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Approve several resolutions, support ‘Heartbeat Bill’

By Jill Penley

Johnson County Commissioners threw their support behind several resolutions at Thursday evening’s monthly board meeting including the Heartbeat Bill (HB 0077), which would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around six to eight weeks. After failing in the last general assembly, Rep. Micah Van Huss from Jonesborough filed the plan, which also requires fetal heartbeat testing prior to an abortion.
Following suit of several area boards, Commissioners moved forward with a resolution asking the state to pass a law giving counties the option of electing their director of schools. The resolution calls on the state to “pass a law to allow Tennessee counties to have a local option to either elect or appoint a director of schools.”
A similar resolution was passed involving the appointed position of Clerk and Master, requesting the “duly elected state senator and state representatives for Johnson County take such legal steps as is necessary to require/mandate the appointed position of clerk and master become an elected position as are the other constitutional offices.”
The final resolution passed was to request the unclaimed balance of accounts remitted to State Treasurer.
Commissioners also approved the appointment of Huey Long to the Equalization Board, which is considered the first level of administrative appeal for all complaints regarding the assessment, classification, and valuation of property for tax
Terry Reece and Roger Reece were each appointed to a two-year term as
Judicial Commissioner. This county officer position has several duties including
Issuing arrest and search warrants upon a finding of
probable cause, selecting attorneys for indigent defendants, setting and approving bonds
and the release on recognizance of defendants; and issuance of injunctions and other appropriate orders in cases of alleged domestic violence.
Commissioners also appointed eight individuals to serve on the Johnson County Industrial Board including Larry Mullins, John Muse, Chris Reece, Huey Long, John Brookshire, Joe Herman, Kevin Parsons, and Sally Snyder. The Industrial Board, the economic development organization for the county, assists existing businesses and works to bring new business and industry to the area by collaborating with Johnson County Chamber of Commerce, local government, and regional/state economic development agencies.
Other action taken included approving county road superintendent’s request for a declaration of Johnson County Highway Department inventory surplus and approving a new pauper’s burial policy as presented by County Attorney Perry Stout. “In the past,” explained Stout, “funeral homes would request funds from the County to cover burials of people who had minimal funds.” For several years, this amounted to
about $500 annually. However, Stout reports the line item has grown to $2.000 a year.
“We’ve come up with a new plan which will only pay for true pauper burials,” Stout said, “which would be an unclaimed body.”