Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd June 10, 2020

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   Tennessee Business Relief Program

   Members of the Stimulus Accountability Group joined with Gov. Lee at Arnold’s Country Kitchen in Nashville on Tuesday to announce a program designed to support all small businesses adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

   The Tennessee Business Relief Program will direct approximately $200 million in federal Coronavirus Relief (CARES Act) Funds through the Department of Revenue directly to small family, rural, minority-owned and other businesses that were unable to obtain funding through the federal Paycheck Protection Program and who qualify for this much-needed relief.

   Amounts awarded will be based on businesses’ annual gross sales. Approximately 28,000 Tennessee businesses are expected to qualify, with more than 73 percent earning annual gross sales of $500,000 or less.

   The following types of small businesses are eligible under the Tennessee Business Relief Program: barber shops; beauty shops; nail salons; tattoo parlors; spas; and other personal care services; gyms and fitness centers; restaurants; bars; hotels and other travel accommodations; theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers, and similar facilities; museums, zoos, and other similar attractions; amusement parks; bowling centers and arcades; marinas; amusement, sports, and recreational industries; promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events; agents and managers of artists, athletes, and entertainers; independent artists, writers, and performers.

   In addition, the following small businesses are eligible if their sales were reduced by at least 25 percent, as shown on their April sales tax returns (filed in May): furniture stores; home furnishing stores; clothing stores; shoe stores; jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores; sporting goods, hobby, and musical instrument stores; book stores; department stores; office supply, stationery and gift stores; used merchandise stores; other miscellaneous stores.

   Our small businesses are the backbone of our local and statewide economies, and we are committed to fighting for them as they continue to rally and recover in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

   House Pass Legislation Supporting Veterans as They Obtain Occupations

   This week, legislators renewed their commitment to the brave men and women who have so proudly served our state and nation through House Bill 1946. This legislation was approved Wednesday in the House by a 94-0 vote tally. It enables our military veterans to receive credit for training and course work completed during their service time to be used towards an occupational license.

   House legislators are proud to support those who have made extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our state so they successfully transition to civilian life. We appreciate and we are forever indebted to them and to their families.

   House Unanimously Approves Teacher Discipline Act

   The Tennessee House of Representatives this week also approved legislation that establishes a process for a continuously disruptive student to be removed from their classroom. Known as the Teacher Discipline Act, House Bill 2134 passed by a 91-0 vote Wednesday. The legislation has more than 70 cosponsors and will enable Tennessee teachers to spend more time with students who desire to learn.

   Under House Bill 2134, each Local Education Agency (LEA) would create a process that would allow for a teacher to remove a student who causes repeated disruptions in the classroom and send that student to the principal’s office for disciplinary action — including the possibility of permanent removal. Once the disruptive student is disciplined, principals would use their discretion to send them back into the classroom. However, educators would also be allowed to file an appeal with the director of schools if they disagree with that decision. 

   The legislation also paves the way for directors to work with school officials to help address issues that are impacting a disruptive student’s ability to learn, so they become a productive member of society.

   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.

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