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Cumb. Co. 1st and 2nd District Community Meeting
Submitted: Nancy Hyder Thursday April 27, 2017

The 1st and 2nd District will have a Community Meeting with their representatives serving on the Cumberland County Board of Education and County Commission. The Community Meeting will be held at the Board of Education Meeting Room at the Central Office on Monday, May 8 at 6 p.m.

1st and 2nd District BOE members Jeff Freitag and Robbie Safdie along with 1st and 2nd District County Commissioners Tracey Scarbrough, Sue York, Tom Isham, and Nancy Hyder will host the event. Everyone is welcome to attend.

 


Tennessee school bus seat belt bill placed in budget limbo
AP Thursday April 27, 2017

A Tennessee bill to require seat belts in new school buses bought after July 2019 is in budget limbo while lawmakers examine the cost and whether the state will cover it.

The House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee put the legislation on hold Wednesday because it's currently unfunded in the governor's budget plans.

Fiscal estimates say the bill would add $12.9 million in annual costs to school districts and $2.2 million in yearly state costs. The bill was changed to make the state pay the whole cost.

Rep. JoAnne Favors, the Chattanooga Democratic bill sponsor, believes the costs were overstated because the seating capacity would likely drop by at most two seats per bus, not 12.

The bill responds to a November crash that killed six Chattanooga elementary school children.

 


Gov. Haslam signs gas tax law
WVLT Thursday April 27, 2017

Governor Haslam signed his gas tax plan into law on Wednesday, tweeting, "Excited to sign IMPROVE Act: largest tax cut in TN history and a conservative plan to fund roads, bridges."

The IMPROVE Act increases the gas tax by six cents to increase the funding for state roads by almost $400 million a year. The legislation was presented in January. It also lowers the tax on groceries.

Governor Haslam selected Representative Barry Doss to sponsor the IMPROVE Act. Media outlets report that Doss spent nearly six hours answering questions and concerns from fellow lawmakers.

"This does far more than just raise the gas tax," Doss said.

The Governor received pushback from a number of Republicans that did not support the legislation, including House Speaker Beth Harwell.

"I can not support the IMPROVE Act. We have an alternative that does not burden the common man more," Representative Rick Tillis said.

Democrats also disapproved of the Republican Governor's legislation.

"Let's not tell the average Tennessean they’re getting a tax cut because it’s not true," Democrat Bo Mitchell said in reference to the part of the plan that would cut a portion of the grocery tax.

"Let's talk specifics now," Haslam told WTVF. "How does this impact the state? What will it do to the budget and how much will it produce for roads?"

Multiple parts of the bill were altered, but the main focus of the bill remained the same when it was signed into law on Wednesday.

 


TVA to eliminate handguns from nuclear power plant security
AP Thursday April 27, 2017

Tennessee Valley Authority security officers at nuclear power plants will soon be prohibited from carrying handguns.

WRCB-TV reports that the measure will be in place throughout the system by the end of the year.

TVA Spokesman Scott Fiedler says in a statement that the implementation of other protective measures securing nuclear sites has rendered handguns obsolete when it comes to protecting the power plants.

Senior Nuclear Security Officer Paul Tackett expressed concern about the changes, recalling an officer who was shot at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in eastern Tennessee several years ago.

Fiedler says the action was recommended after following the regulatory review process.

 


Tennessee passes sign language bill
AP Wednesday April 26, 2017

The Tennessee Legislature has passed a measure that allows students to take American Sign Language and get credit for their foreign language requirements.

Sen. Becky Massey, a Republican from Knoxville who sponsored the Senate Bill, said Tennessee passed a law allowing kids to take ASL for credit back in the early ’90s. But Massey said lawmakers never made sure it got implemented. She said the new bill assures that it will.

Massey said there are approximately 500,000 Tennesseans who are deaf or hard of hearing and many use ASL to communicate.

The bill still has to be signed by the governor.

Russell Rosen, an assistant professor at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York, says more than 40 states have passed similar measures.

 

 
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