The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
Greetings! Tennessee was named a “Race to the Top” finalist this week. We are one of the 15 states that will move forward in the process. Final winners will receive a boost in education funding from the federal government. Tennessee is considered a top tier candidate for the funds.
Tennessee submitted its application to compete for up to $501.8 million in funds back in January. The program currently has $4.3 billion allocated to reward states which are implementing significant reforms in four education areas: enhancing standards and assessments; improving the collection and use of data; increasing teacher effectiveness and achieving equity in teacher distribution; and turning around struggling schools.
House Bill 2685 moved out of the Employee Affairs Subcommittee, and will next face the House Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee. This bill clarifies that it is not illegal for businesses to require English be spoken on the job moved forward this week. The proposed law is designed to protect businesses from frivolous lawsuits that emerge when private business policies are legitimately set.
This bill also serves as a safety precaution for workers. Businesses where employees continuously handle toxic products or food containers need to require English. Other businesses, such as most factories, have signs displayed in English that communicate critical safety information. The bill is designed to protect these business practices. To me it is a no brainer! You do not go to live in another country to be a citizen and then expect the citizens of that country to speak your language and not their own. Hopefully, more immigration bills will follow such as: requiring photo identification to vote or verifying citizenship before any benefits are distributed as my House Bill would require (House Bill 0841). We must continue to bring more immigration reform to Tennessee.
Representative Bill Dunn’s House Bill 2625, which passed out of the House Judiciary Committee this week, helps protect consumers from fraudulent contractors. This bill creates a criminal offense for a home contractor who defrauds a homeowner by not making substantial progress on a home improvement project within 90 days and then fails to refund money paid under a contract within 10 days of a written request. Consumers will be able to file complaints with the state’s Consumer Protection Division.
Violators will be punished based upon the value of the property or services and will be subject to punishment from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class B felony. Within 30 days of a conviction, the Board of Licensing Contractors will be required to revoke a contractor’s license and to post their name, license number, and violation on the state’s website for three years. This will serve as a resource for consumers to check when selecting a contractor. Furthermore, the legislation will prohibit a contractor from receiving a new license during the term of their imposed sentence.
House Bill 3063 prohibits physicians on the sexual offender registry from treating children.
House Bill 2438 will be heard in Judiciary Committee next week. This bill adds aggravated rape of a child to the list of offenses for which a juvenile may be transferred from juvenile to adult court.
House Bill 2552 clarifies the law on the purchase of used or secondhand items purchased by local government. As the law is currently written, local governments could not purchase equipment that is more than 10 percent above or below market value. This bill will mean that there is no floor on how much a local government may pay or save.
House Bill 3495 specifies that when someone commits a homicide or assault against a pregnant woman, the woman's fetus, regardless of viability, is also considered a victim of the offense. The legislation passed out of the Public Health and Family Assistance Subcommittee and will next be heard by the House Health and Human Resources Committee.
In closing, this week my office was busy with fabulous folks from the Fortieth District: Air-E-Vac Life Teams, the Upper Cumberland Tennessee Electric Co-op, and Girl Scout Troop1623 who spent Monday night on the House Floor during session assisting fellow House member as pages. Anyone from the 40th district is welcome to call my office or come to visit. I am honored to serve you and remain faithful to our values.