Senator Mark Norris - District 32 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1 Fri, 21 Nov 2014 21:18:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mark Norris Receives “Champion of Commerce” Award from Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Greater Memphis Chamber http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/21/mark-norris-receives-champion-of-commerce-award-from-tennessee-chamber-of-commerce-industry-and-greater-memphis-chamber/ http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/21/mark-norris-receives-champion-of-commerce-award-from-tennessee-chamber-of-commerce-industry-and-greater-memphis-chamber/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 21:15:16 +0000 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/?p=5834  Phil Trenary, President of the Memphis Chamber; Frankie Anderson, TN Chamber Manager of Government Affairs; Norris and Bradley Jackson, TN Chamber Vice President

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Greater Memphis Chamber have awarded the “Champion of Commerce” award to Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville). The prestigious award recognizes individuals that exemplify outstanding achievement promoting business and free enterprise during the 108th General Assembly.

Norris sponsored numerous bills designed to improve workforce readiness and make the state more attractive for business investment during the 2013 – 2014 legislative sessions, including creation of the Labor Education Alignment Program (“LEAP”). This program lays the foundation for the cooperative effort of government, higher education and businesses looking for skilled workers by providing on-the-job training while the student earns college credit and income.

“We are proud to recognize Senator Mark Norris,” said Bradley Jackson, vice president of the Tennessee Chamber government affairs program. “This is a great opportunity to showcase these legislators who went above and beyond on a number of pro-business policies at the State Capitol.”

Norris was appointed by Governor Bill Haslam to the State Workforce Development Board in 2013. Since becoming Chairman of the national Council of State Governments (CSG) last year, Norris has made workforce development and education his focus through the organization’s “State Pathways to Prosperity” initiative.

“I’m honored to receive this award,” said Senator Norris. “Businesses face many new challenges in a globally competitive marketplace, including finding workers with the requisite skills for 21st century jobs. We are capable of meeting that need, but better communication and coordination between departments, schools and businesses are key to our success. The Chamber is an important part of this effort and I look forward to continuing to partner with them to move our state forward.”

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See Attached Photo: Phil Trenary, President of the Memphis Chamber; Frankie Anderson, TN Chamber Manager of Government Affairs; Norris and Bradley Jackson, TN Chamber Vice President

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Norris News from Nashville – November 10, 2014 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/10/norris-news-from-nashville-november-10-2014/ http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/10/norris-news-from-nashville-november-10-2014/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:21:52 +0000 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/?p=5825 At the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

At the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

On Veterans Day, one hundred years after the start of The Great War, we embrace our veterans here at home and those returning from America’s longest wars. We not only owe them and their families a debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice in defense of our nation and our freedoms, but we owe them our best efforts to ensure that active duty troops and families, National Guard, reserve forces, and all veterans are fully honored for their service.

As state leaders, we must do everything in our power to ensure that these brave men and women and their families have the same opportunities to participate in, and benefit from, that American Dream which makes our Republic the greatest nation the world has ever known.

As Chair of The Council of State Governments, I’m honored to lead an organization committed to supporting our veterans through meaningful policies and programs in the states.

In Tennessee, we are focused on making it easier for returning veterans to gain the meaningful skills and education they need to attain employment in our 21st century economy. The U.S. military discharges 160,000 active service members and 110,000 Reserve and National Guard members each year. About 32,000 of those veterans will join the ranks of nearly 1 million veterans already unemployed.

Through the VETS Act we are working with post-secondary educational institutions to provide flexibility in enrollment and tuition to our returning veterans.

Please join me today in personally thanking those who have served our respective states and country and honoring our veterans by ensuring that they too have a pathway to prosperity. We must look at policies that can provide a path forward for our veterans who have committed to preserving prosperity for all Americans through their service and sacrifice.

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Legislation is last step to allow veterans groups to hold an annual fundraising event like duck races, cake walks,
raffles and other games of chance

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) announced today they are drafting enabling legislation to allow 501 (c) (19) veterans organizations to raise funds for charitable purposes in accordance with Constitutional Amendment 4 which was ratified by the voters on Tuesday. Amendment 4, which gives veterans groups the same opportunity as 501 (c) (3) organizations to conduct an annual fundraising event like duck races, cake walks, raffles, and other games of chance, received 69.6% of the vote, outpacing all other constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Senator Crowe was the prime sponsor of the amendment and Senator Norris is Chairman of the Veterans Subcommittee of the Senate State and Local Government Committee. Any funds raised by the games under Amendment 4 must go to purposes that benefit the community, veterans or retired veterans.

“We are very pleased this amendment received such high approval among voters,” said Senator Norris. “These veterans groups do a lot of good community service work and the passage of this amendment can help them in their efforts. Our legislation will allow this process to move forward and will ensure that the deadline affords these organizations enough time to get their applications in.”

Currently, 501 (c) (3) organizations must submit an application and all required attachments between July 1st and January 31st each year for an event which takes place between July 1 and June 30.

“Years ago, when the constitutional amendment allowing charitable gaming passed, our veterans were left out,” said Senator Crowe. “We have been working ever since to change the Constitution so they can raise charitable funds to benefit the less fortunate in our communities like our wounded warriors. The legislation is the final step in ensuring that this constitutional amendment is enacted. We look forward to bringing it before the General Assembly as soon as the legislature convenes and will push for passage as quickly as possible.”

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“VETS” Legislation Offers In-State Tuition Rates,
Academic Support for Veterans

Posted on November 12, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and House Speaker Pro Tem Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) passed legislation creating a statewide support structure that offers in-state tuition rates for veterans pursuing higher education in Tennessee.

Public Chapter 612 establishes the Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) Act, which prioritizes state administrative resources to help veterans fulfill their educational goals upon returning home from active duty.

“The VETS Act ensures that veterans have a clear, easy pathway to attend college in Tennessee,” Norris said. “As a state, we want to recognize and assist those soldiers who are coming home and exploring their education options.”

Specifically, the VETS Act provides in-state tuition rates for veterans at Tennessee public colleges and universities, thereby eliminating the issue of residency for those relying on GI Bill benefits. Norris said the legislation encourages enrollment of veterans and remove barriers known to impede their success in attaining higher education credentials.

Currently, recently-discharged veterans relocating to Tennessee must pay out-of-state tuition rates until residency is formally established. Under this bill, veterans enrolling within 24 months of discharge immediately receive the in-state tuition rate when starting college classes.

To maintain in-state status and rates, veterans have one year to present proof of established residency, such as a driver’s license, motor vehicle registration or proof of employment. Registering to vote also fulfills the requirement.

Norris said the VETS Act will attract a disciplined, technically-skilled student base, which is enticing to companies considering Tennessee as a potential destination.

“There is definitely an economic development component to the program,” Norris said. “As Tennessee competes for future corporate investment, having a pipeline of educated, skilled workers is a tremendous asset.”

The Act also creates a “VETS Campus” designation to recognize and promote schools that make veteran enrollment a priority. Higher education institutions that satisfy veteran-friendly criteria, such as specialized orientation and the availability of mentoring programs, can receive the designation.

“Our chief priority is to build a supportive learning atmosphere for service members who are transitioning out of a military setting,” Johnson said. “The key is creating an infrastructure that ensures veterans can then be successful in the academic environment.”

“This legislation puts Tennessee at the forefront of recognizing veterans, not only for their accomplishments as service members, but also for their future contributions as valued members of our workforce,” Johnson said.

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GOP leaders want to lower Tennessee sales tax rate http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/09/gop-leaders-want-to-lower-tennessee-sales-tax-rate/ http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/09/gop-leaders-want-to-lower-tennessee-sales-tax-rate/#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 13:25:29 +0000 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/?p=5820 State Republican legislative leaders want to cut the Tennessee sales tax rate from 7 percent to 6.75 percent.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, pre-filed identical bills this week calling for the cut to the state’s largest source of tax revenue.

“It’s time to have a serious discussion about state revenue,” Norris said Friday afternoon. “Putting the sales tax on the table helps us frame the issue, I think. It will be more helpful in framing the issue, and having a healthy discussion.”

In the last budget year, Tennessee earned about $7.2 billion from sales tax revenue, according to statistics from the Department of Revenue. A 0.25 percent reduction could represent hundreds of millions of dollars in lost state tax revenue, although state officials could not give an exact figure yet. The state uses a complex formula that applies the sales tax rate to the overall state tax base to estimate potential revenue for the state’s coffers.

The sales tax rate is different throughout the state, depending on city taxes. In Nashville for example, the state and city tax combine to result in a 9.25 percent tax. Looking at just the state sales tax, the change would mean someone buying a $25,000 car would pay about $62.50 less in state sales tax on that purchase.

Tennessee doesn’t have an income tax, and voters just approved a change to the constitution to forbid such a tax. Norris said the adoption of the constitutional amendment and the start of a new legislative session made for the perfect time to discuss tax cuts without the “boogeyman” of the income tax.

Any tax cut would likely mean an offsetting cut in some sort of spending.

“It’s all part of the discussion. Everything’s fair game. It needs to be. It really needs to be,” Norris said.

Norris and Laura Herzog, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bill Haslam, confirmed the bills were not introduced on behalf of the governor.

“We’re in the process of working on our legislative agenda and just beginning the budget process,” Herzog said. “As part of our legislative preparation process, we’ll review bills that have been filed and position those bills in the coming months.”

The proposed reduction comes after Haslam has repeatedly warned against repealing the state’s investment tax, known as the Hall tax. State Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, pre-filed a bill this week that would repeal the Hall tax gradually over three years.

Norris, who noted the measure looks very similar to one introduced last session by Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, said he and McCormick believe its important to look at all state revenue and expenditures, starting with the sales tax.

“We can’t just have people going out piecemeal and filing little tax tweaks or trying to repeal a tax,” Norris said.

He said he notified the governor about the proposed sales tax cut. While he said he understands the governor’s reasoning for being wary of a Hall tax repeal, he said Haslam “appreciated the spirit” of the bill from the majority leaders.

Reach Dave Boucher at 615-259-8892 and on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.

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Senators Crowe and Norris Drafting Legislation to Enact Amendment 4 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/06/senators-crowe-and-norris-drafting-legislation-to-enact-amendment-4/ http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/06/senators-crowe-and-norris-drafting-legislation-to-enact-amendment-4/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 23:49:07 +0000 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/?p=5814 Legislation is last step to allow veterans groups to hold an annual fundraising event like duck races, cake walks, raffles and other games of chance

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), November 6, 2014 – Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) announced today they are drafting enabling legislation to allow 501 (c) (19) veterans organizations to raise funds for charitable purposes in accordance with Constitutional Amendment 4 which was ratified by the voters on Tuesday. Amendment 4, which gives veterans groups the same opportunity as 501 (c) (3) organizations to conduct an annual fundraising event like duck races, cake walks, raffles, and other games of chance, received 69.6% of the vote, outpacing all other constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Senator Crowe was the prime sponsor of the amendment and Senator Norris is Chairman of the Veterans Subcommittee of the Senate State and Local Government Committee. Any funds raised by the games under Amendment 4 must go to purposes that benefit the community, veterans or retired veterans.

“We are very pleased this amendment received such high approval among voters,” said Senator Norris. “These veterans groups do a lot of good community service work and the passage of this amendment can help them in their efforts. Our legislation will allow this process to move forward and will ensure that the deadline affords these organizations enough time to get their applications in.”

Currently, 501 (c) (3) organizations must submit an application and all required attachments between July 1st and January 31st each year for an event which takes place between July 1 and June 30.

“Years ago, when the constitutional amendment allowing charitable gaming passed, our veterans were left out,” said Senator Crowe. “We have been working ever since to change the Constitution so they can raise charitable funds to benefit the less fortunate in our communities, like our wounded warriors. The legislation is the final step in ensuring that this constitutional amendment is enacted. We look forward to bringing it before the General Assembly as soon as the legislature convenes and will push for passage as quickly as possible.”

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Capitol Ideas: Why did you choose State Pathways to Prosperity as your initiative? http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/06/capitol-ideas-why-did-you-choose-state-pathways-to-prosperity-as-your-initiative/ http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/06/capitol-ideas-why-did-you-choose-state-pathways-to-prosperity-as-your-initiative/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 12:43:08 +0000 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/?p=5808 Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, the 2014 Council of State Governments national chair and a 2002 CSG Toll Fellow, selected “State Pathways to Prosperity” as his chair’s initiative. He believes states can play a role in helping to ensure residents have the necessary skills to fill the jobs. The initiative focuses not only on education, but also on other issue that might affect an individual’s ability to work.

By Mary Branham, CSG Managing Editor

 
Why did you choose State Pathways to Prosperity as your initiative?

 
“We all want to see improvement in the quality of life in our states. State Pathways is CSG’s workforce development and education initiative designed to facilitate that objective. Workforce development and relevant education present, at once, the greatest challenges, as well as opportunities, of our time.

 
“I wanted CSG to continue to be part of the effort already underway across the country to amass a ready workforce equipped with a relevant education to embrace the advanced manufacturing opportunities now returning to our shores. In short, to be an active participant in the nationwide effort to close the skills gap standing between too many of our citizens and opportunities for meaningful employment.

 
“I chose State Pathways because so much was already being done to analyze the skills gap, but not enough was being done to close it. Rather than reinvent the wheel with some other initiative, I thought it best to put our shoulder to the same wheel as (the National Governors Association) and others in an effort to promote solutions.”

Why is it important to include military and veterans’ issues, criminal justice, hunger and nutrition, and children’s issues in this discussion?

 
“It’s important because ‘life happens’ and, sometimes, interferes. Hunger, for example, subtly but insidiously intervenes. Hungry children don’t learn as well; hungry parents don’t perform well.

 
“Ex-felons, nonviolent ex-offenders, represent a ready workforce amounting to hundreds of thousands who could relatively quickly join the workforce but for their infraction.

 
“Veterans are often the most highly skilled and trained workforce we have. But for the lack of a conventional certificate or degree, these individuals could readily assume responsibility for seizing the opportunities afforded by the emerging economy.

 
“Each of these issues present special challenges, and sometimes opportunities, to educators, guidance counselors, recruiters, developers and human resource professionals. They are integral to the kind of comprehensive approach that must be taken in order to succeed.”

 

 

It’s been said that, too often, state agencies work in silos, but the discussions thus far this year have linked everything from education to transportation as impacting workforce development. Do you hope this effort will shed light on the need for more interaction among agencies and departments for state policymakers?

 
“Absolutely. We can facilitate the type of ‘dot-connecting’ that does just that. In Tennessee, I introduced LEAP—the Labor Education Alignment Program—to align our departments of Labor and Workforce Development, Higher Education and Economic Development for that very reason. Don’t assume that your departments are interacting effectively. Incentivize them to do so. There is a lot to be said for the success that comes from leveraging existing resources.

You mention connecting the dots and one element is veterans’ issues. What is it about military service that provides what is often an even better preparation for civilian jobs?

 
“Today’s veteran is highly trained and practically experienced in so many specialized skills that are in high demand. Military service not only provides such training and experience, but it does so in an environment that instills discipline, pride and an invaluable work ethic.”

What can state leaders do from a public policy perspective that can have the most impact on hunger in their states?

 
“First, state leaders can become informed. Understanding food insecurity, its interrelationships with nutrition, health, education and employment, is critical. Second, create a forum for disseminating what you learn and for learning more. In Tennessee, we organized a Nutrition Caucus. It provides a framework and a forum for food banks, professional dieticians and nutritionists, private sector participants, policymakers and others to work together in crafting solutions. Third, encourage your colleagues and others to volunteer to help local food banks, farmers markets and organizations like the YMCA, Catholic Charities and local schools, many of which are already working to alleviate or eliminate food insecurity in our communities.”

Have states not typically looked long-term in the understanding of state prosperity—whether it is for government services or serving the current and future workforces?

 
“States may look long-term, but, too often, they look through the wrong lens. To mix metaphors, they think they’re ‘skating to the puck,’ but they need to be skating to where the puck will be rather than where they think it is. CSG is working to harness and translate the data that drives governments’ ability to focus on the right future.”

What do you hope will come from this effort for providing answers to state policymakers?

 
“Generally, a stronger economy, including a skilled, national workforce, declining unemployment and increasing gross domestic product. Specifically, a sustainable CSG workforce development and education program of use and benefit to state and local governments. Not only one that is content rich for teaching purposes—seminars, best practices and the like—but one that (also) provides cost-saving services to state and local governments as well as individual policymakers.”

What is the ultimate goal for the initiative and when will you know it has had some impact?

 
“We know that our programming has already had some impact. Other legislative organizations are following CSG’s lead, replicating our programming to some extent, but we (also) are attracting private funding to take this to the next level. The ultimate impact won’t be certain for some time, but it’s hard to see history in the making when you’re in the midst of making it. Whether the United States rises to the challenge and fully embraces the manufacturing renaissance now underway remains to be seen. I suspect we will, and CSG will be an important player in it.”

Multiple stakeholders are involved in this effort. What will be necessary to maintain that long-term interest and involvement?

 
“Accurate data. Useful metrics to measure success. And success itself. States compete for jobs and governments compete for scarce resources needed to drive economic opportunity. Those that understand this and are able to maximize the right opportunities will maintain it. Those that don’t will falter. In other words, it’s in everyone’s best interest to maintain a long-term commitment to building the best workforce in the world.”

How can state policymakers across the country help to ensure this effort is successful?

 
“Get involved. Ask the hard questions. See to it that your curricula are relevant and institutions of higher learning are properly incentivized and funded to graduate citizens with the aptitude, attitude and skills necessary to work, earn and learn in the 21st century.”

When you reflect on your year as CSG chair, what would you want your legacy to be?

 
“As I’ve often said this year, history in the making is hard to see when you’re in the midst of making it. I would like to think that, one day, others will recognize this as a time of great transition, not only for state governments, but (also) for organizations like CSG that serve them; a time when states stepped up to the challenge our Founders actually foresaw 238 years ago by overcoming the dysfunction in (Washington,) D.C. States, not Washington, will preserve the union, and CSG will have played a significant role in making it possible.”

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Your Performance of my Music Honoring President Reagan http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/06/your-performance-of-my-music-honoring-president-reagan/ http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/06/your-performance-of-my-music-honoring-president-reagan/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 12:19:54 +0000 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/?p=5803 Mark Camphouse and Senator Mark Norris

Composer Mark Camphouse and Senator Mark Norris

Dear Senator Norris,

Just a quick note to once again convey my deep appreciation for your masterful performance last week in the Grand Ole Opry House with the narration of my musical composition (The Shining City) honoring President Reagan. You brought great dignity, sincerity, and meaning to the words of “The Great Communicator.” I think “The Gipper” would have loved it! Collaborating with you provided the gifted student musicians (and the composer!) with a very memorable experience. And thanks so much for the beautiful medallion. I trust a member of your staff gave you a signed copy of the score. You are a great patriot and public servant. Thanks for all you do for the arts in the great state of Tennessee. I hope our paths will cross again. All the best for the upcoming Holiday Season.

Respectfully, and with warmest regards,

-Mark

Mark D. Camphouse
Professor of Music
Conductor, Wind Symphony
School of Music
George Mason University
4400 University Drive

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Ebola Information Hotline: 877-857-2945 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/04/ebola-information-hotline-877-857-2945/ http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/04/ebola-information-hotline-877-857-2945/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:03:51 +0000 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/?p=5791 In partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Poison Center (TPC) is answering calls from Tennessee residents regarding the Ebola virus.

 
All calls are free of charge, and will be answered between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days a week. TPC is certified as the statewide poison control center by the Tennessee Department of Health and is certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

 
Signs and Symptoms of Ebola
A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear. Signs and Symptoms of Ebola typically include:

•Fever (greater than 101.5°F)
•Severe headache
•Muscle pain
•Vomiting
•Diarrhea
•Stomach pain
•Unexplained bleeding or bruising

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola but the average is 8 to 10 days.

How does the Ebola infection spread?

When an infection does occur in humans, there are several ways the virus can be spread to others. These include:

•direct contact with the blood or body fluids (including but not limited to feces, saliva, urine, vomit and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola.

•contact with objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with
the blood or body fluids of an infected person or with infected animals.

The virus in the blood and body fluids can enter another person’s body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The viruses that cause Ebola are often spread among families and friends because they come in close contact with blood or body fluids when caring for ill persons.

How do I protect myself against Ebola?

If you are in or traveling to an area affected by the Ebola outbreak, protect yourself by doing the following:

• Wash hands frequently.

• Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of any person, particularly someone who is sick.

• Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.

• Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.

• Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.

• Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on medical facilities.

• Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

• Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility.

For More Information:

Tennessee Department of Health information on Ebola:
http://health.state.tn.us/Ceds/ebola.htm

Ebola Information hotline: 877-857-2945

This project is funded under an agreement with the state of Tennessee.

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Norris Recognized by U.S. Department of Defense http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/04/norris-recognized-by-u-s-department-of-defense/ http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/11/04/norris-recognized-by-u-s-department-of-defense/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 18:38:13 +0000 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/?p=5784 veterans awards

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), November 4, 2014 – Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense for his “leadership on public policy changes positively impacting the quality of life of Service members and their families.”

Norris serves as Chairman of the national Council of State Governments and launched a two-year workforce development and education initiative to assist veterans called State Pathways to Prosperity. He is also Chairman of the Veterans Subcommittee of the Senate State and Local Government Committee. This year, he authored and passed the 2014 VETS Act providing in-state tuition to veterans upon discharge and incentivizing “vets-friendly” college campuses.

“It is with great pleasure that the Department of Defense presents you with this certificate of appreciation signed by Rosemary Freitas Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy,” said Dr. Thomas L. Langdon, State Liaison and Education Opportunity Director, in a letter to Senator Norris. “Please accept our appreciation and that of the Service members and families residing in your state for your dedicated effort towards improving their quality of life.”

Senator Norris has sponsored numerous other laws during his legislative tenure helping veterans, including the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, legislation helping deployed parents deal with custody issues, and was instrumental this year in obtaining state funding for site evaluation and acquisition of land for the next state veterans home in West Tennessee. He received the coveted AMVETS Silver Bayonet Award during the AMVETS Annual Meeting in Gatlinburg earlier this year.

“Veterans Day serves as a reminder of the importance of honoring those who protect our freedom,” said Senator Norris. “Faced with tremendous challenges, our veterans have responded with great skill, courage and honor. It is important that we honor those sacrifices by taking care of them when they come home. I appreciate this award and will continue to work to improve services for our service men and women.”

Norris is the son of a B-24 pilot. He represents District 32 including Shelby and Tipton Counties and has served as Senate Majority Leader since 2007.

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Senator Norris receives coveted Champion of Life Science Award from Life Science Tennessee http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/10/23/senator-norris-receives-coveted-champion-of-life-science-award-from-life-science-tennessee/ http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/10/23/senator-norris-receives-coveted-champion-of-life-science-award-from-life-science-tennessee/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:08:06 +0000 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/?p=5773

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) has received the Champion of Life Science Award from Life Science Tennessee for his work to “create more high-tech jobs, commercialize more technology and make a difference in the overall health of Tennesseans and people throughout the globe.” The coveted award was presented to Norris at the group’s annual conference in Nashville on Wednesday.

“Your support of companies and organizations such as St. Jude, Memphis Bioworks, UTHSC, the vast medical device industry in Memphis, as well as your support advocating for better health care, and capital formation programs for Tennessee’s emerging technologies has made a difference and allowed the life science industry to grow in Tennessee over the past several years,” said Life Science Tennessee Executive Director, Abby Trotter, in a letter to Norris announcing the award.

Norris serves on the Tennessee Workforce Development Board, and is a Director of Launch TN and the Memphis Research Consortium.

Life Science Tennessee is a statewide, non-profit, member organization whose mission is to advance and grow the life science industry in Tennessee through advocacy, partnerships and alignment with economic and workforce development. Members include companies, universities, research institutions, government and economic development groups, and other industry associations involved in discovery and application of life sciences products and related services to improve the health and well-being of people throughout the world.

“I am very honored to receive this award from this distinguished group,” said Senator Norris. “The Life Sciences are vital to economic development, entrepreneurship and well being in Tennessee. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

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Senator Norris to perform with nation’s most elite high school musicians http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/10/17/senator-norris-to-perform-with-nations-most-elite-high-school-musicians/ http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/2014/10/17/senator-norris-to-perform-with-nations-most-elite-high-school-musicians/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:58:18 +0000 http://www.marknorris.org/blog1/?p=5759

Thirty-three Tennessee students to participate in NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles

honor band

NASVHILLE, Tenn. — Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) will perform on the Grand Ole Opry stage with the nation’s most elite high school musicians, as he narrates a musical tribute to the spirit of President Ronald Reagan for the All-National Honor Ensembles. The October 29th event will mark the first time the 40th U.S. President’s words have been on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in over 30 years

The concert will highlight the National Association for Music Education’s (NAfME) “Music Education Orchestrates Success” conference in Nashville which begins on October 26. Senator Norris is Chairman of the Council of State Governments, a bipartisan professional association serving all three branches of government in 50 states and Puerto Rico.

“It is a tremendous honor to perform with these incredibly talented students,” said Senator Norris. “These students represent ‘the best of the best’ musicians in the United States and I am very honored to have a role in this concert.”

Norris will narrate “The Shining City,” comprised of excerpts from the speeches and writings of President Reagan, as NAfME’s National Honor Band performs. Composer Mark Camphouse, who is the Professor of Music and Conductor of the Wind Symphony at George Mason University, will conduct the band. President Reagan last appeared at the Grand Ole Opry on September 13, 1984, when he spoke at a birthday celebration for country music legend Roy Acuff.

“These are big shoes to fill,” added Norris. “But, I know that the music will help fill those shoes. As President Reagan said: “Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.”

The 670 students performing in the All-National Honor Ensembles were chosen from approximately 2.5 million contenders nationwide at local, district and state music festivals. It consists of a concert band, orchestra, mixed chorus, and jazz ensemble Thirty-three of the students are from Tennessee. In addition to Camphouse, the students will perform under the direction of Gerald Schwarz, Edith Copley and Robert Baca, all of whom have received top honors in their field.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is the largest fine arts education organization in the country with nearly 60,000 members nationwide. October marks National Arts and Humanities Month. After the concert, Norris will address the annual meeting of the Tennessee Arts Commission at Montgomery Bell State Park.

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