This week, Tennessee’s House and Senate completed their business and adjourned the second session of the 107th General Assembly. Working off a state legislative agenda
crafted in January with feedback from our members, the Chamber advocated to keep Tennessee, and the Nashville area in particular, one of the country’s friendliest places for business.
While thousands of proposed bills and amendments made their way through the legislative process, Chamber staff engaged legislators on a number of key issues, including: supporting the phase-out of the inheritance, or “death,” tax; opposing proposals that would have prevented any business, property owner or employer from prohibiting firearms in vehicles parked on their property; supporting an expansion to the state’s FastTrack program
for economic and infrastructure development; and supporting a bill providing greater definition of “misconduct” in state law to prevent employees who are chronically absent or tardy from receiving unemployment benefits.
Through intense and targeted advocacy, the Chamber was able to aid in passage of legislation that will completely phase out the “death tax” by 2016. As a result of the elimination of this tax, Tennesseans will no longer be penalized for creating and keeping jobs and wealth in our state. The Chamber’s efforts to protect personal property rights were also successful, as both the House and Senate blocked two bills which would have limited an employer’s right to prohibit firearms on their property. In addition to the encroachment against personal property rights, these bills would have made gun owners a protected class, creating greater opportunities for businesses to be sued. The Chamber’s Prosperity Leaders joined a large pro-business coalition to speak against the guns-in-parking lots bills during two Senate hearings.
Recognizing that the state’s FastTrack program is a popular economic development tool, the Chamber supported Governor Haslam’s plan to expand the FastTrack opportunities beyond infrastructure. This proposed expansion passed both the House and Senate in late April. Another significant victory for the Chamber and its members was the passage of SB 3658, which prevents insubordinate and chronically absent employees, dismissed for cause, from receiving unemployment benefits.
A full report of this year’s session and the Chamber’s advocacy efforts will be available soon. In the meantime, please continue to check our Business Voice tool