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.