KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A bill filed in the Tennessee House of Representatives aims to provide teachers with extra funds to buy classroom supplies, following a similar bill that was originally created by 11-year-old Nia Vaughn.
Nia Vaughn created a mock bill with the student organization Jack and Jill in 2022.
“I said ‘What would actually really make an impact on everybody?’ So, I’m like, ‘If teachers could get better supplies to help teach students, especially students who have a hard time, like listening and having good attention it could really help people,’ so I decided that was my law,” Nia Vaughn said.
She then traveled to Nashville with the group, where State Representative Sam McKenzie heard about the mock bill and decided to file it with Nia Vaughn’s name attached.
“I said, ‘Well this is a good idea, let me try to pass a bill to this effect.’ And we actually passed a bill in the house. The Senate didn’t move it so it did not get any momentum in the Senate, so it kind of died due to lack of a senate sponsor,” Mckenzie said.
This year, HB 0007, or the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement was filed by House Representative Scott Cepicky. This bill has the same goal as Nia Vaughn’s mock bill, with slight adjustments to the amount of money that teachers would receive.
Nia Vaughn’s dad Clarence Vaughn wants to make sure she gets a chance to work with the representative on the new version of the bill.
“We just want to make sure that she is involved, and honestly gets some credit for being, at that time 11 years old, and putting forth some potential legislation to help, what she thought was just her school, but it was gonna impact the whole entire state of Tennessee,” Clarence Vaughn said. “Just get some recognition so other young people can also be encouraged to know that what you do makes a difference no matter what age you are.”
Clarence Vaughn reached out to Cepicky, who agreed to set up a meeting with Nia Vaughn to discuss the bill. She is traveling to Nashville Wednesday night with Jack and Jill, where she will have the meeting.
As for Nia Vaughn’s future, creating laws is just one thing on her list of goals.
“My first choice would probably be chemical engineering, first it was architectural, but I think I’m really into chemical, but honestly I could also see myself going forward in law because it’s a very fun thing for your voice to be something that can change the world,” she said.
HB 0007 is also being sponsored in the Senate, by Senator Joey Hensley.