Written by Joe Pitts
Tennessee State Representative
Nashville, TN – The Property Tax Relief for disabled Veterans, disabled persons and elderly low-income homeowners, House Bill 1496/Senate Bill 1675 (Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville), passed the House Finance, Ways and is scheduled for a House Floor vote on March 12th, 2018, and as amended which includes the veterans spouse.
This legislation corrects a rule change made in October, 2017 which would have caused individuals to lose their eligibility for tax relief if the veteran, low-income elderly, and disabled person if admitted to a nursing home for an indeterminate amount of time.
“I am hopeful we will see this bill pass and the tax relief programs will be left intact and alone in the future,” said Pitts.
Credit Report Freeze
House Bill 1486/Senate Bill 2470 (Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield) has passed the House and the Senate and is now headed to the Governor for his signature. The bill will allow Tennesseans to place, temporarily lift or permanently remove a credit freeze with a credit reporting agency without charge.
“It currently costs $7.50 for these services, and as personal identities continue to be at risk, protecting yourself from online credit issues should not be a profit center for credit reporting agencies,” said Pitts.
Limiting New Statewide Assessments
HB 1855 (Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro) and SB 1806 (Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro) is scheduled for the House Floor on Monday, March 12th, 2018 and should be heard on the Senate Floor next week as well. This legislation will prohibit the Tennessee Department of Education and the State Board of Education from mandating any statewide assessments for any grades or subjects beyond those required as of the 2016-2017 thru the 2021-2022 school years.
“I voted in favor of this legislation. I believe our credibility is undermined every time we fail to deliver test results on time, and find the results are rife with errors. Until we meet that standard, we need to pause on adding more testing,” Pitts said. “Further, I loathe moratoriums but there is no other option.”
Veterans Hiring Preference Legislation
In April, 2012, the “Tennessee Excellence, Accountability, and Management (T.E.A.M.) act was signed into law. Part of this law stated “When invitations to interview candidates are extended, whether for appointment or promotion, and the list of eligible includes any person who has been honorably discharged from the army, navy, air force, marine corps or coast guard or any active federal service in the armed forces of the United Stated, these persons must be invited to interview”.
It also stated “If a veteran is on the list of eligible, and if the minimum qualifications and the skills, abilities, competencies and knowledge of the veteran and any another applicant being interviewed for the position are equal, preference will be given to the veteran for the position.”
This summer it was brought to my attention that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation interpreted “will” as “may”. Thus, House Bill 2006/Senate Bill 2191 (Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol) was drafted changing the word “will” to “shall” to clarify the Tennessee General Assembly’s original intention.
This bill passed the House Consumer and Human Resources Sub Committee and will be heard in the House Consumer and Human Resources Full Committee on March 14th, 2018.
Prescriptions during a disaster
HB 1695 (Rep. Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville) and SB 1670 (Senator Mark Green, R-Clarksville) will be heard on the House Floor on Monday, March 12h, 2018 will allow a pharmacist in this state to dispense to a patient without proper authorization or a valid prescription a 20 day supply of maintenance medication in case of a natural disaster, such as hurricane, tornado, flood, etc.
“Medications for blood pressure, diabetes, etc, can be dispensed to citizens that have been misplaced due to these disasters. This will allow citizens 20 days in order to contact a doctor for a valid prescription. Opioids or scheduled II drugs are not included in this legislation,” Rep. Joe Pitts. The legislation passed the Senate on March 8th, 2018.