Well, the elections have come and gone, and now we are in that no-man’s-land between the election of a new congress and its inauguration on 3 January at Noon. We are also in between the end of Fiscal Year 2022 and into Fiscal Year 2023 without a federal budget and for our interests without a National Defense Authorization Ace (NDAA). We do have a continuing resolution through 16 December. Yes, it seems like we have been here before – annually.
What makes this a particularly difficult year is that inflation levels have far surpassed anticipated levels. As November ends and we come down to the wire, initiatives are working to raise the NDAA by $45 Billion to the level of $847 Billion which is about 5% above initial planning. I would say, “watch this space,” but I only write once per month and things are going to be moving fast.
Budgetary wrangling does not jeopardize Defense Department salaries, but not all our uniformed services are within the DoD. The Coast Guard is within the Department of Homeland Security, so salaries are not protected in case of a shutdown. There is an article on page 16 of the new Military Officer magazine about initiatives to keep salaries coming in case of a shutdown to the Coast Guard but also to US Public Health Service – not mentioned but should include NOAA as well.
Why mention this right now to a chapter membership which is mostly retired? We still have vested interests in those active duty and reservists who do today what we did back then. National Interest is always a topic for all citizens to keep in mind and especially as conflict in Ukraine keeps happening and as our friends in European NATO countries look at a winter of fuel availability issues.
Have you been deployed over the Christmas holidays? Most of us have spent such time away from home and family – some of us repeatedly. Before the Soviet Union fell, there was a very beneficial phenomenon which I saw play out in the Mediterranean. The Soviet fiscal year was the calendar, which meant that we could make long port visits in late December because the Soviet Navy was out of money until New Years. No mischief was going to happen when the Soviets were broke. I do not know that works in the 2020s, but it does no good for our forces and the people within them when the DoD is under fiscal constraints.
If you have any direct contact with members of Congress this month, do remind them that MOAA is still busy pressing for initiatives that benefit our uniformed people and protect our country.
Beyond that, enjoy the holiday season, holiday activities, and all the good blessings.
Election Day on 8 November is coming quickly, and it may well have come and gone when you read this. There are critical issues to be dealt with, and our legislators in Washington will be back off the campaign trail soon to do their work.
If you remember that the NDAA and Federal Budget had not been passed and signed by 30 September, what was written a month ago remains true now. The Continuing Resolution is in effect to 16 December, and there will be a legislative crunch leading into their Christmas holiday break. The lack of a budget stalls the work of the new fiscal year at the FY 2022 levels. That means that contracts are stalled, needed training is delayed, and new initiatives cannot begin.
On top of all that, our elevated inflation rate is not reflected in the continuing resolution levels, so need is high and resources are low. Those of us who served in uniform have all known and experienced what it is means to be under-resourced and yet have mission to accomplish.
Which brings us to understand why we are in such situations every year. As of the current congress, just 17% of members have served in uniformed – stark contrast to just two decades ago when over half had served. Those who have served know and appreciate what goes unrecognized elsewhere. Will that improve when the next Congress is sworn in on 3 January at Noon Eastern Time?
Another matter is that eligibility for burial at Arlington is moving toward change with MOAA fully engaged. Watch for news to come. The initiative is moving toward attaching eligibility in time to combat status rather than just honorable service; that is Silver Star or Purple Heart as the criterion level. There are currently 155 VA-run cemeteries and 5 state veteran cemeteries in Tennessee. This will take a long time to sort out, but many of us have Arlington in our plans and may need rethink the plans eventually.
Veterans Day comes on 11 November. How do you plan to celebrate? Thanksgiving Day comes as well. How will you celebrate? For what are you thankful?
I am writing this on 30 September – the last day of federal Fiscal Year 2022. Nothing will happen before midnight, so a continuing resolution was passed while we were busy watching Hurricane Ian. Like every year since Fiscal 1997, we begin a new fiscal year without a budget. Need I say more?
The National Defense Appropriation Act was passed through the Senate committee before they took an August Recess. My research found that there will not be a vote on it until after the November elections. We have all experienced what it means to serve under those constraints.
We usually write about the good sense of writing to our legislators and how we can express our support for initiatives by cutting out the mail-in letters from Military Officer magazine. Did you note that the most recent issue for October did not contain any of them?
Right now, all of the Representatives and 1/3 of the Senators are busy being re-elected. Here is an idea: They usually get piles of mail about issues; what they really get is a numerical count of mail supporting and opposing specific issues. People write because they want something, and there is nothing personal about it. Instead, why not write a personal letter thanking those elected officials for what they have done for us. Make it personal – much like a note of thanks. They probably don’t get much directly expressed appreciation. It might make those people really take notice of how what they do matters to those they do it all for.
Neither of our US Senators is up for re-election this year, but all 9 House of Representatives are up for re-election. What can we do to support them personally for what they have done for those of us who wore the uniform? How can we make their day better? Here is an opportunity to be the good guys.
Letters are more likely to reach them personally if sent to their regional offices in Tennessee rather than to Washington. This is a task we can all take on easily, quickly, and effectively.
You have surely noticed all the advertising on TV about the long-term health effects of toxic waste at Camp Lejeune in the 1950s to 1980s. Those ads are sponsored by law firms seeking damages for the impacts of those wastes on the long-term health of Marines and related people. This situation is not a MOAA initiative or direct matter, but it raises the important topic of what we were exposed to during our service and what it may do to our health even decades later.
The September issue of Military Officer on page 16 tells of Marine Veteran Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas who was exposed to burn pits in Iraq at the age of 25, suffered cancer at age 38 and died at 42. She had to fight hard to have the VA connect her cancer to that exposure. Only this year did the President sign the Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Service Act into law long after it was needed. The article is worth your reading.
The point is that we all need to identify and know the risks we faced from toxic materials. That means reading through your service record and medical record to refresh your memory and capture the information that may relate to your health years later and documentation of it. Nobody else will do that for you, and the documentation matters if you need it.
Where did you serve, and what were the toxic dangers? The articles in this issue were about breast cancer and toxic chemicals from burn pits in Southwest Asia, the Middle East, and Northwest Africa; however, the other historic dangers include Agent Orange, asbestos, toxic chemicals entering ground water, and many more.
MOAA championed the Dr. Kate act and may well have championed your own health in the process. We have our own parts to play as well as we remember exposures and find the documentation. May we all enjoy good health.
Other matters: The federal fiscal year ends on 30 September. The House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act in July, and the Senate sent it to committee. Then they all took their August vacation break. Now that September is here, the pressure is on to both get the NDAA passed and the whole federal budget as well. And there is the whole business of getting reelected. Busy times on Capitol Hill.
Writing to your own representatives is always important. The existing legislators remain in office until Noon on 3 January, so keep their inboxes full and your priorities expressed.
On 14 July, the House of Representatives passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with a vote of 329 to 101. Now the initiative goes to the Senate for action. The Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version in June, with committee leadership filing it to the Senate floor in mid-July. The full chamber has yet to vote on the bill. The House passage and Senate committee reporting out in July brings optimism for the defense package to come together and be signed by the President before the fiscal year ends. Will it happen this year that the completed NDAA is enacted before the fiscal year ends on 30 September? Should Congress fail to pass those bills on time, they’ll have to pass a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open, a move that keeps spending levels frozen at the previous year’s levels.
Until then, the Congress will take their August vacation, so it may be a while getting the work done. After the August vacation period ends, Congress will have full plates of work and also need to work on their own reelections.
As usual, there are some important provisions included: * the 4.6% uniformed service pay raise was included, but also remember that the most recent inflation report was 9.1%, so the measure covers only half of the need. * Improvements in the Basic Allowance for Housing situation. * Expansion of the licensure reimbursement program for spouses resulting from PCS moves.
Left out were some other provisions relating to delays of hiring retirees into military health systems, spouse training for employment services, health care resources, and mental health services. Also left out were key provisions of the Major Richard Star Act.
All year there has been MOAA support for the Major Richard Star Act related to deliver concurrent receipt improvements for full military retirement pay and veterans’ disability compensation. MOAA Headquarters has invested heavily in the Star Act. Many of us retirees have some level of VA disability, and the provisions and actions could have impacts on us personally. Watch this space for more.
The PACT Act was signed into law this week, empowering the VA to presumptively provide care and benefits to Vets suffering from more than 20 toxic exposure-related conditions. Even with political maneuvering, Congress finally acted correctly on this bill.
Writing or visiting your own representatives is always important. The new districts relate to the November elections, but the existing legislators remain in office until Noon on 3 January, so keep their inboxes full and your priorities expressed.
The second round of primary elections comes around on 2 August, and the campaign signs are already sprouting from the grass out there. Listen to what the candidates say and whether they match your uniformed service values.
Do you remember what we called “unfunded requirements” – euphemism for saying that we must do something without the resources to do it; so, we need to get creative and find another way. We all met that reality and did our best with what we had, but the world really doesn’t work that way on legislative matters. The annual NDAA (National Defense Appropriations Act) needs to be passed in the Fall, but it has not been ready on time since FY 1997. We put stressful burdens on the people, but we cannot buy ships, planes, and tanks that way.
Our serving members are suffering from living costs as BAH is falling behind actual costs for off-base housing. The BAH Restoration Act (HR 7561) and BAH Calculation Improvement Act (HR 7562) are designed to improve their situation, but they need to be passed very soon as rents are rising everywhere in the USA. This is not only a financial issue, but it impacts readiness, morale, and retention. NDAA Season is an important time to write to your congressman and also congressional candidates and speak up for those still serving.
An important quote from Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret) – our MOAA VP for Government Relations: “We must not kick the FY 2023 budget into the next year for a new session of Congress to deal with – this Congress has an obligation to not leave with unfinished appropriations on the table” (Military Officer July 2022, p. 18) Appropriations are how we enact programs, so the work must get done. Yes, Congress takes an August vacation and comes right back to work when they need to be campaigning, but the next Congress begins on 3 January at Noon and will have plenty of its own work to do. Good time to be telling your elected representatives about that.
Right before I retired from the Navy as the oldest member of our command, my LCDR told me: “Ted, growing older ain’t for sissies.” We are all getting older every day, and each morning is a time for thanksgiving. Our MOAA Baby Boomers served through so many conflicts – Vietnam, Middle East, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and more – which has brought the VA System to expanded planning for senior veterans to engage in greater access to long-term and extended-care. Many of us prefer to age in place at our homes. As VA and VHA are the largest health-care systems in the land, they are working with the Institute for Health Care improvement to make the systems deemed “age friendly.” As of now, 51 VA centers are deemed age-friendly facilities, and the goal is for all 171 to reach that stage. There is a long way to go and a planned deadline of FY 2025 to get there. What can you say to our legislators to help them support that goal?
Busy summer for us all! Enjoy it, and speak up to those who need to listen.
Last month, I wrote about the annual process of preparing for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which funds our armed forces operations and all matters related to it in the new fiscal year that begins 01 October. Days after submitting for our newsletter, I read that all the congressional budgeting work has not been completed on time to start a new fiscal year since FY1997. Yikes! That is why all the continuing resolutions appear in the Autumn resulting in pressure right before the Christmas Congressional Recess.
The many concerns that MOAA advocates all relate beyond their initiatives to the needs for funding those initiatives. NDAA is involved in all of them including salaries and benefits for both active and retired personnel.
Writing this before Memorial Day and our ceremony at the Middle Tennessee State Cemetery, it is wise to keep alert about the situation at Arlington Memorial Cemetery as it begins to fill up to capacity and for the national cemetery benefit that some of us anticipate. The House Armed Services Committee included report language in last year’s NDAA for a joint DoD and VA report on the Arlington issue, with unanimous consent, only to have it rejected by the Senate. Outreach to your elected officials, especially to our Senators Blackburn and Hagerty, will help improve the chances for the Expanding America’s National Cemetery act to be included in the FY 2023 NDAA. Summer and into September are the times to make those communications happen.
We honored Tennessee veterans on Memorial Day but following up on this is the task to ask your lawmakers to honor our military families by preserving this earned benefit and allowing veterans to keep their long-held plans for a final resting place. The VA will soon need to generate more burial spaces of honor near the Capitol Area.
Last month, I quoted Senator Tester of Montana with his term “the message machine.” Let’s all learn how to be vocal on that message machine and let our presence, concerns, and interests be known in Washington. Your copy of the MOAA Military Magazine is including form letters to send out, so please put stamps on them and send them out. The MOAA website in the Advocacy section has engines for creating messages to support matters that you care about and get them delivered to members of Congress.
And here is a quote from Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma about the current budget quandary from the June issue of Military Officer on page 11: “Inflation is the new sequestration, and we’ve got to confront it.” What he is pointing out is that the current high inflation rate will need to be accommodated but that demands are being elevated for personnel and equipment; that is, DOD has a strategy to cut personnel end-strength while at the same time there is a need for R&D and development of new systems – all during the inflationary period. Add to that the threats of Eastern Europe and Taiwan and there is a significant problem in the hands of our lawmakers.
This is the time of year when the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the coming year takes shape so that it can be enacted before the end of FY2022 in September. A whole lot goes into the NDAA, and MOAA has been advocating for a 4.9% raise in uniformed pay. That seemed quite ambitious until the inflation report came out at 8.3% a few weeks ago – so that 4.9% is actually a net loss. There are a lot of competing priorities and the pressure of planning deadlines. Beyond those pressures, this is also an election year for Congress with accompanying campaigns to wage and demands on their time.
The primary elections are open for early voting as I write for the May issue, but the election itself is held right at the start of the month. With all the redistricting that always follows the US Census and surely a change of districts for some of us, we quickly hear about the candidates who are nominated for us in anticipation of November elections. As they get their campaign strategies together, this is the opportune time to write to them and talk with them if you have an opportunity.
Congress generally takes vacation time in August, but when they reconvene, there is a lot of time pressure to get things done before 30 September when FY2022 ends. There are only 11 days in that period when both houses will be in session. Continuing resolutions will probably follow until the NDAA, and other budget matters are passed. That period may not be the best time to community with those busy legislators and their staffers, so NOW is very opportune. Take time to speak up after having thought through what you value and composed effective ways to say it.
Are you playing in the Message Machine? Do your Washington folks and candidates know what matters to you? Here is a wonderful quote in the current Military Officer magazine (p. 28) that comes from Senator Jon Tester of Montana: “If you’re unhappy with what we’re doing, make sure you’re cranking up the message machine out there. Because this isn’t going to happen unless veterans are talking.” Whatever your favorite “this” is, now is the time to say it.
On April 19, 2022, Gov. Lee signed into law a bill that will ensure Tennessee veteran spouses and families can rightfully obtain federal survivor benefits they may qualify for when COVID, or other pandemic, is a contributary cause in the veteran’s death. The bill, as proposed by the veteran organization “Tennessee Veterans” (TNVET), was a collaborative between TNVET, TN legislators and the TN Medical Association. The bill (HB2220/SB2306) carried by Rep. Jason Hodges (Clarksville/Montgomery County) and Sen Heidi Campbell (Nashville/Davidson County) passed by unanimous vote in the state legislature.
I do hope you read and took to heart and action the matter of ensuring that your family will have your DD-214 and VA Determination Letter readily available when you die. Just this month came another instance to observe how busy family members become at the time of a death and how much of their time and energy are engaged in their grief. Even so, there is that 72-hour deadline to make sure that your veteran paperwork is shown to whoever would sign the death certificate. Please take action to accomplish this task.
Posters are beginning to appear around the area for the upcoming elections. Most of us have deployed during our service careers, so most of us should realize how long the mail took to seek an absentee ballot, receive it, and get it back before election day. When I was deploying, that process would take more than a whole month. Accomplishing this in the mail has not gotten any better.
TN House Bill HB1649 and Senate Bill 1511 authorizes Montgomery County to research and develop and test technologies that would allow members of the armed forces and employees and their eligible dependents who are voters in that county but stationed outside of the USA to vote by means other than by mail. This is a one county test that if successful can be rolled out for the entire state (think National Guard and Reserves in addition to active duty.) The bills have been deferred to Summer Study and to the Elections and Finance Subcommittee.
Please note that Congress schedules a period for members to be back in their districts each year to meet with constituents. This month from April 11-22 our congressional members will be in Tennessee with much of their time devoted to campaigning. This is an opportunity for you to meet them in person and speak your concerns about military matters. Please take effort for some face time with them. It is more convenient to do that this month than usual. Those facing election will be very receptive and attentive in an election year.
MOAA has a new initiative to lobby Congress with the Major Richard Star Act that needs your prompt attention. The April issue of Military Officer arrived and includes tear-out letters to the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate. Our members can simply tear them out and mail them off or check their email for another option.
Do you know where your DD-214 and VA Disability Determination Letter are? More importantly: Do your family survivors know?
Working through the Tennessee Legislature are House Bill HB-2220 sponsored by Rep. Hodges and Senate Bill SB-2306 sponsored by Sen. Campbell – matching bills with two numbers. They are to require the officials who sign death certificates to inspect our veteran paperwork before signing death certificates. The pressing issue is that the certificate must be signed within 72 hours, and there is no option to delay the signing while family members look for your paperwork. Death certificates can be amended after signing, but it is a slow and arduous process. The death certificate is needed to process SBP and DIC claims, so those benefits get delayed if the death certificate is wrong or delayed.
What has made this especially important in our Covid Crisis is how many death certificates are simply attributed to Covid without reference to any service-connected health matters.
There is a simple task before each of us: Make copies of those two documents for not only your surviving spouse but also for children. Put them in a sealed envelope and have them keep those copies. Think about copies for ready access entrusted to a close friend or even your attorney.
The point is that the copies are needed quickly. Your spouse and family members will become very busy quickly and could have difficulty locating your filed paperwork to make the 72-hour deadline. If several family members have the documents, somebody will be able to retrieve them quickly.
If your time comes outside of Tennessee, different states and countries will each have their own systems and deadlines – another matter but one where ready access can help move a solution along.
This may seem like a very direct article, but it is important to get this matter right. It is not easily solved after the fact, so take this little errand to heart and get the errand done.
The Decennial Census specified in the Constitution was taken in 2020 with the allocation of congressional districts taking effect for the 2022 elections. There was no impact on Tennessee representation with the number of seats in the House of Representatives remaining at nine. What does impact us is the redrawing of district boundaries in our chapter’s area. Some of our members will find themselves in a redrawn district and with a different member of congress after the upcoming elections.
New legislative boundaries were approved by the Tennessee Legislature. Some maps have been published but not with sufficient boundaries that would let us figure out what district we will vote within. Surely those maps will follow so be aware of what is coming for the November elections and then who will be elected to represent you beginning 3 January 2023. Immediately close to us is that Williamson County will be split between 2 districts and Davidson County for 3 districts. More will be coming our way on that subject, so watch this space.
The Census results also drive redistricting at the state level for our 99 representatives and 33 senators. Watch for more news coming after the Governor has signed the enabling legislation.
MTC members(6) joined 11 members of other TN MOAA Chapters and nearly 175 members of other veterans organizations in attending the “TNVET Veterans Day on the Hill” in Nashville on 3 February. This is an annual event organized by TNVET to connect veterans’ groups with our elected leadership to seek their support for a number of legislative initiatives that impact veterans. A complete description of the issues discussed with 2022 legislators can be found at 2022 Legislation – Tennessee Veterans (tnvet.org). The day of our visitation was the last day to introduce bills in this legislative session, so this list will be revised to include bill numbers as soon as they are available.
One of the major legislative initiatives that we are discussed is a test trial of online voting for deployed members of the uniformed services. That trial would occur in Montgomery County. Many states have engaged such deployment voting with West Virginia taking the lead. The intention is to work out a system for Tennessee before the federal level gets engaged so that Tennessee does not need to create a system out of nothing to catch up. There will be more news on this as the year passes.
On the Federal level, MOAA has unveiled a new legislative action center, which can be found at MOAA | Take Action Center (quorum.us) . This new site lists active legislative campaigns and offers a deep dive into key advocacy issues and how to engage with lawmakers. Please make use of this capability to share your views with our Federal legislators.
Military retirees who are eligible for both Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) and Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) can choose which entitlement they prefer to receive during Open Season, which runs Jan. 1-31, 2022.
If you are eligible to participate in Open Season, you should have received a letter detailing the benefits of each entitlement by mail earlier this month. Along with the letter, you'll receive an Open Season Election Form, which allows you to choose the type of payment you wish to receive. Federal law prohibits receiving both CRDP and CRSC.
Forms should only be submitted if you are making a change, if you wish to keep receiving your current benefit you don't need to respond.
MOAA’s NEW LEGISLATIVE ACTION CENTER
If you frequently engage with your lawmakers on issues key to MOAA’s mission, first please accept the sincere appreciation from everyone at MOAA – your efforts are critical to our success protecting and expanding the earned pay and benefits for the uniformed services and veteran communities.
Second, you may notice some changes at the Legislative Action Center As well as on individual “Take Action” messages. The new MOAA system is designed to make it even easier to reach out to your lawmakers on these issues, as well as track what MOAA is engaging on in the halls of Congress.
New MTC Legislative Affairs Liaison
Good Folks of our Middle Tennessee Chapter:
With the new year I begin serving as the Legislative Affairs Officer. This brings me to the beginning of a role that I have not served before. With that beginning and to make contacts that will serve us, I have written to Congressman Green and to our two senators to make contact with their staff members that relate to uniformed service matters.
Congressman Green’s staffer for uniformed services matters has been most helpful, and we have meet by Zoom. He will be keeping me informed of matters, and he will also welcome correspondence from us about our concerns. The senators have been less so.
Our MOAA Military Officer monthly magazine has a large section to let all of us know of initiatives and legislation activity. Let that reading be a primary way for you to be informed even as it lags behind reality through the publishing process. The annual National Defense Appropriation Act (NDAA) legislation passed in December, and of immediate importance to us is the 5.9% raise in retirement pension benefits and a raise in the prescription medications co-pay for those who use Express Scripts pharmacy.
What you can do to help me serve you better is to tell me which of many matters most interest you. And you can always write to your congressman to address your concerns – TN-07. What other districts are related to our Chapter membership? Good wishes to all of you.
MTC Members Participate in TNVET 2022 Day on the Hill
On 2 February 2022 hundreds of Veterans descended on the TN State Capitol in support of a number of legislative initiatives important to veterans.
MOAA was very well represented at the event with four Chapters (Fort Campbell Chapter, Memphis Chapter, Middle TN Chapter, and the Stones River Chapter) in attendance. MTC was represented by (pictured above from left to right) CDR (Ret.) Ted Edwards, USN; COL (Ret.) Doug Minton, USA; Lt. Col. (Ret.) Karon Uzzell-Baggett, USAF; LTC (Ret.) Thad Vann, USA; and LTC (Ret.) Mike Patenaude, USA. Not shown but very much present was COL (Ret.) Sam Whitson, USA who was in session as a State Representative.
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.
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.
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.
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.