NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – State Sen. Mark Green has been appointed to the Council of State Government Interbranch Affairs Committee.
Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey appointed the Clarksville Republican this week.
The committee brings together leaders from across the country to focus on ways the branches of state government can work together.
Ramsey says Green “quickly established himself as an emerging leader in state government” during his freshman year in the Legislature.
The appointment starts immediately and extends through 2015.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) — Tennessee lawmakers continue to push for a change in how the state’s attorney general is selected.
State Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, is one of many who wants the General Assembly, not the state Supreme Court, to pick the state’s top lawyer.
Green shared his position with a legislative panel of the Utah State Senate via conference call Wednesday, The Leaf Chronicle reported.
Utah is considering making its attorney general an appointed post instead of an elected one — more than likely because of the growing number of ethics complaints facing current Attorney General John Swallow.
Utah’s Senate Committee on Government Operations sought out Green’s input on the matter, according to the Chronicle.
According to the National Association of Attorneys General, the attorney general is popularly elected in 43 states, and is appointed by the governor in five states — Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Wyoming — and in the five jurisdictions of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
In the District of Columbia, the attorney general is appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the D.C. Council.
However, that will change in 2015. At that time, the Attorney General’s Office will become fully independent of mayoral control.
In 2010, a majority of voters favored the District’s Home Rule Charter be amended to allow the election of an attorney general.
Tennessee is the only state that allows its high court to pick the attorney general.
In Maine, the attorney general is selected by secret ballot of the legislature, which is basically what Green wants Tennessee to do.
He, and other supporters of the change, contend it is a conflict of interest for an attorney general to argue cases before the court that picked him or her.
But opponents argue that the current system eliminates any political pressure.
“I do think it’s a real conflict of interest for an AG to be appointed by a court that he tries cases in front of,” Green told the Utah panel, according to the Chronicle.
“My frustration lies in the fact that the AG can essentially choose not to defend a law that we as legislators write, and yet he is essentially our lawyer. An example would be the AG’s refusal to take on the Legislature’s position against Obamacare or our attempt to remove state-based funds from Planned Parenthood.”
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ERIN, TENN. — Tennessee Senator of the 22 District Mark Green met with local residents and officials during a town hall meeting Friday, May 24, at Erin City Hall to discuss plans of improvement and renovation to a four-mile stretch of roadway along SR 49 in Houston County.
Improvements and renovation will start at the Crossroads of State Route 49 and 13, and end at State Route 49 and State Route 46. Plans also include renovation on a hazardous intersection at SR 79 and 46 in Dover, otherwise known as “the Trace.”
The project will start in the spring and could take three to four years to complete.
Green has requested funding for removal of vegetation, installing guardrails and reflective striping, adding “dangerous curve” signs and modification of selected dangerous curves.
He has also met with state officials to obtain funding for repairs to both roadways that he said were “two very dangerous roadways in Middle Tennessee,” according to a recent press release.
“In the last town hall meeting, G.E. (Houston County Mayor George Clark) talked about this stretch of road being incredibly dangerous, and so we went and did some research and found out that four fatal accidents and 62 collisions with injuries have occurred on this road,” Green said. “So it’s pretty obvious that there are some safety issues.”
So Green put together a presentation and took it to the Chair of Transportation Committee.
“Next thing you know, I get a call from TDOT saying, ‘Come talk to me,’” he said.
“They’re trying to qualify for federal dollars,” he said. “They’re committing state dollars to do some clean up that should begin in the spring … but what we really want to do is fix some other things like turns.”
Green said once a safety study is completed by TDOT, they may be able to use federal funds.
“And if they can’t get it then the state has to say, ‘Okay, we’ll do what we can do,’” he said.
Winfield Winegar, Constituent Services at Senator Mark Green, said the stretch of roadway is a huge issue in the county.
“It has sharp curves, tight corners, blind spots, and minimum road space,” Winegar said.
Green said TDOT and engineers will meet soon to discuss recommended changes to the SR 13 Junction to SR 14 Junction. After a decision is made, they will coordinate installation.
In other matters, Green discussed the county’s recent flooding. The City of Erin had put together a list of flooding damages that was sent to Green, which he discussed during Friday’s meeting.
Green suggested fixing the county’s streams.
“You know, muddy up the water for a day or two, but it can’t get any muddier than it gets when a flood comes,” he said.
City Recorder Lori Pendergrass agreed.
“That actually might be a better resource because the 2010, 2011 floods were both federally declared,” she said.
Overall, Green said there were two crucial points that he wanted local residents and officials to draw from Friday’s town hall meeting.
“If you come to a town hall meeting and you share a thought, we’ll do everything we can to bring a resolution,” he said. “I grew up in a town smaller than this. Every person in Houston County is just as important to me as every person in Montgomery County. If you have an issue, we’re going to get it solved. We’ll do our very best to make it happen.”
Green urged citizens to get involved and voice their opinions on any issue by visiting his website at http://www.markgreenfortennessee.com.
Green makes highway announcements in Stewart, Houston counties U.S. 79, The Trace to see safety enhancements
DOVER, TENN. — Work on U.S. 79 in the Trace area of Dover should start in a couple of weeks, said 22nd District State Sen. Mark Green at a town hall style meeting in Dover on May 24.
This was welcome news to the almost 30 residents who attended the event.
In the past nine years, the area has been the site of 25 accidents, including 11 with injuries.
This does not account for the number of near-misses that have occurred there.
The area is especially treacherous due to the increased traffic and business in that area west of the city center in the past few years. Stores, gas stations, doctor’s offices, a church and other small businesses have sprung up around the intersection with The Trace, but the growth has overshot the configuration of the road.
Tourist season makes the road even more treacherous as folks unfamiliar with the road flood the highway.
Green, after consultation with county and city leaders, was able to secure $60,000 to change the configuration of the road. He described it as “no (traffic) light but everything ready for the light.”
He thanked local officials for doing the advance work that made his request plausible to those I charge of doling out the cash.
The funding will provide for asphalt and striping. A right turn lane will be installed on the westbound lanes into The Trace, and there will be a left turn lane going into businesses across from the intersection.
Yield areas will be expanded coming out of The Trace, pavement arrows will be painted on the roadway and proper signage will be erected.
Resident Ronetta Crutcher, who lives on The Trace, said she was happy about the improvements.
“I had trouble getting out today,” she said. “It’s like a freeway out there.”
Dover Mayor Lesa Fitzhugh thanked Green for his efforts, acknowledging that it should increase road safety.
Green told those assembled that he first heard of this issue in a town hall meeting.
“I want you to remember two things,” he said. “Town hall meetings matter, and no matter how important Montgomery County is, Stewart County is just as important.”
Green also went over a few of this legislative session’s accomplishments, including cutting taxes, increasing revenues, coming up with a balanced budget and putting $100 million in the rainy day fund.
He went over several laws that were passed, including one in which the DNA profile of a rapist can be charged as a John Doe so that it is not bound by the statute of limitations.
Green said the budget was amended to include $400,000 for Austin Peay State University’s Ag Department, which has had a 75 percent increase in Ag students while not even having a barn to teach them in.
A spirited town hall meeting followed, with Green answering a number of diverse questions and listening to various sides of issues.
Some of the concerns included:
●Decreasing dependence on federal money while not decreasing services to taxpayers;
●Increasing the amount of speed limit signs on U.S. 79;
●Revisiting the BEP (education) funding formula that currently favors urban school systems;
●Curbing prescription drug abuse by looking at the prescribers, not just the possessors and dispensers;
●The Ag-Gag Bill;
●State help for local bridges destroyed by April’s flooding; and
●Amending the constitution to provide for an alternate way of choosing a State Attorney General.
CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — State Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) is continuing to aggressively push for change in how Tennessee’s Attorney General is selected, and on Wednesday he briefly summarized his position before a legislative panel of the Utah State Senate via conference call.
Utah is also weighing the issue, and its Senate Committee on Government Operations solicited Green’s input.
“My position is basically this,” Green said. “Tennessee is the only state in the nation where the state Supreme Court selects the Attorney General. In 43 of the 50 states, there are statewide elections held to select their state Attorneys General. And in the other remaining states, their governors select the Attorney General, with the only exception being Maine, where the state Legislature chooses the AG.”
Green essentially wants Tennessee to switch to the Maine system, whereby the state Legislature would make the selection. He said he is of the opinion that a Supreme Court selection of the AG constitutes a conflict of interest.
Green maintains that other constitutional officers in Tennessee, including Secretary of State and Comptroller, are also chosen by the Legislature in a system that has worked well.
Bob Cooper, a Democrat, is Tennessee’s current AG and was first selected by the Supreme Court as the state’s 26th AG in 2006.
“I do think it’s a real conflict of interest for an AG to be appointed by a court that he tries cases in front of. My frustration lies in the fact that the AG can essentially choose not to defend a law that we as legislators write, and yet he is essentially our lawyer. An example would be the AG’s refusal to take on the Legislature’s position against Obamacare or our attempt to remove state-based funds from Planned Parenthood,” Green said.
Green said the “second-worst” approach to state Supreme Court selection would be for Tennessee to hold statewide elections for the AG post. “The reason we don’t want a statewide election is that, of those 43 states that already choose the AG this way, in 2010, 25 percent of the Attorneys General in those states were actively running for governor.
“It’s commonplace that the AG’s office becomes a training ground for future governors, and we want an AG in Tennessee who is focused strictly on being AG. We don’t want our AG stepping down in the fourth year of his eight-year term to run for governor,” he said.
CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Local politicians gathered at Fort Campbell Monday morning to announce the permanent extension of the state’s Homeownership for the Brave program, which awardshome loans at reduced rates to military families.
“This is just one more way in which the burden can be eased a little bit and to know that this is available to our active duty military, our national guard, and our veterans, I think this is just such a worthy program and making it permanent will have a tremendous impact,” said U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who was joined by Sen. Mark Green, Rep. Curtis Johnson, Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers and Ralph Perrey, executive director of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.
The THDA runs the homebuying program, which guarantees active or veteran military personnel home loan rates a half a percent below THDA’s regularly reduced mortgage rates. The agency started the program as a pilot two years ago, but the THDA board decided last month to permanently run the military home-buying program.
“We liked the way that the pilot worked and we found that as more soldiers returned home from deployment more working taking advantage… so we made the program permanent,” said Ralph Perrey, executive director of the THDA. “It means that you can get a half point lower interest rate on any of our products.”
Sen. Mark Green, who is military veteran himself, said the Homeownership for the Brave program is an important part of supporting military families.
“This is a family thing, this isn’t just a solider thing, when you lower the cost of living for them that benefits the whole family,” Green said. “And service to the nation is really a family adventure. Even the spouse that stays at home serves the nation’s national security, so anytime we can do stuff for the whole family it’s pretty special.”
The reduced-rate mortgages are written by private THDA-approved lenders which create the loans based on the THDA guidelines. The state agency then buys the mortgages after the private banks has written them, freeing the bank from keeping the loan on their books.
“We keep the mortgage on our books and the earnings from the program go back and support other things we do,” Perrey said.
Local THDA-approved lenders include Cumberland Bank & Trust, F & M Bank, First Advantage Bank and Regions Bank. Unlike most of THDA’s programs, the Homeownership for the Brave program is not reserved exclusively for first-time home buyers.
“It gives an additional layer of flexibility to military families that are maybe new to Tennessee or have purchased a home in the past,” Perrey said.
Bowers thanked THDA for helping the military personnel of the state and county.
We’re really grateful as a community for the assistance you can help us with,” Bowers said.
Perrey said Clarksville was an obvious choice on his staff’s tour around the state helping publicize the program.
“You’ve got a lot of military families here and it’s also a community that’s always been welcoming of military families,” Perrey said.
Lester Black, 245-0248
City government reporter
GOPAC names Green one of ‘Emerging Leaders’ First-term state senator called ‘among the brightest up-and-coming leaders’
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tennessee State Sen. Mark Green. has been named one of the nation’s 21 “Emerging Leaders” for 2013 by GOPAC, the Republican Party’s education and training center.
“Once again, this year’s ‘Emerging Leaders’ represent the brightest up-and-coming leaders from states across the country,” said GOPAC Chairman Frank Donatelli in making the announcement.
The “Emerging Leaders” program is a yearlong initiative by GOPAC to coach, develop, and promote promising state legislators. Green and the other honorees will attend an “Emerging Leaders’ Summit” in New York City, where they will take part in interactive seminars, leadership training and networking opportunities.
A former Army Ranger Medic and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, Green has just completed his first session in the Tennessee Senate, during which he secured more than $800,000 in funding for the 22d District and successfully spearheaded legislation to create an exemption in the statute of limitations on rape and other violent crimes where law enforcement is able to identify the perpetrator by the individual’s DNA profile. Green also wrote and passed legislation increasing the penalties for assault on law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters and healthcare workers.
When Hemlock Semiconductor in Clarksville announced the layoff of 300 manufacturing workers earlier this year, Green launched an innovative program that uses the Internet to help match up local unemployed workers with available jobs throughout the community.
Since 1978, GOPAC has identified and provided training to promising young leaders within the GOP to create a “farm team” with a proven commitment to limited government, increasing private sector jobs and economic growth. Its graduates have gone on to lead their communities in state legislatures, Congress and Governors’ offices.
Additional information on GOPAC’s Emerging Leaders program can be found at www.gopac.org.
Leaf Chronicle – April 23, 2013
Freshman state Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, announced on Tuesday that the Tennessee Senate accepted $800,000 in budget amendments he offered that will help fund construction of the new animal science facility at Austin Peay State University and provide post-traumatic stress disorder counseling for veterans, reservists and their families.
Green’s amendments provide $400,000 to the new animal science facility at APSU’s Agricultural and Environmental Education Center and $400,000 for counseling services provided by Not Alone, a national nonprofit organization that provides confidential, no-cost programs to veterans and military families facing PTSD, according to a news release from Green’s office.
“With these amendments, the Legislature is making a substantial and much-needed investment in the future of agriculture in the 22nd District – and a down-payment on the debt we all owe our veterans and their families,” Green said in the release.
“The new animal science facility at APSU replaces a hay barn that was built when John F. Kennedy was president and will advance the school’s plans for developing state-of-the-art genetics and breeding programs,” Green said.
“As a veteran, I’m especially gratified by the funding for ‘Not Alone,’” he said. “I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact of these ‘invisible wounds’ of war and the toll they take on the warriors’ families.”
Green noted in the release that, according to the Veterans Administration, there have been more suicides in the military than combat deaths since 2011, with 7,000 combat veterans committing suicide each year.
“For many of these brave veterans and their families, the real battle has taken place after the soldiers returned home,” Green said. “Each of us owes it to these individuals and their families to do all we can to help them adjust.”
Green’s first year in the Legislature has also included these successes: adoption of legislation sponsored by Green to extend the statute of limitations in forcible rape and other crimes where prosecutors are able to establish a DNA profile for the suspect, and the passage of Green’s proposal to make it easier for veterans who operated motor vehicles in uniform to obtain a commercial driver’s license.
NASHVILLE, TN — [APRIL 23] — Freshman State Sen. Mark Green, M.D. (R-Clarksville), today announced that the State Senate accepted budget amendments he offered that will help fund construction of the new Animal Science Facility at Austin Peay State University and provide Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) counseling for veterans, reservists and their families.
Dr. Green’s amendments provide $400,000 to the new Animal Science Facility at APSU’s Agricultural and Environmental Education Center in Clarksville and $400,000 for counseling services provided by “Not Alone,” a national non-profit organization that provides confidential, no-cost programs to veterans and military families facing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“With these amendments, the legislature is making a substantial and much-needed investment in the future of agriculture in the 22d District — and a down-payment on the debt we all owe our veterans and their families,” Dr. Green said in announcing the new funding.
“The new Animal Science Facility at APSU replaces a hay barn that was built when John F. Kennedy was President, and will advance the school’s plans for developing state-of-the-art genetics and breeding programs,” Dr. Green noted.
“As a veteran, I’m especially gratified by the funding for ‘Not Alone,’” he added. “I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact of these ‘invisible wounds’ of war, and the toll they take on the warriors’ families.”
Dr. Green noted that according to the Veterans Administration, there have been more suicides in the military than combat deaths since 2011, with 7,000 combat veterans committing suicide each year.
“For many of these brave veterans and their families, the real battle has taken place after the soldiers returned home,” Dr. Green said. “Each of us owes it to these individuals and their families to do all we can to help them adjust.”
Besides the adoption of his amendments to the budget, Dr. Green’s first year in the legislature has been marked by successes that include: the adoption of legislation sponsored by Dr. Green to extend the Statute of Limitations in forcible rape and other crimes where prosecutors are able to establish a DNA profile for the suspect; and, the passage of Dr. Green’s proposal to make it easier for veterans who operated motor vehicles in uniform to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License.
The bill passed the Tennessee House on a 90-0 vote and the Senate on 32-0 vote. The bill now heads to Gov. Haslam for consideration.