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2024 Session Recap

The 113th General Assembly of the Tennessee Legislature has adjourned for the year, and I wanted to provide you with a summary of everything that has happened.  

This year went smoother than last, but it was very challenging at times. I ran for office with the goal of helping people, giving back to my community through public service, and working on common sense policies that give Tennessee families a fighting chance.   

I remember the proud feeling I had the first time I stepped on the House floor and I try to remember that every time I step on the house floor as I know what a privilege it is to serve as your State Representative.    

When working at the Legislature, I have a few guiding principles I live and work by, and they include: 

The Golden Rule  – I can’t preach this to my kids if I don’t live by it too. I try to treat people the same way I want to be treated and be an example to those I serve and work with every day.  

Don’t vote for discriminatory and unconstitutional bills – Unfortunately, we have a number of headline-grabbing, mean-spirited, culture-war-focused bills. I try to avoid getting caught in this trap and focus on things that actually make a difference in people’s lives.  

 Be prepared – I remembered a quote from the late Sen. Harry Reid, whose best advice for being a good legislator was to ensure you were well prepared for committees and floor votes. This isn’t always the easiest with how crazy our schedules are and the volume of information we receive, but it’s an essential part of being a good legislator, so I try to take the time to be best prepared for our meetings. 

 While this legislative session has concluded, there is still so much more work to do. I will be reflecting on how to better serve my constituents and the State of Tennessee in preparation for next year, so please drop me a note if you have any suggestions or ideas.   As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve you.  

Rep. Caleb Hemmer 

Major Accomplishments From This Session 

Halting the Voucher Bill: Thanks to the collective efforts of teachers, school board members, parents, and students, we successfully halted the voucher bill in committee.  I spent many hours each week fighting this legislation and was blown away by the bipartisan coalition we formed to oppose this bill and protect our public schools. 

Governor Lee has announced his intention to resurrect this bill from the dead next session, so I’ll remain committed to continuing the fight against it in the next term. 

Passage of Affordable Housing Legislation: I’m thrilled to announce the passage of HB1229, which empowers local governments to take innovative approaches to create affordable housing in our communities by allowing Industrial Development Boards to bond attainable workforce housing. This legislation is a significant step forward in addressing the pressing issue of housing affordability across the state and here in Nashville.  You can read more about this bill here.  

Healthcare Expansion for Seniors: We’ve established a bipartisan coalition for HB416 which would expand PACE senior care programs across Tennessee.  We were not able to get this bill funded in the budget at the last moment but I have commitments from the Senate and House Finance leaders and TennCare on this and will be working diligently over the summer to expand healthcare options for our senior population and combat loneliness.  

Honoring Mr. Richard J. Eskind: I’m honored to announce the naming of the bridge on U.S. Highway 70 South (Harding Pike) near Lynnwood Terrace in memory of Mr. Richard J. Eskind. His contributions as a philanthropist, financial business leader, and healthcare entrepreneur have left an indelible mark on Nashville, and this recognition is a fitting tribute to his legacy. 

Budget Overview 

I stood firm in voting against the proposed budget for several reasons:

– It contained $141M in funding for vouchers, which I vehemently oppose due to their detrimental effects on public education, and I didn’t feel it was responsible to fund an initiative that wasn’t going to happen.  

– The budget allocated nearly $2 billion in corporate tax breaks and refunds, prioritizing corporate interests over the needs of our state.  

– Democrats were collectively denied budget requests for their districts without taking into account the importance of a request for communities across the state. 

Going into next year, I remain committed to advocating for a budget that prioritizes the prosperity of all Tennesseans. There are a few highlights from this budget that I’d like to share:

$50 million for Rural Health Resiliency grants
$8 Million for School-Based Mental Health Counselors
$15 million for a Blueways trail in the Dept. of Environment to create access to our many great rivers
$200 million in growing state parks and natural areas, and supporting the state’s great outdoors industry. 

What We’re Reading

 ‘Supermajority is dangerous.’ Covenant mom calls on voters to oust sponsors of bill allowing Tennessee teachers to carry guns – WSMV

In Historic Breakthrough, Volkswagen Workers Become First Southern Autoworkers To Win Their Union – UAW

TN school voucher bill dead for the year: ‘I am extremely disappointed,’ Governor says – Tennessean

 Tennessee legislature adjourns. Here is what lawmakers did and didn’t do. – Tennessean

Travelers Rest  225th Anniversary – April 27 10a-2p 
Farmin’ in the Hall  new season starts May 2, 2024! @ parking lot of Crievewood Methodist ChurchForest Hills Lemon Walk – May 5th 230p-430p
 May 11th The Iroquois Steeplechase at Percy Warner Park (More Info Here
May 18th Bellevue Picnic at Bellevue Middle School 
Full Moon Pickin Party begins May 20th (More Info Here)

Safer Tennessee Yard Signs?
I have a constituent who is passing out yard signs for Safer Tennessee.  If you are interested in getting one, please fill out the request here.  

Can you pitch in? 

Now that session has ended, and I can once again accept contributions, I would be grateful if you would consider pitching in and help out. We need to do a ton of work this summer to support our campaign and gear up for next term. Thanks for your consideration and continued support.

Grateful for all the support I’ve received from across the district!

Paid for by Friends of Caleb Hemmer, Will Howorth, Treasurer