Monthly Archives: March 2018

TN February unemployment rate 3.4 percent

Press release from Department of Labor and Workforce Development

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips today announced statewide unemployment remained near historic low levels in February with the preliminary rate at 3.4 percent.

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McNally blocks Senate vote on Harwell’s work-for-Medicaid bill

House Speaker Beth Harwell was caught “completely off guard” Thursday when Senate Speaker Randy McNally stopped a scheduled floor vote on her House-approved bill that imposes work requirements on some able-bodied adult Medicaid enrollees, reports the Times Free Press.

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UT paying $2.5M to settle with former athletic director

The University of Tennessee will pay $2.5 million to its former athletic director, John Currie, under a settlement agreement announced Thursday, reports the News Sentinel. His employment with the university officially ended at 6 p.m. Thursday. He was suspended in December.

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TN delegation split on $1.3 trillion federal spending vote

The Tennessee congressional delegation split in voting on a $1.3 trillion federal spending plan that passed the U.S. House 256-157 on Thursday and the Senate 65-32 early Friday morning. The measure funds the government through Sept. 30.

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander voted yes and, prior to the vote, issued a press release praising several of the spending items in the package. Republican Sen. Bob Corker voted no and, prior to the vote, declared in a floor speech that the bill was the most “grotesque” seen in his 11 years of service.

In the House, yes votes in the Tennessee delegation came from Republican Reps. Chuck Fleischmann of Ootelwah, Phil Roe of Johnson City and David Kustoff of Germantown along with Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville.

The Tennessee no votes came from Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, Diane Black of Gallatin, John J. “Jimmy” Duncan of Knoxville and Democrat Steve Cohen of Memphis.

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Supremes will decide date for Nashville mayor election

The Tennessee Supreme Court decided today to resolve a dispute over when Nashville’s election of a new mayor should take place. The Metropolitan Nashville City Council has set the vote for Aug. 2, but a lawsuit contends the vote on a full-time successor to Megan Barry, who resigned in a sex scandal, should be in May.

A lower court judge decided the August date should stand, but that was appealed with a request that the Supreme Court take up the matter promptly. In an order issued today, the Supreme Court agreed to do so and set a hearing for April 9.

The court order is HERE. Previous post HERE.

House-passed bill cutting gun law violation penalty dies quietly in Senate

A bill reducing the maximum penalty for illegally carrying a gun from $500 to $250 – approved 72-20 by the House earlier this month after considerable debate – died quietly in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Sponsoring Sen. Mark Green (R-Ashland City) briefly described the measure (HB2586) when he brought it before the committee, suggesting it would apply in situations were a person “accidentally forgot” he or she had a firearm. Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) then promptly declared it had failed because there was no seconding motion from any member of the panel, as required under parliamentary rules. There was no further discussion.

As noted by WPLN, law enforcement, gun control groups and the governor’s office had all voiced opposition to the measure.

Previous post HERE.

Blackburn gets new GOP primary opponent; says he’ll spend $5M

Citing fears that U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn could lose to former Gov. Phil Bredesen in November, Williamson County businessman Darrell Lynn has declared himself a candidate for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, reports The Tennessean. Lynn says he prepared to spend $5 million in personal funds on the campaign.

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State approves $1 million in reparations for man imprisoned 31 years

Lawrence McKinney, cleared of a rape conviction after spending more than three decades in prison, has become the first person in the state to receive $1 million in reparations from the state, the maximum allowed under Tennessee law, reports WTVF.

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Medical marijuana bill watered down, still stalled

The House sponsor of a bill to allow Tennesseans’ use of medical cannabis performed major surgery on the legislation in a committee Wednesday, discarding a number of controversial provisions in an effort to soften opposition. But the Times Free Press reports there was still opposition even after the bill’s scope was substantially reduced and a vote was put off for another week.

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Poll finds Bredesen leading Blackburn, 46 percent to 41 percent

A poll conducted this month and commissioned by a health care advocacy group finds Tennessee voters Democrat Phil Bredesen favored over Republican Marsha Blackburn by five points, 46 percent to 41 percent. It also reports 47 percent believe the Affordable Care Act should remain in place while 42 percent want the measure, better known as Obamacare, repealed.

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