Knox County Commission and Their Wish List for the TN Legislature

This Tuesday January 14 at NOON (Nashville time) the TN State Legislature will convene for 2020. Citizens will not be safe until they adjourn in April, May or June of this year.

However, the Knox County Commission is gathering up their wish list and are planning a lunch event on Friday January 17 at 11:30 a.m. with the legislators at the Downtown Knoxville Crowne Plaza. You can view the Commissioners online chatting on the Commission Forum here.

Yesterday, the Knox County Commission Legislative Affairs Committee met to gather up the wish list. Here you can watch where Commissioner John Schoonmaker recaps the items the Committee agreed to present and discuss with the legislators a week from tomorrow.

The Legislative Affairs Committee met on January 8, 2020. The following items were approved by the committee to be discussed with the Knoxville Legislative Delegation on January 17. The following 3 bills are already filed:
1) HB1193 (Wright) / SB1126 (Briggs) Sales Tax Administration Fee – reduction of the local option sales tax fee from 1.125% to 0.5%.
2) HB0229 (Crawford) / SB0249 (Lundberg) Restoration of the Register of Deeds commission from 2.4% to 5%.
3) HB9 (Staples) / SB9 (Briggs) Smoking on grounds of a playground – any county or city can prohibit smoking on playgrounds owned or operated by a local govt.

The following 3 items have not been filed yet:
4) Single Article Sales Tax Proposal – currently counties receive local option sales tax on the first $1600. of a major purchase. The change would allow local option sales tax to be collected on the first $3400. The consumer would see no increase in taxes to purchase the item. An example will be distributed by email to you.
5) Proposed Platform Language on Property Taxes – urge the General Assembly to preserve the system of laws and rules which do not disadvantage residential and farm property owners. Large commercial and industrial taxpayers have the resources to pursue remedies to reduce their tax liability thus shifting the tax burden to residential and farm property owners.
6) Develop a funding mechanism for the housing and healthcare costs of maintaining a state prisoner in our county jails.

John Schoonmaker

Additionally, Commissioner Larsen Jay has added a couple more items to add to the wish list.

I would like to add the following items to the list of priorities to consider:

– Consideration for the State to authorize and fund a new mental health facility in Knox County. This will help address many regional mental illness needs and alleviate Knox County jail overcrowding.

– Restoration of operational funding of the Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center (BHUCC).

So far NOT one Knox County Commissioner has proposed a Resolution opposing Gov. Lee’s Refugee Resettlement and nothing (for or against) on the School Voucher bills.

Loudon County, TN Commission this week unanimously took a stand on the Refugee Resettlement and one of the Loudon Commissioners is the County Republican Party Chair.


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