A look at the Tennessee Legislature

March 17, 2012
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

Greetings! Lottery scholarship requirements will not change as long as lottery proceeds of at least $10 million sustains through 2015. Today students can obtain a scholarship worth $4,000 for each four years as long as they make a 3.0 grade average in High School or score 21 on the ACT college entrance exam. The original bill, HB2649, called to reduce the scholarships by 50 percent for students who do not meet both requirements. In order for the bill to have moved forward into full committee, an amendment was made that would be contingent upon those lottery revenues to be no less than $10 million. As long as we have the money, we will continue to fund the scholarships. With record sales of $130 million in February, proceeds dropping below $10 million would not appear to take place anytime soon. The Hope Scholarship has helped many students achieve their goal of a quality education.

HB 2337 continues a program that has helped many foster children transition into adulthood. This legislation will provide much needed help to foster children as they grow out of the state system. Country music singer Jimmy Wayne, who was a foster child himself, was on hand to witness the passage of the bill and also did a fabulous job of singing our national anthem on the House Floor. The Administration, which favors this bill, included the cost in the state’s annual budget.

HB3283--a law needed after a local news investigation discovered that many sex offenders in Middle Tennessee had avoided the registry. It seems their offenses were dropped to lesser charges; just because they have been granted “diversion,” which basically means good behavior, they can have their records wiped clean. This law will further strengthen the state’s sexual offender laws.

Many emails are coming to me concerning HB3606. Please remember, bills are in the metamorphosis stage while in committees. Job-killing bills and/or tax-increasing bills, I will not support. That being said, I will continue to keep watch on this bill. Thanks for addressing it, and thanks for your emails.

I want to thank the many constituents who came to the capitol this past week. Leadership DeKalb brought a great group this year. I so enjoy the lunch together and the Q&A we conduct around the conference table in the Senate Room. Your engagement and input?...priceless! Tennessee Electric Cooperatives were here in full strength; the 40th district was represented well. What a pleasure it was to talk with you and to assure you of my full support on legislation respecting the principle that a landowner is entitled to free enjoyment of their land. Also, it was Rural Health Association week and many of the Critical Access Hospitals in my district were here, as well. Hospitals will be prohibited from increasing charges to their patients as a result of the Hospital Coverage Assessment which, by the way, prevents $870 million dollars in cuts from taking effect.

WOW! A big week and more to come as we see the pace pick up tremendously. I want to remind you to keep the emails coming concerning support for the elimination of the Death and Gift Tax. Folks, this tax needs to die. Your emails to the Administration are paramount! Always a pleasure to work with and to serve the Folks of the Fortieth! Blessings!

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