March 8, 2018 | Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry
March 8, 2018
Tennessee Chamber Work Based Learning Initiative set for House Committee Hearing Next Week

In an effort to enhance Tennessee’s workforce, the Tennessee Chamber has worked with Rep. John Forgety (R-Athens) and Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) to introduce HB 1599 / SB 1649 which establish tax credits ($500 to employers for each student) and liability protection for employers that offer workbased learning opportunities for students in partnership with a local K-12 school systems or TBR institution. The legislation originated from Chamber member survey results that identified ways to enhance workbased learning in the volunteer state. We encourage you to contact your legislators and ask them to support this legislation that will be heard in the House Education Instruction & Programs Subcommittee on Wednesday next week 3/14/2018.  

Tennessee Business / Corporate Taxes and Industrial Recruitment: Impacts from Federal Tax Reform
Following the enactment of federal tax reform the Tennessee Chamber’s tax committee is taking a serious look at the impact on corporate income taxes paid by Tennessee businesses. For both revenue collections and company tax liability there are many unknows but one thing is becoming certain, if states do not make adjustments businesses will pay more and state tax collections will increase dues to changes in the federal tax base that Tennessee uses to calculate excise taxes. In addition, for economic development grants, federal reforms included that these could be taxable if not included in state “master development plans” which Tennessee does not have. Already a number of our surrounding states that we compete with are working to enact changes to mitigate any negative impacts on business. 

In an effort to prepare for this issue the Tennessee Chamber has worked with Senator John Stevens (R-Huntington) and Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) to file SB 2119 / HB 2310 as a placeholder to address this issue for the business community. In the coming weeks, we will be asking the business community, local chambers of commerce and economic development professionals to talk to their legislators about this important issue. If you or your company tax professionals are interested in this issue please email us and stay tuned. 
Tennessee General Assembly: Weekly Calendars
Senate’s weekly calendar click  HERE .
House of Representative’s weekly committee calendar click  HERE
House of Representative’s weekly subcommittee calendar click HERE
Additional Meetings
Monday , March 12, 2018
House Finance Ways & Means will hold budget hearings on 9:00am to 1:00pm
Senate Commerce & Labor will have an additional meeting at 11:00am.   Agenda
Joint Council on Pensions and Insurance will meet at 2:00pm.  Agenda
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
* Pre-Commerce Committee at 7:30 a.m., 8th floor Conference Room D
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
* Pre-Education Committee, at 7:30 a.m., Senate Hearing Room II
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Special Joint Committee will meet at 11:15am in House Hearing Room IV.
Senate Committee Advances Water Permit Shield Legislation
Tennessee Chamber backed legislation approved unanimously in Senate committee

Nashville – With Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) wielding the gavel, the Senate Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee approved SB2229 by a vote of 8-0. This legislation addresses industry concerns establishing a legal shield for permitted activity for operators of a NPDES water permit approved by TDEC. This change provides liability protections for good actors who are in compliance with the requirements of their permit. The Tennessee Chamber’s Environment committee has worked closely with TDEC to negotiate language that both industry and regulators could agree with. We look forward to this legislation being heard in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee in the weeks ahead. 
House Subcommittee on Consumer & Human Resources Prepares to Close;
Rejects a Number of Negative Bills this Week
Tennessee Chamber Urges House Committee to Oppose Bills Harming Tennessee’s Business Climate

Again this week our Capitol Update email provides TN Chamber positions on a variety of proposals scheduled for the final calendar of the House Consumer & HR subcommittee. This week with such a large calendar the committee was only able to hear half of the proposals. The Chamber staff worked to lobbied to ensure only proposals with significant corrections or positive recommendation from the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Panel advanced. Most expect, the subcommittee will wrap up this coming week.  We are re-doubling our efforts to ensure that harmful proposals are defeated. 

Chamber positions:
HB 2508 *Rogers (SB 2536 by *Ketron) Tennessee Chamber Opposed as Drafted
Data Breach Mandates - As introduced, revises various provisions relating to the duty to notify consumers when there is a breach of system security that contains the consumers' personal identifying information. - Amends TCA Section 47-18-2107.

HB 1899 *Brooks K (SB 1904 by *Yager, Massey) Tennessee Chamber Opposed as Drafted
Employees, Employers - As introduced, prohibits an employer in this state from discriminating against an applicant for employment or an employee on the basis of disability; requires the employer to provide a reasonable accommodation to the applicant or employee with certain exceptions; establishes procedures and remedies for disability discrimination claims. - Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 21.

HB 2495 *Towns (SB 2114 by *Niceley) Tennessee Chamber Monitoring
Consumer Protection - As introduced, prohibits any person, governmental entity, or other legal entity, including a utility district, that offers goods or services to consumers from rounding up the consumer's bill for goods or services without obtaining the consumer's express, written permission to opt-in to such a billing procedure. - Amends TCA Title 5; Title 6; Title 7; Title 45; Title 47, Chapter 18; Title 62 and Title 65.

HB 2506 *Towns (SB 2446 by *Harris) Tennessee Chamber Opposed
Consumer Protection - As introduced, triples the amount of a civil penalty assessed against a person for violating the Tennessee Price-Gouging Act of 2002. - Amends TCA Title 47, Chapter 18.

HB 1984 *Gilmore (SB 2130 by *Yarbro,) Tennessee Chamber Opposed
 As introduced, allows a person providing services pursuant to a contract to bring action against the entity for which the person is under contract in certain situations. - Amends TCA Title 4 and Title 50.

HB 2416 *Cooper (SB 2447 by *Harris) Tennessee Chamber Opposes
Salaries and Benefits - As introduced, creates a private right of action against any employer for a violation concerning the distribution of mandatory service charges or gratuities to employees. - Amends TCA Title 50, Chapter 2.

HB 2334 *Cooper (SB 2434 by *Yarbro) Tennessee Chamber Opposes
Salaries and Benefits - As introduced, creates a cause of action against an employer who fails to pay wages to an employee in accordance with statute. - Amends TCA Title 50.

HB 2333 *Cooper (SB 2544 by *Tate) Tennessee Chamber Opposes
Workers Compensation - As introduced, prohibits retaliatory discharge by employer or other person for conduct relating to filing a workers' compensation claim; authorizes an action by the employee as a remedy. - Amends TCA Title 50.

HB 2392 *Miller (SB 2088 by *Kyle) Tennessee Chamber Opposes
Employees, Employers - As introduced, rewrites the Healthy Workplace Act to designate certain acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying as unlawful employment practices and to require employers to adopt policies prohibiting those acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. - Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 21; Title 39 and Title 50, Chapter 1.

HB 2452 *Doss (SB 2558 by *Hensley) Tennessee Chamber Opposes
Consumer Protection - As introduced, requires the manufacturer of a nonconforming HVAC system to repair the system at no cost to the consumer; requires replacement of the HVAC system in certain circumstances. - Amends TCA Title 47, Chapter 18; Title 62 and Title 68.

HB 1184 *Powell (SB 1141 by *Kyle) Tennessee Chamber Opposes
Human Rights - As introduced, requires that all employers give their employees six weeks of paid leave for adoption, pregnancy, childbirth, or nursing an infant. - Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 21 and Title 50.

Business and a Biscuit Legislative Series
A Fast Paced Preview of the Legislative Week Ahead

Week #8: Monday, March 12, 2018
10:00am – 10:30am CST
Location: TN Chamber Office, 414 Union Street, Nashville, TN 37219

**Join in person or dial-in by phone**
RSVP email required:
Updates from the Campaign Trail: TN Gubernatorial Race 

With candidates for Governor crisscrossing the state there are plenty of articles in local newspapers highlighting a candidates visit to a town or county area. Once you add in interviews on local radio, reports on local TV stations and the saturation of social media posts, it can be hard to get away from the race.  With less than 150 days until the August Primary, the coverage will only become more intense in the week ahead.

Here are some news updates...

House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) is working to balance the duties of her current office and role as House Speaker, run for Governor, and stay in the headlines. Harwell made news in January when campaign finance reports came out and was able to boast, she has the most Cash on Hand of any candidate for Governor (remember as a sitting legislator she cannot raise money from Jan. 9 until the Legislature dismisses). Two weeks ago Tennesseans for Good Government released a TV advertisement, "The Signs Are Everywhere" supporting Harwell . It is a skillful ad that highlights her personal record as Speaker, without actually mentioning the Governor race. It didn’t take long for critics to cry foul. The Nashville Post reported that two complaints have been filed against Harwell for her campaign report and the TV ad.  Undeterred, Tennesseans for Good Government released another TV ad “Hope” this week, highlighting Speaker Harwell’s efforts in addressing the Opioid Abuse Crisis.  The issue is personal for Harwell, who has spoken about a family members struggle with opioids following a surgery. 

U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) has been travelling across the state through Northeast Tennessee. She was in Northeast Tennessee a few weeks ago. The Johnson City Press reported that she spent time with medical experts at ETSU discussing opioid treatment and prescribing practices. The Kingsport Times News documented her visit to a business roundtable discussion, where she answered a variety of questions.  Black’s campaign has increased their visibility in the last few weeks through paid advertisements. The TV ad “ Paycheck ” highlights Black’s role in writing the “President’s tax cut” legislation and her background as a nurse and single mother. Another TV ad “ Tough Grandmother ” addresses the issue of human trafficking and her stance on fighting the problem.

Late last year businessman and former ECD Commissioner Randy Boyd (R-Knoxville) literally ran across the state from Bristol to Memphis. He used footage from that 537.3 mile journey in an introductory and biographical TV ad titled “ Grit ” that played during the Olympics. Boyd has another ad “ Values in Action ” that outlined his stances on several issues that traditionally are important in Republican Primaries. Like other candidates Boyd has been very active on social media with his visits all over the state. Boyd has also stayed in the news with some of his business activity. Boyd Sports announced they will take over day-to-day operations of the Greenville Reds minor league baseball team. As well as his family’s philanthropic efforts, he and his wife are making a sizable charitable donation to support dog parks across Tennessee .  

Franklin businessman Bill Lee (R- Franklin) has been starring in ads for his family business that are currently running in Middle TN. We see this as a long established tactic for a political outsider to raise their profile, however as you might suspect there are critics of the move . More recently, his campaign released their first campaign ad “ Why ”, it is part biographical ad providing insight on his reasons for running (the TV version was not available online, the ad included in a longer web version of the same ad). Bill Lee also tweeted that he was resigning from the Nashville Business Coalition after the group endorsed newly installed Nashville Mayor David Briley and discouraged others from seeking the office.  

Stay Tuned: We will highlight the Democrat candidates next week. 

Marsha Blackburn Announces Support of 56 More Republican Lawmakers
They join 19 St. Senators who previously endorsed her for U.S. Senate

Fifty-six of the Tennessee House's 74-member Republican Caucus are endorsing Republican Marsha Blackburn in her U.S. Senate effort, the campaign announced this week. Saying she's "humbled" by the support, Blackburn, a Brentwood congressman, said the lawmakers "share my conservative vision of limited, effective government, and I appreciate their advice and support as we take our message to every corner of the state." Blackburn said she looks forward to campaigning with them "over the next several months and working with them in the U.S. Senate."

The Times Free Press has the press release and the list of St. Representatives supporting Blackburn .

Phil Bredesen's Senate Campaign Fears It Was Hacked
Avoids falling into scammers trap

This week Former Governor Phil Bredesen’s US Senate Campaign alerted the FBI regarding a recent attempt by a fraudster to trick them into wiring money to a phony off-shore account. The campaign expressed concerns that they may have been hacked, since the scammer’s request for funds used specific information that should have only been known to campaign staff and their consultants.  Read more in the Tennessean article . You can also view Bredesen’s first TV ad “ Solutions ” on YouTube. Bredesen last week held a launch event in downtown Nashville. 
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