First lady Crissy Haslam establishes new field trip program for Tennessee students
by Kevin Brooks and Eric Watson
Mar 23, 2014 | 747 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
First lady Crissy Haslam last week hosted students from Bransford Pride Afterschool Program at the Tennessee Residence to launch a new field trip program aimed at encouraging children to learn more about Tennessee history.

The program invites students to visit the Tennessee Residence to learn about the history of the state, the governor’s residence and offers the ability to tour the grounds of the facility itself. During the tour, students will have the opportunity to participate in numerous hands-on activities, including planting and harvesting fresh vegetables from the Residence’s formal garden.

In addition, the first lady read to students from her March Read20 book of the month, “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, and emphasized the value of reading at least 20 minutes each day. The Read20 Family Book Club was launched as part of the first lady’s initiative to highlight the importance of early literacy and parental engagement in children’s academic lives.

For more information about the Tennessee Residence field trip program or the Read20 Family Book Club, visit

House expands

Second Amendment

rights for Tennesseans

House Republican lawmakers moved forward last week with several pieces of legislation aimed at expanding the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans, with all four measures being backed by the National Rifle Association.

The first measure, House Bill 1404, clarifies a bill passed last year which allows individuals to carry their firearms safely secured in the trunk of their vehicle when on private property without fear of criminal penalty. This tweak to last year’s law also makes it legal for such persons to transfer a gun, once they are on private property, from the interior of their vehicle to their trunk, again without criminal prosecution.

Likewise, House Bill 1405 also clarifies the 2013 “guns in trunks” legislation. Originally, the bill said anyone who is in their “private vehicle” is exempt from prosecution if they carry their gun, safely stored in their trunk, onto private property. This bill defines “private vehicle” to include any motor vehicle in which that individual lawfully possesses, ensuring protection under the law if, for example, the individual happens to be driving their spouse’s vehicle that day.

House Bill 1483 removes all prohibitions passed by the General Assembly prior to 1986 with regard to the possession, transportation or storage of firearms and firearms ammunition by handgun-carry permit holders, repealing many outdated and antiquated measures on the law books which restricted gun rights from years past.

And, House Bill 1952 makes it illegal for drones to interfere with private citizens who are legally hunting or fishing in the state.

As Tennessee’s Constitution guarantees, “The citizens of this state have a right to keep and bear arms.” It is a right that House Republicans have actively sought to protect and expand over the last several years.

Lawmakers, farmers

to celebrate annual

‘Ag Day on the Hill’

House lawmakers will join with farmers and agriculture groups from across the state later this week to celebrate Tennessee’s annual “Ag Day on the Hill” event at the Legislative Plaza in Nashville. Gov. Bill Haslam has also proclaimed the date “Agriculture Day” as part of the annual national observance to recognize the important contributions of farmers and forestland owners to the state and nation.

“Ag Day on the Hill” activities will include the popular milking contest between Senate and House members, a cattle-weighing contest, farm animals, crops and equipment, and new this year, a silent auction to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and Tennessee’s Ag in the Classroom educational program.

The event will also feature for the first time the “Drive to Feed the World Tour,” a unique, interactive road show traveling the nation to heighten awareness about world hunger and sustainable food production.

Festivities kick off at 8 a.m. with the milking contest taking place at 9 a.m. Special presentations to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee get underway at 10:30 a.m. The winner of the cattle-weighing contest, to be announced during the committee meeting, will receive a Pick Tennessee Products gift basket.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee will have collection bins available at Legislative Plaza throughout the day. Participants and visitors are encouraged to bring nonperishable items for donation. The Farm and Forest Families of Tennessee organization will present a check to Second Harvest in honor of the milking contest winner.

Tennessee has 76,000 farms representing 10.8 million acres in production. More than half of the state — 14 million acres — is in mostly privately owned hardwood forests. Tennessee’s top agricultural commodities include cattle, soybeans, corn, poultry, cotton, timber, greenhouse and nursery products, dairy products, wheat, tobacco and hay. The industry has a $66 billion a year impact on the state’s economy and supports nearly 337,900 jobs.


(Editor’s Note: This legislative summary has been submitted jointly by state Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland who represents the 24th Legislative District, and state Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland who represents the 22nd Legislative District.)