UT Advocacy headed to the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce Legislative BBQ tonight to visit with UT supporters and legislators from the northeastern part of the state. At the event, legislators from the region gave an update on their accomplishments from session.
Sen. Mike Faulk (R- Church Hill) addressed the guns-in-parking-lots issue that both the Chamber of Commerce and the University of Tennessee opposed last session. This legislation impacted all employers—public and private. Pro-gun groups such as the National Rifle Association backed it heavily, but it did not become law this year.
Sen. Faulk communicated to all at the event, however, that similar legislation would make an appearance again next session. “This time it will pass,” he told the audience.
Sen. Faulk, who is not running for reelection, urged Chamber members and others to communicate with their legislators early so their comments can be considered as legislation is crafted.
During his visit to Chattanooga for the Southern Growth Policies Board today, Governor Bill Haslam visited the University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus where he met with members of UTC’s administration and faculty. The visit preempts a series of statewide discussions regarding higher education reform in Tennessee. As recently as last week at the Board of Trustees meeting in Knoxville, the Governor stated that higher education would be his focus for the remainder of the year. This will likely lead to a legislative package surrounding higher education for the upcoming legislative session. Topics of particular interest to the Governor include workforce development, cost structure, and the number and quality of college graduates.
The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees will meet in Knoxville tomorrow, June 20 through Thursday, June 21. A number of issues are on the agenda, including the President’s report, the FY2013 Operating Budget, student tuition and fees, and the system strategic plan. The full Board’s meeting, beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, is available for viewing online.
To tune in live, click here.
Based on recent reports, higher education will be a primary focus for Governor Haslam in future months. Specific details are yet to surface on what exactly the Governor will choose to include in his next legislative package. However, Haslam is quoted by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, saying that he is “probably going to focus on higher education more than anything else from now until the end of the year.” Topics that could make their way into the Governor’s agenda include higher education accessibility, quality, and workforce preparation. Included in the Commercial Appeal’s story are details surrounding the Governor’s stance on greater autonomy for the University of Memphis’ Board of Visitors. For more information and to read the full story, click here.
Sen. Becky Duncan Massey (R) Knoxville and Sen. Jim Summerville (R) Dickson were guests of UT President Joe DiPietro, UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and UT Institute of Agriculture Chancellor Larry Arrington for a tour on Wednesday and Thursday of UT Knoxville and Ag campus facilities. Oak Ridge National Laboratory officials helped host the senators in their visit to joint UT-ORNL facilities in Oak Ridge. UT and ORNL leaders are grateful to both senators for making time to learn more about the University’s broad and multiple impacts in education, research and outreach.