A bill scheduled to be heard by the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday would enter Tennessee into an interstate compact with Arkansas and Mississippi for the greater Memphis region, creating a quasi-governmental and public entity of unelected commissioners that will be vested with very broad powers, including eminent domain and condemnation of any and all rights or property.
If enacted, the legislation would create the RegionSmart Development District (District) and the RegionSmart Development (RegionSmart Development) Agency of the Greater Memphis Region.
Tennessee will allow its college athletes to be compensated for any use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL), beginning next January. Governor Bill Lee signed the bill into law on Tuesday.
Current NCAA rules don’t allow college athletes to receive NIL compensation from opportunities like sponsorships or endorsements. That’s because the NCAA requires college athletes to maintain “amateur athletic status.” In addition to prohibiting compensation based on NIL, college athletes are prohibited from receiving additional compensation for competition, training expense funds, or prize money from competing. The NCAA also doesn’t allow college athletes to be represented or marketed by agents or other professionals.
If local officials decide on emergency school closures in the future, Tennessee’s governor may have the power to override them. This, according to a bill recommended for passage by the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. Its companion bill in the House was passed on first consideration on Monday, gaining a little progress since its filing last month.
The bill would also grant all local education authorities (LEAs) with the sole power to open or close schools during an emergency as defined by the Tennessee Code. However, if the governor, local health board, or public health official were to issue orders to the contrary, then the LEA’s decision would be nullified. The bill also noted that the governor’s authority would supersede the authority of local health boards and public health officials.
A bill filed Monday will give Tennessee school boards the ultimate decision-making authority about whether their schools should be open or closed during a public emergency.
The filing of the legislation was accompanied by an announcement from the bill’s sponsors, Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Representative Kevin Vaughan (R-Collierville).