This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
State urges students to apply for college (Tennessean/Tamburin)
Educators from across the state are working this week to encourage their students to apply for college as their high school years draw to a close. Gov. Bill Haslam has declared this week the year’s official College Application Week, marking an annual tradition that stretches back to 2008. Teachers are slated to share their personal collegiate experiences and promote www.CollegeforTN.org, a state-sponsored resource that helps students navigate each step of the application process. Hundreds of sites are registered to participate including 233 high schools and 15 middle and elementary schools, according to a news release from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
Tenn. Universities Begin Adapting To Impact Of Free Community College (WPLN)
Already, more than 22,000 students have applied to have their community college tuition paid by Governor Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise program. The goal was only to get 20,000 by the deadline of November 1st. “This indicates to me that this program is resonating with parents and students,” says TN Promise executive director Mike Krause. To stay competitive, four-year schools like MTSU and Austin Peay have sweetened their scholarship packages for freshmen. The same public universities are also offering automatic financial aid for those who transfer from a community college to finish a bachelors degree.
Haslam Checks In With Bond Rating Agencies (Memphis Daily News)
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam was in New York City last week to talk with the major bond rating agencies. Normally such trips come when a local or state government is about to issue new debt and wants a credit rating from the agencies. In this case, the Thursday, Sept. 25, visit was not for that. It was more of a status report on the state’s financial condition. The state’s bond sale last month was “very successful,” said Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson in a conference call with reporters Haslam, who faces a nominal Democratic challenge to his re-election on the Nov. 4 statewide ballot, also contrasted the state’s economic condition last year with this year.
Launch Tennessee introduces ‘reverse pitch’ event (Tennessean/Brock)
It’s no secret that business innovation is critical to our economy. It’s also an area of major opportunity, which is why one of Launch Tennessee’s core priorities is helping Tennessee’s major corporations tap into the creativity of our state’s entrepreneurs. This engagement helps established Tennessee companies find new paths to innovation through connections to promising early-stage companies, inventors and entrepreneurs. It also provides quality work opportunities for entrepreneurs given the knowledge and capital of Tennessee’s corporations. As part of our efforts to encourage corporate engagement, we are hosting Tennessee’s first Reverse Pitch on Oct. 7 in Chattanooga.
Books From Birth visits Columbia on statewide tour (Columbia Daily Herald)
Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam visited Columbia Friday morning as part of the Governor’s Books From Birth 10th anniversary tour. “They call me the First Lady of Tennessee, but that does not mean that I’m the first lady ever to live in Tennessee,” Haslam told a group of children who gathered with their parents in front of Maury Regional Medical Center Friday. “All it means is that I’m married to the governor.” The statewide bus tour celebrates the Books From Birth program, which allows any child in Tennessee to receive one book in the mail each month until their fifth birthday. The program launched in 2004. “In that 10-year period, we have mailed over 21 million books to Tennessee families,” Haslam said. She said Tennessee is the only state to have this statewide program.
Health-Law Coverage Expansion Gets Tougher (Wall Street Journal)
A nationwide effort to enroll consumers in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is getting under way, and it is even more complicated than it was in the first year. Insurance companies, states and the Obama administration have two missions for the law’s second major enrollment period. They want to draw millions of new, harder-to-attract enrollees to the law’s insurance exchanges, while also ensuring that existing customers retain their health plans for 2015. Marketplaces are scheduled to open for enrollment Nov. 15. “This year, we have to walk and chew gum at the same time,” said Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America, a nonprofit that focuses on health-coverage expansion.
Inspectors find ‘notable progress’ in Y-12 security (News-Sentinel/Munger)
For the first time in a long while, there’s some good news about security at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. In a message to Y-12 employees, the federal and contractor leadership said an “extensive and comprehensive security inspection” over the past several weeks by a team from the U.S. Department of Energy headquarters had found notable progress in the plant’s security programs. The message to employees was delivered by Arnold Guevara, the National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office’s safeguards and security manager, and Ken Freeman, the head of Safeguards, Security, and Emergency Services for Consolidated Nuclear Security, the Bechtel-led managing contractor at Y-12.
UAW gains allies in bid to organize VW in Chattanooga (Times Free-Press/Pare)
A United Auto Workers official says the union has taken “a big step” toward gaining representation of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga employees and creation of a first-in-the-U.S. works council at the plant. The UAW, VW’s global group works council and European union IG Metall have signed a letter of intent to jointly commit to organizing the Chattanooga plant as “a UAW-represented facility” and start the process of forming a works council. “This is unique,” said Gary Casteel, the UAW’s secretary-treasurer. “I don’t know of any formal agreement between organizations of this nature.” The letter said the parties agree to work for a definitive agreement on matters contained in a “foundation document” specifying certain issues such as a joint training program, internships and communications.
Register’s exit may snarl East Nashville schools overhaul (Tennessean/Garrison)
One parent put it to him point blank: Why is he, a superintendent on his way out, pushing an overhaul of such magnitude? Others are asking the same question after Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Jesse Register revealed he will not seek an extension beyond his current contract, which runs through June. He likely will be long gone before his still-evolving East Nashville turnaround plan kicks in. He’s floated closing one or two low-performing schools, handing others to charter operators and creating a new “choice zone” to let parents choose where their kids attend. The latter piece might not even go into effect until 2016.
David Lillard: Celebrate College Savings Month: Open a TNStars account (Tenn)
How would you like to make an investment that could earn your child $1 million? That amount of money is the calculated difference, on average, between the lifetime earnings of a high school graduate and a college graduate. Clearly, then, sending your child to college is a great investment. Our children will one day be competing for jobs with people from other states and countries all around the world. In that type of environment, the value of higher education will be greater than ever before. Gov. Bill Haslam has recognized the need for and developed initiatives to help our state substantially increase its ranks of college graduates in order to remain economically competitive. To graduate from college, though, students must not only have the proper academic training, they must also have adequate financial resources to afford their education.