Senate approves National Guard tuition bill

From Staff Reports

   NASHVILLE -- The state Senate unanimously approved this week a bill which would enact the Tennessee National Guard Tuition Assistance Act. The measure is designed as an aid in recruiting and retention and has been sought for several years, according to a press release from the Senate Republican Caucus.
   Senator Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, as chairman of the Senate Calendar Committee, scheduled the bill for Thursday, March 11, noting: "That was the earliest session date at which the full Senate could hear the bill," the release states.
   Thursday also coincided with National Guard Commanders' Day on the Hill.
   Previous tuition assistance measures in 2001 and 2002 came close to passage, drawing bipartisan support, but subsequently fell prey to a lack of state funding, or the funding was later cut from the budget in final adjustments to the appropriations act, according to the release.
   "This year, we really would like to see this become a reality," Crowe said.
   The House Budget Subcommittee recommended the House companion bill for passage Wednesday and referred it on to its parent House Finance, Ways and Means Committee where it is set for a hearing on Tuesday, March 16.