Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd September 22, 2021

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   Surplus Radios / First Responders / Distressed Counties – Public Chapter 527 allows for the transfer of surplus two-way radios, held by the Department of Safety, to distressed counties in Tennessee. 

   Railroad Safety / First Responders –Public Chapter 178 requires the Department of Transportation to provide an annual report that identifies areas critically impacted by blocked highway-rail grade crossings. This legislation hopes to provide vital information on threats to the ability of commercial transporters and first responders to navigate their localities. 

   Preserving Ambulance Services – Public Chapter 122 continues the Ambulance Service Provider Assessment Act, a law first passed in 2017, allowing the state to receive additional Medicaid funds to be redistributed to the local private and public ambulance services for transporting patients covered by the TennCare program. The $10.6 million investment is expected to bring in approximately $20.8 million in federal funds for ambulance services. 

   Ambulance Services as an Essential Service – Public Chapter 212 designates ambulance services as an essential service in Tennessee, like already provided to police and fire services. The legislation codifies the existing relationship between counties and municipalities in regards to their abilities to provide this service with approval of their governing bodies. 

   TANF –Public Chapter 515 strengthens the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program by deploying TANF reserve dollars into new programs to help low-income Tennessee families get back on their feet. The transformational bill offers a pathway to self-sufficiency for TANF recipients, while strengthening protections against fraud, waste and abuse. It also provides for an investment in community partnerships through both the TANF reserve fund and plans for recurring dollars that will benefit many families in Tennessee.

   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.