Greetings Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth!

After a week of frigid temperatures, then comes Sunday! Daylight Savings Time robbed our extra hour of sleep but hopefully you got outside to enjoy some sunshine. What a beautiful day! 
Governor Lee’s State of the State Address was a home run. His proposed budget includes:
Not taking on new debt, cutting $40M in costs and a record breaking deposit of $1.1B into the Rainy Day Fund. Living within your means, cutting costs and putting money in the cookie jar for savings! Sounds like the definition of conservative to me!

Priorities to continue improvements in education, overhauling our criminal justice system and improving access and the quality of healthcare while lowering overall costs to Tennesseans were key topics the Governor addressed to a packed House Chamber on Monday night. One of my favorite quotes from the Governor’s address was, “If we lead Tennessee well, Tennessee may well lead the nation.” Please follow the links below to view the Governor’s budget.  

Last Monday morning the Senate and House Transportation Committee took a field trip to learn about the daily operations of The Nashville International Airport. This Airport Authority is indeed its own city. All revenues generated within its parameters fund the budget that sustains its business, keeping the vision for growth going forward. We have become quite the southeast hub with 565 Daily Flights, 43,825 passengers per day and 43 gates, Music City has 206,303 take offs and landings per year! Check out @Fly_Nashville for information you can follow such as the new parking garage construction, hotel, new terminal and additional gates for more airplanes!

While being visited by the Appalachian Arts Center in District 40 this past week, I am reminded how fortunate we are in Tennessee to have an additional source of funding from our specialty and personalized license plates. More than 70% of the money used to fund the 800 grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission last year was from the sales of these specialty license plates. When other states “ax the arts,” our great state funds and encourages more organizations to sell more plates so the arts can thrive in Tennessee.  

On Tuesday evening I was invited to take part in an education symposium with four of my colleagues. We were asked questions by a room full of professional female teachers from all across the state. In this year’s budget, one of the Governor’s education initiatives included a $71M investment for pay raises for Tennessee teachers.

House Bill 1275, a bill that would allow high risk students with severe mental disorders to attend an out of state residential facility for treatment with allocated LEA funds, was discussed at length in Full Committee. Apparently, we need such a facility here in our great state to treat the growing number of children affected with mental health disorders.

House Bill 947 establishes school safety grants to ensure that all Tennessee schools have the school resource officers and ballistic tools needed to have our children learn in safe environments.  

Tennessee Education Lottery first began giving funds to Tennessee students in 2004. Those lottery-funded programs have grown to include 15 different scholarships and grants which include the HOPE Scholarships, grants to technical schools, dual enrollment grants and the Drive to 55 initiatives. 
Total education funding since inception: More than $4.8Billion
Total lottery funded scholarships and grants awarded since inception: More than 1.3 Million

During Thursday’s House Session, house members strongly approved the Heartbeat Bill. I believe life begins at conception. Science continues to prove that inside the womb indeed that is a baby, not a mass of tissue, but a little person with its own DNA that has a constitutional right to life, liberty and the opportunity to pursue happiness. Tennessee continues to march forward as a state known to protect the unborn. I am so honored to be in this fight for life, for the voiceless, the unborn child.

Israel has long been and remains America’s most reliable partner in the Middle East. Tennessee has led the nation in support for Israel and we were the first state to pass legislation that strongly disagrees with the anti-Semitism many nations have expressed by boycotting Israel and its economic contributions worldwide. SJR58 was celebrated on Thursday with the Consul General of Israel Judith Shorer, Governor Bill Lee, Ricky Skaggs, Senator Mark Pody and I as the bill sponsors of this steadfast support of the Nation of Israel. Indeed the city of Jerusalem and the city of Nashville are becoming the sister cities they are destinedto be.  

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

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