The Blount County Association of Realtors recently had their general membership meeting with guest speakers Sen. Raymond Finney and State Rep. Doug Overbey, two candidates who are vying for the state senate seat for Blount and Sevier counties.
Senator Finney spoke to the association regarding the results of the legislative decisions during this past session. He said that the lackluster budget will create a loss of jobs by state government employees. Senator Finney also discussed a few new bills that were passed.
He pointed to a consumer bill that he co-sponsored called the Competitive Cable Bill. This bill was created, he said, to protect public entertainment and government channels as well as create competition to lower cable fees. Two new crime-related bills that passed during the last session, the Metal Theft Bill and the Omnibus Sexual Offenders Bill, were also discussed. The first bill addressed the growing crime of metal theft and provisions were made to inhibit copper and platinum theft as well as provide fines for these crimes, said Finney.
The Omnibus Sexual Offenders Bill expands provisions to punish sexual offenses and to better protect children from these acts, the senator said, adding that children also benefit from the Energy Efficient Schools bill. This bill will allow for grants or loans to make school buildings more energy efficient. The money saved on energy consumption can then be used by the school for more educational programs.
Rep. Doug Overbey then took the floor and spoke to the association about the “state of the state.” Overbey said “the State of the State address in early February looked positive, but with the reduction of big impact sales tax items such as new car sales and new home construction, the budget started to look gloomy.”
Overbey said the legislature is trying to match recurring revenues with recurring expenses. Both Overbey and Finney stated that jobs for state government employees would be cut. Overbey conveyed that there would be no forced lay-offs for government employees. Rather they are being offered a voluntary buy-out. He explained that the budget cuts also consisted of cutting government employee travel expenses and truncating positions and re-hires.
Overbey concluded by giving an overview of legislation regarding toll roads and toll bridges, saying there were no proposals contain provisions to put toll booths on existing Tennessee roads. This new legislation, which has not yet passed, would only affect new roads or new community road projects.
Coming up for the BCAR is a motorcycle show and ride at the Parkway Drive-In on Sunday, Sept. 28. For more information on the ride, call the BCAR office.