslam said.

The damage survey in Henderson County identified 37 homes with major damages, and 146 homes with minor damages. There were 11 businesses identified with major damages and two businesses with minor damages.

The SBA provides low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

To request a SBA designation for a county, the state must first be sure the state and affected communities will not qualify for the federal individual assistance program.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and county officials have determined that Henderson and other counties affected by the January storm would not qualify for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s individual assistance programs based on a formal assessment of the damages.

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Senate Dems Weekly Update, Week of April 24-29

Press Release from the Senate Democratic Caucus, April 29

Storm Damage Relief

This week’s storms and tornadoes have left 34 people dead in Tennessee, over 100 homes damaged or destroyed, and thousands more without power, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). Reports of injuries and damages are still coming in, and residents who need assistance are encouraged to contact TEMA by dialing 2-1-1. This line is also available for those would like to volunteer goods, service, or money to aid the relief effort. TEMA strongly suggests that everyone use extreme caution in flooded areas, especially when driving.

Regressive Education Measures

Senate Bill 113, the bill that would abolish the ability of teachers to bargain collectively with school boards, was once again delayed on the Senate floor because of a new amendment that makes significant changes to the bill. As amended, SB113 would require all local school boards to create a personnel policy manual in which teachers, community members and others can submit input for changes. However, it does not guarantee changes will be included. As amended, the bill still repeals the Education Professional Negotiations Act that guarantees teachers collective bargaining rights.

Preserving Military Medals

Senate Bill 572, a bill sponsored by Senator Andy Berke that would preserve unclaimed military medals, passed 7-0 through a Senate committee Tuesday. This bill would require the state treasurer to hold any abandoned military medal until the owner or the proper beneficiaries could be identified for the return of the medal.

“Veterans’ medals are timeless treasures that should never be sold or auctioned,” Berke said. “This bill would ensure that they are given the respect they deserve and are returned to their rightful owners.”

The Senate State and Local Government Committee passed the bill, which will now go to the Senate floor. The House version of the bill awaits a hearing in the Calendar and Rules Committee.

Democratic Response to ECD Shakeup

On Thursday, Chairman Lowe Finney and Democratic House Leader Craig Fitzhugh responded to Governor Bill Haslam’s announcement concerning the restructuring of the Department of Economic and Community Development that will shift focus away from attracting jobs from outside of Tennessee in favor of growing jobs with in-state companies. They highlighted the fact that Governor Phil Bredesen’s efforts brought over 200,000 jobs and $34 billion in economic development to Tennessee, and that to shift the focus of the department now sends the wrong message. The full Commercial Appeal op-ed can be found online here.