Rep. Mike Carter a Tennessee Statesman Fought Oppressive Vehicle Emissions Testing

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Tennessee General Assembly fights to end vehicle emissions tests—a victory for Tennessee taxpayers

 

Tennessee residents in Rutherford, Hamilton, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties no longer will have to complete emissions tests on their vehicles, starting Jan. 14. Davidson County leaders voted in 2018 to continue the testing.

The emissions change came after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved changes to Tennessee’s air quality plan.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tennessee General Assembly led by Rep. Carter, a Republican of Ooltewah passed a bill in 2018 that eliminated vehicle emissions testing in the state 120 calendar days following EPA approval. In February 2020, the state submitted to EPA its revision to the state’s air quality plan requesting removal of the vehicle emissions testing program.

Sadly, Rep. Mike Carter lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on May 15th.

“Mike lost his battle with Pancreatic Cancer late last night, surrounded by his family. We’ll miss him very much. We appreciate your prayers during this difficult time,” the family said.


Mike Carter, a Republican of Ooltewah, who was 67 had served in the Tennessee House since 2013. Mike had previously served as a general sessions judge in Hamilton County from 1997 to 2005.

Carter, was a businessman and an attorney who served as a Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge from 1997 to 2005.

Carter received his B.S. in Pre-Law from Middle Tennessee State University in 1975 and received his J.D. from the University of Memphis in 1978.

He was first elected to the State House in 2012, and was re-elected for a fifth two-year term last November and had no political opposition.

Last summer of 2020, Carter was hospitalized with COVID-19, and while recovering from that illness, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Carter continued to serve in the state legislature until his condition worsened.  

Governor Bill Lee tweeted about Carter’s passing the morning after his passing by saying, “I will miss Mike Carter who was a leader, friend and brother in Christ. Maria and I pray for the Carter family and we give thanks for his life.

 

“It is with great sadness that our friend and colleague Chairman Mike Carter has left this life, but it is with great comfort that he was a man of faith and now has God’s greatest gift – eternal life,” House Speaker Cameron Sexton said in a social media post. “Chairman Carter was an effective and dedicated public servant. His love of service to his community and to Tennessee was surpassed only by his love for God.”

The Smyrna Vehicle Emissions Town Hall Event

In June of 2018 Carter and I organized a Vehicle Emissions Town Hall in Smyrna. The vehicle emissions testing has been a huge issue for Smyrna, La Vergne, Murfreesboro and Rutherford County residents.

There are thousands of stories of resident’s vehicles that fail emissions and the OBD code has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of emittance from the exhaust pipe.

REP. MIKE CARTER’S NEWSROOM
State Representatives Carter & Sparks Recap 2018 Legislative Session During Tuesday Town Hall
JUNE 21, 2018
(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) and State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) held a joint town hall meeting in Smyrna earlier this week to discuss the 2018 legislative session. The Republican lawmakers updated citizens on a number of important issues that were addressed during the second half of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly, including vehicle emissions testing and civil asset forfeiture.
This year, the Tennessee General Assembly approved a measure sponsored by Representative Carter and cosponsored by Representative Sparks moving Tennessee away from mandatory vehicle emissions testing.
House Bill 1782 — signed by Governor Haslam — applies to citizens living in Hamilton, Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson Counties where vehicle emissions testing is still required prior to registration or renewal. It requires counties to take all necessary steps to end mandatory testing — including petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a waiver to eliminate this timing consuming and outdated testing requirement on our working families.
“Vehicle emissions testing is burdensome, costly, and unfairly penalizes those who can least afford the testing process,” said Representative Carter. “I am pleased that we have taken the appropriate steps to end testing in our remaining counties who still require it, and I look forward to it being completely eliminated by the end of the year.”
“As an entrepreneur in and around the auto industry most of my life, and as a former employee of the auto industry, It is clear to me that vehicle emissions testing has outlived its usefulness and has placed a tremendous financial strain on our working families,” said Representative Sparks. “I look forward to working with the EPA in the months ahead in order to ensure that the citizens of Rutherford County and our state will have an opportunity to save more of their hard-earned money by completely eliminating vehicle emissions testing in Tennessee.”
Rep. Mike Carter and members of the Tennessee General Assembly pass HB 1782, Carter is flanked on his right by Rep. JoAnne Favors, Rep. Clark Boyd, Rep. Mike Sparks and on his left by Rep. Patsy Hazelwood, Rep. Dawn White, Rep. Sam Whitson, Rep. Gerald McCormick, Rep. Susan Lynn and Rep. Bryan Terry.

Serving in politics for close to 20 years I have seen ‘the Good, the Bad and often the Ugly’ in public servants. I hate to break the news to you–but not everyone in politics have a servant’s heart.

Mike Carter was a true public servant. He had a Christlike attitude for his fellow man and he was a voice for those who often didn’t have a voice.

Case in point, at our emissions town hall event in Smyrna, Carter shared the story of a lady who had purchased a company (I think is was an air-conditioning and heating company). Carter explains that the lady had called him and stated, “I’m sure I’m inconveniencing you, but this is my livelihood. I purchased this company with 4 Ford vans and they won’t pass emissions due to the check engine light coming on. The check engine codes have nothing to do with clean air. I can’t operate my business without my vans. The repairs are estimated to cost around $1400 per van.”

As Mike Carter is sharing the story with the crowd of around 30 people he became emotional due to the lady’s plight. Carter, no doubt cared about his fellow man.

If our country had more leaders like Carter this world we all call home would be a much better place. I’m reminded of the scripture in Matthew 25 verse 21, “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

Rest In Peace Judge Mike Carter and thank you for caring about Tennesseans and making a positive difference in this world.