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Prom and graduation celebrations should be enjoyable, safe experiences for everyone. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) is partnering with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and AAA – The Auto Club Group to promote teen driver safety during prom and graduation season. According to the Tennessee Integrated Traffic Analysis Network (TITAN), there were 83 alcohol-related crashes involving a teen driver this time last year, three of which were fatal. This year, the THSO joins the TABC, SADD, and AAA to reduce teen crashes, injuries, and fatalities through increased enforcement, education, and awareness.
Now and throughout May,special agents from the TABC are stepping up their Underage Sales Tennessee Operation Plan (USTOP) program statewide. USTOP is an initiative to reduce the number of alcohol-related traffic crashes by conducting minor compliance checks and re-checks to prevent alcohol sales to minors. The TABC encourages citizens to report any licensed establishment that serves alcoholic beverages to minors. To file a complaint on a licensed establishment (restaurant, bar, hotel and/or retail store) that is selling to minors, please visit www.tn.gov/abc or call 615-741-7583.
The Stone Memorial High School prom is this Saturday in Cumberland County.
The 1st and 2nd District will have a Community Meeting with their representatives serving on the Cumberland County Board of Education and County Commission. The Community Meeting will be held at the Board of Education Meeting Room at the Central Office on Monday, May 8 at 6 p.m.
1st and 2nd District BOE members Jeff Freitag and Robbie Safdie along with 1st and 2nd District County Commissioners Tracey Scarbrough, Sue York, Tom Isham, and Nancy Hyder will host the event. Everyone is welcome to attend.
A Tennessee bill to require seat belts in new school buses bought after July 2019 is in budget limbo while lawmakers examine the cost and whether the state will cover it.
The House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee put the legislation on hold Wednesday because it's currently unfunded in the governor's budget plans.
Fiscal estimates say the bill would add $12.9 million in annual costs to school districts and $2.2 million in yearly state costs. The bill was changed to make the state pay the whole cost.
Rep. JoAnne Favors, the Chattanooga Democratic bill sponsor, believes the costs were overstated because the seating capacity would likely drop by at most two seats per bus, not 12.
The bill responds to a November crash that killed six Chattanooga elementary school children.
Governor Haslam signed his gas tax plan into law on Wednesday, tweeting, "Excited to sign IMPROVE Act: largest tax cut in TN history and a conservative plan to fund roads, bridges."
The IMPROVE Act increases the gas tax by six cents to increase the funding for state roads by almost $400 million a year. The legislation was presented in January. It also lowers the tax on groceries.
Governor Haslam selected Representative Barry Doss to sponsor the IMPROVE Act. Media outlets report that Doss spent nearly six hours answering questions and concerns from fellow lawmakers.
"This does far more than just raise the gas tax," Doss said.
The Governor received pushback from a number of Republicans that did not support the legislation, including House Speaker Beth Harwell.
"I can not support the IMPROVE Act. We have an alternative that does not burden the common man more," Representative Rick Tillis said.
Democrats also disapproved of the Republican Governor's legislation.
"Let's not tell the average Tennessean they’re getting a tax cut because it’s not true," Democrat Bo Mitchell said in reference to the part of the plan that would cut a portion of the grocery tax.
"Let's talk specifics now," Haslam told WTVF. "How does this impact the state? What will it do to the budget and how much will it produce for roads?"
Multiple parts of the bill were altered, but the main focus of the bill remained the same when it was signed into law on Wednesday.
Tennessee Valley Authority security officers at nuclear power plants will soon be prohibited from carrying handguns.
WRCB-TV reports that the measure will be in place throughout the system by the end of the year.
TVA Spokesman Scott Fiedler says in a statement that the implementation of other protective measures securing nuclear sites has rendered handguns obsolete when it comes to protecting the power plants.
Senior Nuclear Security Officer Paul Tackett expressed concern about the changes, recalling an officer who was shot at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in eastern Tennessee several years ago.
Fiedler says the action was recommended after following the regulatory review process.