During the week of March 18th, I had the Top Ten Students from Spring Hill High School, Culleoka Unit School, and Hampshire Unit School visit the capitol. I am proud of their accomplishments and that our students continue to excel and work hard to succeed. I also had the Maury County Adult Leadership group for their day on the hill. I enjoyed talking to all of these groups and am thankful that they take the time to visit with their elected officials and view the legislative process first hand.
Senate takes action
on key education bills
State senators approved several key education bills during the week of March 18th, including three proposals to increase school safety, a bill improving the state’s public charter school authorization process and a measure enhancing agricultural education. I presented SB803 for Governor Bill Lee on March 20th in the Senate Education Committee. The proposed bill, which was passed out of education committee, will provide funding for SRO officers. Senate committees also conducted hearings on the proposed budgets of 14 departments and agencies of state government, as lawmakers continue a thorough review of Governor Bill Lee’s spending plan for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
School Safety / Threat Assessment Teams – Similarly to funding SRO’s, in an effort to help school districts develop effective and comprehensive school safety plans, the Senate Education Committee approved legislation to allow school districts to develop threat assessment teams. The teams will develop comprehensive intervention-based approaches to prevent violence, manage reports of potential threats, and create a system that fosters a safe and effective school environment.
Enhanced Security / Schools, Parks, and Places of Worship — The full Senate passed legislation, during the week of March 18th, to promote enhanced security and police presence at Tennessee’s most vulnerable locations, including schools. Senate Bill 1337 authorizes state or local chief law enforcement officers to develop and implement policies and guidelines allowing off duty law enforcement officers using their marked vehicles to travel between vulnerable areas such as schools, churches, and parks. Prior to developing and implementing such policies and guidelines, the chief law enforcement officer must receive approval from the agency’s local governing body.
Tennessee Public Charter School Commission — Legislation creating an independent state commission to approve high-quality public charter schools in Tennessee was unanimously approved by the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday March 20th. Senate Bill 796 gives the new Tennessee Public Charter School Commission the authority to review appeals, a task currently held by the State Board of Education. It also establishes criteria to enhance school facilities.
Agriculture Education and Youth Participation Task Force – The Senate Education Committee also approved legislation seeking to enhance agricultural education in Tennessee. Senate Bill 801 establishes the Agriculture Education and Youth Participation Task Force with the goal of preparing students for higher education and success in the Tennessee’s agricultural sector.
The nine-member task force will analyze and make recommendations related to agricultural education in Tennessee, emerging fields in the industry, and the impact of new technologies on agribusiness. They will also look at how Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education can be aligned with the state’s agricultural education programs. In addition, the group will consider ways to integrate agricultural education and career readiness goals into the Tennessee Pathways Initiative. The Pathways Initiative allows schools to increase the variety and quality of the options and opportunities available for high school students, so they can transfer seamlessly into college or the workforce.
Aptitude Assessment — Finally, the full Senate approved legislation requiring that seventh and eighth grade students take a college and career readiness aptitude assessment. Current law states that all public middle schoolers or ninth graders are administered an interest or career inventory to assist students in determining their interests as they consider future career decisions. Senate Bill 809 would add an aptitude assessment for seventh and eighth graders to help students realize skills and attributes that might direct them towards a career and coursework that capitalizes on their strengths.
Contact Senator Hensley at
425 5th Avenue North, Suite 746
Nashville TN 37243
Toll Free 1-800-449-8366
855 Summertown Highway
Hohenwald TN 38462
Cell Phone 931-212-8823