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Tennessee Promise Legislation for Students in National Guard or Reserves clears House Committee

Tennessee State Representative Joe Pitts chosen by peers to serve as Secretary of the Tennessee Legislative Veterans Caucus

Tennessee State Representative - District 67Nashville, TN – House Bill 800 (Rep Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville)/Senate Bill 56 (Sen Mark Green, R-Clarksville) would authorize students who are members of the National Guard or a Reserve unit of a branch of the United States military and who are eligible for the Tennessee Promise Scholarship, but cannot enroll in college in the fall term immediately following completion of high school due to certain military commitments, to enroll in the first term beginning after completion of such commitments without losing eligibility for the scholarship.

The bill passed the Education Administration and Planning Full Committee on Tuesday, March 10th and is currently in Finance, Ways and Means.

Tennessee Representative Joe Pitts
Tennessee Representative Joe Pitts

“This legislation will help those students that are in basic or special military training or participating in a deployment of the student’s guard or reserve unit to remain eligible for the TN Promise scholarship,” Pitts said.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Day legislation headed to House Floor

Declaring September 18th as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Day, in perpetuity, is scheduled for its final vote on the House Floor on Monday, March 30th. This legislation was filed in memory of the five people, all members of the Bikers Who Care (BWC 5), who lost their lives due to carbon monoxide poisoning on September 18th, 2011, while participating in the Annual Leslie W. Watson Memorial Toy Run event.

“I want to thank Chris and Eddie Watson, along with all the family members of the BWC 5 for their diligence in turning a tragedy into an opportunity,” said Pitts.

James Lee Atwood, Jr Law clears Committee

House Bill 606/Senate Bill 648 cleared the House Insurance and Banking Full Committee on Tuesday, March 24th and is now headed to the Government Operations Committee. HB 606 is sponsored by Rep. William Lamberth (R-Portland) and was filed in memory of James Lee Atwood, Jr. who was killed by an uninsured driver who had been pulled over earlier in the day and was a given a ticket for not wearing a seat belt and having no automobile insurance. Later in the day, the driver hit and killed Mr. Atwood and was still not wearing a seat beat and had no car insurance.

This legislation will give law enforcement officers the discretion to tow a car on the first offense of driving with no insurance. The bill also calls for several departments and insurance companies to develop a computer program that will notify the state when someone cancels their car insurance.

The state can then revoke or suspend an owner’s vehicle registration. In addition, a person will not be able to renew their car registrations without showing proof of insurance.

Transportation Network Company Service Act introduced

House Bill 992/Senate Bill 316 was rolled for 1 week in the Insurance and Banking Committee this week. However, testimony from representatives of Lyft and Uber was heard. HB 992, sponsored by Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) would make state-wide rules and procedures for any “ride sharing” company to follow.

These “ride sharing” companies are relatively new to the state but have proven very popular and financially successful enterprises.

Pitts elected Secretary of Veterans Caucus

On Monday, March 2nd, 2015, State Rep. Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville) was unanimously elected as Secretary of the Veterans Caucus. The Veterans Caucus is a bi-partisan caucus made up of members from both the Senate and House of Representatives.

It was formed in 2010 and it is charged with monitoring legislation affecting veterans. The Caucus works closely with the different veteran service organizations and keeps a watch on current issues to make sure veterans’ needs are known and met.

“I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to hold this position in the Veterans Caucus,” Pitts said. I look forward to using this office to continue to help veterans across our great state.”

If you have questions about the above or other issues of concern, please call me at 615.741.2043, or email me at


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