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HomeOpinionTennessee State Representative Joe Pitts Legislation updates and responding to Online Petitions

Tennessee State Representative Joe Pitts Legislation updates and responding to Online Petitions

“BWC 5 Act” advances and Motorcycle safety study bill set for House floor vote

The Seal of the State of TennesseeNashville, TN – This is the next in a series of updates regarding legislation filed by Tennessee State Representative Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville) for the second session of the 107th General Assembly.

I have recently been receiving thousands of e-mails from constituents and others signing online petitions for various issues.  I am receiving the e-mails but cannot respond to you due to security issues within our system.

If you want to discuss a bill or your thoughts on any legislation currently before us, please email me directly at rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov  If you or someone you know wants to receive weekly updates, please also email or contact me directly.  I apologize for any confusion this situation may cause.

New:  Unemployment Compensation for Trailing Military Spouses.  House Bill 984/Senate Bill 884 which would allow spouses of military members who leave employment due to military reassignment to qualify for unemployment benefits will be heard in the House Consumer & Employee Affairs Subcommittee on Wednesday, February 22nd.  These benefits will NOT count against the employer’s experience rating. “This legislation is long overdue,” said Pitts.  “We are helping, in a tangible way, military families in a time of great financial need.”

New:  Special license plate for honorably discharged Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans. House Bill 3214/Senate Bill 2955 has been filed which will update the special license plate for honorably discharged Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans to show both the United States and the Republic of Iraq and Afghanistan flags.  “This legislation was brought to me by veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom,” Pitts said. “Currently the license plate only shows the United States flag and the veterans requested the change to mirror other license plates such as the Vietnam and Bosnia campaigns.”

Update: BWC 5 Act advances.  On Tuesday, February 14th, House Bill 2734/Senate Bill 2357, known as the BWC 5 Act, passed the Transportation Subcommittee with no opposition.  It will be heard in the Transportation Full Committee on Tuesday, February 21st.  This bill would require a statement be printed in lease or rental agreements for all rented recreational vehicles (RV) that the carbon monoxide detector has been checked and is in working order. Eddie and Chris Watson, parents of Kathryn Over and parents-in-law to Jon Over, were present at the committee meeting.

“For everyone who is in favor of this legislation please contact their State Representative and State Senator and have them support the BWC 5 bill.  We do not want another tragedy like this to ever happen again,” the Watson family said.  They have vowed to return to each and every committee meeting until this legislation becomes law and are expected to testify at the Full Committee next week.

Mike and Brenda Over are also expected to attend the Transportation Committee meeting next week.  “This bill will serve the state and community as well as honor the 5 lives that tragically died, doing the same,” Brenda Over said. “September 18th, 2011, Jon & Katy Over, Tim Stone, “Slim Jim” Wall, and Allison Bagwell-Wyatt died doing what Tennesseans are known for; volunteering, serving their communities and those in need.  We urge you to move forward with this proposal and honor the memories of the BWC 5,” stated Mike Over.  The BWC 5 were victims of this tragic accident during the Bikers Who Care (BWC) Toy Run event.

Update:  Retiree Benefit Improvement legislation stalled: On Wednesday, February 15th, House Bill 470/Senate Bill 440 was heard in the House Finance Subcommittee.  This legislation would provide a benefit improvement to certain retired state employees who have been retired the longest (prior to 1990) at a very low pension and are now outliving their benefits.  The percentage starts at 10% if you retired prior to 1975 and decreases to 0.3% if you retired between 1987 and 1989.

“There are more than 9000 retirees in our state who draw $500.00 or less per month in retirement,” said Pitts.  “Our bill would help a large group of senior retirees who have the greatest need.” The Finance Subcommittee postponed the bill to the last calendar of the subcommittee for this year in order to allow more time for study.  To see the actual breakdown, go to the Tennessee General Assembly web site at www.capitol.tn.gov/, click on “Legislation”, type in HB0470, and click on HB0470.

Update:  Child Support collection effort.  House Bill 2744/Senate Bill 2569 that would allow Child Support offices in Tennessee to attach or place a lien on Criminal Injuries Compensation Funds awards for recovery of back child support cleared two hurdles this week and will be heard on the House Floor next Thursday, February 23rd.  “The children of our state need help,” said Pitts.  “Irresponsible parents who don’t live up to the financial responsibility of supporting their children have to be given a push to take care of this obligation.”

Reminder:  The Tennessee General Assembly is still under heightened computer security so if you do not get a response from me, please call my office at 1.800.449.8366, ext. 12043.

For more information about these bills or other concerns about the state government, please contact our office at 615.741.2043 or email rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov.


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