The legislation was an integral piece for many Republican legislators’ agendas over the last two years. A majority of House members felt it was necessary for Tennessee to take action and protect the state from job losses that would have inevitably occurred due to the onerous mandates stemming from the federal health care law. More importantly, the legislation protects the integrity of individual rights for Tennesseans.
Essentially, the soon-to-be law ensures every person within Tennessee is free to choose or decline any mode of health care services without penalty or punishment from the government. Additionally, it prohibits Tennessee officials from interfering with the health care insurance decisions of every Tennessean.
Last Monday, the bill passed in an overwhelming, bipartisan fashion with a 70-27 vote. The Republican bill sponsor said, “I believe this bill sets a precedent for states to begin protecting their citizens from a federal government that taxes too much, spends too much and regulates too much. Tonight, with one voice that has been a long time coming, Tennessee tells Washington ‘no.’”
reform agenda begins
moving in House
On Wednesday, the initial plank of the governor’s education reform platform began moving in the House with passage of the teacher tenure reform in the House Education Subcommittee.
The legislation passed the House Education Subcommittee with a strong 9-4 vote. As written, the reforms will require an educator to be on the job five years instead of the current three before being granted tenure. These reforms will ensure Tennessee’s next generation is being taught by the best and brightest teachers. The bill places student achievement and excellent teacher performance as the main priorities for Tennessee’s educational system. The bill now goes before the full Education Committee for approval.
In related news, the Education Subcommittee passed an equal access bill that allows for other professional organizations to represent our state’s teachers. Currently, only one union is allowed to represent educators, essentially silencing thousands of teachers across the state. This week, the Education Subcommittee will deal with legislation that reforms charter school requirements, including lifting the cap on the number of those schools. After that, the subcommittee will move on to consider changes to the mandatory negotiating authority of the unions.
(Editor’s Note: Rep. Kevin Brooks serves the 24th Legislative District in Cleveland, TN and Bradley County. Kevin and his wife, Kim are actively involved in their community and local schools with their two children, Zach, who is attending Lee University, and Elizabeth, who attends Cleveland High School.)