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Legislators focus on legislation rather than politics during annual breakfast

John Thompson • Mar 1, 2019 at 11:12 PM

ELIZABETHTON — With the midterm elections over, the annual Carter County Legislative Breakfast was more devoted to legislative battles than political battles this year.

The annual event by the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce was once again held at the auditorium of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Elizabethton.

The speakers were U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, state Sen. Rusty Crowe, state Rep. John Holsclaw Jr. and state Rep. Timothy Hill. Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett and Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander also spoke on county and city matters.

There was quite a contrast between Roe’s situation in Washington and all the other Carter County delegations in Nashville.

Roe is no longer a member of the majority in the House of Representatives, giving up a chairmanship after Democrats took the majority in the last national election.

In the Tennessee General Assembly, the legislators talked about the Republican Party holding a supermajority. Crowe said there are now only five Democrats in the Senate.

Holsclaw talked about the high marks Tennessee gets nationally for its conservative financial policies and its business-friendly atmosphere, which he attributed to the Republican leadership. 

“It’s working, people,” Holsclaw said. 

Hill spoke on several conservative bills that he is sponsoring that have attracted statewide attention.

One that has attracted a lot of local attention because it could greatly benefit a local charity is House Bill 516. It would impose a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $2,500 for a violation of an order of protection.

The funds would be distributed annually to the Isaiah 117 House or the Court Appointed Special Advocates Association.

Another bill he is sponsoring is House Bill 1280. He told the audience that bill would change funding for Tenncare by means of Medicare Block Grants. He expected an oversight committee to help with the bill.

Holsclaw said Republican legislators are working on initiatives to improve mental health services and suicide prevention in the state.

Crowe said TCAT Elizabethton should benefit from Gov. Bill Lee’s interest in technical education. He said school choice is a popular cause in sections of the state, although not so much in the counties he represents.

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