This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday proposed legislation that would require a prescription to obtain more than a 20-day supply of the types of cold medicines used to make methamphetamine. The Republican governor said the bill is meant to target illegal drug production with medicines such as Sudafed, which contain pseudoephedrine, while also maintaining access for people who need it. “You’ve got to remember that 97 percent of people buying pseudoephedrine are buying it for legitimate reasons,” Haslam said. “They’re out there with real cold and sinus problems.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced legislation to reduce the growing problem of methamphetamine production in Tennessee. The goal of the Tennessee Anti-Meth Production (TAMP) Act is to limit access to pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products to those who are using it illegally while not overburdening law-abiding Tennesseans who need temporary cold and sinus relief. Haslam joined legislators, members of the Public Safety Subcabinet and key stakeholders to announce his proposal, which aligns commonly purchased amounts of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine with 30-day limits.
Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday staked out a middle ground on anti-methamphetamine measures, proposing a bill that requires a prescription to obtain more than a 20-day supply of cold remedies used to manufacture meth. But he could face a fight from powerful drug manufacturers, who immediately objected that it would “burden law-abiding Tennesseans.” The Republican governor unveiled his proposal at a Capitol Hill news conference, flanked by 36 GOP lawmakers including Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell.
Gov. Bill Haslam called for new restrictions Thursday on a drug found in some cold and allergy medicines, touting the plan as a way to combat methamphetamine production without harming law-abiding consumers. In a press conference at the state Capitol, Haslam announced legislation that effectively would force Tennesseans to get a pharmacist’s or doctor’s permission to buy more than a 10-day supply of medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a drug contained in some decongestants that also is a key component of methamphetamine.
Two Northeast Tennessee law enforcement officials believe Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has not gone far enough in proposing regulations to limit the production of methamphetamine. On Thursday, Haslam presented his idea to place limits on the amount of products that contain pseudoephedrine or ephedrine a person can purchase in a 30-day period. The chemicals are contained in cold medicine like Sudafed and are used in the production of meth. “ Meth production is dangerous, threatens the safety of Tennesseans and destroys families,” Haslam said.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is proposing legislation that would require a prescription for more than a 20-day supply of cold medicines that are used to make methamphetamine. The intent of the legislation is “to limit access to pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products to those who are using it illegally while not overburdening law-abiding Tennesseans who need temporary cold and sinus relief,” according to a press release from the governor’s office. Haslam said Thursday that the bill is meant to target the purchase of large amounts of medicines from a variety of stores, which is known as “smurfing.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam Thursday announced legislation to reduce the growing problem of methamphetamine production in Tennessee. The goal of the Tennessee Anti-Meth Production Act is to limit access to pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products to those who are using it illegally while not overburdening law-abiding Tennesseans who need temporary cold and sinus relief. Haslam joined legislators, members of the Public Safety Subcabinet and key stakeholders to announce his proposal, which aligns commonly purchased amounts of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine with 30-day limits.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam today announced legislation to reduce the growing problem of methamphetamine production in Tennessee. The goal of the Tennessee Anti-Meth Production (TAMP) Act is to limit access to pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products to those who are using it illegally while not overburdening law-abiding Tennesseans who need temporary cold and sinus relief. Haslam joined legislators, members of the Public Safety Subcabinet and key stakeholders to announce his proposal, which aligns commonly purchased amounts of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine with 30-day limits.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced Thursday legislation that he said will limit access to pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the production of meth. The legislation is called the Tennessee Anti-Meth Production Act (TAMP). Haslam said the goal of the legislation is to limit access to pseudoephedrine and other ephedrine products to people who use it illegally, called ‘smurfers’, while trying to limit the burden of law-abiding citizens. “Results are tragic and deadly,” said Haslam at a press conference Thursday. “We had nearly 1,700 meth lab seizures in 2013. Last year nearly 300 children were taken into custody by the Department of Children’s Services in cases where meth was a contributing factor.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced on Thursday a plan aimed at ridding Tennessee of its massive meth problem. However, that plan could mean major restrictions at the pharmacy for people who aren’t breaking the law. In a Thursday press conference, Haslam announced his plan of attack called the Tennessee Anti-Meth Production Act. “We’re proposing a bill to limit the access to pseudoephedrine to those who are using it illegally while, and this is important, not punishing the 97 percent of Tennesseans that are buying it and using it on a temporary basis to treat cold and sinus symptoms,” said Haslam.
Cold medicine would become a little tougher to come by under a law proposed by Governor Bill Haslam on Thursday. But in his effort to crackdown on meth cooks in Tennessee, Haslam is stopping short of what police really want. Still, the state’s top law enforcement officers stood on a stage in the capitol as their boss outlined his compromise over drugs containing pseudoephedrine. “This will effectively give Tennessee the lowest limit on purchases of these substances in the United States without resorting to a prescription,” Haslam said, also flanked by a couple dozen state lawmakers.
Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature are both trying to force Governor Bill Haslam off the fence. After more than a year of mulling it over, the governor says he still wants the option to expand the state’s Medicaid program. Haslam has talked about what he calls a “Tennessee Plan.” Instead of simply taking the federal money to cover hundreds of thousands of the state’s working poor, he wants to find a way to hold down costs in the Medicaid program at the same time. The governor hasn’t released specifics, frustrating lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Members of his own party have renewed a push to forbid the state from expanding Medicaid and otherwise participating in Obamacare. Haslam is asking for continued flexibility.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that he will support a school voucher bill this legislative session that’s similar to a limited measure he proposed last year, even though other GOP lawmakers say they’d like to see something a little broader. The governor told reporters that his proposal once again will be limited to students from low-income families attending failing schools. Haslam had that measure withdrawn when Senate Republicans sought to expand to a larger number of children. Haslam said it’s important to have a measured approach. “I think it lets us walk into vouchers,” he said.
Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday he still prefers the limited school voucher plan he proposed last year over a much broader plan open to more students and sought by voucher advocates and some legislators. The governor’s proposal last year would have phased in a limited voucher program over three years. In the first year, vouchers would be available to 5,000 students attending schools ranking in the bottom 5 percent in performance and whose family incomes qualify them for free or discounted school lunches. It would grow to 20,000 students in year three, and would remain there until the legislature expanded the caps.
The governor said he will try again to usher in small-scale school vouchers plan to passage this legislative session, although the Senate’s leading Republican said he wants a more expansive program this year. Gov. Bill Haslam appears to be leaving little room for negotiation. He said he “strongly” favors keeping the program limited to a pilot, which he has capped at 5,000 students the first year and growing to 20,000 students. He also wants to keep his plan focused on making private school voucher options available to low income students attending the state’s worst schools, he said.
Before the morning sessions of the White House higher education summit had ended, Jimmy Cheek already had picked up a couple of ideas that he wants to try at the University of Tennessee. Cheek, the university’s chancellor, was particularly intrigued by a program run by the Posse Foundation, a nonprofit group that offers full-tuition, four-year scholarships to low-income students and places them in multicultural groups, or “posses,” where they receive professional guidance and support throughout college. “I hadn’t heard of Posse before,” Cheek said.
Seven years after an Iraq War veteran was shot to death at an ATM, the battle rages over whether the man accused of killing him is sound enough of mind to be executed. Christopher Lee Davis, 26, is accused of killing Herbert Clayton Jr. on June 13, 2007, at a Murfreesboro Pike ATM. The homicide, as described in the autopsy, was brutal: a point-blank gunshot wound through his right eye. Davis still has not faced trial in the case, a source of frustration for Jannie Traylor, who was engaged to be married to Clayton when he was killed. But the complicated politics of the death penalty have helped to slow the legal process to a crawl.
Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he was unaware that state law required gender balance when he made appointments to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, which a Nashville judge exists in violation of the law. “I didn’t realize that,” said Ramsey of the provision requiring racial and gender equality that Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Hamilton Gayden cited in his ruling earlier this week. The judge said the violation renders the commission “invalid,” but declined to issue an injunction blocking further meetings. The panel is scheduled to meet Friday to finalize its recommendations on which judges warrant new terms.
Tennessee legislators are rushing to fix what’s seen as a problem with the so-called “guns in trunks” law passed last year. But the original sponsor of the law is trying to fend off any changes. Tennesseans with a handgun carry permit can now store a firearm in their car while at work. But according to the state’s Attorney General, they still could be fired if they’re breaking workplace rules. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey has been adamant that an employer could never get away with it. And he says it could be problematic if other legislators try to rewrite his law this year.
The Democratic leader of the Tennessee Senate has decided he’d rather be presiding over a Memphis courtroom. Sen. Jim Kyle says he will run for an open judicial seat in Shelby County. He’s been a state lawmaker for more than 30 years. “Like with anything, you can do it to the point that you don’t do it as well as you used to,” Kyle tells WPLN, adding that he’s still operating at a high level. “But better to let someone else be senator and fight those fights.” Kyle says he’s wanted to be a judge since he was a kid. He won’t have to resign his seat unless he wins election in August. Kyle wasn’t up for reelection until 2016.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee remains opposed to ratifying a global treaty aimed at improving services and programs for the disabled, despite a push this week from activists hoping to change his mind. On Thursday, a day after meeting with a small group of advocates in his Capitol Hill office, Corker reiterated his previous concerns that joining the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities could undermine U.S. sovereignty. “This treaty is inconsistent with constitutional limits on federal power and the democratic process,” his office said in a statement.
This is the second in an occasional series on the 10 essential health benefits required by the Affordable Care Act. A child’s poor dental health can start a domino effect of decay. It is not uncommon for chronic toothaches to hurt children’s school performance, says Dr. Jonathan Jackson, a pediatric dentist and executive director of the Georgia Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. And oral decay can create larger health problems. “That’s why it’s so important to get these kids access to care,” Jackson said. “It’s just not a luxury.” Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease — five times more prevalent than asthma.
Mobilized by the Obama administration, and egged on by both the president and the first lady, scores of college presidents, along with corporate and nonprofit leaders, on Thursday promised new initiatives and money toward enrolling and graduating more low-income minority students. The more than 100 commitments for assistance were the participants’ ticket price for entry to a daylong White House forum to swap ideas for expanding college opportunities — a push that is part of President Obama’s strategy to work around a polarized Congress to make progress on his domestic agenda.
TVA’s newest nuclear power plant should be generating electricity within the next two years. TVA Senior Vice President Mike Skaggs said today that work on the Unit 2 reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant is moving toward fuel loading in the reactor by June 2015 and start up of the reactor by December 2015. Skaggs, who took over operation of the $4 billion Watts Bar construction project near Spring City, Tenn., two years ago when TVA failed to meet the initial project schedule and budget, said today the revised completion project “is one time and on budget” and is about 81 percent complete.
An online college textbook rental and buyback company has moved its headquarters from Murray, Ky., to the Nashville area, hoping for a fresh start in a region known for its universities. CollegeBookRenter has nearly a dozen employees working in 3,300 square feet of leased space at the Brentwood Commons office park in Maryland Farms. The company plans to add eight employees in inventory management, information technology development and finance by June. John Wittman, CollegeBookRenter’s CEO, said relocating to a larger metro area should help the company with finding good employees and other companies that could help its business.
Company headquarters translate to high-paying jobs and community investments. Four of the Knoxville-area public companies on our list brought in more than $1 billion dollars in revenue for the 2012 fiscal year and the most profitable reported almost three times that amount. Theater chain operator Regal Entertainment Group heads the list with $2.82 billion in revenues, up more than 5 percent from 2011. Two of its three available quarterly earnings reports for 2013 surpassed previous-year results. Revenues from admissions in 2013 are up eight percent and revenues from concessions are up 11 percent.
The incentives Memphis and Shelby County offered J.M. Smucker Co. LLC were sweet enough for the peanut butter and jelly maker to expand its operations in the city. Smucker plans to invest an extra $41 million to create a state-of-the-art peanut butter production line at 4789 Cromwell Road, pushing the company’s total planned investment to around $96 million. Though the company’s capital investment plans have grown, it plans on hiring only 42 new employees, down from the 65 new employees it said it planned to hire when it was granted a 12-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement last year from the Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County.
Like many other Germantown parents, Becky Carroll faces a decision about where to send her child, a sixth-grader, to school next year. “I’m still debating if she will attend here next year,” Carroll said after Germantown Middle School’s open house Tuesday night. But Carroll and many other parents at the open house said they are encouraged that Shelby County Schools is promising to boost academics with optional schools program at the three namesake Germantown schools staying under control of the county system. The gym overflowed with families learning about the future for GMS.
It is certainly easy to understand the logistical problems that would hamper a proposed meeting between state lawmakers and members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation. After all, this meeting would involve 143 people who know that January means getting down to business in their respective legislative spheres. The larger question, however, is whether such a meeting should be required at all, especially when legislators toss around the word “accountability.” Who is accountable to whom? The meeting was proposed by state Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, chairman of the House Government Operations Committee. He said it would promote better communication between lawmakers at the two levels of government as well as accountability.
A long-shot lawsuit that could have damaged the effectiveness of health care reform got a well-deserved brushoff from a federal district judge on Wednesday. The suit was brought with the help of conservative legal groups and cheered on by Congressional Republicans eager to disable the Affordable Care Act. The plaintiffs argued that the wording of the act allowed federal subsidies (in the form of tax credits) only for those buying insurance on the 14 health exchanges managed by a state, not on the exchanges established by the federal government in the 36 states that refused to set up their own. That contention was ridiculous on its face.