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Health freedom act headed to house floor

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By Dennis Powers

 

The Health Freedom Act moved this week, clearing all necessary House committees, and is now scheduled for a vote on the House floor. Republicans have championed the proposal for two years now to counter the federal health care takeover passed by Congress. House Bill 0115 provides that every person within Tennessee is free to choose or decline any mode of health care services without penalty or punishment from the government. Additionally, it ensures that Tennessee officials will be prohibited from interfering with the health care insurance decisions of every Tennessean.

Believing that expanding government programs is rarely an effective solution to complex issues, Republicans have argued the federal government’s takeover of healthcare will only prove to balloon the cost of healthcare services to the states.

Last year, the legislation hit a snag in a House committee after thorough debate over several weeks. Other states have passed similar legislation, and many are already in the process of filing a lawsuit against the federal government regarding the healthcare overhaul. Republicans hope to see passage of the bill on the House Floor soon.  “This is our way to stop the federal government’s takeover of our health care system at the state level” Powers said.

 Legislation co-sponsored by Powers honors fallen service members

By a unanimous vote, members of the House passed legislation Monday evening that properly honors Tennessee’s fallen service members.

House Bill 47, co-sponsored by State Representative Dennis Powers, requires state flags to be flown at half-staff by state political subdivisions during a day of mourning as declared by the governor. The bill covers all members of the armed services who courageously give their lives in the line of duty.

The bill sponsor stressed that the nation has been built on the sacrifice of brave service members, many of whom hail from Tennessee. The measure rightfully honors these special sailors, soldiers, and airmen who gave everything for freedom as Americans and Tennesseans.

Governor visits storm damaged areas

Heavy storms and a few tornadoes passed through Tennessee this week causing extensive damage around the State. On Wednesday, the governor toured a storm-damaged neighborhood in Franklin County where one man was killed earlier this week.

"We let them know our thoughts and prayers are with them," Governor Haslam told reporters near the remnants of the home where 79-year-old Melvin Hambrick was killed on Monday. "You never quite get used to the fact that there was somebody's home sitting there one minute, and the next minute it's totally blown away," Haslam said. "There was one life lost here, which is hard to ever accept, and several other families whose lives have been fairly drastically changed as well."

Neighbor Connie Nicholson told the governor that she was "just thankful to be alive" after the storm that blew down her garage and flung her dog down the street. 

Speaker makes key appointments

This week, the Speaker announced two key appointments to prestigious commissions that serve Tennesseans. The Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST) and the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) will receive new members who will serve roles representing the House of Representatives on the commissions.

Rep. Rich was appointed to serve on POST due to his extensive law enforcement background and the unique perspective he has on those issues, while Rep. Halford was named to TACIR because of his commitment to bringing accountability and transparency in government.