Monthly Archives: February 2018

6th Circuit declines to review voting case

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a petition by plaintiffs to have a case about voting on Tennessee constitutional amendments be re-heard by the entire panel of judges.

The case is based on voting for a 2014 amendment that gave state lawmakers more power to limit access to abortions in the state. Continue reading

Harwell cites PAC ad in campaign email

Republican gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell’s campaign has sent out a campaign update that trumpets a TV ad paid for by her political action committee. The email blast is bound to keep questions about coordination between the campaign and the PAC on the front burner.

“Check out this new video highlighting Tennessee’s legislative successes from Tennesseans for Good State Government,” says the email, which includes a link to the YouTube version and several screen grabs. The Tennesseans for Good State Government was previously called the Harwell PAC.

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Lawmakers resurrect bid to exhume Polk

The James K. Polk tomb, bottom right, as seen from a lawmaker’s office in the Cordell Hull building in Nashville on Feb. 28, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A resolution calling for President James K. Polk’s body to be exhumed from his tomb on the state Capitol grounds has been resurrected in the House.

The State Government Subcommittee last week voted to send the measure to a summer study committee, ostensibly killing it for the year. On Wednesday the panel voted to bring it back without explanation and then voted it to advance it to the full committee.

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Tennessee Journal flashback: Omnipotent lawmakers

From the May 25, 1981, edition of The Tennessee Journal. The more things change…

Haslam voices misgivings about recruiting new Amazon HQ to Nashville

Gov. Bill Haslam sounded apprehensive when asked recently about the prospect of Nashville landing the immense second headquarters planned by retail behemoth, reports the Nashville Business Journal.

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In Nashville visit, Pence praises Trump, Black for anti-abortion efforts

Vice President Mike Pence used his latest visit to Nashville to offer support for the anti-abortion movement and reassure those gathered at a Christian broadcasting conference that the Trump administration will be the most vociferous supporter yet of issues important to evangelicals, reports The Tennessean.

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Harwell breaks tie, advances medical marijuana bill

House Speaker Beth Harwell speaks at a gubernatorial forum in Nashville on Feb. 27, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell has stepped in to advance medical marijuana legislation in legislature. As House speaker the Nashville Republican has the power to vote in any of the chamber’s committees, and when the Civil Criminal Justice Subcommittee was deadlocked 3-3 on the bill, she cast the deciding vote keep the bill moving.

Harwell had earlier signed on as a co-sponsor of the measure dubbed the Medical Cannabis Only Act. The main sponsors are Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) and Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville).

“I am in favor of this legislation, which does not allow for the smoking of medical marijuana — I am not in favor of that approach,” Harwell said in a release announcing her co-sponsorship of the bill. “However, the federal government continues to be a roadblock for legitimate research or medical uses of medical cannabis, but other states have enacted laws to help patients, and Tennessee should do the same.”

Another co-sponsor is Rep. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro), the chairman of the House Health Subcommittee.

“The inaction and hypocritical stance at the federal level puts many patients in a bind and hinders medical research and treatment. States need to stand up for patients,” said Terry, a physician.

Note: Voting with Harwell for the bill were  Reps. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), Tilman Goins (R-Morristown) and Sherry Jones (D-Nashville). Voting no were Reps. Michael Curcio (R-Dickson), William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) and Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough).


The candidates on the (food) issues

Here’s a quick look on one of the more illuminating questions for the gubernatorial candidates at today’s health care forum.

House committee revises, then approves Haslam bill shrinking UT Board of Trustees

A state House committee approved today Gov. Bill Haslam’s bill to shrink the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees after revisions the administration agreed to accept after a round of recent criticism. A key alteration is to add a non-voting student member to the panel.

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Corker sticks with decision against seeking reelection

Sen. Bob Corker has decided to stick with his decision not to seek reelection this year. The decision, which follows a period of reported reconsideration, was initially reported by Politico. Reax from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for the Republican nomination to succeed him, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Democrat Phil Bredesen’s campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee follow below.

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