Monthly Archives: April 2018

House and Senate send governor ‘significantly watered down’ juvenile justice reform (updated)

Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018” has been approved by both the House and Senate after multiple revisions that Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Jeff Yarbro said on the Senate floor left it “significantly watered down” and perhaps not even deserving its title. Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris basically agreed, saying Yarbro’s comments were “well taken” – but both also agreed the measure is at least a “small step” in the right direction.

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Legislature approves alcohol sales at MTSU, TSU campus sports events

The legislature has given final approval to a bill that will allow Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro and Tennessee State University in Nashville to sell alcoholic beverages at campus sports events. The Nashville Post reports the move comes after the House earlier spurned a bill that would have applied only to MTSU — and the revised version, adding TSU, passed by the bare minimum 50 votes needed.

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Haslam to host Blackburn fundraiser; sees difficult year for GOP in governor races

In a brief interview with Fox News, posted on the Republican Governors Association website, Gov. Bill Haslam declares U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn “a great friend and supporter” and says he will host a fundraiser for her next month.

Asked whether former governors make good U.S. senators, he says “most governors I know” who became senators “wind up being a little frustrated.” Blackburn’s presumptive November opponent, of course, is former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen. And one of the former governors he knows who became a senator is Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander.

Haslam is the current RGA chairman – “by default,” the interviewer suggests – and also says that Republicans face a difficult year in gubernatorial elections around the nation, though not specifically referring to Tennessee, and “we need to go into this with our eyes wide open and be alert.”

Legislature approves seven Haslam UT board appointments, including two last-minute nominees

The Tennessee General Assembly Tuesday evening approved seven of Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed appointments to the University of Tennessee’s new board of trustees, reports the Times Free Press. That includes two new nominees submitted by the governor and rushed through the confirmation process as replacements to nominees spurned in the Senate earlier.

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Bredesen leads Blackburn 46-43 in new poll

A new independent poll finds Democrat Phil Bredesen with a narrow lead over Republican Marsha Blackburn in the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee.

Bredesen had the support of 46%, compared with 43% for Blackburn and 11% undecided, according to the Mason-Dixon poll released Wednesday. The telephone poll of 625 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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ABC sting busts 17 for selling booze online via social media

Press release from Alcoholic Beverage Commission

Seventeen suspects have been charged with illegal sales of alcoholic beverages resulting from statewide sting operations targeting online ads on Craigslist and other social media outlets. Agents seized sixty-nine bottles of alcohol that were sold to them during the undercover operations which took place on street corners, parking lots, and places of business.

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Harwell seeks comptroller review of TNReady contract vendor Questar

Press release from House Republican Caucus

(NASHVILLE) — Under the direction of House Speaker Beth Harwell (R–Nashville), State Representative Jeremy Faison (R–Cosby) has officially requested a review by the Tennessee Comptroller related to recent testing issues of the TNReady school assessments.

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VP Pence again declares support for Blackburn

Vice President Mike Pence, who had already donated to U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn through his political action committee last year, on Monday sent out a tweet declaring he supports her bid for a U.S. Senate seat. The Blackburn campaign produced a press release and the Times Free Press says Pence effectively “doubled down” on backing Blackburn.

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Whiskey barrel tax exemption bill goes to the governor

The House voted 78-12 Monday to exempt Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrels and those of smaller Tennessee distillers from paying property taxes. An attorney general’s opinion says they are subject to being taxed and Moore County – home of the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg – wants to do so. Taxing the barrels as personal property would mean more than $2 million in new revenue for the county.

The Senate had approved the bill (SB2076) earlier on a 30-0 vote, so it goes to Gov. Bill Haslam for his presumed signature — or maybe without his signature as a bow to the AG opinion.  The bill was pushed by lobbyists for the distilleries — Jack Daniel’s and others — and opposed by local government lobbying groups including the Tennessee Municipal League and the Tennessee County Services Association contending the tax break amounted to special treatment for one group in violation of the state constitution. Proponents of the bill sharply disputed the AG opinion.

Previous post HERE.

Bredesen: Corker ‘feels the same way I do’ — and Trump campaigning for Blackburn won’t hurt him much

In Chattanooga Monday, former Gov. Phil Bredesen said “it’s odd and very telling to the nation’s political climate” that Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker is being criticized by some fellow Republicans for “being friends and working closely with someone from the opposite party,” according to WDEF TV. The Democratic candidate to succeed Corker in the Senate, of course, is speaking of himself as the person Corker has worked with. He told another station that his campaign won’t be harmed significantly if President Trump campaigns within the state for Republican nominee-apparent Marsha Blackburn.

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