Newsroom

Ketron wins Senate Transportation Committee approval of Murfreesboro to Nashville Monorail Study

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) won approval today of key legislation calling for a study to determine the feasibility of a monorail public transportation system along the I-24 Nashville Southeast Corridor that connects downtown Murfreesboro to Nashville.   Senate Bill 2515, which was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee, directs the Department of Transportation to conduct the study, which would include the costs of construction, operation and financing of the monorail system.

 

“This 32-mile strip of interstate is the most congested corridor in the state,” said Senator Ketron.  “The current population of Rutherford County is about 290,000.  By 2025 it is estimated to be at 600,000 and by 2035 it is estimated that there will be another million residents in the greater middle Tennessee area.  This presents a great problem in terms of traffic issues.  We have to be forward thinking regarding what we are going to do when we add this many new vehicles to an already congested roadway.”

 

Ketron said he has conducted numerous meetings with the department and other transportation officials about the project since last summer.   He said that a monorail could handle up to 55,000 passengers per day, which would greatly reduce future congestion. 

 

“We are left with no other means to handle congestion that will alleviate this kind of population growth,” said Senator Ketron.  “A great number of my constituents travel this corridor every day and find that their commute is getting longer.  This study is a critical step in giving us a roadmap on how this project could be accomplished,” added Ketron. 

 

The bill requires the study to identify all public and private funding sources, including amounts that can reasonably be anticipated and estimated costs and revenues.  It requires TDOT to report its findings and recommendations to the Senate and House Transportation Committees by February 1, 2015.

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Legislation provides greater accountability and transparency in the TNInvestco Program

Thursday, February 20, 2014

(NASHVILLE) -- The Senate has approved legislation, sponsored by Senators Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Doug Overbey (R-Maryville), that provides greater accountability and transparency in the state’s TNInvestco Program.  TNInvestco is a program administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (EDC) that provides benefits to small, medium-sized, and start-up businesses to encourage job growth in the state.

 

“This legislation will provide greater oversight and ensure that companies receiving tax credits are completing their statutorily required investment strategy scorecards,” said Senator Ketron.  “It also helps to ensure investment strategy benchmarks are being met and that investments are free from fraud, waste, and abuse.”

 

“The overwhelming majority of jobs in this state are created by small businesses,” said Senator Overbey.  “This bill helps to ensure that entrepreneurs have access to capital in order to grow jobs, but that it is done in an accountable and transparent manner.”

 

Some of the key provisions included in Senate Bill 766 are:

  • requires the department to obtain sufficient documentation to support the state’s profit share percentage;
  • changes the date through which the TNInvestcos submit their information in the annual report to provide better accuracy of investment activity for the calendar year;
  • changes the number of days that a TNInvestco has to submit their annual audited financial statements from 180 days to 120 days so that information is received in a more timely fashion; 
  • changes the number of days that the TNInvestco has to cure any areas of non-compliance from 60 days to 45 days to ensure that policies and procedures are being met without substantive delays;
  • allows ECD to promulgate rules and regulations to ensure compliance with requirements of the program; and
  • gives ECD greater enforcement capability by allowing them to assess a penalty for persistent non-compliance by a TNInvestco. 

 

The bill also allows a TNInvestco to re-invest their returns and the state’s returns in equal portions up to the 7th anniversary of the fund.  Finally, it adds new language to the law that requires ECD to liquidate all remaining ownership interests by the state beginning December 31, 2021. 

 

 

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Senate Republican Caucus appoints Lawless to Registry

Thursday, January 23, 2014

(January 23, 2014, NASHVILLE) - The Senate Republican Caucus has appointed Thomas W. “Tom” Lawless to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. The appointment was made by vote of the caucus last week. Lawless replaces Darlene L. McNeece of Loudon County, who served honorably and ably on the board since 2002.

“Tom Lawless is an excellent attorney with a keen intellect, sound judgment and unquestionable integrity,” said Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville). “I am extremely pleased he has agreed to serve.”

Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) concurred.

“I am extremely confident in Tom Lawless’s ability serve as a fair and impartial board member of the Registry of Election Finance,” said Ketron. “He will be an outstanding addition.”

A graduate of the Nashville School of Law, Lawless is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Tennessee as well as the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. His practice, Lawless & Associates, includes representation of financial institutions and mortgage lenders in matters involving classified assets, workouts, extensive bankruptcy representation of creditors, collections, foreclosures, civil litigation and commercial and residential closings and documentation.

A former chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party, Lawless was a founding member of the Nashville Chapter of the Federalist Society and served as its first President. He is presently serving as chairman of Tennessee’s Judicial Nominating Commission.

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance was created by the General Assembly in 1989 as an independent entity of state government. The agency is responsible for overseeing campaign financial disclosures and compliance to the laws governing campaign finance.

The Registry is composed of six board members appointed to five year terms.

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New Report on Bullying in Tennessee schools confirms 5,478 cases last year

Thursday, October 24, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  --  A new report on the number of bullying cases in Tennessee’s public schools was released by the state’s Department of Education today showing there were 7,555 cases reported during the 2012-13 school year.  According to the data submitted to the state’s Department of Education by school officials statewide 5,478, or 72.51 percent, of bullying reports submitted were confirmed after investigation.  

The report was required under anti-bullying legislation which passed the General Assembly in 2012 sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Representative Charles Curtiss (D-Sparta).  Of those bullying cases reported, 321 were based on race, color or national origin, 695 concerned sex or gender-based discrimination and 168 involved a student’s disability. 

“The numbers in this report are very alarming,” said Senator Ketron.  “Besides the obvious emotional harm bullying does to a student personally, it also hampers the kind of classroom atmosphere that promotes learning.  This is a systemic problem that we need to address not only in our schools, but in our homes, churches, community organizations, on the ball field and elsewhere.”

“This is so sad,” added Representative Curtiss.  “I am very pleased that this information is now coming forward so we can do something about it.”

According to the report 564, or 7.47 percent, of the bullying cases reported to the Department of Education were lodged via electronic technology. The legislation sponsored by Ketron and Curtiss also strengthened Tennessee’s law against bullying and cyberbullying through the use of electronic devices.  In addition, it required each Local Education Agency (LEA), at the beginning of the school year, to provide teachers and school counselors with a copy of the school’s bullying policy and its implementation process, information on prevention and strategies to address bullying and harassment when it happens, as well as relevant training on the issue. 

“Based on the information available to the Tennessee Department of Education, each local education agency (LEA) in Tennessee satisfied the requirements of the state bullying and harassment laws and submitted bullying compliance information,” the report said. 

“We are pleased that the report shows our local boards are now providing the information and training to help prevent bullying,” added Rep. Curtiss.  “We hope that we will see improvement that will be reflected by statistics in the next report as a result of these efforts.”

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

 

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Ketron pleased but not surprised by yesterday’s State Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Tennessee’s Voter ID Law

Friday, October 18, 2013

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.)  --  Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) said today he was pleased but not surprised by the Tennessee Supreme Court decision upholding the state’s voter ID law.  Ketron, who sponsored the legislation which implemented the law, said the state’s Constitution and federal decisions on the matter clearly showed lawmakers had the right to protect the integrity of elections in the state.

“Yesterday, the State Supreme Court agreed that Tennessee has the right to guard against voter fraud and to secure the freedom of elections and the purity of the ballot box,” said Ketron.  “We are not surprised by this decision.  Our State Constitution gives us the duty and right to protect the integrity of our elections and the courts have repeatedly ruled to uphold voter ID as a reasonable means in which to do this.”

The State Supreme Court ruling follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2008 which determined photo identification “is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.” 

In its decision, the Tennessee Supreme Court found “no basis for invalidating the Act on constitutional grounds.”  It also rendered moot all issues pertaining to the validity of the photo ID cards issued by the Memphis Library.  The General Assembly voted earlier this year to clarify that locally-issued photo library cards are not allowed under Tennessee’s voter ID law.  The legislation cleared up any confusion regarding the use of municipal library cards that were not supposed to be allowed under the original law passed in 2011. 

“It should not be easier to board a plane, cash a check, or buy cigarettes or beer than to vote in Tennessee,” Ketron added.   “Our right to vote is one of the most sacred symbols of our freedoms. The state’s highest court’s decision, like the earlier decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, supports that effort,” he concluded.         

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OVER 29 EMPLOYERS TO PARTICIPATE IN JOB FAIR HOSTED BY SEN. KETRON

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

(NASHVILLE) — State Senator Bill Ketron (R–Murfreesboro) announced today he has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Labor to host a job fair for the people of Rutherford County and surrounding areas.

The fair, which will include over 29 employers looking to hire, is scheduled for Tuesday, October 8 at Blackman High School on 3956 Blaze Drive in Murfreesboro from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

“I am truly excited to help coordinate this job fair and am grateful to all of the employers who are participating,” said Senator Ketron. “This event will help those who are currently unemployed find work, and I encourage as many people as possible to attend.”

Interested job-seekers are not required to RSVP for this event. Formal resumes and other job experience paperwork are strongly encouraged.

Employers participating in the fair include:  A-Z DME, Abacus Staffing, Aid and Assist at Home, All About Care, All-Star Personnel, Armor Roofing of TN, Ascend Federal Credit Union, Automation Personnel Services, Bojangles, Bridgestone, Calsonic Kansei, Elwood Staffing, Hamilton-Ryker, Kelly Services, Leviton Manufacturing, Lowes Home Improvement, Malone Solutions, Metro Industrial, Mid-Cumberland Human Resource Agency, Nerium International, Nikken, Onin Staffing, People Link Staffing, Primerica, Prologistix, Saks Fifth Avenue, SMX Staffing, Snelling Staffing, Yates Services and more.

Other interested employers are invited to attend by contacting Ron Hammontree, Jr. with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development at 615-741-8892.

Senator Ketron lives in Murfreesboro and represents District 13, which includes areas of Rutherford County.

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STATE LEADERS GAIN NATIONAL ACCLAIM AND LEADERSHIP ROLES

Monday, September 30, 2013
 (NASHVILLE) -- Tennessee’s state government leaders have gained national acclaim recently being elected or recognized for several national leadership roles. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and State Treasurer David Lillard have all been elected to bi-partisan national leadership positions, while Speaker of the House of Representatives Beth Harwell recently received a prestigious award by the Women in Numbers organization.

“Tennessee has several rising stars who are now in key positions of national leadership,” said House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (R-Thompson Station). “This is a tremendous compliment to the caliber of men and women that we have serving the citizens of this state in the Tennessee General Assembly and in our state government.”

The positions include:
• Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey was elected to the Board of Directors of the bi-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) that serves legislators and staffs nationwide with research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. Ramsey also serves on the Republican Lt. Governors Association Board (RLGA) and the Legislative Leaders Advisory Board of GOPAC.
• Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris was elected Chairman of the non-partisan Council of State Governments (CSG) which serves all three branches of government in 50 states and Puerto Rico with international affiliates in the Provincial and Federal governments of Canada. CSG fosters and encourages intergovernmental cooperation among its member states.
• Secretary of State Tre Hargett is President of the National Association of State Secretaries (NASS). The group, which is the oldest, nonpartisan professional organization for public officials, serves as a medium for the exchange of information between states and fosters cooperation in the development of public policy.
• Treasurer David Lillard was elected to the Executive Committee of the bi-partisan National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT), which is an organization for state officials who deal with the financial management of state government.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Beth Harwell was honored with a national “Trailblazer Award” by a nonpartisan group’s Tennessee chapter that encourages more women to go into politics. Harwell is the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives in Tennessee.

“Tennessee’s sound financial footing and reputation for being a well-managed state has been recognized by numerous national organizations,” added Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R- Murfreesboro). “We believe we have the finest Treasurer, Secretary of State and Comptroller with Justin Wilson in the nation. Obviously, other states’ leaders recognize this as well. Speaker Harwell, Lt. Governor Ramsey and Leader Norris have also represented Tennessee extremely well in national roles. I am very proud to work alongside them in the General Assembly.”

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Statement from Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron Regarding Jobs Announcement

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
(NASHVILLE, TN), August 28, 2012 -- “I am delighted to hear about the creation of 1,000 new Middle Tennessee jobs. Tennessee’s sound financial footing, good business climate and reputation for being a well-managed state has gotten the attention of the business world. We are the best location in the Southeast to locate new and expanding businesses!”

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The announcement from the Department of Economic and Community Development is below:

UBS TO ESTABLISH SHARED SERVICES CENTER IN NASHVILLE
Global Financial Services Firm to Invest $36.5 Million, Create 1,000 New Jobs

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean along with UBS officials announced today the company will establish a shared services center in Nashville. The announcement, representing a $36.5 million investment by the company, will create 1,000 new jobs over the next five years.

“It is exciting that UBS – one of the world’s largest banking and financial services companies – is making this significant investment in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “We are grateful for the high quality Tennessee jobs the company is creating. Companies can choose to do business anywhere in the world, and it says a lot for Tennessee and Nashville that UBS wants to be here.”

“Tennessee’s No. 1 ranking for job growth in the Southeast is only further enhanced by the added momentum of today’s 1,000 job announcement,” Hagerty said. “Our internationally competitive state provides global companies like UBS with an ideal location, a skilled workforce and attractive business climate which, in turn, allows companies to offer high-wage employment opportunities to Tennesseans. I appreciate UBS’ further investment in our state’s robust business services sector and congratulate the company on its latest success.”

UBS currently provides operations support in Nashville through over 200 employees in addition to its full service Wealth Management office. The new UBS Nashville Business Solutions Center will offer expanded business services in support of their wealth management and investment banking divisions.

“Expanding our presence in Nashville is the right business decision for UBS,” Kathleen Lynch, chief operating officer, UBS Group Americas and Wealth Management Americas, said. “The new UBS Nashville Business Solutions Center is part of our global strategy to continuously improve our efficiency and effectiveness for the benefit of our clients and shareholders.”


“The decision by UBS to bring 1,000 quality jobs to Nashville speaks to the skilled workforce in our area and the high quality of life here,” Mayor Dean said. “I welcome UBS’ Shared Services Center to Nashville and am proud that our city is increasingly being recognized as the premier location for global companies to centralize their operations.”

“A $36.5 million investment and the creation of 1,000 new jobs is outstanding news for Tennessee,” U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said. “I want to thank UBS and its employees for their commitment to the Nashville area and congratulate them on their latest success.” Corker, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, added, “Governor Haslam and his economic development team continue to attract high quality jobs to Tennessee, and I could not be more proud to join them in welcoming UBS to Nashville.”

“We are excited that UBS has chosen to expand in the Nashville region,” Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ralph Schulz said. “As a financial services industry leader, UBS is creating high-quality jobs as well as making a significant investment in our region. Our team looks forward to continuing to support the company’s workforce needs as it grows.”

“Congratulations to UBS on their continuing growth and announcement to expand in Nashville,” TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley said. “TVA is privileged to be an economic development partner with the State of Tennessee, Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Nashville Downtown Partnership to assist new investments and job creation by global companies like UBS.”

About UBS
UBS draws on its 150-year heritage to serve private, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland. Its business strategy is centered on its pre-eminent global wealth management businesses and its universal bank in Switzerland. Together with a client-focused Investment Bank and a strong, well-diversified Global Asset Management business, UBS will expand its premier wealth management franchise and drive further growth across the Group.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tn.gov/ecd. Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd. 
 
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Ketron lauds state’s ranking as lowest indebted state in the nation

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), July 22, 2013  -- Senate Republican Caucus Chairman  Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) said today he is “very proud” of Tennessee’s new ranking as the lowest indebted state in the nation.  The ranking came from Fitch Ratings which released a special report on state pensions last week.   Fitch Ratings is a leading global rating agency which provides the world’s credit markets with independent credit opinions.
 
 “This is great news,” said Senator Ketron.  “While other states and cities like Detroit are struggling, our state can be very proud that we are on solid financial ground.  We have worked very hard to make good financial decisions and to live within our means.”


The special report, published on July 16, 2013, revealed that the median level for states’ combined net tax-supported debt plus unfunded pension liabilities measures 7.0 percent of 2012 personal income. Tennessee’s was lowest at 1.8 percent. The nation’s highest percentage was Illinois at 24.8 percent.


The ranking is based on Tennessee’s net tax-supported debt and unfunded pension obligations as a percentage of personal income.


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Statement from Senator Bill Ketron regarding Taylor Farms Jobs Announcement

Wednesday, July 03, 2013
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), July 3, 2013 – “I am very pleased these new jobs opportunities are coming to Smyrna,” said Senator Ketron, who met with company representatives and the Department of Economic and Community Development regarding Taylor Farms.  “This is a sizable investment and we welcome these new jobs.  We will continue to work with new and expanding businesses as job creation and workforce development is our number one priority.”




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The release from Governor Haslam is below


GOVERNOR HASLAM, COMMISSIONER HAGERTY ANNOUNCE 
TAYLOR FARMS TO EXPAND SMYRNA OPERATIONS
Produce Supplier to Invest $5.9 Million, Create 170 New Jobs


NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Taylor Farms officials announced today the company will expand operations at its Smyrna, Tenn. facility, resulting in a $5.9 million investment and the creation of 170 new positions in Rutherford County.


“It is especially exciting when existing Tennessee businesses are growing and expanding here,” Haslam said. “I am grateful to Taylor Farms for the company’s continued investment in and commitment to Tennessee. Projects like these fuel job creation in our state and bring us one step closer toward our goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”


“Tennessee remains a solid choice for incumbent industries to grow and expand with our central location, business-friendly environment and skilled workforce,” Hagerty said. “When companies like Taylor Farms continue to find success in our state, it underscores the significant job creation resulting from industry expansions, and I appreciate the company choosing to further invest in Smyrna and Rutherford County.”


“We are extremely excited for our continued growth in Rutherford County and Tennessee,” Taylor Farms Tennessee President Brian Thure said. “We pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, and Tennessee’s centralized location in the Southeast gives us the ability to service 17 states within a day’s drive. This expansion will allow us to continue offering new and innovative products in all three lines of our business: retail, foodservice and deli.”


Taylor Farms is North America’s largest supplier of value-added fresh produce to the foodservice industry, offering a full product line of fresh-cut vegetables and salads. In addition to the Smyrna operations, located at 199 Sam Ridley Parkway East, the company has 10 processing plants in the U.S. and one in Mexico. 


The high increase in sales and overall growth of the company has driven the need to expand and will also account for the addition of new product lines. 


“The added growth of Taylor Farms is another example of the positive business environment in Smyrna,” Smyrna Mayor Tony Dover said. “We applaud their efforts, congratulate them on adding 170 jobs to our community and wish them many years of continued success.”


Interested persons can contact Taylor Farms Human Resources Manager Gena Shearon at gshearon@taylorfarms.com to learn more about available positions. 


About Taylor Farms
Taylor Farms is an American-based producer of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. Founded in 1994 with the goal of becoming "America's Favorite Salad Maker," Taylor Farms currently ranks as the world's largest producer of fresh-cut vegetables. With products that range from bagged salads to freshly prepared meals, Taylor Farms supplies many of the largest supermarket chains and foodservice restaurants in the United States. Taylor Farms headquarters are located in Salinas, California with regional processing plants in the following locations: Salinas, California; Tracy, California; Gonzales, California; Yuma, Arizona; Dallas, Texas; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Smyrna, Tennessee; Orlando, Florida; Annapolis, Maryland; Swedesboro, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. For more information on Taylor Farms, visit our website at www.taylorfarms.com.


About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development 
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tn.gov/ecd.  Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd.  Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.  


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