A Change of Season

On September 21, 2009, in News from Nashville 2009, by Mark Norris

September 21, 2009

A Change of Season

This week heralds the first day of autumn which is a good time to touch base. The summer passed too quickly as I focused on my clients and caseload before the return to session next January.

While we have been thankful for abundant rains this year, the weather made haying a challenge. Hard to “make hay while the sun shines” when it rains every other day; but the pumpkins have prospered, notwithstanding deer attacks, and a bumper crop is on the horizon.


Throughout the summer, state revenues continued to decline. August marked the eighteenth month of negative growth. The outlook for next year’s budget is grim.


A Busy Week Ahead…

This morning, I attended the Annual Board Meeting of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission. Since passage of our “Crooks with Guns” legislation imposing mandatory incarceration for specific crimes committed by repeat offenders, violent crime has begun to decline. From January 1 to the end of July 2009, overall crime is down by 15.1% in Memphis. *

More work needs to be done, but adoption of more than 70% of the original “Crooks with Guns” bill over the last 2 years has yielded promising results.

On Tuesday, I will address the Board of Directors of the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce to discuss our economic development efforts in West Tennessee including the West Tennessee “Megasite” and Mississippi River Corridor projects.

On Thursday, I will address the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators concerning economic and environmental issues in the Lower Mississippi River Basin. As the Senate Majority Leader, and one whose district’s western-most boundary line is the Mississippi River, I have initiated a number of collaborative efforts across state lines to face and embrace the challenges and opportunities afforded by this tremendous resource.

On Sunday, I depart for Beijing, China on a 7-day cultural exchange and economic development mission as Head of Delegation for the Southern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments. The mission has been arranged by the Southern Legislative Conference and is not undertaken at taxpayer expense.

Accompanying me will be legislative leaders from Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, and Virginia. We will meet with Chinese Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Commerce, as well as various other officials and dignitaries. I will be meeting with Tennesseans working in China and their employers including International Paper and Medtronic among others. I will be sending periodic updates from Beijing and Shanghai on our progress.

Be sure to check out what’s going on at http://www.commercialappeal.com.


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