Local Legislative Agenda

2023 Blount County Chamber of Commerce
Legislative Agenda

Education & Workforce Development
To ensure a high-quality, capable workforce in the future.

  • Expand recognized industry certifications by the Tennessee Department of Education. Make these certifications free for our students including dual credit and dual enrollment.
  • Remove the burden of utilizing TN Promise funds for dual credit and dual enrollment while in high school.
  • Exempt potential CTE teachers from the TN teacher certification standards.
  • Support an accountability model for Tennessee school systems that includes a measure of quality career and technical education, including industry-recognized certifications, work- based leaning, dual enrollment, and post-secondary opportunities to help reach the state's goal of 55 percent of Tennesseans by 2025 holding postsecondary credentials.
  • Support continuation of Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Reconnect and other initiatives that encourage attendance and completion of post-secondary training.
  • Support high school curriculum regarding career and technical paths that give students skills to enter the workforce.
  • Oppose any state action that would result in mandating the election of school system superintendents. Oppose partisan school board elections.
  • Support criminal justice reform initiatives that positively impact workforce by enhancing skills, reducing recidivism, and strengthening responses to individuals with behavioral and health needs.
  • Support processes and policies to ensure funds allotted to the state and region through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act are administered equitably, efficiently, and creatively by the East Tennessee Local Workforce Development Authority Board.
  • Support creation of a funding pool for short-term workforce training and certification, not currently eligible for financial aid.
  • Encourage the State of Tennessee to implement a "Work in Tennessee" initiative to attract skilled and educated workers to our State to meet the needs of our existing and future employers.
  • Seek to increase access to quality and affordable childcare. Incentivize businesses offering childcare options to their employees and/or community.
  • Support reducing the per student ratio of counselors and nurses.
  • Amend legislation on 3rd Grade Retention to not affect 3rd grade students in the 60 percentile (currently 50%) who performed at a higher level.
  • Work with TBR / THEC to simplify the consortium agreement process for high school students who are attending multiple post-secondary institutions for dual enrollment. Currently, TN Promise will only pay one institution, and will send the student a check to pay the other institution.
  • Amend legislation / policies to allow Ready Graduate credit (EPSOs) to be given to 7th and 8th graders who are taking CTE courses and earning industry certifications.
  • Change TN Promise eligibility to require less hours per semester if student is also working full time. Currently requires 12+ hours.
  • Address the gap for students that do not fit TN Promise or TN Reconnect. TN Reconnect lowered age to 23 but there are still many students left out i.e. students who took time off, or worked first, or went one semester and didn't return the next semester, to still be able to access dollars for education. Ideally, assign an amount per student that can be utilized for each student in Tennessee.
  • The only aviation education included in TDOE pathways falls under Transportation, and only addresses education for pilots. Expand aviation education in TDOE pathways to include aviation professions, particularly aviation maintenance (Airframe & Powerplant Mechanics.

Economic Development
To attract, retain and expand business in our region.

  • Create an ecosystem for entrepreneurial growth.
  • Ensure a robust quality of life that attracts business and talent.
  • Support local governments' continued ability to promote economic development and affordable housing through public/private partnerships such as tax increment financing (TIF), payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) and Housing Tax Credits and encourage the State of Tennessee to promote and support these efforts.
  • Oppose any legislation prohibiting/restricting Industrial Development Board authority to negotiate and implement Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements.
  • Become a top destination for innovation by recruiting technology and research and development companies. Technology and research projects offer high-wage positions with large capital expenditures.
  • Oppose any legislation mandating a minimum wage.
  • Support Tennessee's Employment-At-Will doctrine.
  • Maintain business-friendly conditions for Tennessee employers by continuing to improve the state's Workers' Compensation system.
  • Support the enhancement of infrastructure and training incentives, and the establishment of technology-driven incentives to recruit and retain high-skilled high-wage jobs and further the region's reputation for innovation.
  • Advocate for McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base to receive and deploy the K-46 Pegasus refueling aircraft, and its associated Air Force personnel, to capitalize on recent investments at the base.

Health Care
To encourage a healthy workforce while not creating financial burden on employers.

  • Renew and maintain Certificate of Need (CON) legislation in Tennessee, especially in counties with a sole community hospital, in order to support and protect these vital resources for businesses and citizens.
  • Support health policies, particularly those addressing mental health, substance abuse and addiction which improve the welfare of the state's workforce.
  • Oppose mandatory healthcare requirements for employers and individuals.
  • Support legislation for insurance expansion to cover proton therapy cancer treatments.
  • Support refining real-time reporting to law enforcement for opiate prescriptions by physicians and pharmacies.
  • Seek to extend the timeline of state law that requires reimbursement of telehealth services at the same rate as in-person services as a method to expand delivery of medical services and close disparities in access to health care.

Infrastructure & Transportation
To provide the infrastructure needed for business to succeed.

  • Support completion of Pellissippi Parkway to Hwy. 321.
  • Support completion of Alcoa Highway.
  • Support funding for the completion of the Knox/Blount County Greenway to Townsend.
  • Oppose bills that take the annexation ability away from municipalities.
  • Support efforts to recruit low-cost air carriers and additional flights to and from key markets out of McGhee Tyson Airport.
  • Support continued efforts at the local, state and federal level to increase investment in wired and wireless broadband networks, as well as efforts to improve digital literacy, to improve education, medical care and economic opportunities for all Tennesseans.
  • Support short- and long-term solutions for interstate congestion and regional arterials that ensure connectivity and mobility for commuters, deliverers of goods and tourists.

Entrepreneurship & Small Business

  • Ensure any proposed data privacy/protection legislation targets large companies profiting from the sale of consumer data and protects small businesses that rely on digital tools for marketing, order fulfillment and other business processes.


  • Support legislation that protects local governments from preemption of their zoning laws by Airbnb locations and ensure that any Airbnb does not possess any unfair advantages by not being assessed as a commercial endeavor and not paying all the applicable taxes an existing short-term enterprise would have to pay.
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