Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd February 19, 2020

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   General Assembly Honors Bradley County Veteran John Simmons

   Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives this week approved a measure honoring Bradley County veteran John Simmons for his extraordinary contributions to Tennessee’s veterans and our nation.

   House Bill 1652 passed unanimously in the House chamber Monday evening. It designates the entry driveway at the new Bradley County Tennessee State Veterans Home as the John Simmons Parkway in honor of Mr. Simmons.

   A 100 percent service-connected veteran, Simmons proudly served our nation in the U.S. Navy and became a corpsman. He was called to duty during the Vietnam War and was also active in various organizations across southeast Tennessee, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

   Simmons also served on the State Veterans Home Board and was at the forefront of the process to secure land for the new Bradley County State Veterans home. He also obtained an anonymous donation of $3 million to help the project continue to move forward.

   Upon completion, the Bradley County State Veterans Home is expected to serve upwards of 50,000 veterans who reside in the region.

   House Republicans are proud to recognize our brave servicemen and women for their remarkable contributions to our state and nation. We proudly support them and our veterans and their families who have given so much for our many freedoms.

   Republican Lawmakers Support Resolution Affirming Tennessee’s Sovereignty

   Members of the House Departments & Agencies Subcommittee on Tuesday approved a resolution affirming Tennessee’s Sovereignty. House Joint Resolution 741 reaffirms the General Assembly’s authority as a separate and independent branch of state government.

   The resolution comes on the heels of an announcement in December declaring Tennessee would opt into President Trump’s Executive Order allowing the resettlement of additional refugees in our state, despite concerns over program costs and safety. House Joint Resolution 741 is expected to be heard by the House State Committee on Feb. 18, 2020.

   House Members Approve Measure Declaring Tennessee the “Volunteer State”

   This week, House Members also approved a measure officially designating the state of Tennessee as the “Volunteer State.” 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 — until now.

   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. At the time, Tennessee was asked to send 1,500 troops to defend the lower Mississippi region as part of this conflict. Instead, the “Volunteer State” answered the call by sending 30,000 troops. House Bill 1562 now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature. 

   Tennessee Launches Initiative to Increase Apprenticeships

   Recently, the state of Tennessee launched a comprehensive program to raise awareness about the benefits of registered apprenticeships. ApprenticeshipTN is designed to increase the number of skilled employees that comprise our state’s workforce.

   Under the program, apprentices participate in supervised on-the-job training, as well as job-related education. Additionally, they are compensated, and their wages continue to increase as they move further into the program. As part of ApprenticeshipTN, the Department of Labor & Workforce Development has established an apprenticeship organization to work directly with employers, institutions of higher learning, community partners and trade organizations, as well as additional state agencies across all three Grand Divisions in order to develop and implement new registered apprenticeship programs.

   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.