This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
The Tennessee State Museum plans to put the Emancipation Proclamation on display in 2013. Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday that the document signed by President Abraham Lincoln will be available for viewing during a six-day period, though exact dates are not yet set.
Governor Haslam announced Monday that the Tennessee State Museum will host the Emancipation Proclamation in 2013. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863 during the Civil War and freed all the slaves.
The original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation is coming to Tennessee in 2013, in a rare display marking the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the end of slavery. Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday an effort to bring the first Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln to Nashville, as part of an exhibition of Civil War documents at the Tennessee State Museum.
Tennessee will be the only Southeast location to exhibit the Emancipation Proclamation during its 2013 tour. The historic document will be displayed for six days at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.
Original document freeing slaves will have 72-hour display at State Museum The original Emancipation Proclamation signed and issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 will be on display briefly at the Tennessee State Museum in 2013 — one of its rare public exhibitions outside of Washington, Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday. Dates for the exhibit at the state-owned museum in Nashville have not been determined, but it will be on display for only 72 hours during a larger and longer Civil War history exhibition that will run from Feb. 12 through Sept. 2, 2013, officials said.
Tennessee has beat out several competing bids to display the original Emancipation Proclamation in early 2013. The fragile document signed by President Lincoln rarely leaves the National Archives, and will only be on display in Nashville for a few days.
Many key state employees could retire in the next five years, and Governor Bill Haslam says departments may struggle with replacing them. Haslam says that worry is a “constant refrain” he hears from commissioners. Around 1 in 7 state workers will be able to retire in the next few years.
Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday he wants to leave it up to local governments to decide whether to set their own wage requirements for contractors. The Republican governor told reporters that he’s “not a fan of the living wage,” but that those decisions should be left up to counties and cities.
Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday that cities and counties should be able to determine whether to establish wage requirements for companies contracting with them. “I’m not a fan of the living wage,” Haslam told reporters.
A living wage has been one of the rallying cries for the Occupy Wall Street movement, but some Tennessee state lawmakers are making a move to prohibit cities from forcing businesses to implement one. The plan would prohibit cities from requiring businesses to implement any wage above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Governor Bill Haslam says a slow, open process is the best way to make rules for protests on the plaza near Tennessee’s legislature. Occupy Nashville protesters have said they’ll stay camped there through winter.
State officials are announcing a new suicide prevention smartphone app for soldiers. Gov. Bill Haslam and Maj. Gen. Terry “Max” Haston, the state adjutant general, will announce “Guard Your Buddy” Tuesday afternoon.
As a national discussion on taxes and the rich continues to heat up, a report from the Memphis Commercial Appeal has revealed Gov. Bill Haslam overstated his personal income tax rate during last year’s campaign. Instead of disclosing personal income from family-owned business Pilot-Flying J, the 11th largest private company in the nation, the investigation showed that Haslam only offered reporters a summary of $28.5 million in non-Pilot incomes earned between 2003 and 2008.
Southeast Tennessee schools received nearly a quarter of a million dollars in federal grants to improve college access for graduating high school seniors. Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman announced the grants, totaling $686,820, last week, saying they were meant to improve the numbers of Tennessee’s high school graduates who go to college.
The state has announced an agreement with Motorola Solutions Inc. for a statewide radio system for state troopers. Under $39.2 million appropriated by the General Assembly, radios will be upgraded in the Tennessee Highway Patrol Chattanooga, Fall Branch and Knoxville districts.
State auditors have found that millions of dollars was misreported during accounting procedures at Columbia State Community College Auditors said that between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2010, funds were misreported or left unreported on financial documents. There was no indication money was stolen. According to The Daily Herald, the college blamed some of the errors on lack of understanding and confusion (http://bit.ly/sbJTdH).
State officials are investigating injuries to an elderly mentally disabled woman being cared for at a Nashville residence under a state contract. The unidentified woman suffered multiple leg fractures, according to a document reviewed by The Tennessean newspaper (http://bit.ly/nR3vRz).
A scientist at East Tennessee State University’s College of Medicine has received a research grant to study new treatments for a disorder that causes premature aging in children. Dr. Yue Zou has been awarded $100,000 over two years by the Progeria Research Foundation.
The University of Tennessee’s full-time Master’s of Business Administration program has been ranked among the Top 100 U.S. Business Schools by the social network Poets & Quants. The UT program was ranked 78th among all public and private universities in the United States and 38th among all public U.S. universities.
Judge will consider whether child rapist entitled to new trial Another Knox County criminal conviction is under review for possible retrial, following the recent disclosure of a slew of crimes authorities allege former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner committed while on the bench. Defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs confirmed at a hearing today he will make the same argument of judicial misconduct by Baumgartner on behalf of convicted child rapist Jayson Bailey.
Let the record reflect, a special prosecutor says, that he did not strike a deal to allow former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner to escape justice. Al Schmutzer on Monday defended his role in the prosecution of Baumgartner that ultimately netted the disgraced judge judicial diversion and the sparing of his pension.
An online petition is circling the internet, pleading for Governor Bill Haslam’s help. One of Channon Christian’s relatives started it all, asking the governor to stop the retrials for Letalvis Cobbins, Lemaricus Davidson, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman. Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood overturned all four convictions after a TBI investigation revealed former judge Richard Baumgartner was addicted to pain pills during the trials.
State Sen. Bill Ketron plans to consider measures to kill Tennessee’s “death” taxes and the Hall income tax, despite the governor’s opposition to ending them next session. “That is the ultimate goal,” Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, said in a Monday statement.
State Sen. Andy Berke said he had no expectations of what public office would be like when he was elected in 2007. In fact, he said somewhat sheepishly, he “literally had not been to the legislature since my fourth-grade field trip.
In a voice often choked with sadness, Susan Vanacore told Knox County commissioners on Monday about her son, a 27-year-old mentally ill man who had “a psychotic breakdown” and stabbed her husband more than a year ago. He now sits in jail, awaiting trial. Instead, she told officials, he belongs in a hospital, or some place that can take care of him.
Lakeshore Mental Health Facility in Knoxville will close this summer if state legislators approve a budget-trimming proposal. The closure would eliminate hundreds of jobs, and there are concerns about where some patients would go.
Knox County commissioners are speaking out against the state’s plan to close the Lakeshore Mental Health Institute. At a meeting Monday afternoon, Commissioners unanimously recommended a resolution that Commission Chairman Mike Hammond send a letter to state lawmakers in Knox County.
There was a time, a week or two back, when it appeared that the Shelby County Commission would have little difficulty in arriving at a consensus on how to redistrict the legislative body’s 13 allotted seats in response to the 2010 census The current Commission map, drawn according to the census of 2000, consists of four three-member districts and one single-member district. More or less in keeping with the Commission’s known preferences, the joint city/county Office of Planning and Development researched the demographics and offered a choice of two possibilities — what was called Scenario One, featuring six dual-member districts and one single-member district and Scenario Two, which divided the county into 13 single-member districts.
The Roane County Commission voted down a measure that would have supported a state group’s efforts to loosen the restrictions of the Open Meetings Act. The Tennessee County Commissioners Association has been trying to build support among Tennessee counties to loosen that act.
A local group says residents should have the power to decide how much their property taxes should go up, instead of allowing the local county government to make that decision. The Common Sense Coalition is circulating a petition that could change the very basics of government in Montgomery County.
A proposed wheel tax for Bradley County may be put on the August 2012 general election ballot. The County Commission is reviewing the proposed $32 wheel tax, intended to fund $38 million in major education projects.
A vote for new zoning laws could force one family out of the home they’ve lived in for more than two decades. The Murfreesboro Zoning Committee will vote Monday night to allow a new bike trail in Murfreesboro, but if the vote passes it will come at the expense of one Rutherford County family’s home.
J.B. Bennett on Monday became the second local this month to say he’s not running for Congress. “I very much appreciate all of the kind words of encouragement and tremendous support from so many people I greatly respect,” he wrote in an emailed statement.
Thousands of unemployed people in Tennessee and across the nation are set to start losing their benefits at the end of the year. Those benefits will start expiring unless Congress acts soon.
A federal court hearing over wood seized from Gibson Guitar Corp. has been pushed back from Monday to Jan. 30. Federal prosecutors and Gibson Guitar Corp. asked for the hearing to be rescheduled, but court documents don’t give a reason for the delay. Nashville-based Gibson is contesting a judge’s ruling that the company must wait until a criminal investigation is complete before proceeding with efforts to reclaim wood seized by the government.
Federal officials say the Georgia Department of Transportation and a Tennessee construction company have agreed to pay one of the largest fines in the history of the federal Clean Water Act for possible violations during highway expansion projects. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that Wright Brothers Construction Co. of Charleston, TN, and Georgia’s transportation department have agreed to pay $1.5 million in penalties and spend more than $1.3 million to resolve environmental issues.
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether an Arizona statute targeting illegal immigrants interferes with federal law, entering another high-profile dispute between the Obama administration and conservative state governments. The 2010 Arizona measure requires police to arrest people they stop whom they suspect lack authorization to be in the U.S., and includes other provisions intended to drive illegal immigrants from the state. U.S. courts have blocked much of the Arizona law from taking effect, agreeing with the Justice Department that it undermines federal authority over immigration.
Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a dispute over the federal health care law, the justices are facing the strongest challenge to their ban on televised hearings. Members of Congress and news industry leaders have asked the court to allow the televising of oral arguments, to be held over five and a half hours during two days in March A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found that 72% of the people surveyed think the justices should allow cameras for those arguments.
On the face of it, the backlog the Hawaii Public Housing Authority is experiencing seems a simple matter of supply and demand. Some 11,000 families are on the authority’s waiting list, hoping against the odds that they can get one of only 6,295 public housing units.
Electric bills nationally have skyrocketed in the past five years, a sharp reversal from a quarter-century ago when Americans enjoyed stable power bills even as they used more electricity. Households paid a record $1,419 on average for electricity in 2010, the fifth consecutive yearly increase above the inflation rate, a USA TODAY analysis of government data found.
Erlanger hospital’s board of trustees rejected a severance package worth about $727,000 in salary and benefits for outgoing CEO Jim Brexler Monday, but the board voted unanimously to accept his resignation. Now board members, who deadlocked in a 4-4 vote on the severance, must decide if they want to revisit the issue of severance for the seven-year CEO, board Chairman Ronald Loving said after Monday’s meeting.
Electrolux is seeking minority and female contractors to bid on work to build its manufacturing facility in Memphis. With site work under way, building package bids from the general contractors are due to Electrolux by 5 p.m. Thursday.
News that more business and jobs are coming to East Tennessee is always refreshing news in today’s economy. It’s especially welcomed in Oak Ridge which has been thirsty for more retail options for some time.
Metro Nashville Public Schools has entered into a memorandum of understanding on grant management with the Tennessee Department of Education, an agreement reached after the state labeled the district a “high-risk grantee” for federal funds in 2008. The Metro school board is set to review the agreement at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Tennessee takes off label after improvements The state is loosening its grip on Metro Nashville’s school grant spending after district leaders proved they can manage that money. Metro earned the label “high-risk grantee” in 2008 after auditors found a number of accounting problems, including weak inventory records for computer equipment and questionable use of purchasing cards tied to federal grants.
Leaders of Drexel Preparatory Academy, a Whites Creek charter school, could learn their fate next week. The Metro Nashville school board called a special meeting for 4:30 p.m. Monday to decide whether to revoke the school’s charter over failure to provide services to students who struggle with English and to keep proper lunch and other records.
A Nashville charter school that promised a special approach to learning could soon be shut down for serious violations. Internal documents, obtained by the Channel 4 I-Team, show why Drexel Preparatory Academy in Whites Creek may become the second charter school in two years to close.
Growth fund touts its ‘solid academic track record’ KIPP Memphis will tell the city today what it has quietly known for weeks: The school received $3 million from a venture-capital fund focused on expanding high-test charter schools. The Denver-based Charter School Growth Fund identifies strong performers, then pours money into them, hoping to grow strains of charter schools capable of transforming America’s poor, urban pockets.
When the former superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Schools told a Shelby County Schools merger forum Monday night that success in substantially lifting performance across a diverse, often-divided county required “backbreaking” work, he gave one example that hit close to home. When Peter Gorman persuaded one of Mecklenburg County’s most effective principals to leave a low-poverty high-performing school and take a team into a poorer, lower-performing school, he came home to a wife none too happy it was their daughter’s principal making the move.
The head of the state run Achievement School District that will run a set of low-performing schools across the state is beginning specific discussions with Memphis City Schools officials about decisions to come after the new year. ASD superintendent Chris Barbic said decisions about which of the state’s low-performing schools are run directly by the state and which are run collaboratively with school districts should start being made and announced by the first week in February.
The leader of Hamilton County’s teachers union wants only those who have worked in the education field to serve on state and local school boards. That’s among several ideas pitched by Sandy Hughes, president of the Hamilton County Education Association, for the upcoming state legislative session.
Ryan McCrory can’t wait to be a fourth-grader at Coulter Grove Intermediate School next year. And if he had his way — after seeing the inside of the 156,000-square-foot school that opens next fall — the 8-year-old would start there today. “This is awesome, huge, so cool, state of the art,” he said Monday night after touring the building for the first time with his parents, David and Debbie.
By almost every educational measure, the Agora Cyber Charter School is failing. Nearly 60 percent of its students are behind grade level in math. Nearly 50 percent trail in reading.
A 10-foot section of hand-made wrought iron fence is missing from an old cemetery on a Houston County farm and the owners of the property fear metal thieves took it. The Dickson Cemetery is near the Houston-Dickson county line.
A federal judge in Mobile issued a preliminary injunction on Monday that blocks a provision of Alabama’s immigration law that would have forced illegal immigrants to leave their mobile homes. The ruling by Judge Myron Thompson of Federal District Court replaces a temporary ruling in effect for the last two weeks.
In a ruling that could have multi-billion dollar consequences for Colorado’s budget, a Denver judge ruled the state’s school funding system is not “thorough and uniform” as mandated by the state constitution. The state’s school funding system “is not rationally related to the mandate to establish and maintain a thorough and uniform system of free public schools,” District Judge Sheila Rappaport said in her 183-page ruling in which she called the system “unconscionable.
Gov. Bill Haslam sent a powerful message about the virtues of open government last week by his endorsement of the Tennessee Open Meetings Act. Speaking to reporters after a speech to the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Haslam said the “sunshine law” works well and should not be weakened as some lawmakers suggest.
We were disappointed but not discouraged by Rutherford County Schools’ designation as a Target district after release of the state report card earlier this month. While we would have loved to see our system bring home all “A’s,” we don’t believe it’s a realistic goal under the No Child Left Behind benchmarks on which it is judged.
The latest state report card on public education finds some Jackson-Madison County public schools doing well while others continue to struggle. The thing that matters most right now is that there is a growing concern among community leaders and residents that poor schools are a major deterrent to individuals with families, and likely to business and industry, to locate in Jackson-Madison County.
Some people who read or hear that the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee has been awarded the Beacon Center of Tennessee’s annual “lump of coal” award will believe the honor a distinctly dubious one. The wholesalers, however, probably think the opposite.
Rutherford County needs to be careful about throwing out the ideas behind a 1984 zoning law when it adopts a comprehensive planning document. Take, for example, the driving influence of a once-obscure rule that enabled Blackman property owners to turn back Bible Park USA in May 2008.
How many of us would spend a little money today to save a lot of money in the future? Tennessee families do this when we buy cars that get better gas mileage or when we put new insulation in our homes to reduce energy bills.
Critics of the merger under way at Memphis and Shelby County Schools have suggested that this county can never truly be united behind a single public school system. Last week’s release of a partial list of donors who have given $2 million to the effort helped make the case, however, that the merger can be successful.
The recent story of two foster children suffering at the hands of a foster parent (“Spring Hill foster mom gets 16 years for abuse,” Dec. 9) is heart-wrenching and sad on many levels. For all of us, youth symbolizes unlimited potential. And so to see a young person deprived of the opportunities of a life our culture and our country naturally should afford is a tragedy and shame we are all drawn to correct.
Possible cuts to Pell grants — the federal program that helps make higher education possible for students from low income families — are in the cross-hairs of federal budget-cutters. They should find another target. Thousands of area students might find it impossible to remain in school if Congress makes billion-dollar reductions in Pell funding.
Oh, joy. The Venable household has been chosen by the U.S. Census Bureau to fill out an American Community Survey. “Chosen” in this sense is about as ominous as “Greetings” was for young men of my generation during the Vietnam War.
Passing deregulation measures merely to make political statements doesn’t help solve real problems. The nation’s unemployment rate is not improving as rapidly as anyone would prefer, but blaming the problem solely on “job-killing” government regulations won’t help.
The House Republican leadership managed to get one thing right in its bill to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits. The bill does, indeed, extend the payroll tax cut for another year, but, beyond that, there is a lot to dislike.
Certainly no make of automobile has been invented that didn’t have some glitches, particularly in its early stages. And not every car instantly takes off in popularity with the public.
Recently, a city fire department refused to douse a fire outside the city limits because the homeowners had chosen not to pay for fire service. There was a simple and well-publicized contract between the city and the rural community.
In the church of Kathleen Sebelius, there is little room for dissent. “We are in a war,” the Health and Human Services Secretary declared to cheers at a recent NARAL Pro-Choice America fund-raiser.