Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd February 5, 2020

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   Legislation Declaring Tennessee The “Volunteer State” Moves Forward

   Legislation officially designating the state of Tennessee as the “Volunteer State” is moving forward in the Tennessee General Assembly. House Bill 1562 designates the “Volunteer State” as the official nickname of Tennessee. While Tennessee has held this distinction since 1812, it is not currently documented in state law.

   The state of Tennessee has been referred to as the “Volunteer State” because of its tradition of answering the call of duty, especially during the War of 1812. When Tennessee was asked to send 1,500 troops to defend the lower Mississippi region during this conflict, the “Volunteer State” answered the call with 30,000 troops instead.

   House Bill 1562 now heads to the House Calendar & Rules Committee, where it will be scheduled for a future vote in the House. 

   Republican Lawmakers Introduce Legislation On Refugee Resettlement

   Republican lawmakers filed a series of initiatives to address the ongoing refugee resettlement issue in Tennessee. House Joint Resolution 741, House Bill 1578, and House Bill 1929 are designed to better examine questions about resettlement costs and other related matters, including safety. 

   The initiatives were filed after Tennessee opted into an Executive Order by President Donald Trump last December, which gave states the authority to decide whether they would continue to resettle additional refugees under the program.

   Tennessee in 2017 became one of the first states in the nation to sue the federal government over refugee resettlement citing a violation of the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which reserves states’ rights. The legal matter may require additional action in the months ahead.

   Unemployment Below Five Percent In Nearly Every Tennessee County

   Newly released data from the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development showed the vast majority of counties in the state had unemployment rates below five percent during December 2019.

   Williamson County continued to have Tennessee’s lowest unemployment rates at 2.2 percent, which remained unchanged from November. Davidson, Rutherford, and Cheatham counties each had a rate of 2.3 percent in December. Seasonally adjusted unemployment statewide held steady in December with the latest rate of 3.3 percent remaining unchanged.

   In District 71, Lewis County had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.2 percent followed by Lawrence at 3.7 percent, Hardin at 4.3 percent, and Wayne County at 4.9 percent.

   Nationally, unemployment held steady at 3.5 percent for the final month of 2019. Thanks to conservative leadership, the Volunteer State remains the best place in the entire nation to live, work, raise a family, and retire.

   Business Expansions Continue Across State

   Recently, numerous major business expansions have been announced by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and House Republicans. Over the last month, several companies have decided to expand their operations.

   Some of the most prominent announced expansions include:

   Accenture — Nashville, Tennessee. The leading global strategy, consulting, digital technology and operations company is adding 165 technology jobs at the former Madison Mill site.

   Adient — Lexington, Tennessee. The automotive supplier will invest $23.5 million to expand its manufacturing facility, creating 330 new jobs.

   AllianceBernstein — Nashville, Tennessee. The asset management firm will invest $11.4 million to create 200 new jobs at its global headquarters.

   Amazon — Memphis, Tennessee. Amazon’s new $200 million Memphis fulfillment center will add 1,000 new jobs in Memphis and Shelby County.

   Gorman Woodyard LLC — McEwen, Tennessee. The wood chipping company is expanding to create 46 new jobs in Humphreys County over the next five years through a $1.5 million investment.

   Minth Group — Lewisburg, Tennessee. The automotive supplier will create 254 new jobs and invest $87 million in Marshall County over the next five years.

   Sanford – Shelbyville, Tennessee. The maker of mechanical pencils and parts will add 115 new jobs with an $11 million expansion in Bedford County. 

   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.