This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Gov. Bill Haslam says a goal to improve Tennessee students’ proficiency scores by 20 percent over the next five years would provide evidence that the state’s education overhaul is working. Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said at budget hearings in Knoxville last week that his agency wants to meet that goal.
TennCare is scheduled to make the final budget presentation Monday in Gov. Bill Haslam’s series of hearings on state spending. The state’s expanded Medicaid program serves about 1.2 million people in Tennessee, and has been the subject of cuts in recent years.
Gov. Bill Haslam will light the Christmas tree outside the state Capitol Monday evening. He will be assisted by his wife, Crissy.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty recently approved a series of Community Development Block Grants that will assist in infrastructure improvements in Gainesboro and Livingston and Jackson and Overton counties. The moneys, $1.6 million in all, were provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and were allocated under a procedure authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly.
Dottie Lowe said Sunday would be one Lady Vols game she didn’t want to miss. No, not because her team was against #1 ranked Baylor. “Everyone wants to get in on this,” she said. Instead, she wanted simply to “Back Pat.” In fact, her orange “We Back Pat” shirt proved it.
The reopening of General Motors’ idled Spring Hill plant will not only create 1,900 jobs over the next few years, it could also mean hundreds of thousands of dollars more will be put back annually in Maury County’s coffers. How much General Motors pays in its lieu-of tax agreement with the county depends on whether a vehicle is built at the local plant.
Dr. David R. Reagan of Johnson City is the new chief medical officer for the Tennessee Department of Health. He is leaving his position as chief of staff for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Mountain Home to take the state job.
Legislators will be pressed to relax laws Gun rights advocates in Tennessee are embracing an Arizona law that does away with a requirement that handgun owners get a permit before carrying their weapons in public — part of a more aggressive push to loosen state gun laws next year. After being shut out last spring, gun rights supporters are planning to step up pressure on the Republican-led legislature to ease at least some of the state’s rules on carrying a handgun before they leave to campaign for re-election next year.
U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher already has raised more than $900,000 for his re-election campaign, while Democrats are targeting his 8th District seat as they wait for a candidate to come forward. Fincher, a Republican from Frog Jump, is wrapping up his first year in the GOP-controlled House.
Four months’ worth of weekend soldiering didn’t make Army boot camp a breeze, but it did allow Spc. Luke Hargrove to take a nap while others fumbled with maps. Training staff at the Chattanooga National Guard Armory recognized Hargrove and other soldiers who’d recently returned from boot camp and job training.
Health-care law affects Medicare ‘doughnut hole’ Medicare’s prescription coverage gap is getting noticeably smaller and easier to manage this year for millions of older and disabled people with high drug costs. The “doughnut hole,” an anxiety-inducing catch in an otherwise popular benefit, will shrink about 40 percent for those unlucky enough to land in it, according to new Medicare figures provided in response to a request from The Associated Press.
For nearly two months, Occupy Los Angeles protesters have held nightly meetings, run yoga classes and organized marches largely undisturbed—the benefit of a city where the weather and politicians have been welcoming and mild. That may come to an abrupt end starting Monday.
In the mid-1990s — long before dirt was moved for his Viridian and Encore condominium towers — Tony Giarratana held a vision at which many locals likely scoffed. The Nashville-based developer strongly believed downtown needed a high-rise apartment building — despite the city’s having seen, for years prior, minimal construction of large-scale rental residential buildings within four miles of the central business district.
Modifying behavior is latest trend in bid to cut illness, costs You’re sitting on the couch, watching television, eating Oreos — and your health coach calls. If it hasn’t happened yet, it could soon. Employers, insurance companies, hospitals and physicians are increasingly hiring health coaches to motivate people to live healthier.
Inside a small classroom in the basement of Julia Green Elementary School, some of Metro’s best and brightest fourth-grade students are dabbling in the world of advertising. Colored pencils in hand, teams of students draw billboards and logos for products –– bubble gum, video games and shoes are a few of the goods –– while crafting marketing pitches and slogans to appeal to the masses.
For years, Memphis City Schools students who failed their in-school vision tests hoped someone would notice. Now, with their parents’ permission, they’re getting follow-up exams in the district’s first optometry clinic at Westwood High, including a ride to their appointment.
In a little less than a month, Kingsport City Schools will lose the leader it’s had for nine years. Whether his replacement will be an interim or permanent one — much less who it might be — remains to be seen.
With the proliferation of e-readers, smart phones, notebook computers and other devices used to read electronic texts, e-textbooks are just a step away. Right? Well, it’s a little more complicated. Although Sullivan South High School this year is piloting a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) program and Holston Middle School in January is to have a one-to-one ratio of iPads to students, local school officials say the age of electronic textbooks hasn’t quite emerged here.
Maine Sees Retirees as Assets, Seeks to Attract Them With Tax Cuts on Pensions With the highest median age in the nation, Maine faces the usual concerns of a graying state, from sustaining a robust work force to offering sufficient health care and transportation. But policy makers also view seniors as an economic engine and want more of them. Maine’s Republican governor, Paul LePage, is proposing to exempt all public and private retiree pension income from state personal income tax, which would lower taxes on 75,000 people but cost an estimated $93 million in annual revenue.
Michele Hodges works six days a week but still cannot afford a Maine winter’s worth of heat for her trailer in Corinth, a tiny town where snowmobiles can outnumber cars. Ms. Hodges and her two teenage daughters qualified for federal heating assistance last year, but their luck might have run out.
There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is, Tennessee is not burdened by the government-run health care system that is devastating the budget of the state of Massachusetts.
The failure of the congressional “supercommittee” to reach a plan on the federal government’s long-term debt should make Knoxville and Knox County officials determined to avoid a similar wreck when confronting their biggest long-term financial issue — growing pension obligations. The recession and the subsequent roller-coaster ride of the stock market have smashed revenue projections, leaving defined-benefit pension plans in Knoxville and Knox County reeling.
The complete flop that was the congressional deficit-cutting super committee wasn’t a surprise. The way the U.S. Congress is dealing with America’s hideous debt situation is a fake, a farce, a sham and a shame.
We read with interest a report that Sen. Bob Corker was roundly booed and jeered at by auto workers during the recent announcement that General Motors is bringing auto production back to the Spring Hill facility near Nashville. Being an engaged, activist politician is a two-edged sword.
Whether the Occupy Wall Street movement and its local offshoots have been helped or hurt by the wrong-headed, needlessly brutal police tactics deployed against the occupiers by mayors and elite university executives across the country depends on your perspective. Americans who understand what the movement represents likely would give it credit for illuminating the enormous income inequality that mars the soul of the nation and wrecks our notions of equity, prosperity and a supposedly classless and upwardly mobile society.