Greetings, Folks of the Fortieth! Almost a month into the second half of session and we are beginning to see committees fill with legislation that is active and moving. Please take advantage of the user-friendly Tennessee General Assembly website where you can watch the committee meetings live on video stream, www.legislature.state.tn.us.
Communication is paramount between the folks I represent and the issues at hand here at the state level. I do appreciate the emails I receive when it comes to the legislation you are passionate about.
Your voice is being heard, for apparently Governor Haslam is opening up more discussion on SB2210 that would allow school districts to establish teacher salaries and use maximum class sizes rather than average pupil-teacher ratios in the school district. It is good to know that teachers are in those discussions as efforts to get feedback from various schools across the state continues. Remember, bills that are introduced go through changes in the committee process before they even come to the House Floor for a vote, and even then can still be tweaked.
The TennCare Standard Spend Down Program is available again and open for enrollment for new applicants on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 beginning at 6 p.m. This program comes to us through a waiver to the Medicaid program for only limited qualified low-income individuals. Eligible persons must have enough unpaid medical bills to meet the “spend down” limit in order to qualify for coverage. Call this toll free number, 1-866-358-3230, which is open from 6 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. CST on Feb.21. Previous enrollment periods had taken some 2,500 calls within one hour. Go to the eligibility criteria on TennCare’s website, www.tn.gov/TennCare, for more information.
HB2638, heard in House Judiciary this past week, prevents people from LIVING on publicly-owned property not designated for residential use and prohibits people using publicly-owned property from posing a health hazard or threat to the safety and welfare of others. This bill makes it a class C misdemeanor to those who would violate. As one who supports our constitutional rights that gives us the right to protest, living, setting up residence, or camping should not be allowed on public property. Come to the plaza to express your concerns in protest then go home and return. Freedom of speech is essential and most be protected and by no means are we taking that freedom away by supporting this bill.
I look forward to seeing you in the district this weekend, and as always, it is such an honor to serve you. Call my office 615-741-2192 and Grace will assist you. Blessings!