‘Stop ObamaCare Act’ wins state lawmaker approval
Jun 08, 2014 | 458 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(Editor’s Note: State Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland representing the 24th Legislative District, and state Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland representing the 22nd Legislative District, have submitted a comprehensive recap of actions taken by the Tennessee House of Representatives during the recently completed second half of the 108th General Assembly. It is being published as a five-part series in the Sunday editions of the Cleveland Daily Banner. Today’s installment is Part 5.)

The “Stop ObamaCare Act” officially passed the full House of Representatives earlier this year.

As passed, the bill prohibits Medicaid expansion as mandated by ObamaCare unless first authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly. The United States Supreme Court ruled the mandatory expansion of Medicaid in the states as unconstitutional last year.

In addition to the current debate over Medicaid expansion, the bill also provides that any future expansion proposal must go through the regular legislative process and cannot be placed into the state budget, protecting taxpayer dollars even further.

Projections show expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee would cost taxpayers an extra $250 million a year, an amount of money the state simply does not have.

House unanimously

passes data privacy bill

A bill designed to better protect the personal information of Tennessee taxpayers unanimously passed the House of Representatives this year in Nashville.

The legislation, which has been applauded by pro-privacy groups statewide, requires both current and future state employees who have access to proprietary and personal information of those dealing with state agencies to undergo criminal background checks, better ensuring taxpayer information is protected.

With nationwide news outlets recently discovering the massive failures of the federal government to protect the private information of individuals across the nation, House lawmakers in our state have committed themselves and are actively working to better secure the personal information of all Tennesseans.

Bill to aid charitable

organizations passes

House of Representatives

Legislation aimed at reducing the fees owed by charitable organizations in the state passed the House of Representatives this year.

As drafted, the bill will cut fees owed by nonprofit and other charitable organizations across the board by 20 percent. For a charity raising between $30,000 and $48,999.99 per year, the new annual fee would be only $80. At the top end of the scale, a charity raising $500,000 or more would pay $240 per year.

The bill also reduces the annual registration fees for professional solicitors from $800 to $250 and for fundraising counsels from $250 to $100. The changes will affect about 8,100 organizations and individuals who must currently register with the state.

‘Noah Dean and Nate Act’

approved by members

of the state House

Legislation aimed at preventing electric shock injuries and drowning deaths near marinas and boat docks in Tennessee passed the full House of Representatives. The “Noah Dean and Nate Act” requires marinas to install ground fault protection, post notices about the danger of electrical leakage into waters surrounding a marina and requires annual inspections by the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s office to ensure ground fault safety in the future.

On July 4, 2012, 10-year-old Noah Dean Winstead and 11-year-old Nate Lynam, best friends, were struck by an electric current while they were swimming near a houseboat at Cherokee Lake. Noah died at the lake, and Nate died the following day — both from electric shock drowning. Electric current flowed, not only through the children, but also into anyone who attempted to dive in and save the boys.

Electricity can come from several places at a lake including pedestals, pumps and boat lifts. In this case, the electric current leaked from a boat and into the water where the two children swam. Unfortunately, the marina did not have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters in place to stop the flow of electricity.

The legislation takes steps to decrease the likelihood that a tragedy of this nature happens again.

First, it calls for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters to be installed at each boat slip in a public marina and requires any main overcurrent protective device that feeds a marina to have ground-fault protection not exceeding one hundred milliamperes (100 mA). Ground fault circuit interrupters act as breakers that kill the main power source when too much electricity is detected in the water. It also requires that an inspection of every marina in the state be made through the fire marshal’s office. Finally, permanent safety signage must be installed to give notice to individuals using the boat dock or marina of the electric shock hazard risks. Passing this bill into law will not only help in eliminating the potential risk of electric shock drowning, but will also shed light on this little known issue.

In 2012, eight children lost their lives because of electric shock drowning. Ironically, on the same day that Noah Dean and Nate were electrocuted, two brothers in Missouri were killed after they suffered electric shock drowning near a private dock in the Lake of the Ozarks.

As a result, states are slowly starting to take notice of this problem and pass legislation similar to Tennessee’s proposal. West Virginia recently passed into law, the “Michael Cunningham Act,” which ensures that boat docks and marinas are up to date on the National Fire Protection Association and National Electric Code.

In Closing ...

Having finished its business for the year, the 108th General Assembly is now complete. The 109th General Assembly will be gaveled in on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, at high noon.