Senator Mark Norris
9A Legislative Plaza,
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0232
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©2013 Mark Norris
Mark Norris on Tax Relief
MARK NORRIS sponsored and passed legislation this year to “kill” the “Death Tax.” Retirees have told lawmakers that the death tax is a key reason for leaving Tennessee and moving to Florida which does not have an inheritance tax. The inheritance tax places a heavy financial burden on family farms and family businesses. Financial experts predict that the Norris bill will increase local revenue since roughly fifty percent of the resulting savings will be spent on goods and services in Tennessee.
MARK NORRIS sponsored and passed legislation to reduce the state portion of the sales tax on grocery food from 5.5 percent to 5.25 percent, with the goal of lowering it to 5.0 percent in three years.
MARK NORRIS helped pass legislation this year repealing the state’s gift tax. Only two other states have a stand alone gift tax.
MARK NORRIS wrote the Resolution to amend the Tennessee Constitution to provide property tax relief for qualified senior citizens. After overwhelming support amending the Constitution in 2004, Norris sponsored and passed the enabling legislation. Over 50,000 Tennessee seniors can now afford to stay in their homes. www.tennesseniors.com
MARK NORRIS helped pass legislation to provide property tax relief for disabled veterans.
MARK NORRIS helped pass legislation that created the annual “Sales Tax Holiday” August 3-5 this year. This annual event provides sales tax relief for families buying school supplies and clothing in preparation of the new school year. www.tn.gov/revenue/salestaxholiday
MARK NORRIS supported the Resolution for a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting an income tax in Tennessee. The referendum will be on the 2014 ballot.
Mark Norris on PUBLIC SAFETY
MARK NORRIS passed the toughest and most comprehensive crime legislation in more than 25 years. “Crooks with Guns” increased the mandatory time served by the most violent, repeat offenders. Prior to this bill, these criminals were eligible for parole after serving only 35% of their sentence. They must now serve a minimum of 85% of their sentence. Reports from District Attorneys across the state confirm that this legislation has made a difference in their communities by keeping violent felons off the streets, and keeping Tennessee families safe.
MARK NORRIS sponsored the law that strengthens penalties against those convicted of domestic violence. The “Repeat Domestic Violence Offender” creates a new offense for repeat domestic violence offenders and prescribes mandatory jail time and enhanced fines for those who have committed serious bodily injury. Tennessee is ranked second in the nation in domestic violence and is fifth in the number of women murdered by men as a result of domestic violence. This legislation will help curb this despicable crime.
MARK NORRIS sponsored landmark legislation to curb prescription drug abuse. The Tennessee Prescription Safety Act of 2012 provides a tool for law enforcement to stop drug dealers and those who doctor shop. A Tennessee Drug Diversion Task Force report showed 56 percent of patients who receive opioid prescriptions have filled another opioid prescription within the previous 30 days. Tennessee ranks second in the nation in regard to the overutilization of prescription pain medications, with an average of 20 Tennesseans losing their lives each week from drug overdose. Last year, there were more deaths in Tennessee due to drug overdoses than motor vehicle accidents, homicide or suicide. This bill is a huge step in the right direction in curbing this major state health epidemic.
MARK NORRIS was named the “Legislator of the Year” by the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police in 2007.
MARK NORRIS was named the “Legislator of the Year” by the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference in 2008.
Mark Norris on EDUCATION Strengthening Neighborhood Schools
MARK NORRIS led the fight for your right to vote whether to organize municipal school districts. When the Memphis City School Board voted to dissolve its charter in December 2010, there were no guidelines or procedures in place for an orderly transfer of administration. Norris authored Public Chapter 1 (Norris-Todd) to provide stability, and more importantly time, for community leaders to formulate a plan for this unprecedented action.
In August 2011, upholding PC 1 against an onslaught of constitutional challenges in federal court, Judge Mays ruled, “Public Chapter 1 advances the public interest.”
In March 2012, the Tennessee Attorney General ruled that the suburbs could not allow citizens to vote until 2013. Norris once again authored legislation upholding the right to vote now – not a year from now. As a result, the school issue will be on the ballot on August 2nd.
“All we ask is that citizens of the suburban towns have the same rights as those in Memphis — the right of self-determination. Memphians had a referendum to disband their schools. Suburban citizens should have the right to do otherwise.” – Mark Norris
MARK NORRIS sponsored the Tennessee law requiring our children to not only learn, but recite, the Pledge of Allegiance in school each day. It is an important part of our civic heritage and patriotic duty. For many, it speaks to our religious heritage as well.
MARK NORRIS was named the “Legislator of the Year” by the Tennessee School Board Association in 2003 and by the Tennessee PTA in 2005.
MARK NORRIS sponsored a bill this year requiring a new emphasis on civics education. The most recent study of the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that students perform worse in civics and U.S. history than in any other subjects. It drew praise from retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor who wrote Leader Norris saying, “This important legislation will help make sure that every Tennessee student receives the civil learning that is so vital to their becoming an informed and engaged citizen.” Norris completed the bill after meeting with O’Connor whose efforts to promote civics education are taking root at middle schools and high schools across the nation.