Written by Curtis Johnson
Tennessee State Representative
Nashville, TN – The House Finance, Ways & Means Committee begin their Budget Hearings on Wednesday with presentations by the Department of Financial Institutions, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. The Committee will spend approximately 50 hours listening to the budgets of all the department and entities of state government.
Some of the testimony next week will be from the constitutional officers, the Administrative Office of the Courts, District Public Defenders Conference, Tennessee Historical Commission, Department of Education (K-12), the Department of Correction, and others.
House Republicans Continue Support for Military Veterans
Earlier this week, Republican lawmakers continued to demonstrate their support for military veterans by advancing legislation designed to help veterans and military families secure employment.
The bill authorizes private employers to give hiring preference to honorably discharged veterans, spouses of a veteran with a service-connected disability, widows or widowers of veterans who do not remarry and who died of service-connected disability, and widows or widowers, who do not remarry, of a member of the military who died in the line of duty.
The bill is the latest in a series of legislative initiatives that demonstrate support and honor for Tennessee military veterans and their families. In 2016, five soldiers killed in the Chattanooga terrorist attack were awarded the “Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal” by Governor Bill Haslam for their heroic efforts on Tennessee soil.
Recently, lawmakers also passed the National Guard Force Protection Act, which enhances protection at Tennessee National Guard facilities and military installations. Additionally, legislation passed the full House last year to strengthen and make the Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) program available to private, non-profit institutions of higher education throughout the state. The highly successful VETS program encourages colleges and universities to prioritize outreach to veterans and deliver the services necessary to create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper while pursuing their education.
Opioid Abuse Task Force Has Third Meeting
The Task Force on Opioid Abuse met on Thursday to hear testimony from the Department of Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Service, the Department of Health, TennCare, and the Board of Medical Examiners. They cited several acts passed by the General Assembly in recent years that helped give them the tools to fight this growing problem.
Also, appropriations for the Lifeline Program, funding additional Recovery Drug Courts and Increased funding for naloxone program are helping to fight this epidemic.
Early education for teens on the dangers and addictive powers of these legally prescribed drugs (which can usually be found in their parent’s medicine cabinet) is essential. Looking at addiction as a disease and not a moral failure can help addicts seek treatment.
You can view the Department of Mental Health Services PowerPoint presentation below:
To watch the video of past meetings of the Opioid Abuse Task Force, www.capitol.tn.gov
Rep. Curtis Johnson
15 Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN 37243
For more information about the Tennessee General Assembly, check our website at www.capitol.tn.gov