Friday, March 27, 2015

Crockett for 3-27-15

Crockett for 3-27-15

Ramsey says he won’t interfere with second life of Insure Tennessee

Tennessee House Agrees To Hand Teachers Slight Relief From Testing Pressure

Minimum wage, equal pay bills fail in House subcommittee

A group of Democratic sponsored bills, including two to raise the state’s minimum wage and another to allow female employees recourse to sue over pay discrimination, failed in a Tennessee House subcommittee Wednesday.
Votes on each piece of legislation were divided on party lines.
The House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee voted 4-2 against a minimum wage increase proposed by Rep. G.A. Hardaway, a Memphis Democrat. Hardaway’s bill ( HB 0579) called to set Tennessee’s minimum wage at $8.15 per hour beginning July 1 and then increase each year to an hourly rate of $10.10 beginning July 2017.
A second minimum wage bill, sponsored by Rep. Johnnie Turner (D-Memphis), called for a more immediate hike to the state’s minimum wage come July. Turner’s bill, which also failed by a 4-2 vote along partisan lines, called of the state labor department to enforce a minimum hourly wage that “shall not be less than $10.10 per hour” starting this July. Turner’s bill called for the minimum wage to be pegged to any rise in inflation.
Rep. Susan Lynn, a Mt. Juliet Republican, voted against both minimum wage proposals.
“What I would love to see is [if] Tennessee could be a state that suspends the minimum wage, and see what happens,” Lynn said.
Tennessee is one of a few states without a statewide minimum wage law. LINK

Ramsey says he won’t interfere with second life of Insure Tennessee

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says he still has the same concerns about a plan to expand health coverage to low-income Tennesseans, but adds he won’t meddle with a Democrat bill fighting its way through the Senate.
The measure, which mirrors the governor’s Insure Tennessee plan, won approval by the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday in a 6-2 vote and is now set for a Senate Commerce Committee hearing next week. In a special session held earlier this year, lawmakers in a specially assigned Senate Health Committee rejected Insure Tennessee on a 7-4 vote.
“Nine members of Commerce Committee, I can honestly say I have not influenced them one way or another, nor did I [do so] in special session,” Ramsey told reporters Thursday. “Members need to vote their conscience based upon the facts that they hear and we’ll see what happens in Commerce. I couldn’t predict right now.”
SJR93, sponsored by freshman Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, picks up where the governor left off on his plan to expand health care coverage to an estimated 280,000 people through the Affordable Care Act by reaping $2.8 billion from the federal government.  LINK

Nashville attorney John Jay Hooker supports right to die legislation

The Tennessee legislature makes decisions on everything from motorcycle helmets to Common Core. But lawmakers will soon face one of the heaviest subjects of them all: the right to die. And the man carrying the torch has been a familiar crusader for decades.

John Jay Hooker has been involved in Tennessee politics for nearly 50 years. The prominent Nashville attorney has worked alongside Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. He's championed civil rights and the importance of voting. But at the age of 84, Hooker has inherited a new project. He is living to die.

"To be quite frank, the prognosis is not good," Hooker said.

In January, Hooker was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. Doctors gave him six months to live.

Many people in his position might crumble and hide within themselves. But not Hooker.

"I do not want to be a prisoner of pain in my own bed," he said. "And I determined I'm going to find a way not to do that."

Hooker is pushing a proposal that would allow terminally ill patients to make decisions about their end-of-life care.

House minority leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, is behind the bill. Some call it the right to die or assisted suicide. Hooker calls it 'death with dignity.'

"I believe the right to die with dignity is the ultimate civil right," Hooker said.

Hooker said he also intends to file a lawsuit against the state. He claims a statue concerning assisted suicide infringes on people's rights.

Gov. Bill Haslam, Attorney General Herbert Slatery, and Davidson County District Attorney General Glenn Funk will be listed as defendants. Hooker and two doctors, Barton Campbell and Robert Ballard, are listed as plaintiffs. Hooker said he's unsure about how the governor will react. Link

TN hospitals get $53M in extra fed Medicaid funds under budget bill

Tennessee hospitals would share an additional $53 million a year in federal Medicaid funds under a special provision of a major health care bill that passed the House on Thursday,reports The Tennessean.
If the measure becomes law, Tennessee will no longer be the only state in the nation ineligible for the extra funding intended to help reimburse hospitals for providing care to people that aren’t able to pay.
The Tennessee-specific provision was endorsed by the Tennessee Hospital Association and the entire Tennessee congressional delegation.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that adding Tennessee to the formula — known as disproportionate share or DSH — would cost about $500 million over 10 years. The formula also requires $27 million in matching funds from the state of Tennessee, for a total of $80 million a year for the state’s hospitals. LINK

Haslam: At least Insure TN is getting ‘more airtime’

Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that he is willing to risk a second defeat of his Insure Tennessee proposal to highlight the need for improving health standards in the state.
The Republican governor told reporters after a prayer breakfast at Lipscomb University that the more often lawmakers take up his plan, the more chances his administration has to quell concerns about the proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans by drawing down $2.8 billion in federal Medicaid funds.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all for it to be discussed every chance that it gets to be discussed,” Haslam said. “Obviously we’re hoping it passes, but if it doesn’t pass, there’s still that much more airtime for the issue and for people to understand it.”
Haslam’s original proposal failed in a special legislative session last month, but has been revived by a Democratic lawmaker in the Senate.  LINK

Tennessee House Agrees To Hand Teachers Slight Relief From Testing Pressure

Teachers in Tennessee are on track to get some temporary relief from the pressure of testing.
The state House of Representatives has approved a plan put together by Gov. Bill Haslam to change the weighting of test scores for two years. The governor says the break is needed while the state replaces the TCAP with a new standardized test.
The plan, House Bill 108, temporarily rewrites Tennessee's teacher-evaluation formula.
Teachers are usually measured using a three-year rolling average. For the first year, the bill would place more weight on old scores. In the second, newer scores would become more important. And in the third, the formula would go back to normal. LINK

Crockett Policy Institute

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