This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Gov. Bill Haslam is headed to Knoxville for his last full day of budget hearings. The Republican governor is scheduled to hear from his education, children’s services and tourism departments, among others.
Tennessee lawmakers appear to be in good standing with voters across the state, according to a new poll from Vanderbilt University. The poll, conducted by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, surveyed a total of 1,500 random Tennesseans between Oct. 28 and Nov. 5, and sought to track trends regarding the approval of important political leaders.
General Motors has announced it will begin building its Chevrolet Equinox at its idled Spring Hill plant next year and plans to begin making a midsized vehicle there in the future. Monday’s announcement of the $61 million investment will create nearly 700 jobs at the plant outside Nashville.
General Motors announced this morning that it will begin producing the Chevrolet Equinox at its Spring Hill facility. Cathy Clegg, GM vice president for labor relations, said the plant will be a flexible manufacturing facility which will be able to quickly shift to producing various models as required.
General Motors said Monday it has chosen its Spring Hill plant to build its popular Chevrolet Equinox crossover, a move that will create almost 700 jobs in the coming months. The auto maker also said it will in the future invest $183 million to prepare Spring Hill to make other midsized vehicles.
General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) will invest a total of $244 million and create nearly 1,900 jobs as it reboots the idle Spring Hill plant into an ultra-flexible operation, the company announced Monday. The initial $61 million investment will create 685 jobs, announced Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM Labor Relations to a crowd at the plant.
New vehicle means 685 new jobs next year General Motors will begin hiring hundreds of new workers for the Spring Hill assembly plant in mid-December as the facility moves toward building a complete vehicle there for the first time since the Chevrolet Traverse moved to Michigan two years ago. Company and United Auto Workers officials said Monday that the plant would start assembling the Chevrolet Equinox midsize crossover vehicle in the second half of 2012, with GM investing $61 million to retool the plant into a “flex” operation that eventually could make just about any GM vehicle.
GM’s plant in Spring Hill will start making cars again for the first time in two years. The factory had sat mostly idle except for some engine production.
While seventh-graders stack pennies and make length estimates, one person in class is busy wandering the classroom, taking notes as she goes. Normal Park Museum Magnet School Principal Jill Levine spends only about 10 minutes in Matt Jorgensen’s class, but learns much.
Tennessee’s education commissioner wants the state’s lowest-performing schools to start using competition as a means for improvement. Targeting the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools is a crucial component to the state’s application asking for reprieve from the federal No Child Left Behind law, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said Monday said during an editorial board meeting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Tennessee’s school board members are opposing a slate of bills they say erode the authority voters gave them. At a statewide meeting this month, a delegation voted to oppose a bill that would allow parents to use public funding toward private school tuition.
Financial details of two projects likely to raise Franklin’s reputation among environmentalists and Civil War historians come up for discussion tonight with city aldermen. First, Franklin aldermen will discuss details of a new contract between the city and the state Department of Transportation to build an access road off Lewisburg Pike and into Franklin’s 110-acre Civil War park off Carnton Lane.
Living on top of a mountain can have its pros and cons. There are beautiful views, but rain water is the source for drinking water.
Country music has changed a lot since it was last performed at the White House two years ago, said singers and songwriters who joined President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in celebrating the genre Monday. It’s growing more diverse and attracting a broader fan base domestically and internationally, the musicians said before a concert at the White House.
TennCare could be in big trouble if congress decides to decrease or stop providing matching money for provider fees. Reports say Tennessee hospitals began using provider fees to prevent the state from losing federal money when the legislature slashed TennCare’s budget.
The Tennessee Board of Regents has named Brian Noland as president of East Tennessee State University. Noland has spent the last five years as chancellor of West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission.
The Executive Subcommittee of the State Building Commission agreed to waive the process of appraisals of Lambuth University’s campus during a meeting held Monday morning in Nashville. The committee was asked to waive the appraisals and to receive as a gift Lambuth’s 50 acres and 25 buildings with 260,000 square feet of educational and administrative space.
About 900,000 people are projected to travel by car over the long holiday weekend in Tennessee with a special law enforcement crackdown in effect. Various law enforcement agencies will be especially on the lookout for seat belt violators, impaired drivers and speeders as part of the state’s new “More Cops, More Stops” campaign.
As Republicans continue to draw new state legislative districts in a secret process, G.A. Hardaway, a Democratic state representative from Memphis, says he’ll introduce alternative redistricting plans that would increase the number of majority black voting districts in Shelby County from nine to 10. The plan would also protect Democratic incumbents, just as Republicans will likely do for their incumbents.
A proposal to tax barrels of Jack Daniel whiskey up to $5 million annually has been derailed before it could reach the Tennessee Legislature. The Moore County Council voted 10-5 Monday to rescind a vote asking lawmakers to authorize a local referendum on the proposal.
Mayor Ron Littlefield is prepared to sue the Chattanooga City Council if it takes even the tiniest steps toward trying to oust him. Hal North, Littlefield’s attorney, said Monday he has prepared paperwork to be filed and ask a Circuit Court judge to issue an injunction if the council makes any moves toward removing the mayor from office.
The Knox County Commission approved new zoning restrictions Monday designed to regulate unscrupulous pain clinics. The measure was approved on the first reading and officials must vote on it again in December before it takes effect.
Could “Occupy Metro’s Health Department” be far away? On Monday, a Metro Health Department employee took to the plaza outside the state Capitol to check how Occupy Nashville was handling food. The encounter left a bad taste in occupiers’ mouths, who claimed the department “served a notice on Occupy Nashville this morning that its kitchen facilitates are operating in a way that constitutes an ‘imminent health hazard.’”
Shelby County Commissoner Steve Mulroy has become the first well-known public official to enlist in the service of Occupy Memphis, the local version of the Occupy Wall Street movement which has become a national phenomenon. In several cities — New York, Oakland, and even nearby Nashville among them — local authorities have attempted to uproot Occupy encampments, sometimes violently.
Viral videos of riot police repeatedly pepper spraying a row of seated, non-violent Occupy Wall Street protesters at a California university has sparked outrage, an investigation and calls for the college chancellor’s resignation. It also set off a debate about how far officers can and should go to disperse peaceful demonstrators.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann used an eight-minute “Facebook town hall” video to rail against regulations and President Barack Obama, reinforcing Republican talking points along the way. “Unfortunately, the president’s policies have been a failure.
The failure of a congressional “super committee” to agree upon $1.2 trillion in cuts to the federal deficit triggered outrage among some East Tennesseans in Congress, but others were hardly disappointed to see the panel give up. Tennessee’s senators called the committee’s collapse “a national disgrace” and “a failure of governing.”
– U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn.: “Throughout our history Americans have sent our citizens throughout the world to shed blood in defense of preserving democracy. But Washington’s lack of discipline and unwillingness to make decisions that we all know must be made may cause the world to question the American exceptionalism that has been a beacon for the world for generations.
U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn with the assistance of 101st Airborne Division Commander Maj. Gen. James C. McConville on Monday presented 12 Fort Campbell women with Outstanding Military Spouse Awards. “It’s a good week to give thanks,” Blackburn said.
The war on methamphetamine has gotten some support from Congress — millions of dollars to clean up the toxic waste generated by clandestine labs. President Barack Obama signed a wide-ranging appropriations bill Friday that included the restoration of $12.5 million for meth lab cleanup.
EDGE panel helps Minnesota firm Staggered by imports and a change in shopping habits, gift wrap maker Cleo is closing its 600-employee Memphis plant after auctioning off the huge presses for scrap this fall. Now, a small Minnesota firm is trying to edge into the gift wrap business by buying $7.5 million worth of the equipment left by Cleo.
Capital improvements highlight revitalized Regional Medical Center The first time Dr. Reginald Coopwood, CEO of The Regional Medical Center at Memphis, ever saw the facility he now leads, he asked, “Where’s the front door?” Nearly two years later, The MED finally has a new, clearly marked main entrance.
Knoxville attorney Herbert S. Moncier came looking for a settlement and a chance to rebuke charges leveled against his embattled client, suspended Union County Schools Superintendent Wayne Goforth. He got a chance to do neither Monday night as the Union County school board, in a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it meeting that took less than 10 minutes, voted to delay a decision on Goforth’s future pending further investigation of school financial records by an independent accounting firm.
The self-inflicted wounds from Alabama’s most-abusive-in-the-nation immigration law just keep on coming. Last week, a manager for Mercedes-Benz, visiting from Germany, was pulled over in his rental car by a police officer in Tuscaloosa near where a Mercedes plant builds sport-utility vehicles.
Indiana House Republicans said Monday they would make passing a so-called right-to-work bill their top priority in the coming legislative session, re-opening another front in a battle over labor unions that has roiled much of the Midwest this year. The Indiana bill would affect the rights of all private-sector workers, allowing employees at unionized companies to refrain from joining the union and to avoid paying union dues.
After more than two years under state control, Detroit’s public school district appears to be getting its basic finances in order by privatizing services, cutting wages, restructuring debt and aggressively seeking out students to fill its classrooms. The district’s operating deficit stands at $83 million, down from $327 million at the start of the year, according to documents released by the district Monday.
The announced closure of the state-run Lakeshore Mental Health Institute has the potential to improve care for the region’s mentally ill but also could wind up letting many fall through the cracks between private-sector providers. To make the plan proffered by Tennessee Department of Mental Health Commissioner Doug Varney work, state officials must reinvest Lakeshore’s budget into the continued care of patients.
“I think there is a gap in understanding of the implications of some of these cuts at the federal level.” That declaration, by the dean of Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine, was the understatement of the week. Dr. Jeff Balser was talking about the funding mechanism for TennCare upon which Tennessee hospitals rely heavily.
Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield issued welcome notice Monday that he will pursue all available legal options to thwart what he reasonably sees as a flawed recall effort which was wrongly given traction by a partisan Hamilton County Election Commission vote last week. His notice also rightly informed the City Council that he would contest any attempt to install a place-holder in his seat pending the outcome of his legal appeals to overturn the recall movement.
A one-time bonus is a fitting way to share an $8.7 million budget surplus with Shelby County employees. Shelby County government has an $8.7 million general fund surplus, and Mayor Mark Luttrell wants to share some of it with county employees.