Senators seek solution to state funding stalemate

From Staff Reports

   NASHVILLE -- State senators Monday evening will be asked to suspend the rules to allow SB 3156, which calls for a Constitutional Convention on state budget funding, to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
   Sen. Rusty Crowe supports SB 3156. "I am convinced that our Constitution does not allow a tax on income except in the case of incomes from stocks and bonds.
   "The current approach has been to force this issue upon our people. The right, honest, and legal approach is to trust in our system and allow our constituents to participate in a Constitutional Convention so that they can have the opportunity to act on this issue as our system provides," Sen. Crowe said.
   Among legislation approved by the Senate last week was:
   * SB 2018/HB 2047 to increase the maximum size of county school boards from 10 to 11 members.
   * SB 2175/HB 2779 to clarify in state law that a director of schools has the authority to transfer a teacher from one position to another.
   * SB 2275/HB2404 to specify conditions under which teachers retain the right to remain on the preferred list for re-employment.
   The right to remain on the preferred list for employment would be in effect until either the teacher refuses a bona fide offer of re-employment for a comparable position within the local education agency or, after the teacher has been on the preferred list for re-employment for two consecutive years, the director of schools notifies the teacher in writing by April 1 of the second consecutive year that the teacher's name will be removed from the list. Teachers could then stay on the list by notifying the director by April 15 of each subsequent year of their desire to stay on the list.
   * SB 2990/HB 3015 to direct the Commission on Aging to initiate an outreach program to assist elderly Tennesseans to obtain, at minimal or no cost, prescription drugs from pharmaceutical manufacturers' programs, prescribed prescription discount cards, and coverage for prescribed drugs if eligible for certain government programs, including TennCare.
   * SB 2142/HB 2354 to require that accident reports include information regarding cell phone use at the time of accident.
   * SB 2317/HB 2269 to authorize motorcycle escorts of funeral processions to use green strobe lights if the sheriff agrees.
   * SB 2181/HB 2509 to establish a range so that a fine imposed for a violation for exceeding a reduced speed limit while construction workers are present in a construction zone is not less than $250 nor more than $500. Existing law had a floor for the fine but had not properly set an upper limit for the fine.