Legislators oppose selling TVA lines, support online sales tax ruling

Legislators have provided updates on the latest proposals, bills, executive orders and more.

Corker stands against selling TVA’s transmission lines

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) took a stance on June 21 about the administration’s proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) transmission lines. The proposal was included in a plan released that day by the administration to reform and reorganize the federal government.

“While TVA has not received any taxpayer funding since 1999 and has taken positive steps in recent years to pay down its debt, I do think it’s valuable to evaluate from time to time reforms that could cause TVA to function more effectively for Tennessee taxpayers and ratepayers,” said Corker. “That said, at the end of the day, I continue to believe that selling TVA’s transmission lines would be harmful to the Tennessee Valley and remains a very unlikely outcome.”

TN AG, senators laud SCOTUS vote on online sales tax

AG Herbert H. Slatery III

On Thursday, June 21, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III commented on a major U.S. Supreme Court decision.

“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, holding that States may collect sales tax from online retailers, is welcome news,” he said. “Tennessee joined a multi-state amicus brief in support of South Dakota that highlighted the importance of this source of revenue for the States and the unfairness of the previous rule to our local retailers. We will continue to review the decision and its impact on the pending case filed against the TN Department of Revenue by the American Catalog Association.”

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) also commented on the Supreme Court’s overturn of the 26-year-old Quill decision that prevented states from collecting sales tax from out-of-state online retailers.

“I think most Tennesseans would agree that we are fortunate not to have a state income tax, and to help ensure that remains the case, it is important our sales tax system works,” said Corker. “Today’s ruling is a win for states’ rights and gives states like ours the ability to enforce existing state tax laws. It also levels the playing field between local brick-and-mortar businesses that pay property taxes and hire our local citizenry and out-of-state online retailers paying no sales tax.”

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) also praised the court’s decision. “It correctly leaves to states decisions about who should pay state sales and use taxes and how they should be collected, and it stops the federal government from forcing states to prefer out-of-state businesses over Main Street.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander updates constituents on latest news

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced on June 24 the news on health insurance, fighting the opioid epidemic and keeping families together while securing U.S. borders.

“The Trump administration released a new rule last week that will help self-employed Americans and small businesses to band together to buy health insurance coverage through ‘association health plans.’ These plans give small businesses and the self-employed the opportunity to buy the same sort of insurance, at a lower cost, as employers of larger companies are able to offer their employees.

“These plans would offer the same protections that larger companies’ insurance plans have – including prohibitions against charging more or denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition, canceling plans because you get sick, and annual or lifetime limits on benefit coverage. The plans would also have to follow the requirements to offer coverage to dependent children up to age 26 and to provide preventive health coverage free of charge to the patient.

“The Senate Appropriations Committee also approved a bill that provides the funding and resources needed to help stop illicit opioids, including heroin and fentanyl, from entering the U.S. – a crucial step in fighting the opioid crisis. The bill also includes over $14 billion for Customs and Border Protection to hire new law enforcement personnel and secure our southern border. The committee approved two other bills that include funding for important health programs and small businesses.

“Last week, the president signed an executive order after new enforcement policies resulted in hundreds of children being separated from their parents. Families need to stay together whenever possible while an immigration judge determines whether they can stay legally in our country. I cosponsored the Keep Families Together and Enforce the Law Act, which keeps families together while ensuring the integrity of our nation’s immigration laws. The next step is for Congress to work with the president on a bipartisan immigration solution that secures the border, provides a status for those already here, and prevents illegal immigration.”