NASHVILLE, Jan. 6, 2014
–Members of the National Federation of Independent Business in Tennessee overwhelmingly support significant reforms to the Tennessee Human Rights Act according to preliminary results from a recent survey, said Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee, the state’s leading small-business association.
“NFIB members believe alleged violations of employer discrimination or retaliation should be filed in either state court or federal court, but not simultaneously in both,” said Brown, noting 91 percent favor such changes.
“In addition, state compensatory cap levels should mirror the current federal caps. Our members believe these reforms will ensure greater consistency and fairness in application of the law, while reducing excessive costs for defendants and ensuring plaintiffs continue to receive fair hearings,” he said.
Other results from the 2014 NFIB/Tennessee Member Ballot include:
- 67 percent support phasing out the state’s professional privilege tax, while 16 percent oppose and 17 percent are neutral
- 73 percent said business and occupational licensing should only be done at the state level, while 16 oppose and 11 percent are undecided
- 76 percent believe the state should ban the practice of lawsuit lending, while 8 percent oppose and 16 percent are undecided
NFIB plans to support legislation that authorizes state delegates to
attend a limited convention of the states, as authorized by Article V of
the U.S. Constitution, solely for the purpose of proposing a federal
balanced budget amendment. Thirty-four states must authorize such a
convention, with at least 20 having done so already; 38 states must
approve any agreed-upon language in order to ratify the amendment.
NFIB’s 8,200-strong membership will continue to oppose any proposal to expand Medicaid, as currently structured (78 percent of members oppose in 2013 Member Ballot). NFIB plans to resurvey its membership if the federal government grants certain waivers for the state to pursue a so-called “Tennessee Plan.”
Brown said NFIB members continue to express appreciation for recent reforms, including workers’ comp, unemployment, tort and tax reforms that are improving Tennessee’s business climate.
“Small business sees two vastly different landscapes at the moment,” Brown said. “Clearly, state leaders are delivering on promises to reduce burdens to help businesses increase hiring, relocate and invest more. Federal officials, however, have embarked on a reckless spending spree and an unprecedented expansion of authority over their enterprises, leading to skyrocketing costs and great uncertainty.”
The 108th Tennessee General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene Tuesday, Jan. 14.