Haile In Print: Volume 1, Issue 9


In This Issue:
Appropriations SubCommittee Convenes
New Zoning Protocols Promote Free Market
Fantasy Football Will See Regulation
On The Record: The Hermitage

Appropriations SubCommittee Convenes
The Appropriations SubCommittee convened this week and began its long process of evaluating the hundreds of budget amendments submitted this year.

After Governor Bill Haslam released this year’s budget, senators and representatives began drafting amendments that would appropriate both recurring and non-recurring funds to various programs.

Some of these appropriations increase funding to state and local projects, facilities, or programs, like Senator Bill Ketron’s amendment 106, which would increase funding to Tennessee’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program.

Other amendments, like Senator Haile’s amendment 59 provide for upkeep of the state’s records by delivering funding that would allow our records department to move more concretely into the digital age and speed up records management.

Senator Haile is also sponsoring an amendment that would provide $18 million in reoccurring funds to support LEAs as student growth changes their individual needs.

The Appropriations SubCommittee, helmed by Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, will continue to meet until all of the appropriations are presented. They will then be sent to the full Finance, Ways and Means Committee with either a positive or negative recommendation.

In the end, appropriations reach the Floor in the form of detailed amendments to SB 2653 which, after deliberation, will be voted on for confirmation like any other bill and will go on to distribute benefits across the state.


New Zoning Protocols Promote Free Market
Senator Haile’s SB 1636 passed on the Senate Floor on Monday, bringing forward zoning laws that would enable free market possibilities in Tennessee.

This bill clarifies the prohibition of mandated zoning that already exists within the Tennessee Code by lifting current regulations that require zoning allocation for certain projects and instead allows for contractors, builders, and developers to take on incentive based programs.

An amendment placed on the bill by the Senate State and Local Government Committee clarifies that this will not affect areas that have already been zoned or purchased for a specific zoning purpose.

While there has been concern that lifting these requirements will lead to less production of affordable housing across the state, the bill actually opens more opportunities for incentive based building of these and other types of housing than were available before.

Removing these regulations is the best way to allow the market to work, which is the reasoning behind this legislation. Tennessee cities have seen tremendous growth in the last few years and opening the market to free zoning practices will enable the growth to continue in an open and balanced way.

The complementary House Bill by Representative Glen Casada will be up for consideration on the House Floor next week.


Fantasy Football Will See Regulation
Across the nation, the budding industry of Fantasy Football continues to grow, and now it has the attention of Tennessee lawmakers.

Senator Jack Johnson’s SB 2109 passed on the Senate floor on Monday and is still awaiting determination in the House.

The bill addresses several issues surrounding Fantasy Football in Tennessee. It reconciles the nature of the game with Tennessee’s rigid anti-gambling laws by defining the action of participating in the game. This will allow leagues and companies to continue operating their Fantasy Football organizations.

The bill does, however, regulate how the games are managed throughout the state through guidelines developed with the Attorney General’s office and other legal counsel.

SB2109 does not change the way an estimated one million players across the state will play the game, but it will change how it is regulated so that consumers can be protected and the state can ensure that operations are not acting as fronts for sports betting. It further sets an age minimum of 18 for players.

It is the hope of the sponsor and the companies that this requested state oversight legislation will make Tennessee a better place for players to compete and allow this budding industry to present itself as the business that it is.


On The Record: The Hermitage
The 18th district has some of the most beautiful and interesting places to see and explore in Tennessee, though I have been told I might be biased in this opinion.  One of my favorite sites is The Hermitage, the historic home of the People’s President, Andrew Jackson.

This has always been one of my favorite places to visit, and I am not alone in that feeling. The Hermitage counts more than 180,000 annual visitors, and it ranks in the top 5 percent of favorite wedding venues across the state. If you have ever taken the time to explore the grounds and buildings, you will certainly understand.

However, as every farmer knows, 1,120 acres requires a lot of care. This is why I am the sponsor of Senate Budget Amendment 33, which will appropriate $1,244,000 in non-recurring funds to support restoration and maintenance of the grounds and buildings at The Hermitage.

In recent years, the site has opened more education programs on the grounds, including a history of slavery educational program and an exploration into the military career of Andrew Jackson, and they have undertaken maintenance to keep the site visitor-ready year after year.

As a historic site, however, they rely on donations and government funding, and I believe that this money will help them keep The Hermitage a beautiful and fascinating place for children and adults. If we don’t take care of our historic sites, I’m afraid we will see more and more of them disappear around us. It is my intention to keep this unique feature alive and well in the 18th district.