Iris Rudder headshot

As the 2019 session comes to a close, I wanted to share some of my legislative accomplishments and further discuss how House Republicans are working to ensure Tennessee remains the best state in the country to start a business, raise a family, and retire.

Over the years, Tennessee’s Republican leaders have worked to improve educational outcomes in our state through innovative solutions like dual enrollment.

According to the Department of Education, dual enrollment is a postsecondary course, taught either at the postsecondary institution or high school, by postsecondary faculty or credentialed adjunct faculty.

Students are enrolled at the postsecondary institution and earn postsecondary credit upon completion of the course. High school credit is awarded based on local policy.

This program allows students to further their education while providing new experiences and the opportunity to get a head start on college credit.

Dual enrollment is an excellent program, which is why I sponsored House Bill 1425 this year. This legislation increases the program from eight courses to ten – allowing a student to take up to three courses per semester

Once House Bill 1425 is signed into law, a student will be halfway to an associate’s degree upon graduation from high school.

I am pleased this legislation passed the House with strong support, and I look forward to Governor Lee signing it into law soon.

In addition to reforming our education system, the 111th General Assembly passed a conservative budget that makes thoughtful investments across state government and preserves Tennessee’s AAA bond rating.

The approved $38.6 billion budget is the most fiscally responsible in state history, investing approximately $239 million to the Rainy Day Fund, bringing our state’s savings account to $1.1 billion.

It also cuts more than $35.2 million in taxes and saves another $15 million for tax cuts next year as well.

The budget also fully funds the Katie Beckett program with $27.3 million, to provide lifesaving medical services through TennCare for Tennessee children with the most significant disabilities and highest medical needs, regardless of parental income levels.

It also includes $222 million in new funding for economic development, and provides $21.5 million to support mental health and substance abuse services.

Additionally, the budget invests $11.3 billion in education – including $6.6 billion in K-12 funding.

This unprecedented amount of education funding will be used for teacher salaries, to fully fund the state’s Basic Education Program, and for expanding vocational and technical training opportunities for students, while also providing additional safety measures in our schools.

It has been an exciting first year for me in our General Assembly.

Although the first half of the 111th General Assembly has officially concluded, my work for the citizens of House District 39 never ends.

I look forward to traveling our beautiful district and meeting with you all to discuss what we have already accomplished and the work that lies ahead.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your voice in Nashville, and I look forward to speaking with you soon!