Legislature

Latest effort to legalize medical marijuana in TN: The TRUMP Act

Heartened by President Donald Trump’s recent comments about marijuana, two Tennessee lawmakers who are physicians plan to renew efforts next year to legalize medical cannabis and are naming the bill after the president, reports the Times Free Press.

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Matlock radio ad cites Burchett vote for Democrat as state Senate speaker, asks if he’d vote for Nancy Pelosi as U.S. House speaker

A radio ad unveiled today by state Rep. Jimmy Matlock’s campaign notes his leading opponent in the Republican 2nd Congressional District primary, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, voted as a state senator for the election of a Democrat as speaker of the Tennessee Senate and questions whether he would vote for Democrat Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the U.S. House. Here’s the Matlock campaign press release plus a  note on the referenced vote.

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McCormick drops bid for re-election, says he’ll resign House seat effective Oct. 1

Republican state Rep. Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga says he will resign his House District 26 seat effective Oct. 1 and withdraw immediately as a candidate for re-election, reports the Times Free Press. The former House majority leader said he decided to leave the legislature after 14 years to take a new job based in Nashville.

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Folks reported ‘flocking’ to first TN hemp dispensary — offering ‘pain relief’ through ‘mother nature’

People are “flocking” to the first hemp dispensary in Tennessee, which recently opened in Murfreesboro, says WTVF TV in a report that seems almost an advertisement for cannabidiol oil (CBD) sales – legalized by the state legislature two years ago with little fanfare and previously peddled on a mostly incidental basis within the state. Such sales led to a big bust in Rutherford County earlier this year, but all charges were dismissed after law enforcement officials realized candy contained CBD derived from hemp, not its illegal cousin plant marijuana, is legal in Tennessee and TBI labs confirmed that was the stuff being sold.

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Lawsuit challenges TN law requiring barbers to have high school diploma

Press release from Beacon Center of Tennessee

NASHVILLE –  The Beacon Center recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of aspiring Memphis barber Elias Zarate based on the unconstitutional law that requires barbers to have a high school degree as a prerequisite to getting a barber’s license. The Beacon Center has filed suit against the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barbers Examiners and its members in order to eliminate this unfair regulation.

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TN Kratom confusion moves from legislature to law enforcement

A provision in Gov. Bill Haslam’s legislation dealing with opioid abuse caused considerable argument in the General Assembly over whether Kratom should be made illegal in Tennessee – and considerable confusion among law enforcement officers remains after the House and Senate finally reached a compromise in passing the measure, reports WSMV.

The Senate at one point voted for a total ban while the House voted to leave Kratom unrestricted under state law. Under the final version, Kratom remains legal to purchase and possess in its “natural form” for persons over the age of 21.

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Haslam signs compromise short-term rental bill

Legislation setting statewide rules for short-term rental of residential property has been signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam without public comment. Similar bills have been the subject over lobbying wars for years over how much regulatory authority should remain with local government and the final version passed by the legislature was something of a compromise, worked out in a House-Senate conference committee.

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Needle exchange programs getting underway in TN after recent legislative authorization bills

Health officials say a new needle exchange program in Johnson City will be only the second of its kind in Tennessee and will help limit infections spread by the increasing rate of intravenous drug use in the area, according to the Johnson City Press.

The report comes after the legislature has, without much media attention, moved to authorize more needle exchange programs statewide. The 110th General Assembly approved two bills on the subject – one in 2017 that allows private and nonprofit organizations to run needle exchange programs subject to Department of Health approval, and another this year that lets all local governments do the same, again subject to DOH approval.

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State paying $17.5M to New York firm for moving to Nashville — along with targeted tax break

The state Department of Economic and Community Development has agreed to give $17.5 million to AllianceBernstein for moving its headquarters from Manhattan to Nashville, reports the Nashville Business Journal.   A bill approved by the legislature this year also gives the company a tax break that served to “sweeten” state support for the move, says the state’s ECD commissioner.

The Beacon Center of Tenessee, which has been crusading against “corporate welfare,” had urged that AllianceBernstein get nothing in the way of taxpayer-funded incentives. The global financal firm announced with Gov. Bill Haslam last month that it will bring 1,050 jobs to the state’s capitol city, investing about $70 million.

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Judge’s rejection of TN refugee resettlement lawsuit appealed

The Thomas More Law Center, which is representing the state legislature in a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s resettling of refugees in Tennessee, is appealing a judge’s dismissal of the case. The Tennessean reports a formal notice of appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was filed Thursday with approval of lawmakers involved in the matter.

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