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Proposed bills impacting Guard members, eterans advance in General Assembly

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By Sabrina Bates
MVP Regional News Editor

A proposal to begin paying Tennessee National Guard members as soon as they receive activation orders is quickly making its way through committees.
SB 1463 was introduced into the 113th Tennessee General Assembly by Sen. Ed Jackson, who represents Crockett, Perry, Madison, Lake, Decatur, Dyer and Henderson counties, filed the bill in the state senate at the beginning of February. The companion bill, HB 562, was introduced by fellow Madison Countian, Rep. Chris Todd, at the end of January.
HB 562 passed the House March 9. The senate version is under consideration this week by the Senate State and Local Government Committee.
In related news, HB 1415 was placed behind the state’s budget after receiving a negative recommendation from the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Revenue Subcommittee. The proposed legislation would eliminate the sales and use tax of the first $15,000 of a vehicle purchase by members of the National Guard and Air National Guard. The bill would allow Guard members to use the tax relief once every five years.
According to the fiscal note, the state would see a $2,347,000 decrease in annual state revenue and $143,800 in local revenue during the first year if the bill is passed. 
A proposal to provide more property tax relief for 100-percent disabled veterans isn’t making much leadway. HB 935/SB 1244 are awaiting calendar placements in the House Property & Planning Subcommittee and Senate State and Local Government Committee. The bill is a reimbursement for property taxes paid by disabled veterans while residing in the property.
Another bill relative to veterans and veteran organizations is under committee consideration this week. HB 1072 would establish a grant program for veteran-service organizations that serve as honor guards during the burial ceremonies of veterans. The grant program would be created by the state’s department of veteran services for organizations registered with the Secretary of State’s office. Grants would be available for training, transportation, food, equipment and supplies for honor guards. The House version was introduced by Rep. Kirk Haston, who represents Chester, Decatur, Perry and parts of Hardin and Henderson counties.
Sen. Ed Jackson of Madison introduced the senate version of the bill.
SB 724/HB 786 is quickly making their way through committees. According to the proposal, a fast-track program would allow honorably-discharged veterans to obtain an occupational teaching certificate. A veteran could use their relevant training and work experience in the service in exchange for the work experience required to receive the teaching license.

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