Tag Archives: delores

Livestock Video Abuse Bill Clears Senate

The Senate has approved, 22-9, legislation that requires anyone filming livestock abuse to turn over all “unedited photographs, digital images or video” to law enforcement authorities within 48 hours.
Proponents say the bill (SB1248) is aimed at stopping animal abuse promptly. Critics said it actually protects animal abusers by targeting only those make photographs or video.
The measure is scheduled for a House floor vote today.
In Senate debate Tuesday, Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, cited abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses recorded on video by the Humane Society of the United States as illustrating the need for legislation. The HSUS video led to successful prosecution for abuse of the animals, but Bell said the animals themselves suffered.
“They sat on it (the video) for four months… then released it at an opportune time for them,” said Bell, suggesting the recording was to “benefit fundraising” by HSUS. “They had no concern for that (abused) horse.”
But Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, noted that if HSUS had “sat on the film forever” the proposed new law would never have come into play and the abuse would have continued.
“You’re criminalizing the film-making, not the abuse,” said Norris. “That puts the lie to the assertion that it’s the abuse you’re concerned with.”
The bill makes it a misdemeanor crime, punishable by a fine of up to $500 but no jail time, to fail to turn over all recordings of livestock abuse to a law enforcement authority.
Norris proposed an amendment that would have required anyone having knowledge of animal abuse to report it to authorities as well. He said that would “get to the root of the problem” by targeting the abuse, not the photographing of the abuse.
Sponsor Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, opposed Norris’ revision, saying it would “make every person who ever saw or observed what they might think animal unreasonably treated, a criminal if don’t turn in.” Norris’ amendment was then tabled, or killed, on a 17-10 vote.
The bill was also debated Wednesday in the House Calendar Committee, where Rep. Jon Lundberg, D-Bristol, tried to have it sent back to the House Civil Justice Committee, which Lundberg chairs, for further hearings.
Lundberg said he believes the bill infringes on First Amendment rights, but his motion was killed with only seven committee members voting for it while 12 opposed. Critics of the bill said amendments may also be filed for today’s House vote.

Broader Voucher Bill Ready to Go in Senate

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Republican sponsor of a measure competing with Gov. Bill Haslam’s to create a school voucher program in Tennessee says she’s convinced the initiative should be broader than what the governor is proposing.
His measure would limit the program to 5,000 students in failing schools in the academic year that begins in August, and grow to 20,000 by 2016.
The proposal Sen. Dolores Gresham plans to present in the Senate Education Committee as early as next week would increase the income limit for eligibility to about $75,000 for a family of four, which is quite an increase from the $42,643 envisioned by Haslam’s proposal. The bill also has no limitation on growth.
When reporters asked Gresham about her proposal Wednesday evening, she said she had talked to the Republican governor about the competing proposals, but didn’t elaborate on what was discussed.
“The governor and I are on the same page,” said the Somerville Republican and retired Marine lieutenant colonel. “We both believe that we should do this. The only difference is to what degree. It’s … my conviction that it should be broader.”

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Most Legislators Complimentary of Mayor-to-be (probably) Berke

With Andy Berke expected to be elected soon as Chattanooga mayor, Andy Sher takes a look at his previous political career in the state Legislature. There are mostly compliments. The story starts like this:
As chairman of the state Senate Education Committee, Republican Delores Gresham sometimes worked with Sen. Andy Berke and sometimes fought with him over a GOP agenda minority Democrats thought went too far.
Gresham, a no-nonsense former Marine colonel from West Tennessee, said she developed respect for the 44-year-old attorney who is widely seen as the frontrunner in the Chattanooga mayor’s race.
The other candidates are former city employee Guy Satterfield and perennial candidate Robert Chester Heathington Jr. The nonpartisan election is March 5.
“If [Berke] had a conviction about a certain issue, he would not hesitate to speak,” Gresham said.
She and Berke were among lawmakers who worked with Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2009 as he began developing K-12 and higher education initiatives. Those bipartisan efforts earned Tennessee national recognition and a $500 million federal Race to the Top grant.
“He’s a great guy; he’s a smart guy, and I always appreciated his incisiveness and insights even though I didn’t agree with him 99 percent of the time,” chuckled Gresham.
Berke’s legislative experience will make him a “fantastic mayor,” said Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, “because he’s gained an understanding of how government functions.

Gresham Bill: Teachers Should Learn Brain Science

News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) has filed legislation in the Tennessee General Assembly to authorize and encourage coursework in neurological or brain science as part of teacher training programs at the state’s public colleges and universities. Gresham said leading education experts agree that knowledge about the brain is essential for educators at all grade levels as an important part of understanding how students learn.
“Evidence continues to mount that there is great benefit for our teachers to have a rudimentary course on how the human brain works,” said Senator Gresham. “Neuroscience gives us much information to help us adapt learning technology to meet many challenges that face teachers today in trying to raise student achievement. A basic understanding of how the brain works helps teachers not only identify student difficulties, but gives them more information to support families in taking appropriate steps to overcome these challenges.”
Gresham said Senate Bill 59 also promotes coordination between educators and neuroscientists in Tennessee. She supports the establishment of a knowledge exchange network, which would provide cutting edge research regarding proven neurology-based approaches for teaching students.
Research shows remarkable new information regarding the brain’s function during adolescence that experts maintain have implications for everyone working with teenagers. This research includes new findings regarding the effect of sleep deprivation in adolescence. There are also new breakthroughs in understanding how long-term memories are created, which have implications for student learning
“Teachers face many barriers, from adolescent sleep deprivation to learning difficulties like Dyslexia and Dyscalculia,” said Gresham. “Tennessee has incredible scientific resources within our universities and elsewhere that we can tap into to better understand how we can utilize new discoveries to address such barriers. I am very excited about the opportunities that this legislation offers to increase student achievement.”

Report Shows High Unemployment for TN Teens

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Preparing Tennessee’s youth to be more competitive in a tough job market requires a collaborative effort from different groups, say state lawmakers in agreement with a recent report.
The report released earlier this week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count project called on businesses, governments, philanthropies and communities to work together to create opportunities that will benefit young people and build a stronger workforce for the future.
The report showed employment of youth ages 16 to 24 nationwide is at its lowest point in 50 years.
In Tennessee, fewer than one in four youth ages 16 to 19 were working last year, and only about 60 percent ages 20 to 24 were employed, according to the report.
It said part of the blame is the economic downturn that has forced adolescents and young adults to compete for entry-level jobs that older, displaced workers are also seeking.
Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Delores Gresham said Tennessee has passed education reforms that should help students perform better in school and hopefully be more competitive in the workforce, but she said “everybody has to do their part.”
“It takes every one of us at every level to … create opportunities for our young people,” said the Somerville Republican. “We want our young people to succeed.

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