This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Gov. Bill Haslam will hold the first hearings on Tennessee’s 2012-13 budget on Wednesday at the University of Memphis and Thursday at the state Capitol in Nashville. Hearings on the budgets for other state departments are slated for later in the month. All hearings will be streamed online at www.tn.gov.
Gov. Bill and first lady Crissy Haslam, and an entourage of local government and state legislative leaders, received a “banner” welcome late last week when they entered the construction site of the 1-million-square-foot Whirlpool plant on Benton Pike. For real.
At a time when an anti-regulations sentiment has taken hold at all levels of government, the Republican-controlled Tennessee General Assembly and Gov. Bill Haslam still found one industry this year worthy of unprecedented new government oversight. Thanks to a law passed with unanimous bipartisan support in the most recent legislative session, Tennessee will formally begin regulating pain clinics on Jan. 1 in an effort to rein in the state’s out-of-control illegal prescription medication industry.
Tennessee created a statewide task force on prescription-drug abuse four years ago and never set aside a penny to fund it. The state Drug Diversion Task Force subsists on volunteer efforts in its battle against Tennessee’s most widespread drug problem “Everybody thinks we get money,” said Elizabeth Sherrod, the task force coordinator.
Fresh pills feed old addiction Oxy’s out. Roxies rule.A tiny blue pill, no bigger than a baby aspirin, overshadows nearly every other illegal drug on the market in East Tennessee. Men and women beg, haggle, threaten, lie, steal and kill — all for a handful of pills.
He might not see them from the front porch, but Ralph Teague knows they’re watching. He knows why the patrol car sits at his driveway some nights.
On the street, they’re handfuls of gold — easy to buy, easy to hide, easy to snort or shoot up. In a labeled bottle with a valid prescription, they’re as legal as aspirin — and users are as untouchable as sin.
Chris Justice wakes up each day and aches for the needle. He’d rather pop pills than eat, rather shoot up than sleep — rather get high and die or go to jail than live without opiates.
High school students that would like to apply for this year’s Governor’s School of Tennessee have a small window of opportunity to do so as the first set of deadlines begin on Friday, Nov. 4. The Governor’s School offers selected high school students intensive learning experiences in one of 12 fields including Humanities, Math and Science, Arts and International Studies.
The chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party praised Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration and the Tennessee Highway Patrol this afternoon for the Occupy Nashville arrests and new curfew policy, saying sanitary conditions had “plummeted to such egregious levels.” “While every American has the right of assembly and free speech, there is a line that should not be crossed,” Chris Devaney said in a statement.
Occupy Wall Street protesters chanted slogans, danced to stay warm and defiantly protested into the early hours Sunday near Tennessee’s Capitol building, squaring off for the third consecutive night against state authorities. “Whose plaza? Our plaza!” about 50 demonstrators chanted early Sunday in defiance of an official curfew.
Occupy Nashville protesters said Saturday that they plan to continue challenging a new curfew used to disband their encampment, despite two nights of arrests. Tennessee state troopers arrested 26 people on Friday night, less than 24 hours after a pre-dawn raid where 29 were arrested. In both cases, the night magistrate refused to jail the protesters.
The American Civil Liberties Union is working on a legal strategy to stop nightly arrests of Occupy Nashville protesters on the grounds that the state is violating their First Amendment rights. The Tennessee chapter of the ACLU will ask the courts to bar enforcement of a newly imposed curfew on Legislative Plaza, where Occupy Nashville protesters have gathered for more than three weeks.
Preliminary testing on the site for the Southeast Tennessee Veterans home to determine its suitability can move forward after the commissioner of veterans affairs and assistant commissioner of real property management visited the proposed site Friday. Bradley County Veterans Services Director Larry McDaris said he was given permission to begin environmental, cultural and preliminary geotechnical testing.
A bridge designed to relieve traffic at one of the state’s busiest intersections is drawing the ire of some business owners. The bridge would allow drivers on Memorial/Old Fort Parkway to hop over Broad Street.
The University of Tennessee has named a new energy sciences graduate center after former Gov. Phil Bredesen. Meeting in Knoxville on Friday, the UT board adopted the name the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education for the joint project between UT and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
From living in Iran under the Shah to rebuilding after the devastation of an F4 tornado, the finalists for East Tennessee State University’s presidency have plenty of unique experiences. Robert Frank, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Kent State University in Ohio, Brian Noland, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, and Sandra Patterson-Randles, chancellor of Indiana University Southeast, were selected from a group of 49 applicants as the finalists to be the next president of ETSU, a post held by Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr., who will retire in January.
As children and their parents prepare to hit the streets on Halloween in search of candy and treats, there are some Dyer County residents who will be restricted from participating in the festivities. Sex offenders under the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole have restrictions placed on them, barring them taking part in Halloween activities.
A Nashville woman was the first to take Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey up on his joking offer to give a ride to anyone who needed transportation to get a new picture identification card to vote. Eileen Marhefka, 65, said an aide to Ramsey dutifully picked her up at her home in East Nashville on Wednesday and shuttled her to the driver service center at Tennessee Tower to get a non-driving ID card.
Tennessee House Republicans plan to use redistricting to cement and expand their 64-34 majority over Democrats, GOP lawmakers said. Democrats say their “worst-case scenario” has them down five to six seats, based on information received from Republicans. But Democrats argue they could fare better because some Republicans face tough re-election contests.
Six months after the April tornadoes, more than $31 million in federal funds has been funneled to 10 of the hardest-hit counties in the tri-state area through Oct. 11 to help cover uninsured storm losses, according the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The money, allocated through FEMA, includes payments to individuals and funds promised to local and state governments for public assistance.
It’s the one major health expense for which nearly all Americans are uninsured. The dilemma of paying for long-term care probably will worsen now that the Obama administration pulled the plug on a program seen as a first step.
A magnet elementary school in downtown Nashville could sway more affluent families to leave the suburbs and raise their kids in high-rise lofts, a nonprofit that wants to help shape the city says. The Nashville Civic Design Center wants the school on vacant lots near Fourth Avenue South and Peabody Street.
Two years into work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve teacher effectiveness, city school officials have determined that the financial outlook has changed so much that the effort will be unsustainable without a major retooling. By revamping teacher salaries — paying for test results instead of degrees or years of service — Memphis City Schools leaders hope to find a big chunk of the $34 million a year it will take to keep going when the Gates money stops in 2015.
The “Meth Destroys” headline is one we can agree with. It also tells a terrible and succinct story about this dangerous, highly addictive, illegal and deadly brew of toxic chemicals.
A week ago I made a pilgrimage to Tucson, Ariz., to attend my 40th high school reunion. The Canyon del Oro Class of ’71 had nicknamed itself the Sly Dog Seniors.
Gov. Bill Haslam and the highway patrol overkill he authorized have given Occupy Nashville a major shot in the arm. Haslam signed off on sending 75 state troopers to Legislative Plaza to arrest 29 protesters who refused to leave, just hours after the state made up new permitting rules Thursday.
A study confirms the most serious concern of Occupy Wall Street, but a street protestcan only go so far. The message of anti-Wall Street protesters in New York, Oakland, Calif., and points between isn’t always clear.
Ken Blake says one of the probable reasons Tennesseans seem to know a lot less about their state government and politics than about national issues is the shortage of heuristic cues. Another, of course, is the media. Ask Tennesseans for an opinion about President Barack Obama, for example, and pollsters almost always get a definitive answer.
It is not surprising that President Barack Obama, among other liberal politicians, is supporting the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in New York and elsewhere. After all, the vague “anti-corporate-greed” message of the protests helps draw attention away from the federal government’s role in our nation’s current economic crisis But that diversionary tactic doesn’t seem to be working.
It was jarring to read recently that about 2.5 percent of state government workers in Tennessee are receiving food stamps. That comes to about 970 of Tennessee’s roughly 39,000 employees.
Recently, President Barack Obama announced a new initiative that would make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages. With mortgage rates at historic lows, this provides the potential opportunity for those homeowners to lower their mortgage payment by several hundred dollars per month — putting more money in their pockets to either save or to spend (which, of course, would go a long way toward stimulating the economy).
Refinancing leniency will help, but borrowers must tap all resources The housing market, the sector that pushed the U.S. economy into deep recession, continues to be a drag on attempts at a recovery, three years later. Few apparently saw ahead of time just how bad the problem would get. Loans were made too easy to obtain, often by people unable to keep up payments.
National headlines are discouraging when it comes to residential real estate. News about home prices, foreclosure rates, appraisal difficulties and mortgage limits are enough to make any current or prospective homeowner want to pack up and rent for the rest of their lives.
As a conservative and a liberal, policy wonk and professor, Washingtonian and Midwesterner — there isn’t much we can agree on. Where we do see eye to eye is that most financial aid programs are less cost-effective than they could be.
The Obama administration recently nationalized the college loan industry. Then, last week, the president announced an income-based cap on the repayment rates of student loans.
Which is worse: that former Gov. Mitt Romney’s health reform in Massachusetts bills taxpayers for the cost of providing even routine, non-emergency care to illegal aliens, or that Romney now claims to be shocked — shocked — that illegal aliens gained benefits under the reform? If he knew that would happen — and officials who put together the Massachusetts law say it was common knowledge — then we have no reason to think he’ll give more than lip service to illegal immigration if he becomes president.