Family and Personal:
Rep. Whitson is married with two children and five grandchildren and is a retired Colonel with the US Army.
He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4893, Franklin’s Charge Inc., Williamson County Republican Party, American Legion Post 212, Franklin Noon Rotary, Williamson Inc., Elks Lodge No. 7, Disabled American Veterans, Save the Franklin Battlefield, and Military Officers Association of America.
Councils and Boards:
He serves as chairman of the City of Franklin Battlefield Preservation Commission and the Carter House State Historical Site. He is foreman on the Williamson County Grand Jury.
Rep.Sam Whitson: (R)Chair, Transportation Subcommittee, Member: Select Ethics Committee, Select Ethics Subcommittee, Finance, Ways, and Means Committee, Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee, Health Committee, Transportation Committee, and Joint Pensions and Insurance. Chairman Whitson supported many of the TLRC positions on chosen bills, but, with five important dissents, he received an 89% vote score–well below his fellow party members. He co-sponsored only two of our favored bills:
SB0115/HB0116 – Garrett/Haile – Human/sex traffickers often transport groups of victims in trucks. Under this law commercial driver’s license (CDL) will be denied for life for those convicted of human/sex trafficking (passed).
SB0623/HB0580 – Bell/Ragan – The teaching of Critical Race Theory is prohibited in TN public schools (passed).
Chairman Whitson earned a disappointing seven out of ten on constitutional fidelity. His votes supported the following four bills which TLRC opposed, finding them unconstitutional:
SB0425/HB1379 – Kumar/Massey – Would require insurers to cover infertility treatments which would result in higher premiums for all. Dictating to private business is antithetical to the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions but some of our legislators only remember that when it serves them (sent to Summer Study). Whitson co-sponsored this bill.
SB0736/HB0141 – Johnson/Lamberth (a Governor’s bill with which we take issue) – Special tax exemption for the film and video industry which was supported by a large majority of the General Assembly (passed). TLRC does not support special carve-outs for cherry-picked industries. The government should not be picking winners and losers. Whitson voted for this bill three times.
SB0783/HB1204 – Massey/Zachary – Authorizes a special sales and use tax allocation to finance Randy Boyd’s Baseball stadium in Knoxville at the expense of Tennessee taxpayers—Boyd is a mega-millionaire (passed).
Media stories on the subject:
Boyd Sports to Profit from Events Held at Taxpayer-Funded Stadium – Tennessee Star
HJR0010 – Parkinson – A Resolution to declare racism as a public health issue (sent to Summer Study). The passing of this resolution would have labeled Tennessee as a self-identified systemically racist state; we are not! “Systemic racism” has been conscripted and construed into a bludgeon to divide Americans. We must resist the comfortable path of acceptance, which implies assent.
Chairman Whitson voted against SB1036/HB1537 – Bell/Weaver – Prohibits interference with Textbook & Instructional Materials Quality Commission or their decisions (by the Dept. of Education or the Administration) (passed). Not many understand how important this is. The brouhaha over Wit & Wisdom, an offensive and age-inappropriate curriculum for elementary grades, is a result of the Commissioner and Dept. of Education overruling the T&IMQ Commission more than once!
Chairman Whitson sponsored eighteen bills, six of which passed into law:
HB0120 requires applicants for a technician certificate of registration, master barber certificate of registration, barber instructor certificate of registration, cosmetologist license, manicuring license, cosmetology instructor license, aesthetician license, or natural hair styling license to obtain up to one hour of online or in-person training by a nonprofit on domestic violence.
HB0552 redefines store-and-forward telemedicine services for purposes of establishment of provider-patient relationships and standards of practice.
HB0553 adds to those acquired infectious diseases for which an emergency rescue worker is given a presumption to have a disability suffered in the line of duty a virus or other communicable disease for which a pandemic has been declared by the World Health Organization or the federal centers for disease control and prevention, and for which the governor has declared a state of emergency.
HB0701 Pursuant to the request of the Franklin special school district of Williamson County, permits the district to issue bonds or notes in an amount not to exceed $45 million.
HB0961 states that a law enforcement officer, meeting certain qualifications, who makes an arrest outside of the law enforcement officer’s jurisdiction has the same legal status and immunity from suit as a state or local law enforcement officer making an arrest within the state or local law enforcement officer’s jurisdiction if certain circumstances are met.
HB1373 requires the state to reimburse a local government that provides health insurance benefits for first responders in an amount equal to that portion of health insurance premiums or expenses for COBRA coverage for benefits for which the local government is responsible.
We do not need more laws; we need better laws, and enforcement of the better laws. The grassroots are looking for courage in our legislators: courage to stand up for constitutional principles over pressure from leadership and paid lobbyists. Chairman Whitson seems to lack either courage or understanding of constitutional principles when he continues to support bills that defy them. We are at a crisis point and now is the time to stand for the people instead of special interests, the wealthy, and well-connected, and against those who assume power through corruption and coercion. If we do not, we could very well lose our republic and our liberties.