Monthly Archives: October 2017

Court of Appeals upholds removal of Confederate names from Memphis parks

The state Court of Appeals in Jackson, affirming a February ruling by the Shelby County Chancery Court, has ruled that the City of Memphis had the legal authority to rename despite contentions to the contrary from the Sons of Confederate veterans, reports the Commercial Appeal.

In 2013, the city parks changed the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest Park to Health Sciences Park, renamed Confederate Park as Memphis Park and declared the former Jefferson Davis Park to be known as Mississippi River Park.

Lee Millar, a spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp No. 215, said the group is a digesting the 18-page ruling it received Wednesday and has yet to decide whether to appeal the court’s decision to the state Supreme Court.

“They’ve been known for their history and historic naming for decades and decades,” Millar said of the parks. “They shouldn’t be frivolously renamed. They’re part of our history — Memphis’ history as well as America’s history.”

Wednesday’s ruling doesn’t affect the city’s legal efforts to remove a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest or the graves of he and his wife from Health Sciences Park. The city still plans to argue for the statue’s removal in Davidson County Chancery Court in November following the state Historical Commission’s Oct. 13 rejection of a waiver.

Note: The full Court of Appeals decision is HERE.

Black’s gubernatorial campaign backed by 11 DAs, 23 sheriffs

News release from Diane Black campaign

Gallatin, TN – Today, Diane Black for Governor announced its statewide Law and Order Coalition. 23 Sheriffs and 11 District Attorneys have endorsed Diane’s campaign for governor and signed on to provide guidance on law enforcement issues.

District Attorney Ray Whitley, District Attorney Amy Weirich, District Attorney Russell Johnson, Sheriff Bill Holt, Sheriff Sonny Weatherford, and Former Sheriff Terry Ashe have agreed to co-chair the coalition.

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Former state Rep. Page Walley eyes run for 7th Congressional District seat

News release from Page Walley

Bolivar, Tennessee—Dr. Page Walley, former State Representative and current Vice Mayor of Bolivar, is considering a run for the 7th U.S. Congressional District.  Since Rep. Marsha Blackburn announced she will not be seeking reelection, voters from across the district have expressed to Walley their desire to see him run.

Walley served five terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives and six years in executive branch leadership under Republican governors as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and the Alabama Departments of Children’s Affairs and Human Services.  Under his leadership, Alabama became the first state to fundamentally reform its child and family protection system and exceed federal court expectations.

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Katie Ashley appointed top Haslam administration lobbyist

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Katie Ashley will serve as director of legislation, the governor’s chief advisor and strategist for legislative matters.

The Crockett County native is one of the longest serving Haslam staffers, starting out on his campaign in 2009 before becoming a legislative liaison in 2011 and handling one of the governor’s top priorities: education in Tennessee.

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Haslam: TNReady flap overblown; McQueen tells legislators latest problem fixed

Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that controversy over TNReady testing of students is overblown while  Education Commissioner Candice McQueen and a vendor sought to reassure state legislators that the latest problem has been fixed and won’t happen again, reports the Times Free Press. The most recent troubles involved reporting the wrong scores for 9,400 students statewide.

“While we reported 99 percent of our scoring accurately, that’s not good enough,” McQueen told a joint meeting of the House Education Instruction & Programs and Education Administration & Planning committees. “We expect — we required — 100 percent, and that’s our commitment.”

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Ethics Commission imposes $30K fine on former Rep. Jeremy Durham

The Tennessee Ethics Commission Tuesday voted to impose a $30,000 fine on former state Rep. Jeremy Durham, who already faces $465,000 in penalties imposed by the Registry of Election Finance, reports the Tennessean.

The registry fines were for violation of campaign finance laws. The Ethics Commission penalty is for Durham’s failure to include all sources of income in his conflict-of-interest disclosure filed while he was a legislator.

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Lawyer joins doctor in seeking GOP nomination in House District 30

Joseph Williams, a 31-year-old attorney, has announced a run for the House District 30 seat to be vacated by House Speaker Beth Harwell next year, reports the Nashville Post.

Williams becomes the second announced Republican to run in the district. The first to announce was physician Dr. Brent Moody.

 According to his campaign website, Williams is the founding partner of The Peacefield Group, a legal and policy consulting firm in Nashville. Prior to that, he practiced law for the rightwing American Center for Law & Justice, run by part-time Franklin resident Jay Sekulow, who’s also currently serving as a personal lawyer for President Donald Trump.

Education lobbyist group rates legislators — seven get ‘A+,’ two graded ‘F’

In its first rating of state legislators, Tennesseans for Student Success today gave “A+” scores to seven members of the General Assembly while only two got ‘F’ grades and eight got ‘D’ grades.

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Wells steps down as Haslam administration lobbyist

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced today that Director of Legislation Warren Wells will leave the administration on December 1 to join the government affairs team at Unum in Chattanooga.

Wells, 34, has served in the Governor’s Office since 2011. He became Gov. Haslam’s chief strategist for legislation in 2015 and was instrumental to the passage of the IMPROVE Act, the Reconnect Act and the STRONG Act, landmark initiatives for Haslam.

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New Trump-Corker rhetoric war: ‘utterly untruthful president’ vs. guy who ‘couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in TN’

President Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Bob Corker returned to their war of rhetoric Tuesday, trading what NBC News describes as “personal insults and name-calling on a number of topics.”

The latest blows between the two kicked off when Corker said Trump’s aggressive comments about North Korea “kneecap” his secretary of state’s diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang and move the world closer to war.

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