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TN GOP: Ball On Board with Obama Agenda

Press release from the Tennessee Republican Party; September 15, 2014:

State Republican Party launches new web ad and new site, ObamaBallAgenda.com, to expose Gordon Ball’s support for Barack Obama’s liberal agenda

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—President Barack Obama has his sights set on Tennessee this fall.

While Tennessee has increasingly become a Republican stronghold, Washington Democrats believe they have an opening to gain a foothold in the Volunteer State with the November 4th election. In the last few months, news reports have surfaced that reveal a secretive liberal agenda targeting Tennessee. Whether it is with a former OFA staffer running for Congress or the funding of a liberal strategist for a pro-abortion campaign against Amendment One, it’s clear Democrats believe Tennessee can be turned into a battleground.

And, at the top of the ticket, will be a man who would be one more vote for Barack Obama’s harmful agenda — Gordon Ball. Mr. Ball, a liberal personal injury lawyer from Knoxville, will only serve to empower Obama and strengthen Washington’s stranglehold on our economy.

“Ball’s thin record and slick plan to fool voters should be alarming to Tennesseans,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney. “Like many Democrats in Tennessee—and every personal injury lawyer I’ve come across—Ball will try to cloak himself with conservative rhetoric in order to win. But the reality is: He’ll be one more vote for Barack Obama’s agenda. His commitment to ObamaCare and the fact he would help President Obama impose more job-destroying taxes and regulations, all while eroding our Second Amendment rights and the rights of the unborn, proves he wouldn’t be a bluedog—he’d be Obama’s lapdog in the Senate.”

To counter the efforts of the Tennessee Democratic Party and Gordon Ball’s own self-financed public image campaign, the Tennessee Republican Party today announces the creation of a new website designed to be a strategic resource center for voters and journalists alike. The site, ObamaBallAgenda.com, will reveal the truth about Gordon Ball’s record and explore his support for the liberal Obama agenda.

Additionally, the TNGOP released a :30 web advertisement that can be seen by clicking here, that highlights Gordon Ball’s campaign to be one more reliable vote for Barack Obama’s reckless agenda in Washington.

Devaney added, “Tennessee has been at the forefront in the conservative movement. We’ve had–and continue to have–outstanding leaders who look for solutions and reflect the values of our citizens. This fall, we have the chance to return one of those leaders, Senator Lamar Alexander, back to the Senate to defend us from President Obama. The last thing voters should do is be tricked by Gordon Ball’s campaign–an effort that promises to be as slick and contrived as the candidate himself.”
Background

The liberal agenda in Tennessee will take several forms this fall, including:

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Press Releases

Haslam Outlines Legislative Priorities for 2013

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; January 29, 2013: 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced his priorities for the 2013 legislative session, building on momentum from his past proposals focused on attracting and growing Tennessee jobs, pursuing meaningful education reform, managing an efficient and effective state government, and strengthening public safety.

“In working together over the past two years with the Legislature, we’ve accomplished a lot for the people of Tennessee, and I look forward to working with the 108th General Assembly in the same way,” Haslam said. “Our proposals represent our top priorities of making Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs, continuing to improve education, being the best managed state in the country, and keeping our citizens safe.”

The governor’s legislation:

  • Strengthens the state’s attractive business climate through the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Improvement Act by reforming worker’s compensation laws to simplify the process and to make it more equitable for both the employer and employee. Additional details here.
  • Completes the governor’s two-year plan to cut the state’s portion of the sales tax on food and groceries from 5.5 percent by taking the last step and reducing the sales tax from 5.25 percent to 5 percent, a reduction that affects every Tennessean. Additional details here.
  • Establishes WGU-Tennessee, an online competency-based program with curriculum geared toward the 800,000 adult Tennesseans with some college credit but no degree. The program also emphasizes mentors who guide these adult students through the academic process. Additional details here.
  • Rewrites and simplifies the Criminal Gang Enhancement statute by clarifying the definition of “criminal gang offense” and creating a list of specific offenses considered criminal gang offenses. Additional details here.
  • Gives Tennessee parents another option for school choice through a program that allows students in the lowest income brackets in the lowest performing schools to attend other schools. Additional details here.
  • Encourages college accessibility by creating an endowment to provide need-based, “last dollar” scholarships or grants to Tennesseans pursuing a degree from a postsecondary institution. Additional details here.
  • Reduces the Hall Income Tax burden on seniors for the second time since 2011 by exempting single filers with a total annual income of $33,000 or less and joint filers with either a spouse 65 years or older and having total annual income of $59,000 or less. Additional details here.

“We’re proposing to cut taxes further, address college affordability and encourage degree attainment, improve the environment for job creation and make Tennesseans safer,” Haslam said. “Tennessee is different. We’re not like Washington or other states because we work together to get things done for Tennesseans, and we’ll continue to focus on the things that matter most to Tennesseans.”

The governor will also strongly support SJR 2/HJR 8 regarding judicial selection, which is up for two-thirds vote this year in the General Assembly.

The Haslam administration has filed a total of 59 non-budget related bills, but the above pieces of legislation represent the governor’s priorities.

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Featured NewsTracker

And, They’re Back

Redistricting is expected to dominate lawmakers’ first week back at the Capitol as they consider a set of Republican-drawn maps for state House and Senate and Congressional districts.

House and Senate committees have begin meeting today to consider maps that change the boundaries of their House and Senate districts and lay new lines for Congressional districts, which is done every decade after the U.S. Census.

The committees will begin meeting today to review the maps. Debate will likely be long and heated as the new maps throw 12 Democrats into contested races, in many cases against each other.

The Legislature normally meets until Thursday, but both chambers are prepared to stay longer if needed to OK the new districts.

As legislators get back into the groove, Gov. Bill Haslam is at the ready to unveil his legislative agenda this afternoon. Those priorities are in addition to a plan he announced last week to target crime by increasing jail time for repeat offenders in domestic abuse cases, making it easier for law enforcement to crack down on prescription pill addicts and allowing the Department of Correction to supervise parolees.

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NewsTracker Tax and Budget

Administration ‘Not That Far from Finalizing’ State Budget

The 2012 Legislative session starts in about a month and Gov. Bill Haslam said he’s nearing completion of next year’s estimated $30 billion state spending plan.

The budget, which he will hand off to the Legislature early next year, is expected to include around $400 million in cuts to compensate for increasing costs in major funding areas like education, TennCare and pensions.

“We have a budget that we’re hard at work on and not that far from finalizing,” the governor told the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

The governor beginning his second year said he also expects to present his list of legislative priorities when the General Assembly reconvenes Jan. 10. Haslam said he anticipates typical legislative skirmishing over policy, but doesn’t foresee a single, divisive issue of no-compromise, fight-to-the-finish proportions. “There’s not one big one I see coming,” the governor told reporters.

“I think there will be, obviously, several big issues. I think some of the budget issues, some of them because they involve some difficult cuts will be that,” he said. “There’s an array of things that will come from the Legislature like it does every year.”

He has kept pretty quiet about what issues would make that list, although he spent most of the summer surveying business owners about their needs at a series of roundtable events.

In recapping his first year in office to the chamber audience, he drew a football analogy, saying he and his staff were like a team figuring out which pads to put on while the Legislature was already in formation on the field.

“It’s a good thing to have one year behind you. Being a governor is like almost any other job. There’s a learning curve to it. And as you learn that, you become more prepared to deal with all the things that come in front of you.”