10/03/2019

Greetings Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth!
The American Academy for Parks and Recreation has awarded Tennessee as one of four finalists for best parks in the nation this past week. Tennessee is home to 56 state parks, one of which is about ten minutes from our home in Lancaster.  After church tomorrow, my eldest grandson will be joining me for a hike on Merritt Ridge, one of Edgar Evins’s more challenging trails surrounded by Center Hill Lake. I cannot think of a better way to spend some quality time with the ones you love than to head to the great outdoors. In Tennessee there is a whole lot of beauty to behold. Hopefully my most favorite season of the year will show up soon, sending these 90 degrees and higher temps far behind us!

Except for Trousdale County, I have just finished my 2019 School Tour. September 17th has been recognized as Constitution Day in our schools across this state. Delivering Constitutions to 8th graders and seniors, reading to elementary students a story of Lady Freedom, sharing my story about visiting my aunt and her family who lived in East Germany (behind the Berlin Wall) and how communism and socialism is death to Freedom, and hearing from teachers and principals alike, gave me a good pulse of the schools I serve in House District 40.  Our schools are busting at the seams and the need for teachers for this growth is hard to fill.  One in three Tennessee teachers said they would choose another career if given the chance according to the recent TN Educators Survey. Three-fourths of our teachers are positive about the way their school is run and 90% say they would recommend their school to parents.  I most certainly commend these caring souls for the work they do in every classroom.

Next week the House Education Committee will be convening for summer study as the Department of Education brings us updates on assessment and early grade literacy. Higher education bills that were assigned to summer study will be reviewed as well.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it along to our children in our bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it what like in the United States where men were free.” – Ronald Reagan

More than just drivers, EMS Services are essential to patient care. What I call “Mobile Medical ER on Wheels,” these people are vital to our rural communities. Having brought all stakeholders to a meeting with the Governor, I am in hopes for a solution for House Bill 1175 going forward.  When session resumes in January, HB1175 will have another go of it. Its companion bill passed in the Senate.

As Transportation Chairwoman, I met with Commissioner Bright and TDOT concerning road projects in my district, and I have continued working on funding for expanding exits such as Exit 258 in Smith County. Trains are also vital to rural areas. Transporting items such as sand and crushed rock closer to construction areas where large trucks can then transport materials makes for fewer trucks on the road. And I am good with that!

I leave you with this fact. According to a poll of 1.5 million folks, it is said that Tennessee is the second friendliest state in the nation. Minnesota being the first? Hmmm. They went on to say Tennessee charm, hospitality, and the lively music scene were why we got such a high ranking. The land of sweet tea and grits ought to count for something, right?

Please remember to join me at any four of my Coffee Conversations in the Fabulous Fortieth on Friday Mornings at 8 A.M.

First Friday Patty’s Restaurant in Smithville
Second Friday at Early Bird Café in Hartsville
Third Friday at Smith County Chamber Building 
Fourth Friday at Mable’s in Gallatin

It is a pleasure to serve and work for you.

Blessings,
Terri Lynn Weaver
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8/27/2019

Greetings Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth!
I am in hopes that you and yours have had a grand summer and, like myself, perhaps you are welcoming more of a “routine” in your day. With Labor Day approaching us next weekend, my favorite time of the year, autumn, is just around the corner!

Now that Extraordinary Session is behind us, and Representative Cameron Sexton is our House Speaker, we have turned the page to a new chapter of leadership and are ready to get to the people’s business. The second half of the 111th General Assembly will be here before we know it.

Many of you know, since I was sent to Nashville as your Representative in 2009, every other year in September I tour the schools in the 40th district visiting classrooms, handing out Pocket Constitutions to students, reading to elementary students, and in some cases taking my guitar to Pre-K and kindergarten classes. Education is one of our state’s top five expenses. Second only to TennCare, it is important to know the heartbeat of the schools in District 40. This listening tour enables me to be a better voice for the twenty-eight schools I represent. When we resume session this January, information learned will help me make informed decisions while serving on the Full House Education Committee. My office is currently confirming the final details, and I am looking forward to visiting the fabulous teachers and students throughout Dekalb, Smith, Trousdale, and Sumner Counties.

I want to remind you that, beginning in September, Coffee Conversations resume on Friday mornings beginning at 8 a.m.

The schedule is as follows:
First Friday-Angie’s Diner Smithville, TN, 
Second Friday-Early Bird Café Hartsville, TN
Third Friday-Smith County Chamber Carthage, TN
Fourth Friday-Mabel’s Diner Gallatin, TN

This is an informal time for us to visit and discuss issues at hand over coffee. Currently, I am working on a legislative package for 2020.

I also want to mention if you need to contact me my office number is 615-741-2192. Ask for Grace, my assistant, or you may email me at rep.terri.lynn.weaver@capitol.tn.gov
Many of you have my cell phone number as well.
Please do not use Messenger on Facebook as I no longer use that app.
Have a blessed and safe Labor Day Weekend!

Blessings,
Terri Lynn Weaver

05.14.2019

Greetings Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth!
After a wonderful weekend with my family celebrating Mother’s Day, the sun is shining bright on this Monday morning. I trust your weekend was spent with the ones you love as well. As promised, I will speak to three bills each week that were passed in the first half of the 111th General Assembly.

House Bill 77, known as the Heartbeat Bill, is legislation that protects the sanctity of life. Detection of a heartbeat would prohibit abortions unless the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Think about it. What is the vital sign all medical professionals look for when treating a patient? Is it not a heartbeat? Is life and death not determined by the rhythm of the human heart? Then why would it be any different INSIDE THE WOMB? HB77 passed in the House Chamber but unfortunately succumbed to a train wreck on the Senate side. As your representative, I will continue to fight for our unborn children.   House Bill 945 enures that our students are better prepared for successful careers in the agriculture industry. The goal of the 11- person task force is to encourage and promote agriculture education opportunities. With emerging fields in agriculture and the training knowledge needed for advancement in those fields, Tennessee will now have a pathway initiative for those students! The Great Seal of the State of Tennessee, the official insignia of the U.S. State of Tennessee, encompasses agriculture and commerce. It seems only fitting to have more of our students follow in the field of agriculture and commerce.

House Bill 937 Benefits our heroic police officers and firefighters by increasing the training supplement for those who protect and serve our communities and those who are called upon to respond during fires and other emergencies after they complete 40 hours of in-service training.

House Bill 839 creates a statewide payment plan for individuals who submit proof of their inability to pay fines, taxes, or court costs on citations and have their licenses suspended. This legislation will allow them to obtain restricted driver’s licenses so they can go to work, school or attend church. It is important to note, HB839 does not dismiss individual accountability but ensures people who make mistakes have a pathway to paying their fines.   Please remember Coffee Conversations continue through the end of May resuming in September.   Do not hesitate to call on me at my office 615-741-2192. See you at the next community event!

Did you know that the average American spends 97 hours a year stuck in traffic OR 12+ vacation days.

Go to http://infrastructureweek.org/
#BuildForTomorrow   Blessings, Terri Lynn Weaver

05/07/2019

Greetings Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth!
Both the House and the Senate Chambers are now adjourned. Working from my study on Seabowisha this cloudy Monday morning has just relinquished its hold and is giving permission for a brilliant burst of sunshine of which I pray remains throughout the day. There is much needed attention to the yard of the Weaver residence! But first I want to say how grateful I am you have entrusted me to work and do the people’s business in the Tennessee House of Representatives. It was a swift first session and at times extremely stressful; nevertheless you know how much I care for the folks of the fortieth district, so I believe this first chapter of the 111th General Assembly accomplished some stellar achievements.

The $38.5 billion budget made thoughtful investments across the state government as it preserves Tennessee’s AAA bond rating, with $225 million in rainy day funding for Fiscal Year 2019-2020, bringing the state’s saving account to $1.1 billion.

Listed are some of the Budget’s Highlights.
House Bill 498, better known as The Katie Beckett Waiver Program, invests $27 million to provide life saving medical services through TennCare for Tennessee children with the most significant disabilities and the highest medical needs, regardless of their parental income levels.

In this year’s budget, Education continues to be a priority with a $11.3 billion total investment including:
     – $6.5 billion directly for K-12 in our public schools
     – $71 million of this goes to teacher’s salary (a 2.5 percent increase)
     – Approximately $46 million will fully fund the BEP 
     – $40 million invested in additional safety measures and school resource officers

The budget also targets healthcare, opioids, job growth and economic development while supporting our veterans and elderly citizens. House Bill 419, the “Tennessee Right to Shop Act”, will help us continue to work on our broken healthcare system focusing on a patient centered healthcare system that puts the patient in the driver’s seat and lowering COSTS.

One of my favorite tax cuts of this year is House Bill 1262. Reducing taxes for hardworking Tennesseans and their families, the professional privilege tax on accountants, architects, athletes’ agents, audiologists, chiropractors, dentists, engineers, landscape architects, optometrists, pharmacists, podiatrists, psychologists, real estate brokers, speech pathologists, and veterinarians was removed. A $22 million REDUCTION! That puts more money back in the people’s pocket.

Folks, Tennessee is now viewed as a destination state. We are the 2nd lowest taxed state in the country with NO income tax and we are a Right to Work State, having created more than 400,000 jobs since 2011. Is it any wonder people want to raise their families, work, and enjoy the beautiful landscape in our amazing state? We surely are experiencing growth. It matters who governs!

Next week I will specify further legislation and tax cuts.

Please attend any of the Coffee Conversations for the month of May. We will pause for June, July, and August resuming our schedule in September. It appears to be a busy summer; however, I do look forward to seeing you in the district!
 
First Friday Angie’s Diner in Smithville
Second Friday at Early Bird Café in Hartsville
Third Friday at Smith County Chamber Building in 
Fourth Friday at Sumner Regional Hospital in Gallatin @7:30a.m.

It is a pleasure to serve and work for you.

Blessings,
Terri Lynn Weaver

4/15/2019

Greetings Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth!
It’s a rainy Friday morning as I make my way to The Early Bird Café for Coffee and Conversations. What is normally an hour drive from Seabowisha Lane to Hartsville took me an extra 15 minutes today. Only when you’re running short on time with no opportunity to pass does the drive time become longer because you are one of many stuck behind, not one, but two, slow moving trucks, on Highway 25.  Remembering an old song I shared with my son years ago and now share with my grandchildren comes to mind:  “have patience, have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry.” Deciding to think on “whatsoever things are good” I began to appreciate the deep, lush red and pink in the redbud trees, the vibrant shades of green all across the open fields and on the hillsides. Spring has created a canvas of fresh new colors, as the browns and greys relinquish their winter palate. Something I would have never noticed had I not slowed down enough to observe it on my drive to Trousdale County. With breakfast having not been served to the school superintendent, county mayor, or local paper reporter when I arrived, I guess you could say I got my one egg and sausage patty ordered just in time plus great conversations at the table.

As you know, House Bill 164 is scheduled for a House floor vote on April 17th. This bill prohibits handheld devices while driving. Tennessee has the highest rate of distracted driving fatalities in the nation at nearly five times the national average. 91% of Tennesseans approve of distraction-free driving legislation. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security research from 2008 through 2018, there are 53 crashes per day, 373 crashes per week, 1,624 crashes per month, and 19,487 crashes per year!  Indeed, distracted drivers are everyone’s problem. Distracted Free Tennessee! 

House Bill 949 now awaits the Governor’s signature. Known as the GIVE Act, this legislation expands access to vocational and technical training for Tennessee students. It passed on the House Floor 92-0. With work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities, our communities will now have funding and flexibility to build programs that best reflect local needs and work directly with private industry. This is a tremendous opportunity for students who do not necessarily want four years of college, but instead want to graduate with a trade to prepare them for jobs right out of high school.

House Bill 1280 calls the Governor, along with the Commissioner of Finance and Administration, to submit a waiver to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to immediately provide assistance to the state’s TennCare population by way of block grants. Designed to transform healthcare through Consumerism, increasing Access, improving Rural health systems, and Empowering patients to ensure that individuals and families can make all medical decisions instead of insurance companies or the government. The General Assembly will also partner with the Governor during the negotiation process and will have oversight on the implementation of federal funding allocated to TennCare. The people of Tennessee have become leaders in various camps of innovation, whether job creation or improving education, and now this legislation will enable us to once again lead on a critical local and national issue without federal mandates on how we do healthcare in Tennessee.

As we approach the end of this month, with a May 2nd closing of the first half of the 111th General Assembly, be sure to keep up with the bill debates and discussions found on the Tennessee General Assembly website via live streaming. Also, due to April 19th being Good Friday, there will not be a Coffee Conversations in Smith County. 
 
Blessings,
Terri Lynn Weaver
 

04/08/2019

Greetings Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth!
Angie’s Diner in Smithville has been home to my first Friday Coffee Conversations for quite some time now. Generally it is a consistent group of engaged citizens who already have the tables pulled together, breakfast ordered, and a place for me to sit amongst them.  Our waitress, Meagan, gets me a cup of coffee while I chat briefly to others having their breakfast before stopping by the round “TRUTH” table, which is always a treat for me. This is where you get the true tenor of the town news and you get the true, NOT politically correct opinions of farmers, retired veterans, pastors, and engaged citizens from all walks of life. Being where YOU are, in the communities across House District 40, like Angie’s Diner, enables me to remain strong and stay the course for the principles that you have entrusted me to represent. If you have not attended Coffee Conversations please check out my schedule at the end of this Loop for the locations and times.

This week, House Bill 947 passed, protecting our schools and providing additional safety resources by investing $30M for school safety grants. Our schools must be equipped with the measures to keep our children and teachers safe, and I believe we are moving in the right direction to provide the necessary tools.

House Bill 946 increases transparency by requiring local education agencies (LEAs) to report to the Department of Education how funds from the state are used each year regarding salaries and wages. Some of our teachers are not being given their salary increases that we voted in previous years for them to receive. This bill will allow us to monitor where this money is actually being spent and encourage LEAs to invest in our teachers who work hard for our community and children.

House Bill 923 makes significant progress on improving our infrastructure in a fiscally responsible way.
Designed to improve efficiency and provide substantial cost savings within certain infrastructure projects, this bill will remove those inconveniences experienced by Tennessee motorists as construction projects are completed, improving safety while also saving taxpayer dollars!

House Bill 1245 is a bill that I absolutely love! First, it urges the Attorney General to call on the Federal Communications Commission to create new rules that will allow carriers to block more of these illegal and annoying robocalls. This legislation also raises the penalty of misleading a phone subscriber from $10,000 to $30,000 per violation against a person or entity that makes an unwanted robocall. Lastly, it encourages carriers offering telephone services in the state to implement SHAKEN/STIRRED technology to help detect robocalls. We must take strong measures to get a handle on this breach of privacy. It is a federal issue; however, Tennessee will remain the squeaky wheel that gets the grease to curb this growing problem!

Please remember to join me at any four of my Coffee Conversations in the Fabulous Fortieth on Friday Mornings at 8 A.M.

First Friday Angie’s Diner in Smithville
Second Friday at Early Bird Café in Hartsville
Third Friday at Smith County Chamber Building in 
Fourth Friday at Sumner Regional Hospital in Gallatin @7:30a.m.

It is a pleasure to serve and work for you.

Blessings,
Terri Lynn Weaver

04/01/2019

Greetings Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth!

Closing in on the third month of 2019, time is most certainly zooming by. This past Wednesday, Transportation Safety and Funding Subcommittee closed per call of the chair. With our calendar complete, Blue Bell Ice Cream was served to thank committee and staff members for a job well done. House Bill 531 will guarantee our rural counties will have resources needed to keep up with infrastructure demands. House Bill 164 expands the offense of holding a cellphone while driving from only in a school zone to statewide implementation. We must change Tennessee’s ranking as first in the nation in distracted driving deaths. Transportation Full Committee will have its last meeting on April 2, while many other sub and full committees will also be hearing their final calendars this week.

For Fiscal Year 2019-2020, a total investment of $11.3 billion will be allotted for education. Additionally, $6.5 billion will directly benefit K-12 in our public schools. Our K-12 investment allocates $71 million in teacher’s salaries, $46 million to fully fund the BEP and another $40 million to help secure our schools to provide resource officers and other safety measures.

Focused on education, Tennessee continues to be committed to Tennessee’s future leaders, our children. On Wednesday House Bill 939, also known as Education Savings Account, was discussed for nearly three hours as members of the Full Education Committee asked questions, shared different points of view and made comments of concern in order to address how to better serve those students who reside in areas with three or more low performing schools. House Bill 939, as amended, serves a small, limited group of students who need help. We are not talking about a mass exodus of children leaving the system. Though this legislation doesn’t have all the answers, choice works for some, thus I believe it deserves a start towards a solution to serve those kids. The bill specifically addresses how many students can participate, starting with 5000 students the first year and capping out at 15,000 students for the fifth school year of operation. Tennessee has more than one million public school students statewide. In order for ESAs to expand outside the narrow restrictions of this legislation, another bill would have to change it, amend it, or end it. 

As I commented in the committee, this legislation deserves more discussion and debate worthy of all 99 House members before passage. Yes, I still have concerns and currently am seeking to get those answers should this bill move to Sub and Full Finance, Ways, and Means Committee after Government Operations Committee next week before coming to the House Floor. The General Assembly is also working on more legislation to better our education, such as House Bill 949 that expands vocational and technical training opportunities for students and House Bill 952 that increases CTE courses offering fabulous job training for 21st century careers right after graduating High School! These are all part of a vision to help Tennessee out of the bottom half of education nationally; however, Tennessee was the fastest improving in math, reading and science last year, with the best high school graduation rates EVER —– 89.1%. Tennessee’s future looks bright indeed!

In House District 40 there are no failing schools. In fact, Dekalb, Smith, Trousdale, and Sumner Counties all have schools that have been recipients of the prestigious label of a Reward School due to significant growth in student outcomes. Teachers in District 40 are passionate, driven, and way overdue for the designated teacher pay increase in this year’s budget. Thank you, Governor Lee! I have faith in my public schools and House Bill 939 will bring no harm to the hub of our communities. Instead of federal control, we will strengthen our public schools with less regulations and restrictions by giving our teachers the freedom to do what they do best, TEACH.

.A very interesting fact worth noting is since 1956, according to the Legislative Library Tennessee Budget Book, $208 billion dollars has been invested in our education!  

Tennessee’s unemployment rate hits another record low from 3.6% to 3.2%. We are truly a blessed state, and I will continue to commit to legislation that will ensure that Tennessee is the best state to live, work, and raise a family.

Blessings,
Terri Lynn Weaver