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Great bills were passed that will promote freedom and prosperity for Tennessee. Other not-so-great bills also passed, but we’ll continue to make our voices heard when we see issues we disagree with.
Here’s our review of the top moments from Tennessee’s legislative session:
Americans for Prosperity had a few major policy issues in Tennessee this year, including civil asset forfeiture reform, occupational licensing reform and entitlement reform. We saw significant progress in all three areas.
Two major bills passed that will reform civil asset forfeiture laws in Tennessee:
HB 2021 will limit the practice of “Policing for Profit.”
Additionally, HB 2143 will require detailed reporting over civil asset forfeiture and how dollars are spent. Adding transparency to the process will help determine what additional reforms need to be taken.
The Fresh Start Act, or HB 2248, gives those who have a previous criminal conviction the ability to attain a professional license (such as barbers, cosmologists, accountants or any of the 200+ professions requiring a license to work) if their previous crime does not affect their ability to do a job or is unrelated to their desired profession. This is a great first step towards helping former offenders get their livelihoods back and contribute to society.
HB 1551 reinstates work requirements for entitlement programs such as food stamps. Work, school and volunteer requirements were placed on hold during the recession, but Tennessee’s unemployment rate is at an all-time low and this change will empower Tennesseans to lift themselves up from dependency. More success in entitlement reform included HB 1822/SB 2247 which will strengthen entitlement fraud detection, transitional assistance and support programs.
We did experience some setbacks regarding cronyism and the cozy relationship between government and the politically well-connected. HB 1914/SB 1894 was a disappointing set of bills passed by the legislature that allow city-owned gas utilities to use revenues to fund the Chamber of Commerce and other Economic and Community Development organizations. This a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars.
Overall, we accomplished incredible things this legislative session! Lifting the burden of regulation for workers and individuals in Tennessee will ensure more economic growth and individual success.
Don’t stand down because we’ve accomplished some of our goals. There is still a lot of work to do to promote freedom in the Volunteer State. Sign up to get involved in our next Day of Action so you can fight for freedom on the front lines!