I am pleased to report that this legislative session is winding down. As of this week most of the sub committees are officially closed and next week will see the beginning of full committees closing. This means that the real action is moving to the House floor and the Budget meetings. We had several pieces of legislation pass recently that I was proud of. We saw HB600 pass that prevented any new groups from being created for protection under anti discrimination laws. HB738 also passed and it would again provide for a 4.52% assessment on hospitals. This same assessment was passed with the unanimous support from all Tennessee hospitals last year as well as this year. HB738 will help Tennessee get in excess of $870 million dollars from the federal matching funds program to help pay for our Tenn care system. Because Representatives are no longer tied up in committee meetings, we have also begun having full House sessions 3x a week to wrap up our work.
In the last couple of weeks, I have continued t have numerous groups, organizations and individuals visit my office at the capitol. I sincerely encourage anyone who would like to actively see what goes on in the legislature to call and arrange a visit. Recently Cumberland University brought some of their freshmen up to learn about the inner workings of our government. As a Representative I have also been blessed to be invited to numerous community events. I am not able to attend all of the wonderful events that I am invited to. However one of the recent ones I was at was the Right to Life Speech Contest. Wow!! Those kids had done amazing work on developing fabulous speeches and delivering them. On top of that I was expected to help judge whose was the best. I was also honored to attend the Awards Banquet for Wilson County Teacher of the Year. My heartfelt congratulations go out to Kim Vann from Castle Heights Upper Elementary for winning that honor. Finally the last event I want to mention is the Education Public Forum that was held at Cumberland University. Many ideas and views on the best way to make our local schools great were voiced. I know I left with several positive suggestions.
As I look forward to working on balancing the budget, I know our jobs will only get harder. In these tough economic times government subsides and government budgets have big impacts on people lives. I know I will have my work cut out for me in listening to the people as well as making sure to stop government waste.
Have a Great weekend.