General Assembly honors Bradley County veteran

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives this week approved a measure honoring Bradley County veteran John Simmons for his extraordinary contributions to Tennessee’s veterans and our nation.
House Bill 1652 passed unanimously in the House chamber Monday evening. It designates the entry driveway at the new Bradley County Tennessee State Veterans Home as the John Simmons Parkway in honor of Mr. Simmons.
A 100 percent service-connected veteran, Simmons proudly served our nation in the U.S. Navy and became a corpsman. He was called to duty during the Vietnam War and was also active in various organizations across southeast Tennessee, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
Simmons also served on the State Veterans Home Board and was at the forefront of the process to secure land for the new Bradley County State Veterans home. He also obtained an anonymous donation of $3 million to help the project continue to move forward.
Upon completion, the Bradley County State Veterans Home is expected to serve upwards of 50,000 veterans who reside in the region.
House Republicans are proud to recognize our brave servicemen and women for their remarkable contributions to our state and nation. We proudly support them and our veterans and their families who have given so much for our many freedoms.
Measure Enhancing Laws Against Sexual Predators Gaining Momentum in House
A measure enhancing penalties against sexual offenders is gaining momentum in the House of Representatives.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee this week approved House Bill 1802, which adds an aggravating factor in cases where individuals conceal narcotics or other controlled substances into a person’s food or beverage with the intent to assault them later.
Under House Bill 1802, penalties in these instances would now be considered Class A felonies, punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
House Bill 1802 now heads to the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee for additional discussion and debate.
Members of the House Departments & Agencies Subcommittee on Tuesday approved a resolution affirming Tennessee’s Sovereignty.
House Joint Resolution 741 reaffirms the General Assembly’s authority as a separate and independent branch of state government.
The resolution comes on the heels of an announcement in December declaring Tennessee would opt into President Trump’s Executive Order allowing the resettlement of additional refugees in our state, despite concerns over program costs and safety.
House Joint Resolution 741 is expected to be heard by the House State Committee on Feb. 18, 2020.
This week, Republican leaders also approved a measure officially designating the state of Tennessee as the “Volunteer State.”
House Bill 1562 designates the “Volunteer State” as the official nickname of Tennessee. While Tennessee has held this distinction since 1812, it is not currently documented in state law — until now.
The state of Tennessee has been referred to as the “Volunteer State” because of its tradition of answering the call of duty, especially during the War of 1812. At the time, Tennessee was asked to send 1,500 troops to defend the lower Mississippi region as part of this conflict. Instead, the “Volunteer State” answered the call by sending 30,000 troops.
House Bill 1562 now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Recently, the state of Tennessee launched a comprehensive program to raise awareness about the benefits of registered apprenticeships.
ApprenticeshipTN is designed to increase the number of skilled employees that comprise our state’s workforce.
Under the program, apprentices participate in supervised on-the-job training, as well as job-related education. Additionally, they are compensated, and their wages continue to increase as they move further into the program.
As part of ApprenticeshipTN, the Department of Labor & Workforce Development has established an apprenticeship organization to work directly with employers, institutions of higher learning, community partners and trade organizations, as well as additional state agencies across all three Grand Divisions in order to develop and implement new registered apprenticeship programs.
This week in Nashville, House members participated in the Team ALeX “Spend A Day in My Wheels” Challenge.
This event challenged lawmakers to go about their normal daily activities using a wheelchair. The challenge aims to create awareness about the difficulties people with mobility devices face on a daily basis with the goal of making the world more inclusive for everyone.
It was the idea of 14-year-old Alex Johnson, an eighth-grader at Friendship Christian School in Lebanon who approached the General Assembly about hosting this event.
Johnson has a rare skeletal disorder which left him dependent on a walker and then later a wheelchair. He came up with the idea for his “Spend a Day in My Wheels” challenge in 5th grade as a way of helping his able-bodied classmates experience the world from his perspective.
(John Holsclaw serves as Chairman of the House Employee Affairs Subcommittee. He is also a member of the House Consumer and Human Resource Committee, Commerce Committee, Business Subcommittee, and Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Holsclaw lives in Elizabethton and represents House District 4, which includes Unicoi and part of Carter Counties. He can be reached by email at or by calling (615) 741-7450.)

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