Rep. Floyd: Capitol Hill Review

Thursday, February 14, 2013 - by Rep. Richard Floyd
Department of Economic & Community Development Gives Positive State Outlook

During House budget hearings this week, Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Bill Hagerty presented lawmakers with a positive overview of  the success Tennessee has had over the last several months in creating an environment statewide where businesses have the opportunity to grow and thrive.

Since the election of Governor Haslam, Hagerty announced, nearly 80,000 new jobs have been created in Tennessee.
In addition, large employers such as Nissan and Volkswagen have already announced future expansions in the state.

With the guidance and support of the legislature, the Department believes the next several years will show even greater strides towards making Tennessee the most successful job-recruiting engine in the entire Southeast.

“While I wish the weather were better outside,” Hagerty stated, “I think overall things are shining here in Tennessee.”

Crime Prevention Bills Score First Legislative Victory

Republican lawmakers on the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee this week passed a series of bills which continue the push for crime prevention in Tennessee. 

Building on the success Republicans had during the 2011-2012 legislative session to cut down on crime across the state, this new crime prevention package addresses issues related to crimes against children, criminal gang offenses, and human organ trafficking.

In total, fifteen bills have been filed, including:

House Bill 520, which changes the offense of promoting prostitution of a minor from a Class E felony to a Class A felony – a move which will greatly increase the punishment for such crimes;

House Bill 131, which increases penalties for gang members who commit trafficking for commercial sex acts;

And House Bill 357, which adds to the law books a new offense for the trafficking of human organs.

Governor Haslam Requests Disaster Recovery Assistance

On Monday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam formally requested assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help individuals and businesses in Henderson, Carroll, Chester, Decatur, Hardin and Madison Counties recover from wind, tornado and flooding damages that occurred on January 29, 2013.

The assistance, if approved by the SBA, will come in the form of low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses, and non-profit organizations seeking to repair or replace real estate, personal property, equipment, or business assets that were damaged or destroyed during the January storm.

MADD Partners with Lawmakers to Advocate for Ignition Interlock Legislation

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) joined with legislators this week to call for the advancement of House Bill 353, a piece of legislation which would update state law to require the installation of ignition interlock devices for all future convicted drunk drivers in Tennessee.

Interlock devices are small pieces of equipment attached to the steering wheel of a car with a tube that the driver must breathe into in order to allow the ignition to start.  The newest ignition interlock technology makes it easier for courts to require DUI offenders to utilize the device, including cameras to ensure that the person tested is the correct driver.  

Currently, 17 states require interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.



Kudzu Incursion On Scenic Highway

I don't know if I am the only Lookout Mountain resident to notice that Scenic Highway is about to be one and a half lanes. Kudzu is encroaching over the guard rail and onto the road. In many places you can no longer tell where the road ends and the guard rail begins. A number of new and older drivers don't need to be guessing about where the road ends. Tommy Dickinson (click for more)

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16-Year-Old Shot Near Emma Wheeler Homes

A 16-year-old was shot near Emma Wheeler Homes on Sunday night. At approximately 7:40 p.m., Chattanooga Police received a call of a person shot from a local hospital. Officers spoke to the victim, a 16-year-old black male, who was transported to a local hospital in a personal vehicle. The victim’s injury is minor and non-life threatening. Investigators spoke to the victim ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

Worley-Powered Vols Clobber Utah State, 38-7, In Opener

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee, trying to snap out of the doldrums of four consecutive losing seasons, started its 2014 campaign in fine fashion Sunday night before a season opening sellout crowd of 102,445 that endured a heavy rain story 30 minutes prior to kickoff. And senior quarterback Justin Worley, who missed the final four games in 2013 after undergoing thumb surgery, was ... (click for more)

Lookouts Reach Southern League Northern Division Playoffs With Doubleheader Win Over Smokies

The Chattanooga Lookouts are now playoff bound after sweeping a double-header against the Tennessee Smokies  to clinch the Southern League North Division for the second half of the season. The first game of the double-header was backed by a masterful gem of a game thrown by the starter for the Lookouts, Steve Smith (W, 3-2). Smith dominated the Smokies' lineup from top ... (click for more)