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Conserving Natural Resources

Information in this report is provided courtesy of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD, R Hohenwald, who represents Giles Lewis, Marshall and Maury counties.

The Senate is in full swing. Lawmakers are passing legislation, and many bills are advancing through committees to ensure Tennessee remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Senate committees have completed the first of five weeks of budget hearings and heard budget proposals from 18 state departments and agencies.

One of Gov. Bill Lee’s legislative priorities to conserve Tennessee’s natural resources and environment passed its first committee.

The bill would establish a grant fund and tax incentives to clean up contaminated brownfield properties across rural Tennessee.

Other legislation would increase school choice through charter schools and expanding eligibility for the Education Savings Account (ESA) pilot program.

Legislation to protect vulnerable citizens is also advancing. The Senate approved legislation to protect children from harmful and irreversible medical procedures to change their gender identity.

More legislation is moving through committees to crack down on child predators and engage businesses in human trafficking training and awareness.

Committees approved legislation to remove barriers for top-tier professionals to work, live and do business.

These moves are aimed at expanding access to mental healthcare providers and strengthening public safety by making it easier to hire experienced law enforcement officers and license psychologists from another state.

Another measure would increase access to behavioral health services through telehealth appointments.

Proposal to establish grants and tax incentives for brownfield site cleanup clears Senate committee

The Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee advanced legislation to fast-track remediation and redevelopment of brownfield properties across rural Tennessee. The initiative, which is part of Gov. Lee’s legislative priorities, would provide technical and financial resources to local communities while bolstering incentives for developers and communities.

Brownfield sites are unusable properties due to the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. Many sites have the potential to be repurposed, but often require major initial investments to clean up the properties.

A bill was introduced to create the Tennessee Brownfield Redevelopment Area Grant (BRAG) program to provide $5 million in annual grants to communities to investigate and clean up brownfield properties and return the sites to marketable use.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has identified at least 175 known brownfield sites in 36 different counties.

Additionally, the legislation would amend the Brownfield Franchise and Excise Tax Credit law to provide rural and smaller communities a targeted incentive to clean up properties. It would also grant communities more flexibility when the credit amount can be claimed.

Finally, the measure expands eligibility for the Brownfield Tax Increment Financing (TIF) law by removing urban and low-income geographic requirements and increasing qualifying project costs to ensure all communities have the opportunity for more economic growth.

Senate honors Tennessee National Guardsmen who died in helicopter crash

A Tennessee National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter crashed on a training flight in Huntsville, Ala.

Two guardsmen were tragically killed. The Senate recognized the service and sacrifice of the two guardsmen and prayed for their families.

According to witnesses, the guardsmen skillfully maneuvered the helicopter away from a residential neighborhood and ensured no civilians were injured in the crash.

Hensley may be contacted at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, TN 37243 or call 615-741-3100, or call toll free 1-800-449-8366, ext. 13100; or fax 615-253-0231.

His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald, TN 38462. Call 931 796 2018 or his cell phone at 931 212 8823. His Email is sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


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