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Norris News – June 15, 2018

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This year, we enacted the “Elderly and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act of 2018” to further combat elder abuse in Tennessee. I was proud to sponsor it as SB 2621 (now Public Chapter 1050).

Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2018

As our citizens age, elder abuse continues to haunt our communities. I wrote about the challenges we face two years ago: https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/opinion/2016/07/02/guest-column-elder-abuse-the-silent-crisis/90568646/

Since then, the Vulnerable Adult Protective Teams we created have taken more than 1,450 reports of suspected abuse in Shelby County in 2017 alone.

The newest law, which takes effect on July 1, 2018, clarifies and refines definitions of “neglect.” It creates new offenses similar to the abuse and neglect offenses under the Adult Protection Act but changes the felony classification of some of these offenses and creates some new offenses. For example, it creates a new felony offense for neglecting an elderly or vulnerable adult and a new misdemeanor offense for neglect through abandonment or confinement.

I continue to volunteer with the Coordinated Response to Elder Abuse (CREA) team supported by the Plough Foundation. Read more about it here: http://familysafetycenter.org/how-we-help/crea/about-crea/ As written at the Family Safety Center website:

“Although Tennessee law requires residents to report any suspicion of elder abuse or neglect, the reality is that most cases go unreported. In Memphis/Shelby County, the Coordinated Response to Elder Abuse (CREA) is a collaborative effort to streamline the services available to older adults who have been neglected or abused.

“There is a misperception that elder abuse only happens in nursing homes with neglected patients. Actually, it is all around us, and as a community we owe it to our elders to protect them,” says Olliette Murry-Drobot, Executive Director of Family Safety Center. “Approximately 88% of the cases we handle are the result of neglect, financial exploitation, or physical abuse, and they occur in relationships where there is an expectation of trust. As in domestic violence, victims know their perpetrators.”

We owe it to each other to remain vigilant against abuse and neglect of our senior citizens and those who are otherwise vulnerable.

It was good to see Governor Haslam at our Collierville Chamber breakfast this week.

It was good to see Governor Haslam at our Collierville Chamber breakfast this week.

 

Discussing recent legislation with Collierville Town Administrator James Lewellen at the Chamber breakfast this week.

Discussing recent legislation with Collierville Town Administrator James Lewellen at the Chamber breakfast this week.

On Tuesday, I was honored to recognize 24 students from the Fayette County Public Schools who competed in the United States Academic Pentathlon. They are the 2018 Tennessee State Champions and placed 4th and 5th in the national competition among U.S. teams and won 5 national medals.

Fayette kids

 

Fayette County resolution

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Norris News – June 1, 2018

Capitol at night

Statehood Day in Tennessee

222 years ago today, on June 1, 1796, Tennessee was admitted into the Union as the 16th state by an Act of Congress approved by President George Washington. See it here.

Statehood Day is “an historical day to commemorate the admission of the state into the Union…”. (TCA 15-2-301; enacted by 1929 Public Chapter 13).

Tennessee State Flag

To know our history is to appreciate it; it inspires civic pride and should encourage participation in the type of self-governance that maintains us as The Volunteer State – – “America at Its Best.”

Tennessee flag inspired flower garden

From the Secretary of State’s website:

The first constitution of the state of Tennessee was adopted in 1796. The constitution was drafted in Knoxville by a convention consisting of 55 delegates. Once it was completed, the delegates sent the Constitution to Washington City for review by the Congress before it adjourned. President Washington signed the bill giving Tennessee immediate statehood on June 1, 1796. Most of the provisions regarding declarations on rights, taxes, and legislative authority were drawn from the North Carolina and Pennsylvania constitutions. According to historian J. G. M. Ramsey, Thomas Jefferson described the Tennessee constitution as the “least imperfect and most republican of the state constitutions.” The original 1796 constitution is kept at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Click here to see a digital image of the 1796 Constitution and download a transcription.

Tennessee Celebrates Statehood

Happy Birthday, Tennessee! And many happy returns!

Recent articles of interest:

http://www.localmemphis.com/news/local-news/local-24-political-analyst-commentator-otis-sanford-on-bill-banning-locking-up-teens-with-adults/1187588949

https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/local/2018/05/23/memphis-teen-headed-back-memphis-after-months-solitary-confinement/636848002/

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Norris News – May 24, 2018

Memorial Day 2018

The unveiling of the newly restored B-17 “Memphis Belle” at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio last week was the perfect prelude to Memorial Day this week. It was attended by a number of World War II veterans who told us about their service and the colleagues they lost in combat. Sadly, we are losing many more World War II Veterans every day.

I witnessed World War II Veterans – -aging airmen of the Eighth Air Force – – mingling with other visitors; recounting their experiences as tail gunners, pilots, and crews of B-17s, B-24s, and other weapons of war. I spoke with the families of those lost at war, or since war’s end, and reminisced in bittersweet tones about the ultimate sacrifice and ultimate end for those we memorialize this weekend.

Our friend, Buzz Davis (foreground), with other veterans at Memphis Belle dedication last week. (Photo courtesy of National Museum of the United States Air Force).

Our friend, Buzz Davis (foreground), with other veterans at Memphis Belle dedication last week. (Photo courtesy of National Museum of the United States Air Force).

The Memphis Belle became a metaphor for part of what we observe this Memorial Day. It was the first B-17 to return in tact with its crew alive. 80 percent of the 91st Bomb Group’s B-17s and their crews did not.

“Eighty percent losses means you had breakfast with 10 men and dinner with only two of those 10,” said Captain Robert Morgan in an interview after the war. According to the National Museum, more than 30,000 U.S. Airmen aboard heavy bombers, like the B-17, were killed in Europe.

The Pacific Theater was brutal, too. My uncle, Major James Saalfield, flew a B-24 in the Pacific. He was a commander of the 23rd Squadron, 5th Bomb Group, 13th Air Force. He was shot down over Borneo and had the further misfortune to land in what was then Matut (headhunter) territory. I recently found on-line a Department of Defense investigative report that described my uncle’s death. His remains and those of his crew are buried at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.

My Uncle's grave at Jefferson Barracks. He was killed in action in the Pacific.

My Uncle’s grave at Jefferson Barracks. He was killed in action in the Pacific.

Every year, I remind my constituents and others of the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Sometimes the distinction gets blurred as so many of our veterans pass on.

One such veteran was my father-in-law whose memorial service we held in Collierville this week. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and flew the F-86F Sabrejet with the 48th Fighter-Bomber Wing until 1955.

While celebrating the Memphis Belle in Dayton last week, Chris and I visited the Korean War exhibit at the National Museum and saw a jet like those her dad flew.

Chris and one of the jets like her father flew in Korea.

Chris and one of the jets like her father flew in Korea.

As Chairman of the Senate Veterans Oversight Committee, I have worked with my colleagues to fund critical improvements at West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery and to provide funding for new veterans cemeteries across the State of Tennessee.

This year, we also provided new funding for the Dyersburg Army Air Base Veterans’ Museum in Lauderdale County. It’s West Tennessee’s version of the National Museum at Dayton on a miniature scale. I encourage you to visit.

This Memorial Day, let us pause to give thanks to those who offered and gave their lives in the cause of freedom so that we might exercise and enjoy the freedoms for which they fought and died.

Senator Norris placing a wreath at Tomb of the Unknown, Arlington National Cemetery.

Senator Norris placing a wreath at Tomb of the Unknown, Arlington National Cemetery.

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Senator Mark Norris - Proudly Endorsed by the National Rifle Association

 

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