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TN Legislature Forging Ahead with Plan to Finish by Week’s End

The final countdown to the end of Tennessee’s current legislative session appeared to have begun in earnest Wednesday. The Senate approving their version of the state budget and the House Republican Caucus voted to finish their business by Friday afternoon instead of continuing into next week.

The Senate budget, crafted by the Haslam administration and guided through the chamber by Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville, coasted through with the support of the GOP supermajority.

Democrats in the Senate were vocal in their opposition to some aspects of the roughly $32 million package, or, more accurately, to nearly $2 million that wasn’t being spent.

Memphis Democrat Jim Kyle expressed frustration with the fellow senators following the floor session, telling reporters “we’re leaving $1.9 million and we’re refusing to appropriate it, which means the money goes into a fund the governor will then spend next year, as opposed to…very worthwhile projects.”

“We’re not funding them for reasons that the majority would not ever explain,” Kyle continued. “We’re saying we’re not going to feed people we could be feeding… we’re not going to provide healthcare, we’re not going to provide social services for people who have been receiving it.”

Norris characterized the decision to hold back a portion of funds as “ the most prudent course of action to follow.”

The House passed the budget bill 82-14. Lower-chamber Democrats tried to amend it to leave open the possibility of snatching up federal Medicaid-expansion dollars under the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans shot that effort down.

A first-term House GOP lawmaker, James Van Huss of Jonesborough, tried to delay a vote on the budget until Thursday, saying he hadn’t had time to absorb all its details. But that request died as well on a 54-36 vote.

A member of Harwell’s staff estimated for TNReport that upwards of 50 items remain left to consider.

Senate Majority Leader Norris told reporters Wednesday that he is confident the upper chamber can finish its business by the end of the week as well.

Legislation Seeks to End Statute of Limitations when DNA Evidence Available

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; April 4, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Under legislation already approved by the Tennessee Senate and scheduled for a floor vote in the House of Representatives, prosecutors will be able to continue their practice of proceeding with criminal charges against perpetrators even when they can’t be captured or even identified by name — as long as the individual’s unique DNA profile is known.

At a news conference attended by leading prosecutors and the Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Mark Green, M.D., (R-Clarksville) and Rep. Ryan Haynes (R-14th Dist.), said the measure lets prosecutors “stop the clock” on the statute of limitations, the time limit by which criminal actions must be commenced.

The measure received unanimous approval by the Senate on Monday, April 1, and is now scheduled for a vote next week in the House of Representatives.

“This bill sends lawbreakers a clear message that Tennessee will use every available technology to track you down and bring you to justice — no matter how long it takes,” said Dr. Green, an emergency room physician who routinely gathers DNA evidence. “It helps keep Tennessee’s laws up to date with advances in medicine and science.”

“This legislation is a major step forward in making sure those people who commit the most egregious of crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” stated Rep. Haynes. “I am proud of this legislation and thank every single person and organization involved in this project for working towards a safer Tennessee.”

The legislation codifies the practice used by 20th District Attorney General Torry Johnson in the case of Robert Jason Burdick, the so-called “Wooded Rapist,” whose crimes spanned more than a decade. His case was kept alive because a piece of skin he left at the scene of one of his earliest crimes provided law enforcement DNA evidence linking him to the crime.

“Even though the defendant in this case wasn’t taken into custody until several years after the crime, we were able to preserve the case through the DNA that was collected” at the time, noted Johnson in a statement. “The use of DNA as a way of identifying defendants and preventing the statute of limitations from running will help bring people to justice.”

On appeal, the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed that prosecutors can properly commence a criminal action, effectively tolling the Statute of Limitations, in cases where the suspect’s unique DNA profile is known.

Both Dr. Green and Rep. Haynes praised the work of Johnson and Assistant District Roger Moore, who prosecuted the case.

“The ‘Wooded Rapist’ case shows the real potential of DNA evidence,” said Dr. Green. “The painstaking work of police and medical personnel to retrieve and preserve the DNA samples were rewarded when, years later, the perpetrator was finally identified — but it took the persistence and creativity of skilled prosecutors to bring him to justice. We want all Tennessee prosecutors to have these tools at their disposal.”

“Receiving justice for victims should not have a deadline,” said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn, “especially when there’s DNA evidence available that could lead to solving a crime.”

“Laws need to be updated to keep up with technology and this legislation does just that,” Gwyn added. “There’s no reason a violent crime should go unsolved when you have DNA that could identify the perpetrator in the future.”

Senate sponsors of the bill, in addition to Green are: Senators Ketron, Finney, Bowling, Burks, Campfield, Haile, McNally, Norris, Stevens, and Tracy. House sponsors of the bill, in addition to Haynes are: Representatives Lamberth, Rogers, Weaver, Shipley, Hardaway, Rich, Watson, Parkinson, Faison, Lundberg, Travis, Fitzhugh, Camper, White M, Shepard, Eldridge and Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson.

Nixing U.S. Senate Primaries Put Off for Now

The full state Senate heard opening salvos of debate Monday on a bill that would change the process by which Tennesseans pick their U.S. senators.

The legislation, Senate Bill 471, introduced by Strawberry Plains Republican Frank Niceley, would hand the power to choose candidates over to state lawmakers, who would caucus along party lines and place their choices on the ballot for general elections. The measure was approved last week in the Tennessee Senate State and Local Government Committee on a 7-1 vote, with only Memphis Democrat Reginald Tate voting “no.”

Currently, Republican and Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate are selected by voters in open primaries, although the party establishments retain some authority to void or challenge election results if they’re dissatisfied with the results.

After noting that for the first 126 years of the country’s history U.S. Senators were elected by state legislatures, Niceley argued on the upper-chamber floor Monday evening that formally reintroducing General Assembly lawmakers back into the selection process would bring Tennessee — and, over time, the country — more in line with the intentions of the country’s founders.

In 1913, passage of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave authority for selecting membership in what has been termed “the world’s most exclusive club” directly to the American people. In Niceley’s view, an unfortunate national consequence of that shift in state-level political dynamics was to loosen a reliable curb against unrestrained expansions of federal power.

“The check that the states had on a runaway federal government was the (United States) Senate,” Niceley said. “The Founding Fathers wanted the state legislatures to…elect the U.S. Senators so that the U.S. Senators would be ambassadors to Washington.”

Niceley was quick to point out that Volunteer State voters would still get the final say as to who goes to Washington in the general elections under SB471. He asserted, though, that establishing a system whereby major-party U.S. Senate nominees are picked by members of the General Assembly would bolster the Legislature’s Beltway influence.

If “10 or 15 small Red States” were to follow suit, a philosophically like-minded bloc might “get control of the U.S. Senate,” said Niceley. Three or four other states have considered or are considering such a move, he said. “Washington is out of control — it’s not going to fix itself,” Niceley declared. “This is about trying to save America.”

“The greatest fears of our Founding Fathers have come true,” said Niceley. “The federal government has usurped our powers, there’s no denying that. Anyone who thinks Washington is working, you’re in a dreamworld.”

Niceley’s logic wasn’t universally embraced, even by Republicans. Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey bristled at the idea of taking any decision-making power from state voters.

“This bill is anti-democratic,” the Germantown Republican told his fellow senators. “This bill smells of elitism, of cronyism, and it would open up a system that was, and could be in the future, rife for corruption. It is entirely self-interested of this General Assembly to vote to give itself the power to pick the political party nominees for the United States Senate. It is a bad idea and I sincerely hope we do not pursue it.”

Kelsey noted the curious irony that exactly 100 years ago, on April Fools’ Day 1913, Tennessee ratified the 17th Amendment.

No Democrats rose to voice opinions one way or the other on Niceley’s bill Monday night, but earlier in the day Roy Herron, the Tennessee Democratic Party’s recently installed chairman and himself a former state senator from Dresden, said his side doesn’t want to be included in the bill. “Once again, the reactionary and radical Republicans want to take us back a couple of centuries, to the 1800s when the Legislature picked our senators until corruption and the people finally ended the practice by constitutional amendment in 1913,” said Herron.

GOP Sens. Mark Norris of Collierville, Janice Bowling of Tullahoma and Rusty Crowe of Johnson City asked for time to discuss the issue with constituents. Niceley agreed to postpone bringing SB471 up for a vote until the end of this year’s session — possibly later this month.

It’s unclear the level of support the proposal will draw, but the state Senate’s most powerful legislator appears on board. Speaking to reporters last week, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey called Niceley’s legislation an “interesting prospect.” He acknowledged that doing away with primaries will strike some as voter disenfranchisement, but said party-level or pre-general election candidate selection processes aren’t uniform across the country.

“Lot’s of states do caucuses,” said the Tennessee Senate speaker, a Republican from Blountville. “Lots of states don’t use the primary system…and in the end, in November, obviously (the people) will get to vote.”

The House version of Niceley’s legislation, HB415 by Knoxville Republican Harry Brooks, is still working its way through the committee system. It’s scheduled to go before the Local Government Committee April 2.

John Klein Wilson and Mark Engler contributed to this story.

Beacon Center Releases 3rd Edition of ‘Guide’ for TN Lawmakers

Press release from The Beacon Center of Tennessee; January 9, 2012:

NASHVILLE – The Beacon Center of Tennessee, the state’s premier free market policy organization, today released the third edition of its Legislators’ Guide to the Issues. The guide serves as a resource for state lawmakers and covers ten different policy categories. A complimentary copy of the guide will be provided to every state legislator.

“As Washington nears irreversible incompetence, our state leaders must step up to the challenge of fixing our nation’s woes,” said Justin Owen, Beacon’s president & CEO. “No other publication offers a better roadmap to a freer, more prosperous Tennessee in a concise format than our Legislators’ Guide to the Issues.”

The guide provides one-page solutions in areas such as fiscal responsibility, taxation, education, healthcare, and economic liberty, among others. It also contains citations to additional resources that lawmakers, the media, and citizens alike can use to educate themselves on policy issues.

The first two editions of the Legislators’ Guide were essential at promoting common sense policy solutions in the state. The 107th General Assembly advanced legislation related to one-third of the 45 proposals in the second Legislators’ Guide.

“This guide has served as an invaluable tool for state legislators, and we are confident that the newly updated publication will serve members of the 108th General Assembly well as they conduct the people’s business,” said Beacon’s Director of Policy Trey Moore.

An electronic copy of the Legislators’ Guide to the Issues can be found online at: http://www.beacontn.org/wp-content/uploads/108th-Legislators-Guide-to-the-Issues.pdf.

Those wishing to purchase a hardcopy can do so by emailing info@beacontn.org or calling (615) 383-6431.

Kyle Pushes to Apply Open Meetings Act to State Senate

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; January 8, 2012:

Sen. Jim Kyle (D-Memphis) is challenging the growing culture of corruption in the state legislature by pressuring the Republicans who control Nashville to adopt greater transparency rules for the state Senate.

If Republican politicians are going to waste our time on extreme legislation that doesn’t create jobs or draft new handouts for wealthy special interests, it should be done in public.

The full release from SenatorJimKyle.com:

NASHVILLE – State Sen. Jim Kyle pushed for greater transparency in the 108th General Assembly during the first day of session, by moving to apply the Open Meetings Act to the state Senate.

Sen. Kyle’s motion would have amended preliminary Senate rules to apply the act, applying the same standard to Senate caucuses that’s followed by local governments, Senate committees and the Senate itself. Sen. Kyle withdrew his motion when Rules Committee Chairman Mark Norris agreed to take up the issue.

“If Republicans want open government, they can join with us and support this proposal,” Sen. Kyle said. “By amending the rules, their deliberations will be subject to public scrutiny, as should be the standard in state government.”

Under former Lt. Gov. John Wilder, the majority caucus meetings were open to the public, but that has not been the case under Republican control.

“We seven Democratic Senators represent not only our constituents, but the 2.5 million Democrats in Tennessee,” Sen. Kyle said. “Fighting for their values means fighting for open government. It levels the playing field for ideas, so that they are judged on merit, not politics.”

Senator Jim Kyle represents Memphis. Contact him at sen.jim.kyle@capitol.tn.gov or (615) 741-4167 or 309 War Memorial Building, Nashville, TN 37243-0028. Visit his website at http://senatorjimkyle.com.

Harwell’s Bid to Limit Bills Filled with Exemptions

A proposal from House Speaker Beth Harwell to limit to 10 the number of bills each lawmaker can sponsor during the legislative session comes with plenty of loopholes — and those loopholes are starting to stir debate.

One of the biggest loopholes deals with Gov. Bill Haslam. He is potentially exempted from the 10-bill-limit and can ask for as many bills as he likes.

“It increases the power of the executive branch,” said Bob Rochelle, who’s currently a Democratic nominee for the state Registry of Election Finance.

Rochelle, who served in the Tennessee Senate from 1982 to 2002, was known as a particularly skilled parliamentary tactician. “It reduces the power of the legislators,” he said.

Senate GOP Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron also raised concerns about ceding too much power to the executive branch. “I’m not saying this governor will take advantage of that,” said the Murfreesboro Republican. “But what about the next governor? Or the next?”

Other proposed exemptions in the 10-bill cap include:

+ Bills dealing with cities and counties

+ Sunset bills

+ Memorializing or congratulatory resolutions that are not referred to a standing committee

+ Resolutions confirming appointments or authorizing charitable events

+ Resolutions that are procedural in nature that are not referred to a standing committee

Harwell’s office defended granting the governor and his staff special latitude under the measure.

“Much of the legislation presented by the administration has more to do with the nuts and bolts of running state government, and is necessary to the process,” Harwell spokeswoman Kara Owen told TNReport in a statement. “Further, we certainly want to allow members the latitude to use their ten bills for their districts’ priorities, so we feel the exemption to Administration is needed.”

Both Rochelle and Ketron said they understand the desire to  curtail the number of bills. Indeed, in the past both have tried  — unsuccessfully — to put a limit on the number of bills filed each legislative session.

And both Rochelle, Ketron and many more say that reducing the number of bills means less red tape, less staff time used — at the end of the day less costly to taxpayers.

“I know she has good intentions,” said Rochelle said of Harwell.

Ketron said he gets where Harwell’s coming from. When Ketron was crafting his bill-reduction proposal years ago, it was the price-tag to the taxpayer he was chiefly thinking about.

“I was looking at it from an economic standpoint,” he said. “How can we cut down the cost?”

In Tennessee, with each bill a financial statement is crafted showing how much will this legislation cost the taxpayer. Sometime the bill is in the millions of dollars; sometimes it is zero. But each time a state expert has to calculate the cost — and that adds up to big bucks, considering many of these bills never pass committee and see the light of day.

“Every single bill has a fiscal note,” said Owen. “It does mean savings, no doubt about it.”

House Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, R-Franklin, agreed. Filing so many bills is “a frivolous waste of money,” he said.

He also said the move will will lead to better legislation, since lawmakers will have fewer bills to shepherd and over which to gain an expertise.

“We have members who file 90, 100 bills,” Casada said. “It’s impossible to carry that number of bills and do a good job.”

But concerns simmer below the surface.

Since the potential changes were announced last week, lobbyists have been scrambling to find sponsors for the bills their clients may want. If the number of bills do become capped, some special interests may not be able to get legislation favorable to them through the General Assembly.

“The immediate impact was that the bigger, more successful lobbyists starting calling,” prominent legislators who are known to get bills passed, “saying ‘save me one spot, two spots, three spots.’” Ketron said.

“I have heard they are scrambling to the go-to legislators,” Jim Brown, lobbyist for the Tennessee branch of the National Federation of Independent Business, said of his fellow lobbyists. “They are working much harder and much earlier to prepare for the session.”
Ketron also raised the spectre of something more worrisome that might come from a bill limit: ethics issues — something that the Tennessee legislature is no stranger to.

Ketron suggested that, with a bill limit, lawmakers who are skilled at getting legislation through the General Assembly may become the subject of campaign-contribution bidding wars from big-monied special interests who want to make sure their bills get through the legislature.

Even worse, Ketron said, non-profit organizations who can’t pony up campaign cash — and who may need the most help from the legislature — may be left out in the cold.

“Are they going to be blocked out?” Ketron asked. “I’m not saying it will happen, but it’s something that needs to be brought up and debated.”

It’s not surprising there is controversy over limiting bills — and the controversy is not limited to Tennessee.

Legislatures across the US have struggled with the overwhelming number of bills and tried to find ways to deal with it, according to a study by the National Council of State Legislators.

Colorado legislators, for example, have a limit of 5 bills per year — although they can go to a special committee to plea for additional legislation.

In the Florida House of Representatives, members are limited to 6 bills during the legislative session, but a two-thirds vote from the House can waive the limit.

And members of the Montana Legislature can request an unlimited number of bills before December 5.  After that date, a member may file up to 7 bills or resolutions — but unused requests by one member may be granted to another member.

And it’s not that bill filing limits are unheard of in Tennessee, either. Members of the Tennessee state Senate, for example, can file as many bills as they like before the legislative session — but are limited to 9 once the session begins, according to 2012 rules.

Trent Seibert can be reached at trent@tnreport.com, on Twitter (@trentseibert) or at 615-669-9501.

Speaker Harwell Proposes House Rule Changes

Press release from Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell; December 19, 2012:

NASHVILLE – Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) today announced she is recommending changes to the Tennessee House of Representatives internal rules that will make the governmental process more efficient and save taxpayer money. The changes follow an effort two years ago to streamline operations.

“Tennessee taxpayers have entrusted us with the task of governing–something I take very seriously,” Harwell stated. “These changes reflect the will of Tennesseans: that state government operates efficiently and effectively while saving money. These changes also reflect the will of the body. After surveying the members of the last General Assembly, we have incorporated some of their suggestions as well. While Congress remains mired in partisan gridlock and continues to waste time, the state legislature is working toward better government.”

The changes include:

  • Restructuring the committee system to balance the workload of each;
  • Adopting the annual ethics resolution into the House Rules which will ensure the body is abiding by an ethics policy from the first day;
  • Limiting the number of bills filed to 10 per member annually which will encourage members to prioritize;
  • Reaffirming that each member vote for only him or herself;
  • And deleting the requirement that every document be printed to reduce the amount of paper used in committee and for floor sessions.

Harwell noted the committee restructuring, bill limits, and paperless measures are among those that will, in the long run, save the Tennessee taxpayer money.

“The new committee system will balance the workloads of each committee, ensuring that they are as efficient as possible. Bill limits will reduce duplication and ensure each member prioritizes their issues. I am seeking to eliminate the requirement that every document we produce as a body be printed in effort for us to adapt to the technology available and reduce the enormous amount of paper used each year. Each of these measures together ensure a more efficient, effective, and accessible government. This will also give us more time for thoughtful, deliberate analysis on each piece of legislation—which is something Tennesseans expect and deserve.”

The proposed recommendations will be taken up by the House Rules Committee, which will be appointed by the Speaker in January.

Tea Party Marshaling Anti-Obamacare Muster

Members of the Nashville Tea Party are planning a rally outside the state Capitol at noon Wednesday. Their hope is to put GOP lawmakers and Gov. Bill Haslam on clear notice that grassroots conservatives want Tennessee to disavow state-level cooperation and support for the federal health insurance exchanges outlined in President Obama’s healthcare overhaul.

“We’re calling it the ‘Just Say No’ rally, and we’re trying to send a message to the governor,” said Ben Cunningham, leader of the Nashville Tea Party. “We’re encouraging him to just say no to a state-run exchange and let the federal government own this disaster.”

Cunningham said he expects people from all three of Tennessee’s Grand Divisions to attend.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates that states choose between creating a state-run exchange where individuals may purchase health insurance eligible for federal subsidies or allowing the government to create a federally run insurance exchange.

Either way, those exchanges are supposed to be up and running by Jan. 1, 2014.

Haslam continues to say he has not made a decision on what course his administration will formally set — even after the federal government extended the deadline to make a decision to Dec. 14. Haslam and other state officials have complained that the federal government has failed to answer key questions as to how state-run exchanges would work.

Many governors, such as Rick Perry in Texas and Jan Brewer in Arizona, have said they will not set up a state-run exchange.

Tennessee tea partiers “would like Gov. Haslam to join with those governors and say, ‘No, we’re not going to be a branch office of the federal government,’” said Cunningham. He said a petition to that effect is circulating and “is getting a very good response.”

“If they (the federal government) want to implement this program, have at it, but our experience in the past with Medicaid, with education funding, is always a bait-and-switch situation where they fund much of the expenditures on the front end, and then the states are left with huge expenses on the back end,” Cunningham said. “There is some indication now that the phone calls and the emails that the governor is getting are overwhelmingly against a state exchange.”

The governor has indicated that while he opposes Obamacare in general, and he thinks the health exchanges are a bad idea overall, he’d prefer it if the state run them rather than the feds. However, high-ranking Republicans in both houses of the state’s General Assembly have indicated that support is lacking among the majority party for the state taking on that responsibility.

Trent Seibert can be reached at trent@tnreport.com, on Twitter at@trentseibert or at 615-669-9501.

Williamson Responds to Opponent’s Criticism of ‘Bean Supper Invitation’

Press release from the Charles Williamson Campaign for State House District 50; October 3, 2012:  

Nashville, TN — Charles Williamson, Republican candidate for Tennessee State Representative, has announced a bean supper, complete with entertainment, to be held on Monday, Oct. 8 from 6-8 p.m. at his Goodlettsville ranch.

“I’m inviting the whole district out to the ranch,” Williamson says. “It’s going to be a casual night to put aside partisanship and get to know one another. If my opponent has a problem with that, I wonder how effective he’ll be as a helpful and communicative representative of the people.”

The Baker Road structure, where Williamson previously lived in a comfortable and functional finished area, is the centerpiece of Williamson’s Goodlettsville bison ranch. The residence became an issue when it was discovered that construction permits, which were legally filed more than a decade ago, were never properly closed out.

The Tennessean has reported that, in fact, the barn is legal, however. In a blog posted on October 2nd, writer Michael Cass acknowledges that “the barn does serve a legal purpose as Williamson’s bison ranch and place of business.”

Democrat opponent and Metro Councilman, Bo Mitchell, immediately released a statement criticizing the bean supper invitation, including a loose comparison between Williamson’s challenge with the codes department and people rebuilding after the 2010 flood. In fact, Williamson’s barn was built in the early 2000’s and was not affected by the flood.

Williamson released a statement in response to Mitchell’s criticism:

“It’s a darned shame when an elected official politicizes a catastrophe that was so devastating to my friends and neighbors,” Williamson said. “Somebody needs to explain to my esteemed opponent the law as it’s outlined in two opinions by the state’s Attorney General. He simply does not understand the very laws written by the Democrats; laws that have been on the books for years. Still, he’s welcome to come to the party, but bless his heart, I think he may already be full of beans.”

Haslam Won’t Oppose Sidewalk Honoring Former First Lady Conte

Gov. Bill Haslam says he has “no problem” naming a sidewalk at the bottom of Capitol Hill after his predecessor’s wife despite red-lighting the move as costly last month.

“It’ll happen. It’ll happen,” Haslam laughed when asked by reporters about the proposal Tuesday. “We’ll get that paid for, with state money.”

The Republican governor’s staff raised objections to the cost of naming the perimeter track of Bicentennial Capitol Mall — down the hill from the Capitol Building — after former first lady Andrea Conte, wife of Phil Bredesen. Former Democratic Speaker Jimmy Naifeh had brought forward the proposal.

“We cannot support this legislation at this time,” read the letter the governor’s office sent to Naifeh, a Covington Democrat, about HB3727.

“We recognize that your legislation may ultimately be amended to remove its fiscal impact. If this is the case, we will gladly revisit our position on the bill,” read the letter signed by Leslie Hafner, the governor’s director of legislation.

The two signs will cost taxpayers a total of $6,000 to label the walk as “Andrea Conte Pedestrian Pathway.” Conte worked as a vocal advocate for healthy lifestyles along with speaking out for victims of violence.

Naifeh said he would find a private donor to pay to install the signs if the governor refused to allocate state funds, but Haslam said that won’t be necessary.

“Let me just say, that was one of those cases where we put a fiscal flag on anything that costs money,” Haslam told reporters after speaking to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. “Anything that cost us, we just said, ‘Hold it, that wasn’t in the initial budget so that will take some consideration.’ And that’s one of those.”

“Obviously, we have no problem honoring Andrea for the things she’s done, and it’s not a significant amount of money,” he said.