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Notes from Nashville – 4.22.10

Notes from Nashville – 4.22.10

Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:57 pm
By: Mark Maddox, State Representative

On Tuesday, the General Assembly celebrated the 10th Annual Agriculture Day on the Hill. Agriculture has always been a vital part of our state’s economy.
Statistics released by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture show that over 18 percent of the state’s economy (over $60 billion) is generated by agriculture and forestry.
Agriculture alone accounts for more than 200,000 Tennessee jobs, with over 11 million Tennessee acres being used as farmland. The local farmer is our best investment for long-term success of our state and that is why I have been a staunch supporter of funds to enhance agriculture in Tennessee.
Livestock displays including mules, pigs and sheep, milking contests, and displays highlighting the part agriculture plays in our economy brought my urban colleagues a new understanding of what we know all about.
The traditions and values we find on the farms of Tennessee make our state a great place to live. As long as I can, I will promote the values of agriculture.
On Thursday, the House passed legislation to help schools combat a potentially deadly infection known as Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. Schools in the 76th district have been touched by this potentially deadly disease.
While many people may never hear of it, MRSA can be deadly if not detected quickly and there are plenty of steps that can be taken to prevent this infection.
The legislation passed today will help the spread of prevention information to schools and other facilities making sure we do everything we can to keep children safe and healthy.
House Bill 3814 was named in honor of Kristin Hunter, a Tennessee student who lost her life to complications from MRSA.
Kristen was 11 years old and in the fifth grade when she died from this infection that is difficult to treat and often diagnosed too late.
The bill requires the Department of Health to issue an annual advisory to the Department of Education explaining the risks associated MRSA infections and providing guidance on the most current methods of recognizing and preventing such infections.
In addition, the departments will be required to post links to the information contained in the advisory and the advisory will be distributed to primary and secondary schools and early childhood programs.
MRSA infections are common among people who have weak immune systems and are generally found to occur in hospitals, nursing homes, and other heath care centers.
Healthy people often carry it without being infected by it. Until we are better able to treat and stop MRSA infections, we must take steps to protect ourselves and our children from being exposed to such bacteria.
This legislation is in the right direction.
WCP 4.22.10

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