This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Groupon may be the hot Internet company du jour, but it didn’t spring from a traditional startup bastion like Silicon Valley or Boston. The group-discount firm that began offering shares to the public on Friday is headquartered in Chicago, and serves as proof that startup success can happen far from the coasts.
Fresh on the heels of Thursday’s announcement that Memphis Bioworks was selected as site of one of nine regional entrepreneurial accelerators in Tennessee, leaders with Gov. Bill Haslam’s Startup Tennessee initiative were in Memphis touting the Bluff City’s support of entrepreneurship. Speaking to more than 100 minority and female business leaders at Friday’s MBE Regional Power Breakfast at the University Club, Startup Tennessee official David Warren urged the attendees to change the community, the state and the nation.
Governor Bill Haslam says growing expenses may force Tennessee to cut some state jobs in the coming year. In budget hearings with Haslam this week some department heads said they might have to lay off state workers.
Governor Bill Haslam continued state budget hearings Friday as he prepares a spending plan during a time when Tennessee faces a $360m budget gap. An in-home assistance program for the disabled is one possible cut.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has responded to a letter from Occupy Nashville protesters with one of his own. That’s as today a state official said the protests at Legislative Plaza have cost the state “thousands” of dollars, without giving a specific amount.
Tennessee General Services Commissioner Steven Cates said Friday that Occupy Nashville protesters on the Legislative Plaza near the state Capitol have cost the state thousands of dollars, but he didn’t give a specific figure. Cates spoke to reporters after a budget hearing for his department. He said there are areas of the plaza that have required pressure washing because of a lack of sanitation facilities.
The state Board of Education made the first changes to Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation system Friday. Amendments will allow principals to do back-to-back teacher observations, on the same day or consecutive days, followed by one conference.
The State Board of Education has unanimously approved minor changes in the state’s new teacher evaluation program. One change is aimed at streamlining time-constrained principals’ meetings with teachers both before and after they conduct multiple personal observations of educators’ classroom performance.
The state is opening 19 driver service centers for special Saturday hours for the sole purpose of issuing photo identifications to voters. In Davidson County, the driver’s license offices on Centennial Boulevard and Hart Lane will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to issue voter IDs only.
If you’re from Southeast Tennessee and want to get a state-issued photo ID to vote next year, today could be a good day to get it done relatively quickly in Hamilton and Bradley counties. Beginning this morning, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security will open 19 of its driver service centers across the state and issue the IDs free of charge to people who need one to vote.
The Rutherford County Driver Service Center is one of 19 statewide selected to be open on Saturdays in order to issue photo IDs to voters at no charge. The Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced Friday it will open 19 of its state driver service centers on Saturday.
A Hancock Co. woman is facing two counts of TennCare Fraud for allegedly selling prescription drugs partially paid for through the program, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced on Friday. Leora C. Collins, 40, is accused of twice using the state health care program to purchase Buprenorphine, which is used to treat addictions to drugs like morphine and heroin, and then turning around and selling a portion of it.
Endangered freshwater mussels living in the Clinch River in upper East Tennessee have derailed a plan to build a temporary bridge in Hancock County while an existing bridge is repaired. Residents in the community of Kyles Ford argued in a public meeting held by the Tennessee Department of Transportation on Thursday that without a bridge, commute time would increase about 45 minutes and emergency vehicles would face a delay.
An immigrant services worker cries as she recalls seeing a flooded apartment complex that looked like “a refugee camp,” with a newborn child lying outside on a sofa cushion because it was the only dry thing available. A Bellevue man remembers grabbing his infant son, dogs, photo albums and an external hard drive before hustling away from their house before dawn in one car, his wife in another, as water lapped against their bumpers.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann proposed a two-year moratorium on capital gains taxes this week, leveraging a key point of his jobs plan and suggesting an idea that would benefit him personally. The government now charges individuals and corporations varying rates of tax on most capital gains, which are commonly obtained from the sale of stocks, bonds and property.
The evening will be red, white and blue in honor of “A Patriotic Tribute” to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, winner of the 2011 Tigrett Award, which will be presented at the 22nd annual West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation’s Charity Gala on Nov. 12, along with six Jackson Awards. “We are so honored that Sen. Alexander was chosen as the winner of the Tigrett Award,” said Frank McMeen, president of the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation.
People who want to know more about a proposed state insurance exchange for buying health coverage can attend meetings next week in Hendersonville and Nashville. Tennessee can either set up its own exchange or allow the federal government to do it, under terms of the Affordable Care Act.
Hutcheson Medical Center took on the Erlanger brand name as of Friday, and officials with both hospitals see the change as a chance to regain confidence in the North Georgia hospital, which has become synonymous with fleeing physicians, layoffs and mounting debt. Being renamed as Erlanger at Hutcheson was inevitable, officials said Friday at a news conference, after Erlanger Health Systems agreed to manage the facility in May and extended up to $20 million in credit. “Hutcheson is still there, but with Erlanger on top, they will make sure things are on the right track,” Georgia Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickaumauga, said after the announcement.
Memphis-based FedEx Corp. paid no corporate income taxes in 2008 and International Paper Co. paid none last year, according to a study by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released Friday. FedEx crisis media relations spokesman Shea Leordeanu called the report “misleading and inaccurate,” saying accelerated depreciation deductions accounted for the anomaly.
The president of the Chattanooga, Tenn., company building the West Tennessee Solar Project in Haywood County says Tennessee has a lot of so far unrealized potential for large utility scale solar arrays. And Ben Fischer of Signal Energy calls the economic development potential of the large arrays “essentially manufacturing without a roof.”
I read The Tennessean’s Nov. 2 editorial deploring “the violations of the First Amendment” that allegedly occurred when the state government began enforcing an overnight curfew on Legislative Plaza and comparing the peaceful arrests made by Tennessee Highway Patrol officers to the violent eviction of protesters from Tiananmen Square in 1989 that resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths. In assuming the unconstitutionality of the curfew, The Tennessean has failed its readers. It is time for someone to publicly defend the policy on constitutional grounds.
There is no question Tennessee’s economy is suffering and now is the time for our state leaders to step up and do something about it. Our unemployment rate continues to hover above 9 percent, but this figure does not accurately depict the stories playing out everyday in our struggling rural areas.
Surely everyone can agree with Mike Edwards’ core idea in “Grading teachers vital to education” (Oct. 29) that “every student needs to be well prepared for life and the work force” and that education is a critical factor in every citizen’s quality of life. However, almost no one, especially researchers, would agree with Edwards’ contention that teachers are the most important factor in a child’s education.
The longer the national economy remains in a slump, the more clear it becomes that taxes will have to be raised or spending will have to be cut. While it seems unfair to raise taxes when the unemployment rate remains so high and average Americans are struggling, our best bet is to start looking at ways to save money.
If the current weakness of our economy is not already apparent to everybody, some additional signs of that weakness are painfully convincing. Just three months ago, about a fourth of the financial experts surveyed by the National Association for Business Economists predicted that our economy would grow by a dismal 2 percent or less over the coming year.