Monthly Archives: June 2017

Slatery signs onto letter threatening lawsuit against Trump administration over ‘Dreamers’

Attorneys general from Texas and nine other Republican-led states – Tennessee’s Herbert Slatery is one of them — threatened Thursday to sue the Trump administration over a program that grants deportation relief and access to work permits to nearly 788,000 “Dreamers,” or undocumented immigrants brought to the country at a young age, reports Politico.

In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the states urged the administration to rescind the June 2012 memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program during President Barack Obama’s first term.

The letter called on the federal government to phase out DACA by ceasing to accept new enrollees or to renew existing applications — a decision that would leave many Dreamers subject to deportation.

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Matheny running in 6th Congressional District regardless of Black’s reelection decision

State Rep. Judd Matheny of Tullahoma, who had earlier declared he would seek the Republican nomination in the 6th Congressional District if incumbent Rep. Diane Black did not seek reelection, has now announced he’s running regardless of whether Black steps aside to run for governor.

Excerpt from his announcement statement:

As the next Congressman from Tennessee, Matheny will be the only federally elected official to have a full time staff member in Nashville to liaise on a day-to-day basis with the Tennessee General Assembly, during legislative sessions.  This arrangement will help ensure Tennessee and Washington, D.C. are in constant communication and that there is cooperation between the two governing bodies.   Judd Matheny has been delivering the messages and implementing the declared policies of President Trump for over 15 years

… Matheny also believes, along with the voters in the 6th Congressional District, that our Federal Government must not be allowed to dictate Tennessee’s definition of marriage, our bathroom policies or the makings of a school lunch.  Citizens of Tennessee must not be forced to follow distorted ideas of social justice from organizations that actively vow to destroy our conservative way of life by forcing these and similar policies into our daily lives, businesses and institutions.

The full statement is HERE (on Matheny’s new campaign website). Previous post HERE (when he was running only if Black was not.)

Knox County approved for enforcing fed immigration laws through 287(g) program

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has approved Knox County’s participation in the controversial 287(g) program, reports the News Sentinel.

The two bodies signed a memorandum of agreement earlier this month that dictates the Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s responsibilities in training and allowing a certain number of local deputies to be acting ICE agents. It makes Knox County the only jurisdiction in the state participating in this federal program.

The program deputizes local law enforcement officials to act on behalf of and in place of federal immigration authorities in exchange for training and funding.

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Trump reported unlikely to nominate new TVA board members until September

Tennessee U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker have submitted recommendations to President Trump for filling five vacancies on the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors, Corker tells Michael Collins. The senators’ suggestions aren’t provided, but there’s a rundown on some names mentioned otherwise.

State Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, confirmed that he’s interested. (Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, was interested earlier, but his withdrawn his name from consideration – previous post (HERE).

“Senator Alexander and I submitted our recommendations to the White House earlier this year,” Corker said. “We remain in close contact with the administration and have urged them to make nominations to fill out the board very soon.”

…Knoxville attorney Jeff Hagood, Oak Ridge National Laboratory executive Jeff Smith and former Virginia state Sen. William C. Wampler – the nephew of former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker and the son of a former Republican congressman – also have been in touch with Congress members about serving on the board.

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Cohen wins battle in crusade against shrinking airplane seat space

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen failed last year in an attempt to pass legislation blocking airlines from shrinking the seating space on commercial flights, but this week won approval from a House committee of the proposal as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, reports the Memphis Business Journal.

“Oftentimes in Congress, like in life, things don’t always happen the first time,” Congressman Cohen said.

Cohen’s press release on the committee vote is HERE

Corker criticizes investment tax cut in GOP health care bill

Sen. Bob Corker has drawn national media attention with criticism of the Senate Republican health care bill for cutting taxes on the wealthy while reducing benefits for the poor. But  the Tennessee Republican tells the Times Free Press that he thinks Republican leaders are agreeable to removing the $372 billion investment tax break.

“It’s been an issue for some time, and I just don’t think it’s sustainable to look at lowering taxes on the wealthy and at the same time placing a greater burden on low-income citizens that are on the exchange,” the former Chattanooga mayor said in an interview. “I feel it’s going to be resolved, and I think that will be a very good step forward.”

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Trump nominates Belmont law prof as U.S. attorney in Middle TN

Donald Cochran, a law professor at Belmont and former federal prosecutor in Alabama, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to become U.S. attorney for Middle Tennessee.

He is one of 17 people nominated to U.S. attorney positions around the country who, according to a White House press release, “share the President’s vision for ‘Making America Safe Again’.”

Here’s what the release says about Cochran:

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‘Political realities’ leave Nashville immigration ordinances dead

Citing “political realities,” Metro Nashville Councilman Bob Mendes has abandoned an attempt to seek approval of city ordinances that critics said would make Nashville a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants, reports The Tennessean.

He claimed the proposals had the support of a majority of Nashvillians but pointed to a backlash in more conservative parts of Tennessee.

“Despite the popular support in Davidson County, there’s been a great deal of opposition from outside the county, and these bills have become a political football for people running for governor in the Republican primary and other races statewide,” Mendes said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

“It’s almost become a race to the bottom to see who can criticize Nashville more, who can criticize immigrants more.

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State Rep. Harry Brooks won’t seek reelection; will donate leftover campaign funds to schools

Republican Rep. Harry Brooks, who has not faced an opponent since winning the House District 19 seat in 2002, announced Wednesday he will not seek another term next year and will donate about $66,000 in leftover campaign funds to four Knox County schools.

Brooks, 70, chairman of the House Education Administration and Planning Committee, made the formal announcement at a news conference where local officials – including Knox County Schools Board of Education Chair Patti Bounds, Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett – were on hand to thank Brooks for the money, reports the News Sentinel.

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Politico: House GOP budget woes could be ‘politically devastating’ for Diane Black

Politico has a feature story Tennessee’s U.S. Rep. Diane Black, “the woman in the middle of House Republicans’ budget woes” as chair of the House Budget Committee.

The article has considerable detail on Black’s efforts to put together a federal budget deal, including the collapse of what she thought was a workable plan last week because some Republicans thought the cuts were too much and GOP leaders didn’t want to force things. And it’s got some background on Black herself.

An excerpt:

She’s caught between a committee stocked with fiscal hawks eager to cut the deficit, with whom she sympathizes, and other GOP chairmen loath to go along with her ambitious plan for curbing Pentagon spending and mandatory programs like food stamps.

Much is at stake. President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress can’t rewrite the tax code without getting a budget passed for procedural reasons. And failure to pass a budget could be devastating politically for Black, who’s considering a bid for Tennessee governor.

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Posts and Opinions about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.