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Legislative and Public Policy

The Council is committed to accurate and unbiased education and dissemination of information, as requested, to local, state, and national leaders.

 

For more information on the Council's legislative activities, contact Tiffany Mason, Public Policy Director, at tiffany.mason@tn.gov or 615-741-5019.


The 108th Tennessee General Assembly adjourned on April 19, 2013, the earliest legislative adjournment in two decades.  The 2013 session featured the first Republican supermajority since Reconstruction, with the GOP holding 26 of the 33 Senate seats and 70 of the 99 House seats.

 

The General Assembly passed a balance budget and adopted a wide range of significant legislation.  Governor Haslam’s $32.7 billion budget included funding for the Family Support Program in the amount of $7,383,600.  The budget also included a rate increase of $2,000,000 for health support systems providing services for people with intellectual disabilities. 

 

There were over 1300 pieces of legislation filed this past session but a few of those bills are significant to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Highlights include:

  • The Tennessee Step Up Scholarship Program that allows lottery dollars to be used for postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities
  • Requirement of the state board of education to create an Occupational Diploma for graduating high school students with disabilities
  • The inclusion of special education students in teacher evaluations and
  • “Lynn’s Law” which beefs up adult protection statutes to include willful abandonment for persons with significant disabilities

 

There were a couple of bills that met some bumps in the road at the legislature and did not pass this year but will be considered again in January.  They include:

  • The “TN Choice and Opportunity Act” which will provide school vouchers to eligible students to attend private schools
  • Legislation to repeal the motorcycle helmet law
  • Legislation to increase the fine for not wearing a seatbelt
  • Legislation to require health insurance policies to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders

 

The Tennessee General Assembly will reconvene on January 14, 2014.