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Town Hall: Education, health at center of Rep. Hill’s Mountain City meeting

Rep. Timothy Hill (District 3) held a Town Hall meeting at the Welcome Center in Mountain City on Friday Feb. 8.
Photo by Bethany Anderson

By Bethany Anderson

Close to three-dozen in attendance listened attentively as Rep. Timothy Hill (District 3) spoke of his family and the recent activities of the State General Assembly, during a Town Hall meeting including held last Friday evening at the Johnson County Welcome Center.
Wasting no time Hill spoke about some new bills he and others are introducing soon as well as the reason for his desire to hold a meeting when he said, “The best pieces of legislation I’ve ever had have come from town hall meetings just like this.”
The 7-year, 4-term Republican has previously served as Majority Whip and currently serves as Chair of the Commerce Committee.
“The first thing I did after being named Chairman, was to make appointments to meet with all the other Chairmen,” Hill said.
Speaking of firsts, Hill first mentioned a bill regarding restraining orders, especially for those stemming from domestic violence. “The idea came by way of a constituent who reached out to me,” he said.
The proposal is to raise fines for those in violation of an order of protection from $25 per violation, to $2,500 per violation, with the intent of donating collected fines to the Isaiah 117 House (or to C.A.S.A. in cases where there is no local Isaiah 117 House).
Hill did not hesitate to discuss a number of issues related to education including the Tennessee Center for Applied Technology (TCAT) at the Johnson County High School.
“It was brought to Johnson County High School because so many of these things are already in place,” he said, adding that the campus will become a hybrid with state and high school vocational classes offered. “These programs will eventually lead to TCAT’s own campus.”
Also concerning education was a bill that would implement a version of an election for school superintendents. The proposal calls for school boards to appoint a superintendent, leading to a subsequent election for the public to vote on retention.
“The number one call or comment that I get is about elected school superintendents,” Hill said. Those in attendance were quite opinionated, to say the least about this subject in particular. A lively question and answer session and subsequent discussion followed the topic with the vast majority of those involved in the discussion were adamantly opposed.
Once the floor was open to question and answer,
the discussion quickly turned to education, specifically
involving charter school vouchers and special education.
Hill is personally opposed to charter school vouchers, which was reciprocated by many in attendance. Many expressed frustrations with the current special education services and level of teacher training in local public schools.
The meeting also addressed the need for those who suffer chronic pain to have better access to prescription pain medications, including opioids to help alleviate their suffering.
One of the comments from the audience came from a woman who stated that she is having difficulties in having her prescription filled, the difficulties of availability schedule as well as high prices of co-pays along with the certain stigma of being labeled “an opioids user.”
Hill responded that he is currently working with Dr. Bryan Terry, Chairman of the Health Committee to draft an amendment to clarify the difference between “chronic pain” and “long term chronic pain.”
“This would help distinguish the need for a better-suited schedule of availability, which would in turn help to alleviate costs from co-pays,” he said.
Hill made it clear that he could be reached by his constituents, pointing out that his listed contact number is for his mobile phone, and can be contacted at his office
located at 425 5th Ave North, Suite 680 Cordell Hull Building, Nashville, TN 37243,
or by phone at (615) 741-2050.
In closing Hill said, “Thank you for allowing me to serve you. I love what I do, and hopefully you can tell, but I just have such a passion for it.”
For more information visit www.capitol.tn.gov.