A wave of illicit drug production and illegal use has swept through parts of Tennessee where countless residents have been rushed to the hospital from the adverse effects of the drug. Various news outlets have even reported on many deaths directly linked to the rise in drug use associated with these ingredients.
The Speaker of the House congratulated the bill sponsor and remarked, “Concerned constituents brought this issue to our attention, and it has been a top priority for our Majority.”
After passage of the legislation, the author of the legislation said, “I’m proud to have the unanimous support of my colleagues on this important issue.” He concluded, “Families in my district and across the state are being torn apart because of drug abuse. We cannot let this continue. I believe passage of this legislation moves us in the right direction for combating meth production in Tennessee. But we must do more. I will continue working with members of the General Assembly to end the emotional toll and physical destruction meth is having on the lives of Tennesseans.”
Last week, the governor and Economic and Community Development commissioner announced the Jobs4TN plan which lays out the administration’s economic development strategy resulting from a top-to-bottom review of the department. The plan is consistent with the principles laid out by the leadership of the General Assembly and implores unique initiatives to pave the way for job creation in Tennessee. The plan focuses on: Prioritizing the strategic recruitment of target industries; assisting existing Tennessee businesses in expansions and remaining competitive; supporting regional and rural economic development strategies; and, investing in innovation and reducing business regulation.
“My top priority is for Tennessee to be the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs,” said the governor. “Our Jobs4TN plan is a blueprint for doing just that. By leveraging our existing assets in each region, we will be able to attract new businesses to the state while helping our existing businesses expand and remain competitive. We will also be making significant investments in innovation to position Tennessee as a national leader well into the future.”
The plan was developed over a 45-day period and involved interviews with more than 300 stakeholders, community leaders and national experts as well as through seven roundtables across Tennessee that were hosted by legislators.
House leadership applauded the plan and noted, “Our majority laid out a clear vision for reducing regulations and passing common sense reforms to encourage job growth throughout Tennessee. This plan is an innovative blueprint that respects the unique aspects each region brings to the table and seeks out companies that will partner with those areas. The governor and this majority, once more, prove we are committed to economic development in this state.”
Declaring he wants to “make Tennessee the most business-friendly state,” the member responsible for guiding tort reforms through the House won approval of the critical pro-business measure this week in the Judiciary Committee.
Essentially, the legislation caps “non-economic” damage awards at $750,000 and at $1 million in cases where victims suffer certain catastrophic injuries like the loss of two or more limbs. The bill also caps punitive damages meant to punish accidental negligence by businesses or individuals. Awards for injuries that can be quantified, such as medical care, rehabilitation or loss of income are not capped.
The bill is a central focus of the General Assembly’s legislative agenda. Proponents of the legislation believe these reforms will bring stability to the legal environment companies have to account for when considering relocation to Tennessee or doing business here.
On numerous occasions, the majority leader has talked about the fact this reform will drastically improve the business prospects for Tennessee. “Leveling the playing field so Tennessee is more competitive with other states in the region is the smart thing to do for our citizens,” he said recently.
Last Thursday, the House convincingly passed legislation that protects Tennessee workers while at their places of employment. The bill, HB 1586, addresses violence in the workplace by criminalizing extortion, coercion and violence at work.
Recently, there have been a number of accounts of violent situations at work. In fact, a study by the U.S. Department of Labor found that 50 percent of firms that employ more than 1,000 workers reported instances of workplace violence. Annually, over 1.7 million individuals are victims of violence at the office.
The bill sponsor seeks to put an end to those situations. He remarked, “Instituting these reforms is consistent with our efforts to make Tennessee the best right-to-work state in the nation.” Employers are also protected by the legislation and the exemption for labor unions is removed from the Tennessee Code.
The House on Thursday approved HB 151 in a huge bipartisan fashion, 98-0. The measure ensures Tennesseans who are victims of identity theft are able to file charges in Tennessee against the individual who steals their information.
Currently in Tennessee, every person is liable to punishment by the laws of this state for an offense committed here. But for purposes of identity theft, there are some legal questions for the purposes of prosecution of a case.
This bill clarifies that if a victim of identity theft resides or is found in Tennessee, an essential element of the offense is therefore committed in this state and a defendant is subject to prosecution in this state regardless of whether that individual was ever actually in Tennessee. Venue for the offense of identity theft would be in any county where an essential element of the offense was committed.
Following passage of his legislation, the bill’s sponsor stated, “With our world becoming more and more connected by technology, identity theft is on the rise at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, our laws are not always as up-to-date as they should be for these types of crimes. This bill is a much-needed clarification of the law that will ensure Tennesseans have a proper recourse should someone steal their personal information.” He concluded, “This bill makes sure our citizens are protected by Tennessee law no matter who steals their identity.”
The House Speaker remarked, “This is a constant battle — trying to keep the law one step ahead of identity theft tactics. Identity theft can destroy lives and devastate families, and I applaud the General Assembly for protecting Tennesseans.”