Saturday, January 16, 2016

East Tennessee lawmakers gather for journalism legislative luncheon

A dozen state lawmakers shared their top priorities Saturday at the annual East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Legislative Luncheon.

Moderated by WBIR 10News anchor John Becker and held at Bearden Banquet Hall in West Knoxville, the panel discussion focused on matters the Legislature will address this session.

Topics included a possible gas tax increase, whether counties should be given the option to elect their school superintendent and whether people licensed to carry a gun should be allowed to bring their firearm onto school property.

Freshman Republican representative Jason Zachary, of Knoxville, is proposing a bill focusing on grandparents' rights. He said a constituent of his raised the issue.

"His daughter had a baby out of wedlock, and now both parents are out of the picture," Zachary explained, "so when it goes before a court and both parents are out of the picture, one set of grandparents typically gets custody, but because of a loophole in the statute, the other set of grandparents simply don't have any rights."

He said his bill would close that loophole, allowing "the judge to be able to look at both grandparents equally, and he provides custodial rights to one set of grandparents but then he can award visitation rights to the other set of grandparents."

Rest of story RIGHT HERE.

You also can read more coverage of the event HERE.

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