Local Legislative Agenda

2022 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.
  • Clarify child labor laws as it relates to youth apprenticeships.
  • 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 legislation that takes the burden of work-based learning liability off the employers.
  • Support high school curriculum regarding career and technical paths that give students skills to enter the workforce.
  • Maintain business-friendly conditions for Tennessee employers by continuing to improve the state's Workers' Compensation system.
  • 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.
  • Advocate for increased funding of public education, particularly to address learning loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of Internet access and to eliminate disparities among socioeconomic groups.
  • Support targeted assistance and educational opportunities for workers dislocated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 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.
  • Advocate for full funding of the formula for community colleges as proposed by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. These funds are critical to Pellissippi State's ability to deliver their mission of workforce training for the region.
  • 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.
  • At third grade, students that are on track or above categories will advance to 4th grade. Add another "level top approaching" the move to 4th grade.

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

  • Work to balance the needs for mitigation of COVID-19 with the needs to minimize the economic impact to businesses.
  • 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.
  • Enhance infrastructure and training incentives and establish technology-driven incentives.
  • 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.
  • Oppose any legislation prohibiting/restricting Industrial Development Board authority to negotiate and implement Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements.
  • Encourage State officials to support rural development programs that do not directly or indirectly negatively impact the more developed and urban areas of the State.
  • Support Tennessee's Right-to-Work status.
  • Support Tennessee's Employment-At-Will doctrine.

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 efforts to recruit low-cost air carriers to McGhee Tyson Airport.
  • 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 at the local, state, and federal levels to increase investment in wired and wireless broadband networks to improve education, medical care, and economic opportunities for all Tennesseans.
  • Support efforts at the local, state, and federal level to increase investment in wired and wireless broadband networks to improve education, medical care, and economic opportunities for all Tennesseans.
  • Support efforts to recruit low-cost air carriers and additional flights to and from key markets out of McGhee Tyson Airport.

Entrepreneurship & Small Business

  • Support restoring state matching funds for award recipients of the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
  • 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.

Tourism

  • 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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