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Veterans Property Tax Relief Bills Set For Local Government Sub-Committee Meeting on March 23rd

Tennessee Representative Joe Pitts

“Say Dyslexia” bill to be heard in the House and Senate committees

Tennessee State Representative - District 67Nashville, TN – Several bills sponsored by Tennessee Representative Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville) moved along in committees last week. This is a general update on the bills and events on the Hill from last week.

House Bill 1513/Senate Bill 1658 (Senator Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville) is a proposal from the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association to allow county governments to give to retiring full time deputies their service weapon (pistol) that was carried in the line of duty. This legislation has passed both the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor.

Tennessee Representative Joe Pitts presenting House Joint Resolution 550. (L to R) Emmanuel Toribio (UTO Volunteer), Joe Pitts, Bobby Thurman (USO RP/6 Scout), Tareasha Jones (USO Volunteer)
Tennessee Representative Joe Pitts presenting House Joint Resolution 550. (L to R) Emmanuel Toribio (UTO Volunteer), Joe Pitts, Bobby Thurman (USO RP/6 Scout), Tareasha Jones (USO Volunteer)

“Care Alert” bill on its way to the Governor for his signature. House Bill 1512/Senate Bill 1485 Rep. Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville) proposes to change the “missing citizen alert program” to the “Care Alert Program” by expanding the definition of individuals that constitute a “missing person” for purposes of the Care Alert Program. Under the proposal, a disabled person, would qualify to be included in the Care Alert.

This legislation was the idea of Margaret Davis, a constituent, and mother of an autistic adult son, JT. She was concerned the “missing citizens alert program” known as the Silver Alert, left out citizens 18 years of age or older who have an intellectual, developmental, or physical disability.

The legislation passed the House Floor and is on its way to the Governor.

House Bill 1410/Senate Bill 1484 (Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) is scheduled for the final House Local Government Sub Committee on March 23rd. This legislation will repeal the “Save our Property Tax Relief” legislation, Public Chapter 481, which passed last year. Public Chapter 481 made changes to the disabled veterans, senior citizens and disabled citizen property tax relief program.

“This legislation joins 6 other pieces of legislation that makes changes to the law made by Public Chapter 481,” said State Rep. Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville). “The bill I am sponsoring is the only bill that totally repeals Public Chapter 481.” “As I stated before, “A promise made should be a promise kept,” Pitts said.

I call on all veterans, senior citizens and disabled citizens to help us repeal last year’s mistake. Please attend the Local Government Sub Committee next Wednesday, March 23rd at 9:00am in room 16 of the Legislative Plaza. If you are unable to attend, please call the members of the Local Government Sub Committee and ask them to support this legislation. Open the link www.capitol.tn.gov/house/committees/sub-local.html and click on each picture for the member’s phone numbers.

House Bill 1802/Senate Bill 1759 (Senator Mark Green, R-Clarksville) is a bill that will help our enlisted soldiers and their families. Currently, if a soldier that is married and living off base they get their basic salary, plus a basic housing allowance, and a basic subsistence allowance, i.e. food stamps, while they are stationed at home. When the soldier deploys to combat or training, the basic subsistence allowance is taken away, thereby leaving their families without food stamps. Once the soldier returns home, the allowance is returned to the family.

This legislation will restrict the Tennessee Department of Health from using the basic subsistence allowance in calculating income for the purpose of determining eligibility for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This legislation passed the House Health Sub-Committee this week and will be heard in the House Health Committee on Wednesday, March 23rd. “This is the right thing to do for our soldiers and their families,” said Rep. Pitts. “The bill passed the Sub-Committee with no questions and Chairman of the Sub-Committee, Rep Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) stated that he felt this was a good piece of legislation,” Pitts said.

House Bill 1699/Senate Bill 1626 will clarify that state employees can take four courses per academic year, at no cost, at any state college or university. Current law restricts the employee to one per term and the bill will offer more flexibility to the student. “I am grateful to APSU graduate Brandy Foust for bringing this matter to my attention,” said Pitts. “Thanks also to Sen. Paul Bailey (R-Cookeville) for carrying the bill in the Senate.” The House bill will be on the House Consent Calendar on Monday night, March 21st. A link to the bill can be found here at www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/109/Bill/HB1699.pdf

House Bill 2616/Senate Bill 2635 The #SayDyslexia bill is set for the House and Senate Education Committees next week. The bill will address early screening and intervention for the students with attributes of dyslexia. An estimated 1 in 5, or more than 200,000 school students have some characteristics of dyslexia and the proposal will help educators identify the students and offer help in overcoming the difficulties caused by dyslexia. Great thanks to 4th grader Ryann Smith for her courage to testify before the House Education Committee 2 weeks ago. It is time to “Say Dyslexia” in Tennessee.

House Joint Resolution 550 honoring the USO Fort Campbell for its’ 75th anniversary. “The USO is an organization that has served as a vital bridge between Americans and their military service members,” Rep. Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville) stated. The resolution was co-sponsored by Rep. Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville), Rep. Jay Reedy (R-Erin), Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) and Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville). “I was honored to be asked by the USO to sponsor this resolution in recognition of the superior services they offer to our military families,” Pitts said.

If you have questions about the above or other issues of concern, please call me at 615.741.2043, or email me at rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov


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