NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — He’s no longer here. But right now, it still feels like he is.
“It’s hard not to remember that laugh,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) said. “You knew Bill Beck was within 100 yards because you heard him before you saw him.”
After Rep. Bill Beck (D-Nashville) passed away Sunday at age 61, Democrats and Republicans alike came together to celebrate and honor him.
Just about every person we talked to, whether on the record or off, pointed out what stood out to them about Beck—his contagious laugh and endless dedication.
“A great public servant, a friend. A friend, in particular, and servant to Nashville,” Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tennessee) said. “He’ll certainly be missed.”
A passionate sports fan, Beck often referenced sporting events on the House floor—like when the Tennessee Titans traveled to Kansas City for the AFC Championship game in 2020.
His legislative accomplishments are a laundry list (see below), punctuated by the new Titans stadium deal, which sources said would not have happened without his advocacy and push.
He was also a driver behind Dallas’s Law, mandating more training for security guards after 22-year-old Dallas Barrett died while security guards held him down.
For now, there may be an open seat in the house. But who Beck was lives on. In fact, with the amount of legislation he passed, his impact is tangible.
“If we needed something passed, we’d hand it off to Bill and we knew Bill was one of our best shots at getting something passed from our side of the aisle,” Clemmons said.
With tears in his eyes, Clemmons recounted the final words Beck passed along to him.
WKRN requested a list of Beck’s legislative accomplishments. Tennessee’s House Democratic Caucus sent the following:
- Expanded maternity and paternity leave for state employees.
- Authorized Metro to restrict the location of adult-oriented private clubs within 1,000 feet of a private school, public school, charter school, public park, residence, or place of worship.
- Prohibited improper commercial solicitations after an accident.
- Authorized Metro to further expand its recycling program by establishing a material recovery program.
- Increased the amounts of homemade beer a person can make and transport to a festival or competition.
- Required drivers to yield the right-of-way at intersections and other locations, including driveways, to better protect cyclists and pedestrians.
- Authorized rapid transit busses to operate on the shoulders of interstate highways.
- Enacted the “Elena Zamora Memorial Act,” which increases the criminal penalties for failure to yield when that violation results in an accident resulting in serious bodily injury to or death of any person.
- Expanded the establishment of Adult Day Care Centers in order to help our seniors and their families who need this valuable service.
- Passed a bill to identify the perpetrators of sexual harassment cases settled by the state of Tennessee providing transparency to the taxpayers, while at the same time, keeping the victims’ names confidential in the same settlement agreements.
- Passed a bill to limit the amount of personal information put into court filings to help protect against identity theft and help curtail unsolicited telemarketing calls.
- Passed a bill that would keep convicted murderers from profiting from any legal action involving the person they killed.
- Created the “Homeless Student Stability and Opportunity Gap Act.” This bill allows homeless students to apply for and receive their birth certificates from the Department of Health and to also receive a picture ID from the Department of Safety, free of charge. This will allow them to do such things as take the ACT/SAT and apply for college and financial aid in order to better themselves.
- Protected the ability of workers hurt on the job to be awarded reasonable attorney fees in addition to other compensation they are owed by negligent employers.
- Prohibited the guilty party from hiding behind confidentiality clauses in civil lawsuits involving child sexual abuse. The confidentiality of the victim will be maintained but never again can an organization or an individual make a settlement and keep it secret, possibly allowing the guilty party to abuse other children.
- Prohibited marketplace platforms from keeping tips intended for marketplace contractors.
- Extended provisions related to the apportionment and distribution of state tax revenue as they pertain to National Hockey League franchises until June 30, 2049, keeping the Predators in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena for years to come.
- Authorized Nashville to impose an additional privilege tax upon the privilege of occupancy in a hotel of each transient in an amount up to 1% to fund their portion of a new domed stadium, relieving the burden on local taxpayers.
- Passed a bill requiring each voting machine used by a county election commission produce a voter-verifiable paper audit trail.
- Required any entity employing drivers or contracting with drivers who use the drivers’ personal vehicles for the delivery of the entity’s goods or services and the entity does not provide automobile insurance coverage to those drivers, to inform the driver that the drivers’ automobile insurance may not cover commercial uses.
- Enacted “Dallas’s Law,” which requires licensing and training of security guards working in establishments that sell alcoholic beverages.
- Passed the “Norma Jean Upshaw Act” that requires a landlord to provide 60 days’ notice of termination of tenancy for the purpose of eviction of a residential tenant of certain facilities for older persons.