This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Gov. Bill Haslam joined all of Tennessee’s district attorneys and members of their staffs at an annual training conference to kick off a statewide meth awareness campaign. Gov. Haslam unveiled an educational DVD that has been distributed to public middle and high schools across the state through an ongoing partnership between the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference and the Tennessee Department of Education.
Gov. Bill Haslam and state prosecutors are redoubling their efforts to combat the use of methamphetamine in Tennessee. The Republican governor on Wednesday joined Tennessee’s district attorneys and members of their staffs at an annual training conference to start the initiative, named Meth Destroys.
Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday joined Tennessee’s district attorneys and members of their staffs at an annual training conference to kick off a statewide methamphetamine awareness campaign. Haslam unveiled an educational DVD that has been distributed to public middle and high schools across the state through an ongoing partnership between the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference and the Tennessee Department of Education.
Governor Bill Haslam unveiled an educational DVD Wednesday to be distributed to public middle and high schools across the state. It’s an initiative by the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference and the Tennessee Department of Education.
Tennessee police raided fewer methamphetamine labs for several months this year because of federal budget cuts. A state official says agencies couldn’t afford to clean up as many toxic labs, so they didn’t go looking for them. Last year the federal government paid $4 million to clean up meth labs in Tennessee.
Gov. Bill Haslam and the Adjutant General for the Tennessee National Guard visited Fort Campbell Tuesday. They spent time with 101st Airborne (Air Assault) leadership, ill and wounded soldiers and their leaders.
As sundown comes sooner and night falls earlier, it is time for Lights On Afterschool Day, when YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, child and community centers and other child advocates honor afterschool programs. Gov. Bill Haslam has joined these groups and the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth by naming today as Lights On Afterschool Day in Tennessee, according to a news release.
Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau and Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill joined Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, architect Kem Hinton, planner Lisa Milligan, Tennessee State Parks staff, and other state, city and private sector leaders at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park to celebrate the American Planning Association’s recognition of the park as one of the Top 10 Great Public Spaces for 2011. “The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is an outdoor recreation area in the center of Nashville that taps into our state’s unique history, geography and culture,” Governor Bill Haslam said.
Governor Bill Haslam said Wednesday that he isn’t ready to endorse any G-O-P nominee for the upcoming Presidential race. In a brief interview, Haslam said that he and Lieutenant Governor Ramsey have spoken about the endorsements, but he has not decided.
Blue Goodson has been a mule man all his life. Over the years he has packed everything from sleeping bags to sweet feed in his saddle bags, but never until the other day had he hit the trail with a load of live fish.
They had names. Call up the Tennessee Department of Safety, and they’ll tell you that 17 motorcycle fatalities have occurred on “The Dragon,” the storied stretch of U.S. 129 from Tabcat Creek to the North Carolina state line, during the past six years. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
State and federal officials have inspected trucks and buses across the state, looking for security threats. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security said Tuesday’s operation was the first of its kind. No arrests were reported.
Law enforcement and nonprofits will receive training from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on human sex trafficking beginning Thursday. Mark Gwyn, director of the TBI, said there has been little training on this topic, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/qnKUd7 ).
Local law enforcement officers and nonprofit organizations will receive training on human sex trafficking from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation beginning today, authorities say. “The numbers speak for themselves. Eighty-five percent [of Tennessee counties] reported a human sex-trafficking case in the last 24 months,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said at a Wednesday news conference where he cited a recent study mandated by the Legislature.
A pool of finalists for the presidency of East Tennessee State University will have been chosen by the end of the day today. Interviews for the school’s top executive position began Wednesday morning at the Millennium Centre with four of eight candidates being questioned about tuition increases, student retention, shared governance of the school among faculty, staff and students, equity pay for faculty and staff, fundraising, diversity on campus, athletics and other things.
The state of Tennessee’s Division of County Audit released the Annual Financial Report for Dyer County for fiscal year 2010-2011 last Thursday morning. The audit revealed no major surprises as the three findings reported have been reported in previous audit findings.
Two Democratic leaders say they’ve filed legislation to repeal a new law requiring photo identification to vote in Tennessee. Senate Democratic Chairman Lowe Finney of Jackson and House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville say the law threatens to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans.
Democratic lawmakers are filing legislation to repeal the Republican-backed voter photo ID law and challenging statements that college student IDs were excluded because of campus fraud committed for underage drinking. Senate Democratic Chairman Lowe Finney of Jackson and House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner of Old Hickory said Wednesday they are sponsoring legislation to turn back the photo ID act, which takes effect Jan. 1, contending it could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Tennessee voters.
State Rep. Curry Todd has returned to the legislature for the first time since his arrest on drunken driving and gun charges. The Collierville Republican did not address his Oct. 11 arrest upon joining the proceedings of the Fiscal Review Committee on Wednesday morning.
Blaming excessive government regulations for stagnant business growth, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey on Wednesday vowed to lead the charge in reducing state bureaucracy in 2012. In Memphis as part of his TNRedtape.com campaign, Ramsey was keynote speaker at a forum sponsored by the Area Action Council, the local arm of the National Federation of Independent Business.
Farr accused of unilaterally granting millions in tax breaks Former Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr approved 20 multimillion-dollar tax reductions for Tennessee businesses without proper documentation or justification, according to a blistering report released this week by the state comptroller. Farr approved some of those reductions, known formally as tax variances, despite objections from his own staffers.
Comptroller Justin Wilson is criticizing the process under which former state Revenue Chief Reagan Farr and two of his predecessors granted multimillion-dollar tax variances to some businesses. Wilson complains there was little documentation and a lack of a “formalized” process in the practice in which variances can be granted to businesses disputing business taxes the state says are owed.
Tennessee’s Jack Daniel distillery, celebrated for years in folksy advertising, is being targeted to pay more taxes. How about a bar tab of up to $5 million? A proposal approved by the county council in Lynchburg, Tenn., site of the distillery, asks the Tennessee legislature to authorize a local referendum on whether the business should pay that much in new taxes on barrels it fills with whiskey.
Knox County commissioners are looking into implementing an electronic roll call system that would help prevent board members from counting votes and speed up meetings. Commissioners, under the system, would vote simultaneously and the results would appear on an overhead screen only after they were all cast.
Late Saturday morning, early fall. Perfect football weather. Throngs of orange-wearing men and women gently jostle each other on Market Square.
One of the biggest arguments people make in favor of eating local is that it helps the local economy. But does it?
In the Mid-South, pumpkin picking, corn-maze meandering and hayrides across fields of crisp fallen leaves spell October – by far the busiest month for local agritourism businesses. Factors such as the development of supportive public agritourism initiatives, a renewed consumer interest in the origin and production of food, and the “buy local” movement have in recent years contributed to the growth of agritourism in the Mid-South.
Wood-import bill would shield musicians Two Tennessee congressional leaders will unveil a plan today to amend a major U.S. environmental law in response to recent federal raids on Nashville-based Gibson Guitar, the iconic manufacturer under investigation for violating that law by illegally importing endangered species of woods. U.S. Reps. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, have filed a bill to amend the Lacey Act, a century old environmental law that was last amended in 2008.
Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher raised $420,440 in campaign contributions the past three months — a big jump from the previous quarter and the most of any member in the state’s House delegation, new campaign finance disclosure forms show. The farmer and gospel singer from Frog Jump topped the No. 2 Tennessee fundraiser, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, by $154,230.
U.S. District Court Judge Bernice Donald will be sworn in Thursday in Memphis as a judge for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Donald, of Memphis, was nominated in December by President Barack Obama and confirmed in September by the U.S. Senate, according to The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/paoRmO ).
The warning by the State of Washington’s economist was unusually blunt, a far cry from the kind of dry, green-eyeshade language that often cloaks such announcements: “We are in the fragile aftermath of the Great Recession, where a return to normalcy seems like a mirage in the desert — the closer we get to it, the further it moves away.” The upshot: Washington’s weaker-than-expected tax collections have led the state to project that it will take in $2 billion less than it expected when its two-year budget took effect in July.
How rich is too rich for food stamps? The answer depends on where you live.
The Tennessee Valley Authority and a contractor announced Wednesday they are laying off about 600 temporary construction workers and an additional 200 support staff after unsatisfactory progress on construction of a second unit at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Spring City. TVA spokeswoman Barbara Martocci in Knoxville said progress was below TVA’s expectations and the public utility is discussing with contractor Bechtel Corp. how to improve the project’s pace.
A TVA contractor on Wednesday cut 600 craft workers and 200 support staff at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant to reduce costs and improve work performance in the delayed construction of a second reactor there. Most of the laid-off workers are contractors with Bechtel Power Corp., and a few are contractors with Day & Zimmerman, according to Tennessee Valley Authority spokeswoman Barbara Martocci.
The news was bad: There had been an explosion in the diesel area of Watts Bar Nuclear plant, then a steam vent began leaking radiation, leading to the evacuation of everyone within a 10-mile radius to the east, south and west of the plant. The reality was better: It was all a drill.
City officials hope their swift approval process will lure 1,150 jobs to a proposed distribution center here that the state has confirmed is for Amazon.com. “Given the magnitude of what this can mean to our community’s economy, I think it’s very appropriate to proceed in this fashion,” Murfreesboro City Councilman and Planning Commissioner Toby Gilley said Wednesday.
Hospital readmissions in Memphis cost Medicare $71 million in 2009, according to a new report from Qsource, the Memphis-based Medicare Quality Improvement organization for Tennessee. A readmission occurs, according to the study, when a patient is discharged from a hospital and is readmitted to the same or different hospital within 30 days.
The possibility the city of Memphis could file a lawsuit against the NBA over the league’s still unresolved player lockout has cast a spotlight over the intricate funding plan that paid the debt associated with building FedExForum. But there’s still a lot to be determined before the situation even gets that far.
An online-only Hamilton County Virtual School will likely throw open its virtual doors in the next few months, offering services to more students while also saving them thousands in tuition. The Hamilton County Department of Education has applied to open its own virtual school, which would move its current courses from a district program to a state-approved individual online school.
Jeanette Henning and Jerry Hill say concern for families and the love of their jobs as attendance dropout prevention specialists is proving effective for Jackson-Madison County Schools. The district’s graduation rate has improved, which was recognized in February by the Tennessee Department of Education.
Union County school board members voted to suspend the district’s director of schools from the job Wednesday night. The 4-3 vote to suspend D. Wayne Goforth for 15 days without pay followed an extended discussion of the school system’s budget shortfalls.
The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System realized more than $1 million in energy savings over the last two fiscal years, according to a report presented to the School Board during a study session Tuesday night. CMCSS Operations Manager Jim Sumrell said new policies to keep classroom temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees when the heat is on, and 74 and 78 when the air conditioner is running, are the primary reason for the savings realized over the past two years.
Tony Geraci is a one-man stampede about to turn around what Memphis schoolkids eat and who grows it. Geraci, 54, a national leader in school nutrition and member of first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, is the new director of food service in Memphis City Schools.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation today ending retiree health benefits for some current and all future state legislators. Under the compromise bill, all but two sitting state senators and a handful of state representatives will still get the benefit because they will have served at least six years by Jan. 1, 2013.
I’m ready to cut red tape, help resolve disputes and otherwise do what I can to help the people who are the backbone of the state’s economy. When big companies like Electrolux or General Motors expand or relocate to our state, they tend to generate a lot of headlines — and rightfully so.
Lawmaker’s arrest should remind patrons they can choose safe establishments Proponents of Tennessee’s new guns-allowed-in-bars law explained that gun-permit holders were responsible citizens. They would never break the law by drinking in bars and restaurants while carrying their guns.
We are glad to see legislation filed in Nashville to repeal the new voter photo ID law. The law is unnecessary and unfair to many voters.
The plan to construct a new college campus in Marion County was sound when it was first proposed in 2009. It still makes sense in 2011, when the proposal, temporarily stalled by a struggling economy, has been given new life.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a misguided bill last week that would block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating coal ash. The bill likely won’t come to a vote in the Senate, but it sends a signal that some lawmakers haven’t learned any lessons from the 2008 ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant.
Occupy Wall Street is shining a useful spotlight on one of America’s central challenges, the inequality that leaves the richest 1 percent of Americans with a greater net worth than the entire bottom 90 percent. Most of the proposed remedies involve changes in taxes and regulations, and they would help. But the single step that would do the most to reduce inequality has nothing to do with finance at all. It’s an expansion of early childhood education.