Written by Joe Pitts
Tennessee State Representative
Nashville, TN – House Bill 1496/Senate Bill 1675 (Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville) was passed in the Senate as amended and is now headed to the Governor. The amendment would include the veteran’s 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.
“Thank you to the Montgomery County Veterans Coalition, the County Officials Association of Tennessee and the Tennessee Office of the Comptroller for their help with this legislation,” said Pitts.
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 2192 (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 Floor on March 22nd, 2018 and should be heard on the Senate Floor next week.
Observation of students in school
HB 2005 (Rep. Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville) and SB 2018 (Senator Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin) will require all LEA’s in the State of Tennessee to create a policy to allow a parent or a parent’s designee to observe instruction and other school activities.
“This legislation was brought to me by a group of parents after their county school district approved a policy to prohibit parent observations,” Pitts said. “We should be doing all we can to encourage parental involvement, and policies prohibiting parents from visiting their child’s classroom are unacceptable.” said Pitts.
This legislation was not heard in the Education Instruction and Programs Sub Committee on March 21st, 2018 at my request. I plan to work with the parents and the Department of Education during the summer to get this issue in a proper format for next year.
Two-year deaf mentor pilot project
HB 2149 (Rep. Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville) and SB 2143 (Senator Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin) was brought to us by a group of citizens advocating for the deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind children. This legislation will establish a two-year deaf mentor pilot project that will assist families and agencies in implementing bilingual and bicultural home-based programming for your children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.
There will be one pilot project in each of the 3 grand divisions and after the two-year pilot program the Department of Education shall evaluate the pilot project and its three programs to determine whether the project and programs should be continued or replicated. This legislation was moved to a summer study due to a high fiscal impact on the State. “I look forward to working with this group of people as well as the Department of Education,” Pitts said.