Rep. Johnny Garrett’s Newsroom

Majority Whip Johnny Garrett and Senate Chairman Mike Bell introduce legislation to protect consumer privacy

March 15, 2021

Nashville, Tenn. – House Republican Majority Whip Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville, and Senate Judiciary Chairman Mike Bell, R-Riceville, are proposing legislation that protects Tennesseans’ right to privacy and returns control of personal information back to consumers.

The Tennessee Information Protection Act requires large technology companies to fully disclose to consumers what information is being collected about them through their online activities.  The measure significantly increases data privacy and creates new rights for Tennessee consumers.

“Anytime we interact on websites, social media or apps we leave behind personal information that is sold for profit to groups that use it to market their products, ideas or beliefs with targeted ads and we, as consumers are left in the dark about this practice,” Garrett said. “These companies have made a fortune surveilling their users without their permission and selling personal information we require law enforcement to obtain a warrant for.”

The legislation requires online platforms to disclose up-front exactly what personal information will be collected and how they intend to use it. Tennesseans will have the ability to “opt-out” of the selling of their personal information to third parties without discrimination.

The proposal includes protections for biometric data that measures physical characteristics like voice recordings, fingerprints, retinal scans or face recognition.

“What we have seen from big tech companies amounts to surveillance of their customers to enrich themselves through platforms that the consumer believes is free, but rather comes at the high price of their privacy,” Bell said. “This bill has important privacy provisions that give consumers more information so they can make informed choices that will protect their data.”

Companies will be held accountable when they misuse a consumer’s information.  The bill gives the state attorney general authority to impose civil penalties when big tech companies fail to safeguard private data or violate consumer protections.

The proposal applies to companies with a global gross annual revenue of more than $25 million. It includes companies that buy, receives or sells information of more than 50,000 customers, households, devices or anyone that collects more than 50 percent of their global annual revenue from selling customers’ personal information.

The Tennessee Information Protection Act:

  • Requires businesses to publish a privacy policy.
  • Gives consumers the right to know what information a business has collected about them.
  • Requires businesses to allow consumers to “opt-out” of the sale of personal information to third parties.
  • Limits a business’ use and retention of personal information.
  • Gives the Attorney General power to enforce.

For information about this legislation contact Majority Whip Garrett or Chairman Mike Bell at rep.johnny.garrett@capitol.tn.gov  sen.mike.bell@capitol.tn.gov

Garrett: Economy will recover quickly in Tennessee

June 24, 2020

$39.45 billion budget addresses shortfalls, Covid-19

I am sure I am not alone in wondering how the world we thought we knew has changed so much so quickly in the last few months.  I do not presume to have all the answers, but I can share with you what I do know.

Our great nation and our state have been confronted with some extraordinary challenges. Businesses and communities have shouldered unexpected financial burdens while our neighbors have suffered devastating job loss.

Do not despair. While it’s true we have some difficult days ahead, this economic crisis will pass quickly. When it’s over, I believe we will reach new, greater levels of prosperity and opportunity in the Volunteer State.

How can I be so sure? Conservative leaders in the General Assembly have made extremely careful spending decisions over the past decade. As a result, our state’s finances have been the healthiest in history. Just a few short months ago, Tennessee was named the most financially stable state in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. We have the lowest debt per capita of any state in the nation and zero road debt. Tennessee holds the highest bond rating issued by all three of the nation’s credit rating agencies. This rating reflects extreme confidence in Tennessee’s preparedness in meeting financial commitments in tough economic times.

Tennessee has been a model of good governance and financial policy for the rest of the nation.

My Republican colleagues and I continued that tradition by passing a fiscally conservative $39.45 billion budget for 2020-21 that addresses unexpected revenue shortfalls caused by COVID-19.

The 2020-21 budget does not raise taxes on Tennesseans. Rather, we reduced the size of government through commonsense cuts totaling $1.5 billion over a two-year period to address historic revenue losses.  This budget finalized the elimination of the Hall Income Tax.

We’re investing $350 million into Tennessee’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the total to a record-high $1.45 billion. The budget also fully funds the Basic Education Program (BEP), covering both growth and inflation with a $50.3 million investment. It includes $10.6 million for health insurance and retirement for teachers and principals. The FY 20-21 budget supports higher education with a $50 million investment in new facilities.

We invested $150 million to establish a new fund to cover public health and safety issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This includes $10 million in Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants to support hospitals facing financial strain.

Much focus is on boosting consumer and business confidence through the creation of a $25 million sales tax holiday. Next month, Tennesseans will enjoy a sales tax holiday beginning Friday, July 31-Sunday Aug. 2. This year it will include goods normally included, like clothing and school supplies, but with double caps for any single item. That means the holiday applies to items under $200 for most eligible goods and computers under $3,000. Electronics not normally eligible – like televisions – will be included for the first time this year.

Also new this year is a tax free holiday for restaurants, which will begin Friday, Aug 7 and end Sunday, Aug. 9.

Providing this relief will pay dividends in the long-run by encouraging growth and business. This is an active way we can encourage people to support their local family restaurants and shops, but also a way we can return tax dollars to the people it really belongs to  – Tennessee taxpayers.

Other key allocations include a $210 million grant program for all Tennessee cities and counties. These funds have no restrictions and will be used to address unique needs best determined by local and county leaders.  Approximately $15 million will be used to support economic and community development through broadband accessibility grants.

The 2020-21 budget invests $19 million to strengthen the state’s health care safety network and $7.5 million in new funding will create a children’s behavioral safety network.

Tennessee’s new state budget supports citizens across all three grand divisions as we continue to recover from these extraordinary circumstances.

Finally, I am humbled by the confidence and trust you have placed in me to represent you in the 45th House District. I thank you for the privilege.

Please continue to keep your neighbors and families in your prayers.  When this crisis is over, I have no doubt we will emerge stronger than ever.

Johnny Garrett is an attorney and  lives in Goodlettsville. He represents the 45th House District which includes Hendersonville, Goodlettsville, Millersville and White House.  Garrett serves as Majority Whip in the Tennessee House of Representatives. 

 

 

Legislative Update from Representative Johnny Garrett

April 29, 2019

Representative Hill (Blountville) Sent A Washington State Senator A Deck of Cards and Letter

As many of you have probably heard, a Washington State Senator recently made demeaning comments towards nurses saying they “probably spend a considerable amount of time sitting around playing cards”. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a nurse who just sits around playing cards all day.

My wife, Kara, is one of the hardest working and dedicated nurses to her patients that I know. Many, many other nurses dedicate that same care to their patients across our state and country.

I’m proud to sign my name to this letter below to Senator Walsh voicing Tennessee’s support to our nurses.

I hope you can do the same! If you want to reach out to her this is her contact information

G.I.V.E Act

I’m proud to co-sponsor and support the GIVE Act (the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education Act).  The GIVE Act passed both the House and the Senate and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for signature! This legislation will enhance and expand vocational education in TN to high school students and adults alike and assist with economic development by developing a skilled workforce to meet the needs of Sumner County.  It will also open new job opportunities and increased income to those willing to complete vocational training! It’s a win across the board!

House Bill 394, Funded in the Budget

House Bill 394 which started as a simple clean up and clarification bill dealing with the state code on first-degree murder. An amendment was added by Sumner Counties own, Leader Lamberth, the amendment added substantive changes to the bill. The changes added an $83,000 fiscal note to the bill; the substantive changes are to: (1) create a Class A misdemeanor offense for violation a condition of release imposed pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-11-150; (2) authorize the bail of such person to be revoked by the court having jurisdiction over the condition or release; and (3) require the venue for the new offense to be the county where the violation of a condition of release occurred. Due to the addition of this fiscal note, the bill was placed “Behind the Budget” which meant that I would have to wait and see if it would receive funding. House Bill 394 will be heard in Calendar and Rules on Monday, April 29th.

Legislation To Establish Daylight Saving Time Passes The House

This week, Republicans supported legislation paving the way for Tennessee to remain on summertime hours throughout the year.

House Bill 247 establishes daylight savings time as the standard time in Tennessee. As amended, this legislation would only take effect once the federal government acts on this issue. Once this occurs, the General Assembly would need to take additional action before daylight saving time could take effect.

Daylight saving time was originally adopted in the United States as a method of saving energy back in the 1900s. More daylight means less need for artificial light (electricity) — especially during the evening hours.

Additionally, Daylight saving time was considered to have an economic benefit because citizens across the country would spend more time away from their homes and out supporting their local economies.

House Bill 247 has been referred to the Senate Calendar Committee and is now awaiting action.

Strong, Fiscally Responsible Budget Passed By House Of Representatives

This week, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed the state’s annual budget with a nearly unanimous vote. The bill’s passage was the culmination of months of tireless work crafting a balanced budget that builds upon recent, strategic Republican-led investments.

The $38.5 billion budget makes thoughtful investments across state government as it preserves Tennessee’s AAA bond rating. The budget adds more than $225 million in Rainy Day funding for Fiscal Year 2019-2020, bringing the state’s savings account to $1.1 billion.

Additionally, the budget fully funds one of the House’s major priorities, the Katie Beckett Waiver Program, investing $27 million to provide life-saving medical services through TennCare for Tennessee children with the most significant disabilities and the highest medical needs, regardless of their parental income levels.

The Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget also continues our commitment to education by making an $11.3 billion total investment in our future leaders. This includes $6.5 billion to directly benefit K-12 education in our public schools. Of this K-12 total, $71 million has been allocated for teacher salaries, a 2.5 percent increase. Approximately $46 million will fully fund the state’s Basic Education Program (BEP), to cover growth and inflation in the funding formula, and $40 million will also be invested to help secure our Tennessee schools through school resource officers and additional safety measures.

Finally, the budget targets healthcare, opioids, job growth, and economic development, while supporting our veterans and elderly citizens, and it continues to build upon Republican-led tax cuts. With the budget officially passed, lawmakers now turn their attention to debating the last few legislative items for the year while remaining focused on continuing work to make Tennessee an even better place to live, work, raise a family, and retire.

The House Passes Legislation To Improve School Bus Safety

Earlier this week, lawmakers supported House Bill 268, which will help protect students from unlawful drivers in Tennessee.

The measure provides an option for local education agencies (LEA) and school systems to install, operate, and maintain external cameras on school buses for the purpose of recording vehicles that fail to stop upon approaching a school bus.

Additionally, House Bill 268 allows LEAs to enter into a memorandum of understanding with local law enforcement for the purpose of preserving all evidence captured by these cameras. Monies generated by citations issued to drivers who violate the law can be used by districts to cover the costs of purchasing or installing these cameras.

The measure now awaits action in the Senate.

Bills coming up next week

House Bill 394 will be heard in Calendar and Rules, then will hopefully be heard on the House floor this week!

Republican-led Initiative To Address Mental Health Illness Passes House

A Republican-led initiative to help address mental illnesses has passed in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

House Bill 643 requires the Department of Finance & Administration, in consultation with the Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services and the Division of TennCare to develop and administer a grant program to assist sheriffs who are required by present law to transport individuals who require mental health examinations to determine whether an individual should be involuntarily admitted.

Currently, mental health patients who are transported by sheriffs are done so in custody. This important legislation will ensure the transportation of patients will be distinguished from the transportation of criminals – patients should be treated as patients, not criminals. It also improved safety for members of our law enforcement community.

House Bill 643 now awaits passage in the Senate.

Republicans Continue To Protect Sanctity Of Life

House Republicans continued their commitment to protecting the sanctity of life this week, supporting House Bill 1029, known as the Human Life Protection Act.

This significant measure bans abortion in Tennessee upon the 30th day following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade or amending the U.S. Constitution to allow states to prohibit abortion. As amended, the Attorney General is required to notify in writing the Tennessee Code Commission as to the occurrence of a qualifying circumstance and what date is the 30th day following such a qualifying circumstance.

Earlier this year, Republican Leaders strongly approved the Heartbeat Bill. This measure prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected but makes an exception if the life of the mother is in jeopardy.

These measures are the latest in a series of Republican-led pro-life initiatives. House Republicans also supported and passed the Tennessee Infants Protection Act during the 110th General Assembly, which prohibits abortions, except in a medical emergency, after 24 weeks and requires testing to determine the viability of an unborn child if a woman is at least 20 weeks pregnant.

 

 

Legislative Update from Representative Johnny Garrett

April 22, 2019

Happy Easter!

HE is Risen! Death could not hold HIM. Rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

WISHING YOU A BLESSED AND JOY FILLED EASTER!

Education Savings Accounts

Since the introduction of House Bill 939, my office has heard from a lot of you. I am so grateful to have constituents that are willing to reach out on any issue.

This bill passed through Curriculum, Testing and Innovation Subcommittee, Education Full Committee, Government Operations, Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee and Full Finance Committee before being heard in Calendar and Rules to be placed on a House Floor Calendar. Due to it passing through all of these committees of which I do not have a seat on, I have not been part of any vote thus far. However, I can assure you that this bill is being reviewed carefully by all committee members and discussions among our entire membership about this legislation continue.

My hope for this legislation as it continues to evolve is that all students will continue to receive a quality education that will help them realize their full potential. Far too many children in Tennessee only receive an education from an at-risk school and have no choice to receive an education elsewhere to maximize their learning potential. I do believe in giving parents the freedom to choose a school that fits their child’s unique learning style and one where they can excel in the classroom. House Bill 939 continues to change as it progresses through both chambers of the General Assembly.

The public school system is the backbone of any community and our children deserve the best education that we can provide. Our commitment to our students this year includes a total investment of $11.3 billion for the fiscal year 2019-2020. Approximately, $6.5 billion of that total would directly benefit K-12 education in our public schools. Because of our recent, strategic, Republican-led investments in education, Tennessee students are the fastest improving in the entire nation in math, reading, and science. Additionally, last year we achieved the best high school graduation rates ever – 89.1%.

When we invest in our students, teachers, and schools, Tennessee’s future looks bright, and I am committed to the success of these important groups.

 I recognize this is an important issue for all Tennesseans, and I will keep your thoughts in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on this legislation.

Sumner County Reagan Day Dinner

At this year’s Reagan Day Dinner put on by the Sumner County Republican Party, we were lucky to hear from not only Congressman John Rose but also Governor Bill Lee! It was an inspiring experience and a great update on what we have been working on this session both at the state and federal level. After giving us his keynote speech, Governor Lee joined us and stayed for dinner. Leader Lamberth did a terrific job as the master of ceremonies and Representative Weaver did wonderful as she led the room during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.  Congratulations to our Sumner County GOP Executive Committee, Chairman Jason Stewart, Vice Chairman Janna Garton, Vice-Treasurer Nick Ivey and Secretary Craig Garton.  Truly was a great night getting together with people from Sumner County, I think that it is safe to say that we have some of the best folks representing Sumner County.

Bills coming up next week

House Bill 394 will be heard in one of the Finance, Ways and Means “Behind the Budget” committee meetings this week.

House Bill 676 is scheduled to be on the House Floor for a vote this Monday night.

Passed 12 Bills, 2 More to go This Session!

This being my first legislative session, I decided to do all that I could so I filed 15/15 bills. Every member of the Tennessee House of Representatives is allowed to file 15 bills, I did and I am excited that I will hopefully be able to pass 14.

Governor Lee Signs Legislation Tossing Gym Tax

This week, the Governor signed legislation that tosses the amusement tax on small gyms.

House Bill 1138 eliminates the amusement tax on small gyms, fitness studios, and similar entities across Tennessee. It levels the playing field for these facilities so they can compete against their larger counterparts, which obtained an exemption from this burdensome regulation in 1986.

Currently, Tennessee ranks in the bottom five states for obesity and fitness. The overall goal of this initiative is to promote a healthier workforce, reduce obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and improve the overall quality of life for the citizens of this state.

Republican lawmakers remain committed to eliminating burdensome regulations on Tennessee’s small businesses, as well as improving the health and well-being for all of our citizens.

Republican Lawmakers Create Balance within Community Oversight Boards

This week, House Republicans strengthened House Bill 658 by adopting a recent Conference Committee amendment that gives community oversight boards subpoena power through their local legislative body.

As amended, the local legislative body must vote in support of a community oversight board’s subpoena request. Additionally, the subpoena may not be issued in the form of a blanket authorization; it must specify each document to be produced or witness to testify and cannot be issued for confidential documents.

House Bill 658 balances both the interests of our citizens to voice their opinion while also protecting the fundamental rights of officers and their families from malicious or politically focused persecution.

Community oversight boards have existed since the 1950s, and there are presently no guidelines outlined in Tennessee state law that defines how they are created, who can serve on them, and what their specific function is.

This important initiative provides much-needed structure to all current and future community oversight boards in Tennessee, which is critical to their overall success, as well as overall safety in Tennessee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislative Update from Representative Johnny Garrett

April 8, 2019

StepParent Bill, House Bill 674

The Judiciary Committee heard from me several times on Wednesday, as introduced, House Bill 674 revises various provisions related to stepparent visitation. My stepparent bill is one that I am personally advocating as I believe this is a step in the right direction for families in our state. In Tennessee, a stepparent who has a substantial relationship with their stepchild or stepchildren have little rights to maintain a relationship.

This bill allows a stepparent to petition the court to establish parenting time with a stepchild where they have a substantial attachment and a prolonged separation will cause harm to the child. This bill passed through Children and Families Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee and is now going to be heard in Calendar and Rules before hopefully being placed on the House Floor calendar.

Trusts Bill, House Bill 676

Tennessee has become one of the leading trust jurisdictions in the country, frequently ranking in the top 3 states to locate a trust because of the strength of our laws. House Bill 676 represents recommendations from the Tennessee Bankers Association’s working committee of trust officers and lawyers from across the state, which reviewed Tennessee’s trust laws and determined what updates were needed for us to remain a leading jurisdiction. The last update to the code made in 2013 resulted in an increase in trust companies chartering in Tennessee and increased business opportunities for existing trust companies.

This bill includes technical changes to the code such as adopting the Tennessee Disclaimer of Property Interests Act, authorizing the creation of Special Purpose Entities as trust protectors and/or advisors and specifying that courts have authority to approve final accountings when a trustee resigns or is removed from office. These are a few of the changes that are being made by House Bill 676. Starting in the Children and Families Subcommittee then passing in the Judiciary committee has now been placed on notice with the Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee.

Recognizing Sumner County Kindergarten Teacher Jama Cook

This week in the Curriculum, Testing and Innovation Subcommittee, Jama Cook from Sumner County, testified on House Bill 993. As introduced this bill amends Tennessee Code Annotated, section 49-6-105(f) which will eliminate the portfolio model from LEA’s. Helping in the fight for what is right for teachers, Jama Cook a Sumner County kindergarten teacher testified to the committee on the burdens portfolios place on teachers. They add about 50 extra hours that the teacher must spend creating and compiling data for each student.  Removing this standard would allow our school teachers to focus on the students in their class. I am a proud cosponsor of House Bill 993 introduced by Chairman Moon.

Republican Women’s Luncheon

The Tennessee Federation of Republican Women held their annual Ladies’ Day on the Hill Monday, April 1. I took a break from the legislature and made my way over to the event where I ate lunch with several Sumner County GOP ladies. The event celebrated our victories in the recent election cycles.

Named Recycling Chairman

 Thursday morning, during session Leader Lamberth, announced that I was named Chairman of recycling! Which means that I was in charge of recycling all of the paper which members graciously left for me on my desk.

Bills coming up next week

Being heard Monday night on the House Floor: House Bill 391, House Bill 677 and House Bill 761.

Once again in Judiciary it will be the Vice-Chairman Garrett show as I will be presenting three more of my bills: House Bill 394, House Bill 395 and House Bill 760.  Judiciary will have two meetings this week, one on Tuesday at 12:30 PM and at our normally scheduled time of 12:30 PM on Wednesday.

Republican-Led Initiative To Secure Our Tennessee Schools Passes House

This week, Republican lawmakers passed House Bill 947, which will help secure our Tennessee schools and provide additional safety resources to protect our future leaders.

The initiative proposes a $30 million investment for the school safety grant fund and additional changes to existing law to prioritize the distribution of these grants to help secure school resource officers and other safety measures.

Total proposed funding for school resources officers and additional safety measures for FY 2019-2020 is $50 million. Approximately $10 million of this funding total was allocated last year, $30 million is new money as part of the Governor’s proposed budget, and House Bill 947 also paves the way for an additional $10 million through a local match.

The safety and security of our children and teachers is a top priority for House Republicans, and this funding will ensure they have the resources needed to better protect our schools.

Republican lawmakers remain committed to improving schools safety, and this measure is a major step in the right direction.

House Republicans Continue To Advance Criminal Justice Legislation

House Republican lawmakers also continued to advance several criminal justice initiatives through the committee process.

To combat the growing fentanyl epidemic, Republicans advanced House Bill 942 through the Finance, Ways and Means Committee. The measure builds upon Tennessee’s efforts to address the opioid crisis by cracking down on synthetic drug trafficking in our state. The legislation increases penalties against fentanyl dealers and those who traffic any derivative or analogue of this deadly synthetic drug.

On Wednesday, House Bill 950 passed the Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee. This legislation provides $1.5 million in funding for the electronic monitoring indigency fund, while also making monitoring vendors whole. Additionally, it transitions the program into a matching grant program at the local level.

This week, House Bill 941 advanced out of the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee. This important legislation would remove the $180 fee for an individual seeking an expunction while also removing the $350 fee for a defendant applying for an expunction following the completion of a diversion program.

Republicans remain committed to advancing legislation that improves our system of justice so it meets present day standards, not those of 30 years ago.

Republicans Working To Curb Robocalls

Republican lawmakers approved an initiative to crack down on robocalls in Tennessee earlier this week.

House Bill 1245 raises the penalty of misleading a phone subscriber from $10,000 to $30,000 per violation against a person or entity that makes an unwanted robocall. The bill also encourages carriers offering telephone services in the state to implement SHAKEN/STIR technology to help detect robocalls. Finally, it urges the Attorney General to call on the Federal Communications Commission to create new rules that will allow carriers to block more of these illegal, annoying robocalls.

Tennessee is taking strong steps to address this issue, and House Bill 1245 moves us in the right direction to deter robocalls. Although this is an issue that is primarily under the jurisdiction of the FCC at the federal level, Republican lawmakers will continue to support this initiative and others that curb this growing problem.

House Bill 1245 now makes its way through the Senate.

You May Contact Representative Garrett at:

425 5th Avenue North, Suite 508

Nashville TN 37243

Phone: 615-741-3893

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 44136

E-mail: rep.johnny.garrett@capitol.tn.gov

 

 

 

Legislative Update from Representative Johnny Garrett

March 29, 2019

The Garrett’s go to Washington

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to watch as my son laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.  While at this moving ceremony, the experience is one that I wish all could experience. We owe our freedoms in this country to the men and women that laid down their lives for us in distant countries.  Because of this sacrifice, I was proud to witness the wreath laying ceremony and it meant a great deal to me and Kara that our son was one of the students able to take part in this sacred tradition. It was such an incredible feeling to be among our nation’s heroes.

While there, the group was welcomed to the capitol by their Congressman, John Rose. It was great opportunity for the students of Goodpasture to meet their member of Congress. They were able to hear from him personally what Congressman Rose is doing for Tennessee and his constituents.

Bills coming up next week

HB673 on the House Floor Monday night, I will be presenting House Bill 673 which is a bill for one of the largest bank system in our Nation, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati (“FHLB Cincinnati”) and I’m proud to carry such an important piece of legislation for Tennessee consumers since my family does back to the Bank of Goodlettsville days.  The FHLB of Cincinnati is one of 11 banks throughout our Nation that loan other banks and insurance companies money so that they can continue its operations if or when the economy declines.  This legislation provides the same treatment for member banks as member insurance companies so fees charged to the m insurance company remain competitive in the market place.  This allows the insurance company to have more borrowing power with fewer fees.

HB395 will be heard by the Civil Subcommittee which I am a member of on Tuesday afternoon at 3:00. As introduced, the bill removes references and duties of the Tennessee Judicial Council which terminated June 30, 2009.

HB675 which will be heard during the Judiciary Full Committee on Wednesday at 12:30pm. As introduced, allows a revocable living trust that becomes irrevocable upon the death of the settlor to refer to a written statement of personal property not otherwise disposed of by the revocable trust; gives a trustee who has resigned or been removed the right and authority to petition the court for a release and discharge from all liability related to the trust, makes various other revisions.

HB676 will also be heard during the Judiciary Full Committee which I do sit on as the Vice-Chairman, as introduced, enacts the “Tennessee Disclaimer of Property Interests Act.”

HB393 also calendared for the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, as introduced, requires sheriff or constable serving process for actions in general sessions court to be identified by name and agency on the service return or in a supplemental affidavit; requires a private process server to provide a mailing or physical address on the service return or in a supplemental affidavit; clarifies failure to include the required contact information of process server will not invalidate effectiveness of service.

HB674 the Judiciary Committee will hear from me a lot on Wednesday, because as introduced, House Bill 674 revises various provisions related to stepparent visitation.  In Tennessee, a step parent who has a substantial relationship with their step child or step children have little rights to maintain a relationship with their stepchildren.  This bill allows for a step parent to petition the court to establish parenting time with a step child where they have a substantial attachment to the step child and a prolonged separation from the step child will cause harm to the child.  This is a great bill and I look forward to presenting it to the full judiciary committee next week.

Governors ESA Bill passed out of House Education

House Bill 939, also known as the Education Savings Account Bill, this legislation creates new opportunities for students who reside in areas with three or more low performing schools. House Bill 939 will now be heard by the House Government Operations Committee next week.

Proposed in the bill, ESA’s are only available at schools and providers authorized by the Tennessee Department of Education. It is important to note that all program expenditures will be subject to audit by the Comptroller’s office. 5 counties are currently qualified for the ESA program due to having 3 or more priority schools; Knox, Shelby, Davidson, Hamilton, Jackson-Madison.

When we invest in our students, teachers, and schools, Tennessee’s future looks bright.

Click here to read the full text of House Bill 939.

Tennessee’s Unemployment Rate Hits Record Low in February

According to Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD), the statewide unemployment rate in Tennessee dropped to a new historic low in February. The seasonally adjusted rate of 3.2 percent is 0.1 of a percentage point lower than the previous historic low.

Tennessee reached its previous record low unemployment rate of 3.3 percent in October 2018 and it remained at the level for four consecutive months. The state began tracking unemployment rates in 1976.

Over the past year, Tennessee’s February unemployment rate decreased from 3.6 percent of 3.2 percent.

House Republicans have worked hard to create a business climate that would create such a historically low unemployment rate, and they remain committed to legislation that will ensure Tennessee is the best state to live and work in.

House Republicans Fight To Address Distracted Driving

This week, House Republicans continued to address distracted driving in communities across our state by advancing House Bill 164.

The measure expands the offense of holding cellphones while driving from school zones to statewide implementation. The overall goal of the initiative is to improve public safety by reducing instances of distracted driving.

Tennessee currently ranks first in distracted driving deaths. Additionally, the number of deaths caused by distracted driving in our state is five times higher than our national average.

Click here to read the full text of House Bill 164.

 

State Representative Johnny Garrett Passes First Bill In House Chambe

March 15, 2019

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — State Representative Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville) has officially passed his first bill as a member of the Tennessee General Assembly and the House Republican Caucus.

As introduced, House Bill 392/Senate Bill 76 authorizes local governments to house certain documents, like wills and marriage licenses, in county archives or facilities that are secure from theft and natural disasters.

“This public records legislation will keep our important documents and information safe and secure,” said Representative Garrett. “I am proud to sponsor this legislation, and I encourage the Senate to act quickly on this initiative.”

The full text of House Bill 392/Senate Bill 76 can be found by click here.

 Johnny Garrett represents House District 45. He is the vice-chair of the Judiciary Committee. Representative Garrett also serves on the Insurance Committee, the Civil Justice Subcommittee, and the Property & Casualty Subcommittee.

 

 

 

Speaker Casada Names Representative Garrett Vice-Chairman Of House Judiciary Committee

January 16, 2019

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Thompson’s Station) has named State Representative Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville) Vice-Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. This is an honor rarely bestowed upon first-year lawmakers.

The 26-person House Judiciary Committee will be responsible for all criminal and civil laws; judicial proceedings; executors, administrators, wills, divorce, and other family matters; all proceedings related to the courts, and law enforcement issues.

“We have an extremely gifted group of freshman lawmakers, and Representative Garrett is one of our leaders,” said Speaker Casada. “I know he will bring a new energy and new ideas to the House Judiciary Committee, which will benefit our entire General Assembly and the citizens of Tennessee.”

“I am humbled that Speaker Casada has chosen me to serve as a leader of the House Judiciary Committee,” said Representative Garrett. “Tennessee has made remarkable progress building safe communities and enhancing the quality of life for our citizens in recent years. I am eager to get to work with my fellow committee members so that we can build upon these successful trends.”

Representative Garrett was officially sworn in to office on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. He will also serve as a member of the House Insurance Committee, as well as the House Civil Justice and Property & Casualty Subcommittees. Garrett lives in Goodletsville and represents Tennessee House District 45, which includes a portion of Sumner County.