This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Gov. Bill Haslam named Dr. John Dreyzehner on Friday to lead the state Department of Health. Dreyznehner, a former U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, is director of the Cumberland Plateau Health District in southwest Virginia.
With all the moving parts involved in merging Shelby County’s two school systems — two superintendents and their staffs, 21 members of a transition commission, 23 members of a unified countywide school board — there is one certainty: the operations of Memphis City Schools must be combined with Shelby County Schools in time for the the 2013-14 school year.
Amy Furman, a seventh-grade English teacher here, roams among 31 students sitting at their desks or in clumps on the floor. They’re studying Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” — but not in any traditional way.
Health care, children’s services and unemployment offices could bear the brunt of expected cuts in federal spending in Tennessee, according to planning documents released Tuesday. Gov. Bill Haslam expects that many of the reductions will not be needed.
Center has plan in place to fix problems, The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has fined a local nursing home nearly $740,000 over findings detailed in a state inspection. The inspection report by the Tennessee Department of Health lists a number of minor infractions and five serious ones at Spring Meadows Health Care Center in Clarksville.
The Tennessee Supreme Court is considering a case that could change a homeowner’s ability to recover damages when a subcontractor botches a home repair or remodeling job. The case involves a Hamilton County couple whose house was destroyed by a fire while someone was fixing their roof.
Tennessee Atty. Gen. Bob Cooper has joined the national fight to pressure a popular website to remove ads for adult services. Cooper and others with the National Association of Attorneys General teamed to turn up the heat on Backpage.com — a website similar to Craigslist — to remove its adult services advertisement section, which NAAG estimates generates more than $22 million annually.
Democrats’ best hope to avoid a split of Nashville’s main congressional district may be Republicans’ self-interest, experts on redistricting say. Federal law appears to let Republican leaders divide up Davidson County and lump its voters into primarily suburban districts, as some Democrats fear. But doing so might weaken the GOP more than Democrats by leaving them with slender majorities that would be difficult for them to defend in elections in which Democrats hold the upper hand.
No magic bullets to improve jobs numbers, experts contend After the Memphis economy sank in 2008, Mary Page lost her job and did what lots of the newly idle did. She opened a business.
An outpouring of donations and pledges after the April tornadoes raised about $3.5 million for disaster relief that was designated to be spent in the tri-state area. Four months later, about $2.6 million has been spent, primarily on short-term needs such as food, shelter and supplies immediately after the storms, with some money spent more recently for home repairs and rebuilding.
Volkswagen has started shipping 2012 Passats that will be sold beginning in late September. The German automaker’s new plant in Chattanooga is shipping about 350 Passats daily to dealers.
The benefits of creating up to 1,150 jobs in Rutherford County amid recession outweigh concerns about a 20-year tax-free deal for a secret company dubbed Project Tango, local business leaders believe. Others say a non-disclosure deal signed by Chamber of Commerce officials as the company pits sites in La Vergne and Murfreesboro against others across the region is simply part of doing business for economic recruiters.
The Tennessean announced that editor Mark Silverman will leave the newspaper and join the Gannett Co. Inc. U.S. Community Publishing Division’s corporate news staff in mid-September. Silverman was editor of The Tennessean for nearly five years.
Even before the drawing of new political boundaries, Arizona’s redistricting commission has faced a barrage of criticism and a chorus of boos, not to mention a state investigation. Next up, a lawsuit. Arizona voters sought to take the raw politics out of redistricting with the passage of a ballot measure in 2000 that created an independent citizens’ group to handle the process.
Just days after ruling out a strike, the Chicago Teachers Union finds itself grappling with dissent among members and fighting for public support as district leaders have begun circumventing the union in their push for a longer school day this year. After unsuccessfully pressing the union throughout the summer to agree to a longer day, Chicago Public Schools officials are now trying to enlist the support of individual principals.
Who has more power: Amazon.com or state government officials? One could argue somewhat convincingly that the Internet giant has very effectively bullied Tennessee politicians, given how quickly policymakers damaged existing local businesses in order to give a special sales tax deal to the out-of-state company.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean had a very important message for Tennessee’s Republican legislators last week: When drawing up congressional districts, keep Nashville intact. In the next few months, Republicans will redraw Tennessee congressional districts, as required after the 2010 Census, which recorded significant population growth in Middle Tennessee surburbs.
The sound and fury you hear coming from the halls of power in Nashville is that of the latest battle over redistricting, that once-in-a-decade process in which the majority party redraws boundaries for legislative and congressional districts to reflect changes in population. The rhetoric that accompanies redistricting is always the same — the party that doesn’t control the process always levels high-sounding charges about “excessive partisanship” and “gerrymandering” and warns the party holding the pen that it must not marginalize this group or that group in its obvious blind pursuit of protecting incumbents and expanding its majorities.
Nashville, meet Bill Ketron: Ketron is the attention-loving, tea party state senator from Rutherford County who sponsored the unpopular new voter ID law. He has fought to take away rights from teachers, workers’ groups and minorities.
Shelby County suburbs that want no part of a new unified school district are preparing to invest in consulting contracts to get some guidance on the issue. Starting up new municipal school districts raises a number of complicated questions, however.
When the Jackson-Madison County Board of Education meets on Thursday, it should take action to begin another search for a new school system superintendent. The school board hired the search firm BWP & Associates to do a nationwide superintendent search earlier this year.
Everybody knows a good lawyer joke. How many lawyers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
As was often the case, Dr. Seuss got it just right. “The more you read, the more things you will know.
Despite assurances to the contrary, many Americans will not be able to keep their current health coverage once ObamaCare kicks in fully in 2014. A new survey of midsize and large businesses found that about one in 10 plans to drop its employee health coverage once ObamaCare is in effect.