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Hamilton County officials are asking for state legislative help addressing property assessments, school funding, court fees and other local issues.

Members of the Hamilton County government met with state Reps. Robin Smith, Mike Carter, Esther Helton, Patsy Hazelwood, Yusuf Hakeem and Sen. Todd Gardenhire discuss what issues they would like to see addressed in the 2020 legislative session, which starts in mid-January.

— Property Assessor Marty Haynes asked the representatives to rally against a rule being considered by the state board governing property assessment, which would allow those who appeal their property value in Hamilton County an immediate 10% decrease during the appeals process. According to Haynes, the rule, which will be considered in January, would have cost the county $4 million in 2018 if it were in affect.

— County Mayor Jim Coppinger asked the state officials to consider several issues broadly, including any efforts to curb the opioid epidemic or increase infrastructure funding in Hamilton County. He also specifically asked the state to consider redefining some rules about teacher pay funding, which resulted in a lively debate between school board members and the representatives about whether strictly instructional teachers or all certified teachers serving in the classroom or leadership in the county should be considered teachers for the sake of pay. Sen. Todd Gardenhire said the rules were "the county's fault" due to a contract with the local teachers' union and not actually a facet of state law.

— Administrator of Deeds Lee Norris implored state representatives to push for people convicted of driving under the influence to have mandatory community service because community service is the county's primary litter patrol resource. The state used to require three days of community service for DUIs, but judges are now allowed to apply the requirement at will.

Representatives of other Hamilton County Constitutional Offices asked for the state delegates to consider higher court fees, loosening restrictions on warrants for arresting parolees and juvenile Justice Reform in the upcoming session

More information on the upcoming legislative session can be found here. http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/.

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