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Archive for May, 2011

Below is the legislative update from one State Representative Bill Dunn. You may remember the similar piece commented on this site a while back by Congressman Duncan.  Thought it might be fun to compare, contrast, and provide feedback.  I happen to know the esteemed Honorable Dunn is a fan an regular visitor of the Longwood Institute.  He will be interested to know if he passed the litmus test of Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Now that the 2011 legislative session has come to a close, I would like to provide you a report summarizing the bills I sponsored and passed this year.  Often the bills that get the most headlines and media coverage are for sensationalism purposes, rather than what they can do for the average person. 

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service to you in the House of Representatives.  If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me at rep.bill.dunn@capitol.tn.gov or call me at 1-800-449-8366, ext. 44702.

Sincerely,
Picture (Metafile)
Bill Dunn
State Representative

Below are the bills that I sponsored and passed with a brief explanation of each one:

HB 36 – County Administrator of Elections

This bill updates the duties of county administrators of elections.  Every county has an administrator of elections that makes sure all elections are done in a fair and accurate manner.  Their duties had not been updated in many years.  For example, there was no mention of their responsibilities for early voting.  So now the position most critical to making sure democracy works is up to date, with clear guidelines as to their duties.

HB 37 – Education Reports

While legislators are usually adding to the Tennessee Code, this year I made a concerted effort to remove some things from the code that no longer serve a useful purpose.  Over the years, the legislature has requested many annual reports from the Education Department.  Many of these are never read or are out of date.  So I worked with many different groups to identify reports and educational laws that used up valuable time and resources that were no longer needed and deleted them from the code.

HB 38 – Towing Bill

I discovered a loophole in the towing law that could allow a company that towed an abandoned or unattended vehicle to hold it indefinitely before notifying the owner.  This bill sets up a process by which the towing companies have to obtain the owner’s identification and notify them in a timely manner.

HB 954 – Controlled Substances Database

Drug abuse is a huge problem in this State and is draining our state budget.  For example, the Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says that 90% of their budget deals with the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

Currently, doctors and pharmacists have a prescription drug database that up until now, law enforcement officers investigating a case did not have easy access to, to determine whether certain abuse was occurring.

This bill sets up a procedure so that law enforcement can get timely and accurate information to go after those who are costing our society.

HB 1629 – Health Abuse Registry

I had a constituent who was taken advantage of by a home health care employee.  So I passed a bill mandating that organizations must check the health abuse registry maintained by the Department of Health before they hire people to work with homebound persons.

HB 2012 – Teacher Tenure

I was honored to be asked by Governor Haslam’s Administration to carry his key piece of educational reform, the Teacher Tenure Act of 2011.

For so many years, the effectiveness of a teacher was not factored in to the tenure decision.  With the passage of this important act, teachers will have to show they are making a real difference in students’ lives to receive this honor.  If later on, a teacher fails to maintain satisfactory achievements, they can lose their tenure status.

HB 367 – Teacher Pay Protection

This legislation prohibits any local education agency from lowering teacher salaries without a significant corresponding change in the classroom duties or responsibilities of the teacher or a fundamental change in job assignment.  It also prohibits a decrease in the amount spent for teacher benefits from one school year to the next.

HB 1631 – Home Schooling

Home School laws have not had a major revision since 1985, so I worked with Governor Haslam’s Administration and other interested parties to update the laws to bring them more into line with current practices.

HB 386 – Voter Confidence Act

Several years ago, a bill was passed that mandated all county election machines be changed to one type.

Some counties had relatively new machines and would have to dispose of them if this law stayed in effect.  I passed a bill making the change optional rather than mandatory, saving counties and taxpayers millions of dollars.

HB 1632 – Refugee Bill

Like all states, Tennessee is part of the national refugee relocation program.  Since non-government groups have been running this program for the last few years, there has not been a clear method of communication between those settling refugees and local communities.  This bill sets out ways to make sure there is capacity in a community to take refugees.

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Hey lovers of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Dr. Bogart will try to accomodate us for a discussion of our current reading on June 9th.  I felt we would be able to meet in the Maryville area in order to make it more convenient for him since he is making time for us.  I will confirm the meeting place later.  First, I need to know the earliest everyone could get out to Maryville.  Please vote in the poll below

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Since we met hours prior to the announcement of the assasination of Osama bin Laden, I wanted to make sure we could still share our thoughts on the blog rather than waiting for the next in-person meeting.  While most definitely not claiming the storyline laid out by most major news organizations, I am slow to swallow EVERYTHING in the reports as unblemished truth.  I also have been somewhat repugnant of the American reaction to the assasination.  Rather than a solemn respect for what our servicemen have accomplished, there are flash mobs of cheering Americans.  We can and should hold ourselves to a higher standard.  In conclusion, has this assasination solved anything or made us safer?  No doubt the pursuit itself of Osama rendered him helpless in his terrorism coordination efforts, but it seems the trick now is to identify the “next Osama” before they are able to carry out there extreme violence.  I got it started…tell me what us what yout think.

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Due to scheduling conflicts coinciding with Memorial Day Weekend the Longwood Institute will meet one night the first couple of weeks of June to discuss The False Promise of Green Energy, co-authored by the newly appointed President of Maryville College, Dr. William T. (Tom) Bogart.  I cannot wait to see you all there and happy reading!

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