State Rep. Kevin Brooks and Gov. Bill Haslam's "Work Comp Reform" HB 194 bill is 60-plus pages of changes to the worker compensation system that is supposed to do a lot of things. In most cases, this bill will result in over a 66 percent reduction in payments to the injured worker. Rep. Jimmy Eldridge, chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources committee, recently commented "that freight train is going off," before the bill even was heard in his full committee.
The workers' compensation laws made it so that employers don't get sued for negligence, and employees automatically get paid for job injuries. That is the trade our legislature already has given us, and now they want to cut our rights even more. If the employer who benefited from their work doesn't pay, we as a society have to pay. The costs don't go away. The absolute least employees deserve is a fair system of workers' compensation, not one that Haslam and big business crafted to serve their needs.
I would like to thank Mayor Ron Littlefield for including the Chattanooga Drivers Education Program in his top 10 list of programs developed during his administration that he feels are the most important.
We are proud that Chattanooga's Public Works Department/Traffic Engineering Division had the foresight and good sense to use the revenue provided by Chattanooga's Photo Enforcement Program to provide affordable, high-quality defensive driving training for teen drivers. And only three and a half years after the first class was offered, 1,500 young drivers have graduated! The courses are in high demand and fill very quickly, so the number of graduates will continue to grow.
Thank you, Mayor Littlefield, for recognizing what we have all known and will continue to benefit from for years to come -- more responsible and well-trained young drivers, safer roads and saved lives.
I hope I am among a multitude of citizens who applaud Judge Statom for her vehement lecture to the courtroom, the witness, potential witnesses and to this community of readers. For the privilege of living in this country we have an obligation not only to uphold the law but to help maintain justice. In the 1965 eulogy for slain civil rights activist Jimmy Lee Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr. said, "He was murdered by every member of the gospel who has remained silent about racial discrimination." I believe the same could be said about Terry Parker. He was murdered by every person who stood on that street and watched as he was gunned down, then remained silent about it. And I will go further and say that every time we remain silent in the face of crime, we become an accessory to the next crime.
It is time for the Tennessee Legislature and our governor to do what is right by expanding Medicaid in this state. By covering 180,000 more Tennesseans, they will have access to better health care.
Our insurance premiums would drop, and by expanding Medicaid we get healthier workers, children and families. A healthy worker is key to a productive workforce, and a growing economy helps the state save hundreds of millions of dollars by cutting the amount of money spent on uninsured people who need health services.
Expanding Medicaid will enact tough new penalties and fines to combat waste and fraud.
If we don't expand Medicaid, sick or injured Tennesseans lose because of fewer hospital services and staff. The Affordable Care Act cuts the amount of money hospitals get from the federal government to cover uncompensated care on the premise that states will expand Medicaid and receive payment for those newly insured people.
Call or write Gov. Bill Haslam and the lawmakers to urge them not to listen to the vocal minority and think of the children and the hard-working families of this state.
Tell them to make the right decision.
GARY FISHER, Hixson
Chuck Fleischmann should hold a town meeting to explain his vote against the Violence Against Women Act. Both Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander supported its passage, as did the vast majority of congressmen from both parties.
Since that vote, some Republicans who voted against the act are trying to pretend otherwise, in hopes that the electorate will forget about their misguided "no" vote. Here in our district, we will not forget. With this vote, Fleischmann finds himself aligned with Rep. Scott DesJarlais, whose own record involving the treatment of women is well-documented. I call on Fleischmann to explain himself publicly.
Ron Hart's columns are the most compelling and unique satire in op-ed political writing. I have read his columns in newspapers for seven years. He is the best.
Frustrated liberal letter writers use the standard leftist accusation to silence their opponents -- calling everyone they disagree with racists. Odd that Hart supports Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, J.C. Watts, etc., yet when he talks about Obama's obvious Chicago-style politics it is racial? Come on, be intellectually honest for once.
As Hart said, "Conservatives cannot sort laundry without being called racist by the left." Sadly when you do not have an argument to pit against Hart's intellect and insight, you have to revert to name calling. Hart rocks. Do not let a few in the loonie left chase him out of our paper.
AMY YOUNNG, The Assembly, Monteagle, Tenn.