State Rep. Timothy Hill hosting Mountain City town hall on Feb. 8

Zach Vance • Jan 28, 2019 at 9:09 PM

Each year he’s been in office, state Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, has hosted a town hall meeting at the start of the legislaive session to discuss issues of interest with his constituents, and this year will be no different. 

Hill is inviting the public to participate in a town hall at 6 p.m. on Feb. 8 at the Johnson County Welcome Center, 716 S. Shady St., in Mountain City.

“I’ve actually had a significant amount of my legislation over my time in the House come from these town halls,” Hill, chairman of the newly formed House Commerce Committee, said. 

“I believe a couple firm principles: The first is you can’t represent what you don’t know. So you got to spend time with people. The era of real town halls has gone away in politics. There’s only a few people that still do them on a consistent basis, and I certainly feel like I’m one of those people.”  

Hill expects to discuss and gauge constituent feedback on a number of issues that will likely be debated during the first session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly. 

As of Monday, Hill has yet to file any legislation as a primary sponsor, but he has co-signed onto four bills, including state Rep. Micah Van Huss’ heartbeat abortion ban. 

This legislative session, House lawmakers are limited to filing just 15 bills, while committee chairmen can file up to five extra bills. The filing deadline is Feb. 6, so by the time Hill hosts the town hall, he hopes to have a better grasp of what new laws will be up for debate. 

One proposal that will surely be discussed is Knoxville Sen. Richard Briggs’ Senate Bill 0015, which would prohibit someone from drinking raw milk from a “hoofed mammal” they partially own.

Briggs’ bill comes in a response to an E.coli outbreak in Knox County that was reportedly caused by the consumption of raw milk.

However, Briggs won’t be getting Hill’s support, as the House Commerce Committee chairman has already voiced his opposition to the bill.  

“I’ve had a tremendous amount of feedback on Senate Bill 0015, and the attempt to change the regulations on raw milk consumption,” Hill said. 

“At the end of the week, I’ll be posting on my Facebook announcing my opposition to Senate Bill 0015. My guess is, in Mountain City, we’ll take quite a few questions on that. I bet we’ve received somewhere between 50 to 75 contacts a week since the bill was introduced.”

Even though it has yet to be filed, state Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, is expected to file legislation for TennCare to adopt a Katie Beckett waiver, an effort Hill has thrown his support behind. 

Tennessee is currently the only state is the nation that has not adopted the waiver, which would provide TennCare coverage, regardless of parents’ income, for children with severe disabilities so they can receive care at home instead of a medical institution.