This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
More than a year in advance of the 2012 Tennessee general election, some corporations have begun filing the necessary paperwork to make direct contributions to state political candidates as authorized by a law enacted earlier this year by the Legislature…Gov. Bill Haslam is hosting a fundraiser for Amy Weirich, who he appointed as Shelby County’s District Attorney General after Bill Gibbons resigned the post to accept appointment by Haslam as commissioner of the state Department of Safety.
Reforming high schools was Tennessee’s last big effort. State lawmakers revamped credit and testing requirements while local districts opened special wings for freshmen, grouped sophomores by career interest and touted online classes to pull more seniors across the finish line. But now, in the face of increasing evidence that high school is far too late to attract and keep students’ interest, middle schools are getting a makeover.
First Lady Crissy Haslam will be in Knoxville to promote a collection of essays and drawings from third-graders about issues they face at school and at home. The book, called “Be True to You,” was produced as a project of the K-Town Youth Empowerment Network Council and the third grade classes at Sarah Moore Greene Elementary.
Life has gotten a little better at the University of Memphis’ law school, which last week celebrated its rise in The Princeton Review’s rankings from No. 8 in national “quality of life” to No. 7. A detailed look at the new annual Princeton rankings also revealed that, of special news in this troubled economy, the U of M’s law school graduates are the most likely to enter private practice when compared with counterparts at the law schools of the University of Mississippi, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Vanderbilt University.
The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners has revoked the license of Dr. Warren T. Hill, a co-owner of Urgent Care & Diagnostic Center in Goodlettsville, for “unprofessional, dishonorable or unethical conduct.” The board took the action after an investigator with the state Department of Health reviewed 16 of Hill’s patient records.
The late John Wilder only once came into the crosshairs of an FBI investigation during his record 36 years as Tennessee Senate speaker. From his election as speaker and lieutenant governor in 1971 until he lost the post in 2007, the Mason Democrat mastered shifting political alliances and avoided a series of corruption scandals that ensnared fellow lawmakers to become the longest-serving presiding officer of a legislative chamber in modern U.S. history.
Madison County commissioners have discussed a redistricting plan that would mean new representatives for some residents. Commissioners and Jackson planners are in the process of redrawing County Commission, school board, constable and voting district lines based on 2010 U.S. Census population totals.
Representatives from the Tennessee Democratic Party and Tennessee Republican Party say they have been preparing volunteers throughout the state to start voter registration drives. Elizabeth Crews, field director of the Tennessee Democratic Party, said Tennessee Democrats will kick off an 11-month voter registration drive beginning Nov. 5. Crews made her way to Jackson Thursday in a tour to spread awareness about the drive.
In 1956, the Brown-Forman Corp. launched a brilliant advertising campaign that ultimately turned a regional whiskey distillery and the secluded Tennessee town surrounding it into an international tourist destination. As the architect of the marketing strategy once explained, the company was selling the tiny town of Lynchburg as much as its generations-old sour mash whiskey recipe.
The day Knox County residents signed off on the Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s upgraded pension plan, the county instantly assumed a $57 million obligation — money it didn’t have. Months after the November 2006 vote, the total expected payments doubled to $100 million because the county administration opted not to raise taxes.
Knox County Clerk Foster Arnett Jr. says he’s “tired of the us-versus-them” set-up that his satellite office at the Knoxville Center mall creates. Customer service representatives operate behind decorative barred windows.
The city has been dealing with flooding and sewer problems for many years. In the wake of September’s two deluges and the resulting flooding and sewer backups, Cleveland Utilities and the city are mapping the trouble spots once again. On Nov. 14, City Council members and city department heads will hold a planning strategy meeting on many local needs, including flooding.
Researchers in five eastern U.S. states are getting federal support to study the decline in native bee populations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $3.3 million grant is intended to help researchers find ways to maintain a diverse community of wild bees.
Bobby Shows, of Ellisville, Mississippi, has represented a rural district in the state House of Representatives for nearly 20 years. But about a year ago, he took a step that used to be rare — and even risky — for any white Democratic lawmaker in the South.
The Shelby County Commission is due to make two important decisions at its regular public meeting on Monday. As things now stand, the Commission —reduced to 12 members by the recent departure of District 1, Position 3 Commissioner Mike Carpenter for a think-tank job in Nashville — will vote to add a new interim member so as to fill out its ranks to the full charter allotment of 13.
Level sales tax playing field for online, in-store purchases New Jersey’s sales tax laws were written in an era long before the personal computer or the Internet changed the way business is conducted, and how consumers shop for products every day. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled out-of-state, direct-mail catalog companies were exempt from collecting sales tax back in 1991, few in the United States had an e-mail account, and purchasing something online would have been a foreign concept.
For Tennesseans paying attention to the growing charter school movement in our state, a report issued this month on behalf of the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University was extremely encouraging for three reasons. First, the data indicated that the vast majority of charters in our state are succeeding. Given a measure of autonomy in exchange for a heightened level of accountability, these schools are getting results.
State Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, has little or no chance of getting a state law overturned that wiped out Nashville’s right to ban discrimination against gays. But she’s still doing the right thing by bringing it back up, for three reasons.
Five suburban school board members have made the audacious claim that they are due $112,093.36 to cover attorney fees for their involvement in school-consolidation litigation. Their legal petition seems unreasonable and even a little puzzling on its face.
Back in January, economists were saying that the U.S. economy would grow by a respectable 3 percent to 4 percent in 2011. You might already have guessed from the current lack of jobs in our country that those rosy predictions are not likely to pan out.
Philadelphia’s historic shipyard will soon be the construction site for two huge oil-tanker transport ships, each weighing more than 115,000 tons. This new investment will create 1,000 jobs—great news for Philadelphia but even better news for America.