State Sen. Becky Massey said an overwhelming response from her district led to her vote against SB765, the bill which would allow Tennesseans to carry handguns without a permit or training. The bill passed the state Senate 23-9 last week and will be heard in a House committee today (3/23).
“I had approximately 3,000 contacts (emails, phone calls, Facebook messages and replies to my survey) regarding this bill from residents of Knox County. 84% of all the contacts were against this bill. As a result of these compelling results, I voted against this bill,” she said.
The bill is part of Gov. Bill Lee’s legislative package. Earlier story here.
Small business: Massey is all-in for SB474, which would allow any business to remain open during a pandemic or other health emergency if it follows government guidelines to keep its customers and employees safe.
“We learned a lot over the last year about public health guidelines, essential vs. non-essential businesses, social distancing and more during the pandemic. We also learned that certain small businesses were impacted much more negatively than others and that certain industries needed greater flexibility,” she said.
“This bill means small businesses are not forced to close while their bigger competitors stay open. … It ensures that government won’t pick winners and losers like Michigan, where big box retailers are thriving while small retailers remain at 50% capacity as of early March.”
Other bills of interest:
Text-to-911: The full Senate has approved SB182, sponsored by Massey, to develop a statewide implementation plan by Jan. 1, 2023, to send text message to 911 from mobile phones or devices.
Boating Under the Influence: SB246 passed the Senate last week.
Volunteer Health Care Services: SB929 passed the Senate. It makes exception from state licensure requirements for out-of-state providers to work through volunteer clinics to provide free telehealth services for the uninsured or underinsured.
Art Therapy Licenses: SB101 also passed the Senate.
Volunteer Firefighters: SB655 passed unanimously by the full Senate. It establishes a retirement system based on length of service. The majority of Tennessee’s firefighters are volunteers, Massey said. The 22,065 active firefighters reported to the State Fire Marshall’s Office in 2020 consists of 14,218 (64%) volunteers and 7,847 (35.6%) career firefighters.
Lifetime Sports License / Adopted Children: SB119 received approval by the full Senate to enable adopted children to receive the discounted fees that other Tennessee children are able to enjoy.
Supporting Law Enforcement Officers: SB440 passed the Senate. It provides for a $10,000 reward for information (injury) or $20,000 (death) of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty.
Expanding Safe at Home: SB885 passed the Senate. It adds family members to the law that allows victims of human trafficking or domestic abuse to apply for a substitute address which can be used throughout state and local government records to shield the participant’s address from the public.
The list goes on. Massey is the prime sponsor of many of these bills and an advocate for all. Like her dad, John J. Duncan Sr., who represented the 2nd Congressional District from 1965-88, Massey is a workhorse, not a showhorse. Her career as executive director of Sertoma Center broadened her outlook, moving her beyond the GOP echo chamber. She’s the right person for this job, and we’re lucky to have her in Nashville.
Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.