Legislative Update from Sen. Joey Hensley: Let’s Give Thanks

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   Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives – Legislation was approved this year establishing the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. It facilitates collaboration between state government and faith-based and community organizations working to improve public safety, reduce addiction, strengthen families and communities, and overcome poverty in the state. The office will serve as a clearinghouse for organizations to help them work together to best serve Tennesseans in need and identify any available resources that might be available to assist them. The overall purpose of the new law, Public Chapter 218, is to maximize the effectiveness of government and private efforts to serve Tennesseans in need. 

   Daylight Saving Time – Public Chapter 416 is a new law enacted through action taken during the 2019 session of the General Assembly calls for Tennessee to stay on daylight saving time once the federal government has approved it. Since time changes have been implemented in the 1960s, there have been statistically significant increases in wrecks, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as a decrease in work productivity and an increase in workplace accidents. Eighteen states have taken similar action to keep the time from changing in the fall and spring, although they disagree on whether it should be standard or daylight saving time. There is currently federal legislation, supported by President Trump, to make Daylight Saving Time year-round in the U.S.

   Converting Plastics to Petroleum-based Products – State lawmakers approved legislation this year creating statutory certainty about how new technologies, pyrolysis, and gasification can convert non-recycled plastics into valuable fuels and chemical feedstock. Public Chapter 181 clarifies that post-use recoverable plastics, which are not mechanically recycled, are recoverable feedstocks for pyrolysis and gasification and not solid waste. It also clarifies that the pyrolysis and gasification facilities that are processing these materials are not solid waste processing facilities.

   The legislation incentivizes movement of valuable materials such as non-recycled plastics out of the landfill and into valuable new products such fuels and chemical feedstocks. This would complement mechanical recycling and increase diversion of valuable materials, signaling Tennessee is open for the economic development of this new technology. Experts maintain that this could result in a $264 million annual economic output for Tennessee each year.

   As always, I am truly humbled and honored to be your voice on Capitol Hill. If there is ever any issue I can assist with, please reach out to my office by calling 615-741-2190 or emailing me at rep.david.byrd@capitol.tn.gov. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and suggestions during the second half of the 111th General Assembly.