Committee sessions mark closing session activities: Long committee meetings and lengthy debates characterized this week's action on Capitol Hill, as the State Senate continued to make progress in winding down this legislative session. Several key issues were among the bills that were approved by committees, including legislation to give senior citizenss and disabled citizens more long-term care options, a measure calling for mandatory sentences for repeat DUI offenders, and two proposals to stiffen penalties for assault on law enforcement officers.
The Senate Commerce, Labor and Agriculture Committee; Environment, Conservation and Tourism Committee; General Welfare, Health and Human Services Committee; and State and Local Government Committee concluded or came within one meeting of concluding their business this week for the 2008 legislative session. The Senate Transportation Committee completed its legislative calendar for the year last week, leaving only the Finance, Ways and Means Committee, Education Committee, Judiciary Committee, and the Government Operations Committee still open. Action will now shift from committees to the floor of the Senate during the remainder of the legislative year, which is expected to conclude in about four weeks.
Spring Sales Tax Holiday (Friday, April 25): Tennessee's spring sales tax holiday is set to begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, April 25 and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 27. During this three-day weekend, consumers may purchase selected clothing, school supplies and computers without paying Tennessee's state and local sales tax on the items. The tax break applies to clothing priced at 100-dollars or less per item and computers priced 1,500-dollars or less. This holiday also includes purchases of qualified items sold by mail, telephone, e-mail, or Internet, if the customer orders and pays for the item and the retailer accepts the order during the exemption period for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the exemption period. Details about the state's special Sales Tax Holiday are available at the state's dedicated Web site, www.tntaxholiday.com.
Elderly and disabled long-term care options: Legislation that would give elderly and disabled Tennesseans more long-term care options was approved by the Senate General Welfare Committee this week. The bill is the result of collaborative efforts by the governor, a special legislative committee studying long term care in Tennessee, and other legislative leaders, who have been working on the comprehensive proposal to provide more choices for citizens in need of long-term care services. Presently, 98 percent of long-term care funding is spent on institutional care and limited utilization of lower cost home and community-based options. The bill, called "The Long-Term Care Community Choices Act of 2008," simplifies access to home and community-based services and increases the number of people able to stay at home for long-term care needs through the state's TennCare program. The bill:
Creates consumer-directed care options, including the ability to hire non-traditional family members, friends and neighbors, with accountability for taxpayer funds;... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.