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News from Nashville – July 29, 2016

Don't Forget to Vote!

Keeping YOUR Money Where It Belongs
In YOUR Pocket

sales tax piggy bank

Tennessee’s “Sales Tax Holiday” is this weekend! As all holidays are cause for celebration, this one is no different. From Friday, July 29, through Sunday, July 31, we will celebrate Tennesseans keeping your money where it belongs – in your pocket! Many items, particularly clothing and educational materials, will be sold sales tax-free for these three days.

Do not miss out on the opportunity to stock up on things you need for less expense. More information, including a complete list of tax-exempt items, can be found at

Crossed paths with Congressman Marsha Blackburn at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.

Crossed paths with Congressman Marsha Blackburn at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.

Broadband and the Internet: Better access. Not Bigger State Government.

Last fall, I convened the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) to study and recommend the best ways to increase reliable access to the internet and the broadband necessary to provide it for all Tennesseans.

The goal is to determine the availability and adoption of high speed internet access from all technologies to residences and businesses in Tennessee and to study and recommend actions which federal, state or local governments might take to help the industry as a whole increase the availability of broadband to everyone in Tennessee.

Defining the appropriate role of government at all levels in private sector deployment, including measures to guard against inadvertent interference with the free market, is one of our objectives.

In our methodical, in-depth investigation thus far, we have learned about extensive investment in broadband by the private sector – companies of all sizes – and important plans already underway to accelerate that deployment in Tennessee. We have also learned about the ability of some local governmental entities and electric co-operatives to provide broadband and the desire of others to expand.

Our report will outline general recommendations and a number of options for consideration by the Governor and the General Assembly, some of which may require either new legislation or additional funding or both.

A preliminary draft of the TACIR report will be presented for consideration this fall in a public meeting broadcast via the internet.

TACIR’s final report, which will be presented after the first of the year and before the next General Assembly convenes, will serve as the foundation for development of sound strategies to extend the reach of broadband technology to every corner of the state in the most cost effective and responsible manner.

For more on this subject:

The National Taxpayers Union:
Tennessee Senate Leader: Expand Broadband without Expanding Government

The Tennessee Farm Bureau:

Good to see the 3rd Congressional District's Chuck Fleischmann in Cleveland last week

Good to see the 3rd Congressional District’s Chuck Fleischmann in Cleveland last week

Resisting Reckless Refugee Resettlement

This weekend, I am honored to be the keynote speaker at the Jackson County Reagan Day Dinner in Gainesboro, Tennessee. I will provide an update on refugee resettlement and what must be done to keep Tennessee safe from harm if refugees are not properly screened by the federal government.

Over 17,000 Tennesseans signed my petition to our Attorney General to file suit to enforce Tennessee’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment, and he has now authorized us to proceed.

We have been in contact with several public interest law firms which are willing to aid in our challenge. If you’d like more information about our Resolution, SJR 467, and if you wish to sign the petition in favor if it please visit:

Check presentation by Governor Haslam for the new UT Martin campus in Somerville

Check presentation by Governor Haslam for the new UT Martin campus in Somerville


As a member of the State Workforce Development Board I have been visiting manufacturers, local officials and educators across the state to discuss our progress with increasing the number of Tennesseans with college degrees and reducing the rate of unemployment. Initiatives including the Drive to 55, LEAP, Reconnect and VETS have all helped provide a more skilled workforce and this has been one factor in 4.1% unemployment rate in Tennessee.

On August 11, I will speak to the Chamber of Commerce in Morristown, Tennessee to discuss these workforce development and education initiatives and tour local businesses.

Oftentimes, visiting with employers, the discussion turns to excessive federal regulations and unfunded mandates which hamper business growth and innovation. Sometimes they cost jobs. That was the topic when I recently testified in a subcommittee of the United States Senate. You can view it here.


The Attorney General Agrees for Us to Proceed with the Lawsuit!

As recent events have dramatically demonstrated, enforcement of the law is essential to our safety. It is essential to our sense of order and society. It is critical to the preservation of Liberty.

Thanks to the support of SJR467, the Refugee Resettlement Resolution, we are now free to enforce your rights against unconstitutional refugee resettlement.

My petition to the Attorney General gained over 17,000 signatures from Tennesseans who want action. Although he personally declines to assume responsibility for enforcing our rights in a court of law, he has now delegated his authority to us to do so instead.

“We the people” will hold Washington, D.C. accountable.

We will hire outside counsel to sue for a declaration of our rights as a sovereign state; to uphold the constitutional principles by which we foster freedom.

Serious questions remain whether the federal government is complying with the Refugee Act of 1980; whether the “Syrian surge” threatens our sovereignty; whether increased outbreaks of tuberculosis and measles are because of poor refugee vetting; whether federal cost-shifting violates the Tenth Amendment and the sovereignty of the states which have withdrawn from the refugee resettlement program; and whether your peace, safety and happiness is truly in jeopardy.

The Attorney General acknowledges the General Assembly’s serious concerns about the potential impact of the Refugee Resettlement Program on this State. He respects the fact that, as the legislative body of this State, we have taken extraordinary measures to voice those concerns, and he supports our desire to resolve those concerns with independent counsel through the adjudicative process.

Several outside lawyers and firms have offered to take our case at no charge to the taxpayers. We are interviewing them and will evaluate how best to proceed, and with whom, as our counsel.

I remain committed to keeping Tennessee safe. Thank you for your support!


Tennessee Stands with Texas

Tennessee Stands with Texas

Our thoughts and prayers are with the police officers, their loved ones, the people of Dallas and citizens of this great nation everywhere whose freedom depends upon the Rule of Law and the enforcement of it; not only recognition of and adherence to the law, but support for those who enforce it in the ongoing struggle to keep us safe.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
King James, John 15.13


Norris News
Happy Independence Day!

“These are troubled times in which we live. Now, more than ever, we must re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of freedom and the knowledge required to appreciate and sustain it. With your encouragement and support, we will. Happy 240th, America! Here’s to Old Glory’s 240th next year!”

Happy 4th of July from Mark Norris

Senator Norris’ column appeared in the Tennessean this week. Click here for the full editorial.

Department of Veterans Services acquires land for West Tennessee Veterans Home

“These men and women, our veterans, served all of us as though we were worth dying for. So let us demonstrate here and now that we are worth living for too. Let us finish the task so that they may live with dignity. It’s the least we can do for them. And you know what? We will,” Senator Norris said.

“These men and women, our veterans, served all of us as though we were worth dying for. So let us demonstrate here and now that we are worth living for too. Let us finish the task so that they may live with dignity. It’s the least we can do for them. And you know what? We will,” Senator Norris said.

Click here for the full article.

West Tennessee Veterans Home

West Tennessee Veterans Home

Major new laws to address drunk driving in Tennessee to become effective on Friday, July 1st

Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) to be enacted on Friday also addresses the issue of multiple offenders. Upon arrest for a DUI, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide, fingerprints must be taken of the offender and submitted to the TBI within five days. If the offender is convicted of the offense, the fingerprints must be submitted to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) within seven days.

The measure stems from a tragic crash in Mississippi involving the deaths of two Shelby County students by a driver who carried five convictions of first offense DUI and was out on bond for his sixth DUI. Records reveal three counties and one municipality in Mississippi failed to inform the Mississippi Department of Public Safety about the convictions so it could be logged into the NCIC database, which is accessible by law enforcement officers in their squad cars to check the criminal backgrounds of arrestees.

“This tragedy brought to our attention, as well as Mississippi’s, the need to have the appropriate records logged in and available so that multiple DUI offenders do not fall through the cracks and are accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said Leader Norris. “These drivers pose a serious threat to public safety.”

A separate measure sponsored by Norris that becomes effective on Friday requires a criminal history background search upon arrest to determine prior arrests for DUI vehicular assault, vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular homicide.

Click here for the full article.

TDOT Commissioner John Schroer and Senator Norris announce Lamar Avenue project in Shelby County last week.

TDOT Commissioner John Schroer and Senator Norris announce Lamar Avenue project in Shelby County last week.


Statement from Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris regarding Supreme Court ruling blocking President’s Obama’s controversial executive actions on immigration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) made the following statement in regards to the decision handed down today by the U.S. Supreme Court on immigration in the case United States v. Texas. The high court affirmed a lower court decision which resulted in a preliminary injunction against executive action taken by President Obama that would have provided illegal immigrants legal status and protection, effectively killing the plan for the duration of Obama’s presidency.

Sen. Norris said, “The Supreme Court struck a blow for liberty today and against regulation without representation,” regarding the decision. “It matters who governs and it matters when the power of those who govern is unconstitutionally usurped.”

“This should be a reminder of the importance of checks and balances and the separation of powers which must be observed and preserved,” he added.

“As this Administration and its unelected regulators have become increasingly disconnected from the reality of American life and law, it is up to those elected by the people to ensure the federal government stays in check. That’s why the General Assembly passed SJR 2 calling for an amendment to the Constitution for Regulation Freedom and more recently passed SJR 467 calling on the Tennessee Attorney General to sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program,” he concluded.


NOTE: Technically, at issue in the U.S. v. Texas case was (1) Whether a state that voluntarily provides a subsidy to all aliens with deferred action has Article III standing and a justiciable cause of action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to challenge the Secretary of Homeland Security’s guidance seeking to establish a process for considering deferred action for certain aliens because it will lead to more aliens having deferred action; (2) whether the guidance is arbitrary and capricious or otherwise not in accordance with law; (3) whether the guidance was subject to the APA’s notice-and-comment procedures; and (4) whether the guidance violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, Article II, section 3.


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