Legislative Agenda for 2018
TSEA members have overwhelmingly endorsed an ambitious Legislative agenda for the upcoming 2nd session of the 110th General Assembly. The agenda, developed by rank-in-file members of the association’s Legislative Committee, prioritizes association-wide issues like stopping the abuse of the private prison “county loophole,” preventing the further costly privatization of state government, making workloads manageable and consistent, and across-the-board salary increases for all central government and Higher Ed employees.
TSEA’s Legislative Agenda was approved at the association’s November 3rd board meeting. This association is gearing up for a major grassroots campaign to help shape the debate for the 2018 elections and move the Legislature and Haslam Administration to put the issues and concerns of working Tennesseans first. TSEA is pledging its resources to support legislation that benefits all working Tennesseans, including fully funding the BEP, paid sick days for all employees, a secure retirement for all Tennesseans, and a state budget that meets the needs of Tennessee’s most vulnerable citizens. TSEA’s Board of Directors and the Legislative Committee together have developed an aggressive 5-point agenda:
Protect State Employees’ Rights
The corporate elite “enterprise” minded that are currently running our state agencies do not want workers to have a voice. They continue to press to weaken all laws that protect state workers. TSEA will:
- Support legislation that makes significant changes to the TEAM Act to enable state employees more rights.
- Fight any effort to weaken or diminish the rights left for state employees in the TEAM Act.
- Oppose any efforts that take benefits from the employees of Tennessee.
The legislature has the oversight authority for how the state is run. This body of elected representatives sets public policy, and it is time for them to reestablish the “Select Oversight Committees” that were once the watchdog for the General Assembly. TSEA will:
- Support any effort to bring more oversight to agencies where workers are bearing more than they should.
- Oppose all efforts that allow commissioners or the governor to make public policy with no oversight.
Support Responsible Budgets for State Government and Higher Education
The state’s recurring budget surpluses should have a positive fiscal effect not only on state government agencies but on public universities that are reliant on state funding. TSEA will:
- Advocate for measures that move Tennessee out of the bottom third for employee pay.
- Oppose any legislation that would undermine adequate funding for government services provided by state employees.
- Continue to support passage of an appropriation to give all state employees a raise.
- Fight to improve wage levels for all TSEA represented agencies.
- Support adequate funding for state universities.
Fight Privatization of Public Services and Assets
As was shown, TSEA will fight the privatization of our state. This administration continues to look at privatization of public services and assets to “save money” without any regard for the employees or the quality of services provided. Time and again, taxpayers suffer the consequences of these ill-conceived schemes. TSEA will:
- Oppose all legislation that would have the effect of privatizing any service currently provided by public employees.
- Support legislation that would establish strict accountability standards that must be met before services could be privatized.
- Oppose efforts to weaken or repeal the laws that currently restrict privatization of any public services.
Support Adequate Staffing and Service Levels
Over the past seven years, state employees have been forced to carry a workload that is unmanageable due to hiring practices and unachievable according to this administration’s P4P standards.
From public safety to child protection, to the care of veterans, the elderly, and other vulnerable citizens, essential public services have been compromised as a result. TSEA will:
- Oppose efforts that would further jeopardize quality public services by the reduction of headcount in any state agency.
- Support any legislation that takes aim at unmanageable caseloads and personal safety of state employees.
As TSEA members work to advance our positive agenda, we will also work to make sure that anti-public employee and anti-retiree legislative proposals put forward do not become law. Already, members of the General Assembly are drafting and filing legislation that will move forward our agenda, and your TSEA staff is working hard to monitor these actions.
As public employees, everything about our job is political; down to whether or not we even get to have a job. We cannot afford to ignore what happens at the State Capitol or in the political process.
If you would like to get involved in helping advance TSEA’s political goals, please contact our Government Affairs Director, Paul Overholser at firstname.lastname@example.org
Archived Legislative Updates