Norris News – January 28, 2017

On January 28, 2017, in News from Nashville 2017, by Mark Norris

Reelected Chairman of TACIR Announces Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) has been reelected Chairman of the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR). The election took place during a two-day meeting of the group in Nashville on January 26 and 27 where members discussed the proposed Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act. Introduction of the Act comes after an extensive study on the matter by TACIR which Governor Bill Haslam credited as significantly contributing to the proposal.

“I appreciate the confidence that the members have placed in me to continue to lead this commission.” said Senator Norris. “I look forward to continuing to build strong relationships between state, municipal and county governments and to work on solutions to the many issues that we face together in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act calls for providing $45 million over three years in grants and tax credits for service providers to assist in making broadband available to unserved homes and businesses. In addition, the plan will permit Tennessee’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service and make grant funding available to the state’s local libraries to help residents improve their digital literacy skills and maximize the benefits of broadband.

Announcing the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act with Governor Haslam at Cane Ridge High School in Nashville

Announcing the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act with Governor Haslam at Cane Ridge High School in Nashville

Norris said, “We need better access not bigger government. Internet access, and the broadband we need to provide it, is critical to commerce and quality of life, especially in our rural communities. In addition to the general public’s need for reliable access, broadband is essential to the state’s education and economic development efforts. We are pleased that this study has helped in providing a clear path forward to increase reliable access statewide.”

TACIR began in 1978 after legislative findings indicated the need for a permanent, intergovernmental body to study and take action on questions of organizational patterns, powers, functions, and relationships among federal, state, and local governments. The 25-member group is made up of public officials from state and local governments and private citizens. Many specific duties and functions are assigned to TACIR through legislation, including education financing, government modernization, public infrastructure needs, growth policy, local government tort liability, emergency communications, property assessment, and fiscal federalism.

Statewide LEAP Tour continues

I visited Bradley and Knox Counties last week to see the Labor and Education Alignment Program (LEAP) in action at schools in both Cleveland and Knoxville. These impressive programs provide relevant education and job training through dual enrollment programs so students graduate certified or well on their way to earning credentials for advancement and employment. LEAP now funds programs reaching 67 Tennessee counties. With increased funding in the upcoming budget, we hope to extend LEAP to students in all 95 counties.

Seeing the robotics program at Cleveland High School with Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland. This program is funded by LEAP.

Seeing the robotics program at Cleveland High School with Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland. This program is funded by LEAP.

With Representative Dan Howell, far left, at Walker Valley High School in Bradley County

With Representative Dan Howell, far left, at Walker Valley High School in Bradley County

Career Forward Task Force

On Thursday I had the opportunity to participate in a statewide education event focused on student pathways for success. The event was hosted by the Department of Education at Cane Ridge High School in Nashville. It brought together teachers, counselors, administrators and superintendents from all across the state. I had the privilege to discuss the Career Forward Task Force on which I participated. More about it can be found HERE.

While in Cleveland, Mayor Rowland introduced me to some of his friends.

While in Cleveland, Mayor Rowland introduced me to some of his friends.

And Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett invited all his Twitter followers to join us for lunch at Vol Market.

And Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett invited all his Twitter followers to join us for lunch at Vol Market.

Just like old times when Mayor Burchett was Senator Burchett working together with me in the General Assembly

Just like old times when Mayor Burchett was Senator Burchett working together with me in the General Assembly

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