“BWC 5 Act” passes both the House and Senate on one historic night
This is the next in a series of updates regarding legislation filed by Rep Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville) for the second session of the 107th General Assembly.
Clarksville, TN – As mentioned in previous updates, legislation that would dramatically change the state employment system is currently under discussion in the Tennessee House of Representatives. The Governor’s proposal, entitled the “Tennessee Excellence Accountability and Management (TEAM) Act,” would change the hiring and promotion system for all state employees.
Based on previous discussion of the bill, there have been revisions to the proposal that address the veterans’ preference in hiring and promotions.
“As with any piece of legislation, time spent gathering input and discussing the merits of an idea always improve the final outcome,” said Tennessee State Representative Joe Pitts. “While we are moving in the right direction there are still more issues to figure out in the weeks ahead.”
A recent amendment to the bill would require that, with all other aspects being equal, a veteran’s service will be the deciding hiring factor when interviewing for open civil service positions. The amendment also ensures that veterans will continue to receive five years worth of work experience credit for their military service when layoffs are considered.
“I remain concerned with the portion of the bill that would remove civil service protections for our state employees,” Pitts stated. “Until this bill is amended to protect our state employees from political patronage, I will be hesitant to support the legislation,” Pitts said.
New: HOPE Lottery Scholarships for military dependents. House Bill 2743/Senate Bill 2570, sponsored by Rep Joe Pitts and Tennessee State Senator Tim Barnes, would authorize students who are Tennessee citizens and dependents of parents in the military to receive HOPE scholarships as long as these students meet residence and academic requirements.
Currently, military dependents, whose parents’ “home of record” lies outside of Tennessee, are ineligible for HOPE scholarships. The legislation deletes the current requirement that military parents have a home of record in Tennessee in order for their child to be eligible for a HOPE scholarship. This legislation is scheduled to be heard in the Education Sub Committee on Wednesday, March 7th.
“We have set our sights on increasing the number of college graduates in our state,” said Pitts. “This bill serves a two-fold purpose. We are removing barriers to college and helping dependents of our military, which is always the right thing to do.”
“Senator Barnes and I are gratified to see this legislation pass with family members and Bikers Who Care leadership watching,” Pitts said. “According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Tennessee is the first and only state to pass this life saving legislation. I am hopeful the rest of the country will follow our lead and pass similar legislation before another tragedy occurs.” Pitts said.
Update: 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 cleared its second hurdle and is scheduled to be heard in the Finance Sub Committee in the House on Wednesday, March 7th.
Update: Special license plate for honorably discharged Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans. House Bill 3214/Senate Bill 2955 also cleared its second hurdle and is scheduled for the House Finance Sub Committee on Wednesday, March 7th.
Update: House Bill 2171/Senate Bill 2125, designating a segment of S.R. 374 “Officers David Scott and Yamil Baez-Santiago Memorial Parkway” was signed by the Governor on February 28th and a ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of this tragedy is in the planning stages.
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Returning veterans are in need of jobs that have sustainable income along with advancement within a particular field or sector. One important area that is overlooked is the 600,000+ jobs USA based companies outsourced oversees. These jobs are primarily high-tech and/or high-end support of a particular product or service. We should ask all USA based companies who outsource to bring a minimum of 10% of these jobs back to the USA and hire veterans. With all the credits available on a state and national level this would have a minimum impact.