• Haslam Statement on Senate Bill 1556

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016 | 4:48pm

    NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam made the following statement after signing Senate Bill 1556: “Although Senate Bill 1556 has received attention for its perceived focus, my job is to look at the actual substance of the legislation. After considerable thought and discussion with counselors both for and against the bill, I have decided to sign Senate Bill 1556. There are two key provisions of this legislation that addressed concerns I had about clients not receiving care. First, the bill clearly states that it ‘shall not apply to a counselor or therapist when an individual seeking or undergoing counseling is in imminent danger of harming themselves or others.’ Secondly, the bill requires that any counselor or therapist who feels they cannot serve a client due to the counselor’s sincerely held principles must coordinate a referral of the client to another counselor or therapist who will provide the counseling or therapy. “The substance of this bill doesn’t address a group, issue or belief system. Rather, it allows counselors – just as we allow other professionals like doctors and lawyers – to refer a client to another counselor when the goals or behaviors would violate a sincerely held principle. I believe it is reasonable to allow these professionals to determine if and when an individual would be better served by another counselor better suited to meet his or her needs.”

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  • Haslam Issues Statement on Termination of Statewide Assessment Contract

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016 | 3:33pm

    NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today issued the following statement regarding the announcement that the Tennessee Department of Education is terminating its contract with Measurement, Inc., the vendor awarded the statewide assessment contract: “I share along with many teachers, students and parents a profound frustration with the lack of performance by the state’s education testing vendor and the subsequent challenges that failure has created. Annual assessments are essential to measuring our progress and providing the information we need to make improvements. Over the past few years, Tennessee has seen momentum in education, and we’re proud of the hard work of our teachers and students. The failure of the testing vendor to deliver the tests and meet its own obligations does not take away from the fact that Tennessee has created our own, higher standards, we have an improved assessment fully aligned with those standards, and we remain committed going forward to measuring student performance fairly and ensuring accountability for those results.”

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