As a reminder to our members, The Military Officers Association of America, and the Middle Tennessee Chapter as an affiliate, are Section 501 (c) (19) organizations. This allows contributions to be tax exempt. We are prohibited from advocating for issues that may represent one political platform over another or supporting a candidate for elected office. To this end, we limit our chapter advocacy to MOAA supported national issues and veteran and military issues at the state level that do not represent one political platform.
To protect our status, we want to ensure any literature from our chapter complies with these limitations. We provide some printed materials at our meetings and occasionally include handouts from our presenters. If an individual member wishes to provide material of interest at one of our meetings, we request an emailed copy of these materials by the last day of the preceding month, so our board has time to review.
NDAA has passed the House and SASC work is underway. There were 794 amendments submitted for consideration in the House prior to passage.
The final version includes the following MOAA priorities:
2.7% Military Pay Raise
Provisions from the Military Hunger Prevention Act – provides a new allowance for families that fall within a band of the local poverty level.
Directs Defense Health Agency to create an appeals process for TRICARE Tier 4 non-covered drugs
Directs DOD to assess feasibility of increasing US manufacturing of pharmaceuticals to reduce reliance on adversarial nation manufacturing to improve combat readiness
The following MOAA priorities were not included in either House or Senate versions:
Expansion of TRICARE for young adult parity
Expansion of TRICARE for GUARD/Reserve coverage
Comprehensive Toxic Exposure Reform
What started as four bills became the catalyst for overarching (omnibus) legislation offered by the House and Senate – together, this topic has amassed 200 co-sponsors, including key legislators from both chambers. Legislation being sought here is not tied to the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), so it could have success as a standalone bill or be wrapped up with other supplemental legislation or appropriations. Please visit the MOAA Advocacy Center and let your Legislator know that you support this initiative.
2021 Veterans and Military Legislation from the 112th General Assembly
The attachment below comes from a database prepared by the state legislature to provide updates on bills. The description of each bill is created when the bill is generated, but doesn't always reflect what is going on with amendments, which may make the bill vary significantly.
What gets most of our veteran bills left in a committee at the end of the year is the dreaded "fiscal note". A fiscal note comes from the Comptrollers office and assigns an estimated cost of the bill (how much the state would lose, or gain, in revenue). These estimates can be pretty enlightening at what they consider the cost to be, even with input from the affected Department.
In almost every case, if there is a fiscal note which the governor has not funded on a bill, it stands little to no chance of passing.
For further study of a specific bill, go to Tennessee General Assembly Search (tn.gov) and type in the bill number (ie SB 1183 our bill for VA leave time). When the bill page comes up, look at the amendments and fiscal note pages for further information.
Tennessee Veterans (TNVET) has completed work on their website and it is now ready for public consumption.
As a reminder our Chapter is associated with TNVET as the a result of our belonging to the Tennessee Council of Chapters, MOAA (TN CoC).
TNVET is currently composed of 12 state veteran organizations, who have join forces in a cooperative effort address the legislative needs of veterans, active duty military and their families. These members represent all the branches of the military service. The focus and goal is to work with legislators of the State of Tennessee to develop and support legislation that addresses the needs and issues of those who have served or are serving in our United States military forces.
MTC Members Participate in TVET 2020 Day on the Hill
5 February 2020.
On 5 February hundreds of Veterans descended on the TN State Capitol in support of a number of important legislative initiatives. Many thanks to the Women Veterans of America Chapter in Clarksville for taking the lead on this event for 2020.
MOAA was very well represented at the event with five Chapters (Chattanooga Chapter, Fort Campbell Chapter, Memphis Chapter, Middle TN Chapter, and the Stones River Chapter) in attendance. MTC was represented by Lt. Col. Scott Findley, USAF; COL John Furgess, USA; LTC Doug Gilbert, USA; COL Doug Minton, USA; LTC Mike Patenaude, USA; Maj. Gen. Carl Schneider, USAF; Lt. Col. Karon Uzzell-Baggett, USAF; LTC Thad Vann, USA; and of course COL Sam Whitson, USA who was in session as a State Representative. (Pictured above from left to right: LTC Pete Warner, USA(Pres. Stones River Chapter);Lt.Col. Scott Findley, LTC Doug Gilbert, MajGen. Carl Schneider, COL Doug Minton, and LTC Thad Vann - all MTC members).
Middle TN Chapter Non-Partisan Policy
The Middle TN Chapter Board and Membership has a mandate to always remain politically nonpartisan as an affiliate organization of MOAA National. As such, we do not support or oppose any candidate for political office. We will periodically provide notice that a member is continuing to serve by running for office; however this is not to be construed as an endorsement of his or her political views.
Normally during this time frame each year we would organize visits to our elected officials when they are home during Congressional break and when the TN State Legislature is out of session. However, this being an election year we are unable to accomplish these tasks without being drawn into the election fray.
So, while the Chapter cannot become actively involved in supporting a candidate, we whole heartedly support the individual involvement of our members on a personal basis. An informed and active electorate is important to the success of our state and nation, so it is up to each of us to become informed on the issues and to vote and encourage all that you know to do so as well.