Viewpoint: Legislators launch second half of 108th
Jan 20, 2014 | 803 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(Editor’s Note: The following legislative update has been submitted jointly to the Cleveland Daily Banner by state Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, representing the 24th Legislative District, and state Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, representing the 22nd Legislative District.)

Last week marked the beginning of the second half of the 108th General Assembly, with the House of Representatives gaveling into session on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at “high noon” in accordance with the Tennessee Constitution.

Having now officially convened, a number of issues await legislators in Nashville, with House Republicans vowing to make private sector job creation the top priority for the General Assembly.

Tennesseans can also expect Republicans to take up measures that will solidify the state’s ranking as a business-friendly, right-to-work state. In addition, the House Majority will work together to pass a number of proposals to continue improving both the state's economic outlook and education.

With regard to the state budget, officials say revenues have come in below expectations, meaning there will have to be some trimming to how much the state can spend this year. Nevertheless, Republicans have committed themselves to once again crafting a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that does not raise taxes. Just as Tennesseans across the state must live within their means, House Republicans have promised to continue managing taxpayer dollars in a thoughtful, fiscally prudent manner.

Tennessee named

‘2013 State of the Year’

for economic


Early last week, Business Facilities magazine, a national economic development publication, officially named Tennessee as its “2013 State of the Year” for economic development, based on the state’s huge success over the last 12 months in recruiting new business and promoting economic development across Tennessee.

Cited in the magazine’s report were the state’s top five economic development projects of 2013, which created a total of 6,900 jobs, $3.2 billion in capital investment, and included seven expansions and three new recruitments.

This new award comes on the heels of other recent accolades for Tennessee, including being named the No. 1 state in the nation for automotive manufacturing strength for an unprecedented four years in a row. Tennessee was also ranked in the top five states with the best business climate by Site Selection magazine and as the fourth best state in the U.S. for business in Chief Executive Magazine’s “Annual Best & Worst States for Business Survey.”

The top economic development projects for number of jobs created and amount of capital invested named by Business Facilities can be found below.

Top five projects for jobs:

1. Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. in Montgomery County, 1,800 jobs;

2. ARAMARK in Davidson County, 1,500 jobs;

3. Nissan North America Inc. in Rutherford County, 1,400 jobs;

4. Calsonic Kansei North America Inc. in Bedford, Marshall and Rutherford counties, 1,200 jobs; and

5. UBS in Davidson County, 1,000 jobs.

Top five projects for capital investment:

1. Eastman Chemical Company in Sullivan County, $1.6 billion;

2. Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. in Montgomery County, $800 million;

3. International Paper Company in Shelby County, $321 million;

4. Nike Inc. in Shelby County, $276 million; and

5. Alcoa Inc. in Blount County, $275 million.

Children’s Cabinet

launches new website

for Tennessee families

Led by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and first lady Crissy Haslam, the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet announced it has officially launched a new website,, aimed at helping families across the state more easily find and navigate information and resources related to state government.

The website, described as a “one-stop shop” for families, gathers important information from across different state agencies, making it more convenient for families to find exactly what they need. It also gives individuals a platform to search for various state-related content areas, especially programs related to children’s health, education and development.

With, parents can receive recommendations for relevant articles and services that might benefit their family. In addition, the website offers families the ability to download a mobile app to search for needed services as well as a directory of all state services available.

For more information, visit

House of Representatives

undergoes annual

ethics training

The House of Representatives participated in its annual ethics training last week, with the executive director of the Tennessee Ethics Commission, Drew Rawlins, leading the training session. All 71 House Republicans were present, completing their required two hours of training per General Assembly.

The Tennessee Ethics Commission was created in a special session called by the governor in 2005 in the wake of the Tennessee Waltz scandal. House Republicans supported stringent ethics requirements in an effort to clean up corruption on Capitol Hill.

During that session, the Tennessee Ethics Commission was established to sustain the public's confidence in government by increasing the integrity and transparency of state and local government through regulation of lobbying activities, financial disclosure requirements and ethical conduct.