Monthly Archives: October 2017

Reaction to UT outsourcing rejection: Haslam still supports concept as TSEA applauds

Press release statements following the University of Tennessee decision rejecting participation in outsourcing of facilities management services as proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam:

Continue reading

Murky MTSU Poll: Blackburn (without considering Fincher) and Dean are primary frontrunners — otherwise ???

News release from Middle Tennessee State University

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Marsha Blackburn leads in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, Karl Dean leads in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, and Phil Bredesen probably would be leading in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary if he were a declared candidate, the latest MTSU Poll finds.

Meanwhile, nobody has established a clear lead in the Republican gubernatorial primary or the general-election races for governor and Senate.

Continue reading

UT system campuses reject Haslam’s outsourcing plan

University of Tennessee administrators announced Tuesday that they will not be participating in a proposed facilities outsourcing plan pushed by Gov. Bill Haslam, reports the News Sentinel.

The announcements by UT Chattanooga, UT Knoxville, UT Martin and the UT Health Science Center end more than two years of speculation as to whether campuses in the UT system would participate in the plan and raise questions about whether other public campuses across the state will follow suit.

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport first announced today a decision not to participate in the proposed facilities outsourcing plan in a statement posted on a UT website.

Excerpt:

The goal of the proposed outsourcing plan was to improve efficiencies and determine what is in the best interest of our campus. We thank the state and the UT System administration for challenging us to engage in extensive cost analyses and an evaluation of our practices, which have led to cost-saving operational changes in keeping with the outsourcing goals.

My decision to opt out was based on the extensive analyses of the financial considerations, the complexity of the work done on our research-intensive campus, and our commitment to the East Tennessee economy and our workforce. It is for these reasons that I have decided outsourcing facilities management is not the best option for our campus.

Continue reading

Black campaign blasts Boyd for ‘moderate record;’ Boyd recalls Reagan’s ’11th commandment’

News release from Diane Black campaign

Today, Randy Boyd completes his “B-Roll Run” across Tennessee. But he’ll have to keep running if he wants to get away from his moderate record of opposing Donald Trump, supporting illegal immigration, supporting common core and supporting Democrats.

Continue reading

Songwriter/conservative activist eyes run for 7th Congressional District seat

Lee Thomas Miller, a country music songwriter prominent in the industry both for his hits and his advocacy for conservative causes, is on the verge of joining the field of Republicans who want to succeed Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the 7th Congressional District seat.

So reports the Nashville Post, following up on Miller comments reported in Tennessee Star on Monday as creating “a lot of buzz” and adding a bit more commentary.

Continue reading

Alexander seeks Senate hearings on fed rule that stopped payments to West TN physician

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is asking that Sen. Orrin Hatch hold Senate Finance Committee hearings on whether an a federal regulation used to block Medicare payments to West Tennessee’s Dr. Bryan Merrick should be revoked, reports Tennessee Star.

Alexander chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which he says does not have jurisdiction over the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) regulation. Senator Hatch chairs the Senate Finance Committee, which does have jurisdiction over the CMS regulation.

Continue reading

Sen. Massey retires from regular job, expands legislative work with new disabilities committee

While some of her colleagues are planning to leave their state Senate seats, Knoxville Republican Sen. Becky Duncan Massey says she plans to devote more time to legislative duties with retirement from her regular job, reports  Georgiana Vines. She retiring as executive director of the Sertoma Center, which serves individuals with disabilities and where she has worked for 24 years.

A major focus for new legislative duties will be co-chairing with Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, a new joint ad hoc committee on disability services appointed by Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell, to examine state services for the disabled, with a goal of making recommendations on how to streamline the services and improve their quality, access and affordability. The recommendations are for the next governor elected in 2018, she said.

Continue reading

Affidavits say records on Kingston coal ash cleanup were intentionally destroyed

Three supervisors – two construction foremen and a TVA-paid overseer – say in affidavits filed in U.S. District Court they saw separate instances in which Tom Bock, the man tasked with protecting workers at the nation’s largest coal ash spill,  intentionally destroyed or skewed air monitoring results and knowingly endangered workers, reports the News Sentinel.

Bock served as safety manager for Jacobs Engineering, an international government contractor.

The firm was tapped by TVA and approved by the EPA and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to manage the clean-up of the massive coal ash spill at the TVA Kingston Fossil Fuel Power Plant in the Swan Pond community of Roane County in December 2008.

Continue reading

Nashville mayor joins new national group pushing city infrastructure investments

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, seen by some as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, is starting a nonprofit group with other mayors, union leaders and business executives to fund what they call innovation investments around the country, reports Politico. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who is pushing a $5.2 billion infrastructure investment including a 26-mile light rail system, is one of the members of an initial advisory group.

Continue reading

On a rural West TN doctor’s fight with feds, backed by area politicians appealing to Alexander, Kustoff

The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has shut off payments to Dr. Bryan Merrick after finding clerical errors in billings through McKenzie Medical Center for a handful of Medicare patients. The move threatens to shut down the center – which serves around 4,000 patients in a rural area with few medical providers — and has brought a bipartisan outpouring of pleas to help Merrick from West Tennessee political leaders to members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, so far without results.

The latest plea was a letter last week from McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander as chairman of the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee, asking him to convene a hearing with the goal of “revocation or modification of a particularly egregious Obama-era regulation” that CMS used in stopping Medicare payments to Merrick that is now “jeopardizing health care to hundreds and eventually thousands of citizens” in Carroll, Weakley and Henry counties. As of this weekend, Alexander had not responded to the letter or a reporter’s email inquiry seeking comment.

Continue reading

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.