Tag Archives: carpenter

DesJarlais Bill Blocks Tax on Slain Soldiers

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais expects a vote today on the “Andrew P. Carpenter Tax Act,” inspired by a soldier from Columbia, Tenn., who was killed in Afghanistan. The bill would prohibit the IRS from collecting taxes on forgiven student loans held by veterans whose active-duty injuries led to death.
From the Chattanooga TFP:
The bill is retroactive to Oct. 7, 2001 — the start of the war in Afghanistan. Families who already have paid taxes on such loans would be eligible for a refund, according to DesJarlais’ office.
A freshman congressman seeking re-election, DesJarlais said the bill represents an easy way to fix a baffling tax code issue. It’s the first of DesJarlais’ five bills to get a standalone House vote.
“Committee chairmen, the majority leaders, veterans in Congress — everybody felt this was the right thing to do,” he said.


UPDATE: The bill passed. Here’s the resulting news release:
WASHINGTON, DC – The Andrew P. Carpenter Tax Act, introduced by Representative Scott DesJarlais, M.D., (TN-04), passed the United States House of Representative today with a vote of 400-0.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the many people that played a part in securing passage of this incredibly worthwhile legislation. But most importantly, I want to thank the Carpenters both for bringing this issue to my attention and for raising such an extraordinary young man,” said Representative DesJarlais. “In learning about Andrew throughout this ordeal, I’ve come to know a selfless individual who loved his country. He is truly a hero. Passing the Andrew P. Carpenter Tax Act is the least we can do in repaying the debt that we owe to Lance Corporal Carpenter and his family.”

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StudentsFirst Noted

In an article on the booming education reform advocacy movement around the nation, Education Week cites StudentsFirst in Tennessee as an example.
Take, for example, the Tennessee wing of StudentsFirst. Since opening its doors in 2011, the organization has backed legislation or policies to link teacher evaluations to student performance, including test scores; set higher standards for teacher tenure; lift restrictions on class sizes; and offer private school vouchers for disadvantaged students in academically struggling schools.
Not all of those efforts, such as the class-size and voucher measures, became law. But the group is convinced it’s building a reputation as an authoritative voice on school issues at the Statehouse, said Mike Carpenter, the director of StudentsFirst’s Tennessee chapter.
“The message is, ‘We’re here for the long term,’ ” said Mr. Carpenter, a Republican and a former member of the Shelby County Commission. “We’re not here to parachute in for one or two issues and then leave.”
The organization’s success will be measured by whether it becomes a “go-to organization when people want to know something about education, and education reform,” he said. “When legislators start saying, ‘Where is StudentsFirst on this issue?’ then I’ll know we’re having an impact.”
The Tennessee chapter has eight registered lobbyists, some of them hired on a contract basis, working on its behalf at the Statehouse, including Mr. Carpenter and Michelle A. Rhee, the founder and chief executive officer of the national Students First organization. That’s about the same number the Tennessee Education Association says it has promoting its agenda.

(H/T Trace Sharp)

StudentsFirst Poll Shows Tennesseans Support StudentFirst Plans

A majority of Tennessee voters support education reform and think the state is heading in the right direction, a recent poll found, reports The Tennessean.
A memo to state lawmakers last week from Mike Carpenter, Tennessee’s director of nonprofit StudentsFirst, showed its poll backed teacher tenure changes, new teacher evaluations and more charter schools. The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, surveyed 600 likely voters on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, and had a 4 percent margin of error.
Among the findings: 72 percent of those polled like teacher evaluation changes, 68 percent favor alternate teaching licenses and 58 percent favor ending forced placement of teachers by districts without teacher or principal consent.
Gov. Bill Haslam garnered a 72 percent approval rating and lawmakers a 63 percent approval rating by voters.