This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam pitched his 2012 legislative package to a receptive crowd Friday just as the state’s unemployment rate hit its lowest point in three years. Tennessee added more than 11,200 jobs in November, giving the state an 8.7 percent December unemployment rate — close to the 8.4 percent unemployment rate reported in December 2008.
There could be more state money on the horizon for Tennessee public higher education in Gov. Bill Haslam’s next budget. Haslam, who was speaking at an area-wide Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday, said afterward that funding higher education would be a priority for his administration.
Tennessee governor Bill Haslam made the rounds in the Tri-Cities today. He met with local business and government leaders to outline his agenda for the 2012 legislative session. It all starts with a goal.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told Bristol Chamber of Commerce members this morning that his legislative agenda for 2012 will push for more efficiency and improved results. “My job is to make sure you get great [government] service at the lowest price,” Haslam told some 150 political and civic leaders during a breakfast meeting in 620 State in downtown Bristol. “We’re going to target that [in 2012].”
Lowering taxes, improving education and job creation are among the priorities for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who shared his message at a community breakfast hosted by Tennessee Wesleyan College on Thursday.
Former city law director sworn in as federal court clerk Former Knoxville City Law Director Debra C. Poplin was sworn in Friday as clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee as U.S. District Chief Judge Curtis Collier administered the oath of office. The fourth floor courtroom at the federal court house was packed with friends, family and colleagues.
Governor Bill Haslam showed his support as Debra Polin took the oath off office as a U.S. District Court Clerk on Friday. Poplin has been a practicing attorney for 21 years.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Safe Routes to School funding totaling $1.6 for ten municipalities in Tennessee. The funds will be used by multiple schools to improve sidewalks, crosswalks, signs and safe walking and biking educational activities.
Governor Bill Haslam isn’t ready to say whether he’ll support lawmakers trying to evict Occupy Nashville. The camp, which stands at around fifty tents, has been on the plaza by the state capitol since October.
The latest edition of the Tennessee Blue Book are being delivered being delivered to the state Capitol. Secretary of State Tre Hargett said Friday that the state has ordered 54,600 copies of the official guide to Tennessee government and history.
When Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles began offering free photo upgrades to folks who needed a photo ID to vote, he braced his staff for a potential rush of applicants. But an onslaught never came.
With a quick thwack from a gold-painted sledgehammer on a nearly 3-foot wooden post, Columbia State Community College President Janet Smith formally claimed land soon to be the new site of the college’s Williamson County campus. Now that college officials have the land, Smith said at Friday’s ceremony, they hope to get about $1.8 million from the state this year to begin the design process for the campus on about 36 acres north of Williamson Medical Center.
Louise Katz, a professor at Columbia State Community College, scanned her classroom, gauging the eyes looking back at her, and wondered why some students wore glasses while others didn’t. As a psychologist, she wanted to know if behavioral and environmental factors could be a determinant. So she started asking questions.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals has overturned a $5 million judgment against the parent company of a local assisted living facility in a wrongful death suit. In April 2010, a Bedford County jury returned a verdict of more than $5.4 million against Americare Systems Inc, and Shelbyville Residential LLC, which does business as Celebration Way, and two nurses — Dottie Hunt and Mary Ann Steelman.
Business owner Steve Cline doesn’t follow all the twists and turns of the Tennessee General Assembly . But he understands how legislation — at the state level or elsewhere — eats at his bottom line as he demolishes buildings for massive construction projects around the state.
When state Republican lawmakers made major changes to Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District during redistricting, it was widely assumed that it was done at the insistence of state Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro. Ketron had publicly said he wanted his home county, Rutherford, in the 4th, which immediately made any credible candidate from Rutherford a threat in a GOP primary to freshman U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., who is from Jasper.
At least one state representative in Tennessee wants to explore changing the law that governs driver’s license renewals in the Volunteer State. Those possible changes could make it harder for older Tennesseans to renew and keep their driver’s license.
State Rep. Harry Tindell says he plans to retire after 22 years in the Legislature. The District 13 seat the Knoxville Democrat now holds was recently transformed by a Republican-drafted redistricting bill.
Doug Keogh didn’t think the Occupy Nashville group was moving fast enough Friday as it finalized plans for a march from War Memorial Plaza to the federal courthouse to protest a 2-year-old court ruling that lifted the ban on political spending by corporations in elections. He left the meeting and went to the courthouse on his own, hoisted a handmade sign bearing a quote from the 180-page court ruling and paced the sidewalk in front of the building.
This week President Obama stalled a proposed fuel line from Canada to the Gulf Coast – and drew fire for it from much of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation. While Nashville Democrat Jim Cooper has sided with Republicans on the issue before, he isn’t exactly piling on with the attacks. Environmentalists have said the pipeline would amount to “game over for the planet.”
Lagging demand, not red tape, cited by firms as barrier Anyone who’s listened to a Republican lawmaker or presidential candidate lately has heard this refrain: Excessive regulations kill jobs. New or proposed EPA rules have drawn the most GOP scrutiny.
TVA CEO calls for safety focus after Watts Bar incidents Following recent safety infractions that could have gotten someone killed or seriously injured, TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore on Friday called on workers at TVA’s Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear reactor construction project to refocus on safety and following proper procedures. “Each of us has to call a timeout when something even appears to be out of line.
Wacker Polysilicon has begun putting up the three largest buildings that will be constructed at its massive Bradley County plant. “This first quarter of 2012 marks a milestone for our plant’s construction,” said Martin Richtberg, head of the $1.5 billion construction project near Charleston, Tenn.
A contractor for Electrolux will plant some 1,500 trees and restore wetlands near Collierville to compensate for environmental damage resulting from construction of the company’s kitchen-appliance plant in southwest Memphis, according to a proposal that’s expected to receive approval soon. The Corps of Engineers within the next week or so will issue a federal Clean Water Act permit authorizing the filling-in of slightly more than an acre of wetlands for the Electrolux plant, said Mitch Elcan, a biologist with the corps.
The Transition Planning Commission writing the plan for public school consolidation resumes its public listening tour Monday, when members hope to reassure parents not to expect large-scale student transfers after the schools are merged. The instability question is one of the factors driving support in the suburbs for municipal school districts that would allow parents to opt out of the new county system, set to open in the fall of 2013.
Private schools officials want ‘strong public school structure’ When the merger of Memphis City and Shelby County schools occurs, many private school administrators are hoping refugee students don’t show up at their doors. It’s not that they wouldn’t be welcomed, said Bill Taylor, president of the Memphis Association of Independent Schools.
There are a lot of players to keep track of between the two bodies that are leading Shelby County’s two public school systems down the road to consolidation in August 2013. The 21-member planning commission and the 23-member countywide school board are the faces most associated with the process.
OK, which is it? Do we want government stimulating the economy, helping businesses grow, using public tax dollars? Or do we want to cut the size and scope of government, pinch off public/private partnerships, let the free-market forces go it alone? The answer seems to depend on the day of the week, the political tenor of the times, and perhaps most important, which politician you are talking to.
Since administrators of Medicare and Medicaid and the state Board of Education are now “competency scoring” both doctors and educators, perhaps it is appropriate we ask the professionals in the field the same questions concerning the children they each serve. Is this a child who lives in the best side of town, with meals and means of support consistently over a long time?
Tennessee legislative and congressional redistricting plans recently approved by the Republican-controlled state legislature will do exactly what they are intended to do — enhance GOP control of the state House and Senate and solidify Republican domination of the state’s congressional delegation. Predictably, there are howls about the unfairness of it all from Democrats, but that was expected.
It long has been considered unconstitutional for there to be a general tax on income in Tennessee, and multiple state Supreme Court rulings have confirmed that. Nevertheless, there are periodic attempts to impose such a tax on Tennesseans, so it is appropriate that lawmakers opposed to the destructive tax are moving forward with a constitutional amendment making it absolutely clear that a general income tax is prohibited.
All signs point skyward when it comes to the Tennessee solar industry, which is good news for our new mayor, Knoxville Chamber and governor as they seek to bring jobs to East Tennessee. Data from the recently released Tennessee Solar Value Chain: A Workforce Development Needs Assessment from the Tennessee Solar Institute, reveals a rapidly growing industry and a genuine economic development opportunity.
Misbehavior by some on the County Commission makes meetings seem like a professional wrestling match. The anger that erupted among Shelby County commissioners Wednesday is about more than commissioners being unable to agree on a redistricting plan.
When I first became publisher of The Daily News in Memphis, I’ll admit I knew very little about public notices. I quickly learned that they are a longstanding requirement on governments, individuals and some businesses to give notice to the public when a range of critically important actions are about to be taken – the foreclosure of a home, passage of a local ordinance, the adoption of a child, and so on.
It took longer than expected, but the Obama administration is finally poised to enact badly needed regulations requiring that the manufacturers of drugs, medical devices and medical supplies disclose all payments they make to doctors or teaching hospitals. The information, which would be posted on a government Web site, will allow patients to decide whether they need to worry about any possible conflicts of interest.