COLUMBIA, April 3, 2017– It was a busy week at the Capitol and in Maury County, which found itself in the spotlight. Here’s a quick update on that and more.
Maury County Receives Spotlight at the General Assembly
Monday afternoon, the Senate approved SJR141 to begin the process of relocating the tomb of President and Mrs. James K Polk. The legislation will soon come over to the House for discussion and eventual action. In the Senate, there was a great deal of discussion about whether to relocate President Polk’s tomb to our community, specifically the James K. Polk home.
Debates were both in favor and opposed to the resolution,however, as a result of this process, I believe light has been shed on the great legacy and success of President Polk’s presidency. No matter the outcome of the resolution, a great hero of our community has been displayed as the exemplary public servant we all know him to be. I appreciate Senator Kerry Roberts for his compelling biographical summary of President Polk’s life and the importance of relocating him to his hometown. I look forward to running the Resolution in the House.
Mule Day Queen and Court Wow the House
One of the most exciting honors of serving our district is to help showcase some of our very best. The week of Mule Day gives me that opportunity unlike any other. Last week, Mule Day Queen, Kendyl Colvett was joined by her court in the chambers of the House of Representatives to be recognized for being an exemplary symbol for one of our state’s most treasured events, Mule Day. Court members included: Alanya Keeling, Ginger Morrow, Mallory Loveless and Katie Boshers.
I can’t begin to explain how proud it makes me to spotlight Maury County while the rest of the state and fellow representatives watch. Thank you to Representative Michael Curcio for cosponsoring the resolution honoring these young ladies.
Legislation to Protect Domestic Violence Victims Advances
The bill allows victims who receive an order of protection to carry a handgun for protection for 7 days without a permit. In effect, the individual becomes eligible for a short term firearm carry permit. The person will not be allowed to carry a handgun if they are otherwise prohibited from possessing, receiving, shipping, transporting, or purchasing a firearm under state or federal law.
Permission to carry a handgun would last for 7 days after the issuance of an order of protection. During this time the victim can apply for a temporary permit. The person must have the order of protection in their possession at all times when carrying a handgun. Specifically, the bill creates a defense for prosecution for the individual carrying the firearm. This means they should have adequate evidence to defend themselves in court if it is challenged whether they have the legal ability to possess a firearm within the 7-day window.
There is no provision in current law to allow a person who obtains an order of protection to carry a handgun solely based on the issuance of the order. The person carrying under this bill must still follow all laws regarding where they can and cannot carry.
Legislature Introduces Bills Aimed at Wildfire Relief
Last November and December, wildfires raged through the eastern part of the state. These fires destroyed thousands of acres and killed at least 14 people. The fires were called the worst in Tennessee in the past 100 years. Members of the legislature have introduced multiple bills this session to aid with relief efforts in East Tennessee.
House Bill 1166 allows a municipality or a county to give funds to private landowners who have been effected by a natural disaster. The funds will be given to help clean up after such disasters. Landowners may only receive the help by requesting it from the proper entity. This reaches a broader base of citizens than allowed today. Under current law, those effected by disasters can only get assistance from qualifying for property tax relief.
HB 0229 allows the Southeast Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact to remain intact. This compact allows member states to “borrow” fire personnel and equipment from other member states. The state is financially accountable to the other states after the disaster was ended. The compact has been around since 1954 and as of April 2016, Tennessee was fortunate enough not to have used the compact. This bill extends the compact until June 30, 2021.
HB 0467 allows those who have paid premiums for full replacement content coverage insurance for wildfire destruction, to be paid the full amount of the coverage before incurring a great deal of out-of-pocket expenses.
The next few weeks will be packed with legislation going quickly through the General Assembly. Most subcommittees will be closed next week. I invite you to view committee meetings and House Floor Sessions at www.capitol.tn.gov. We go into Floor Session on Mondays at 5:00 P.M. and Thursdays at 9:00 A.M. I hope you will take the opportunity to watch how legislation is passed at the end of Session in your State House. I look forward to seeing you all in the District!