Monthly Archives: December 2017

ACU legislator ratings: TN Senate more conservative than House

The American Conservative Union Foundation has produced its rating of Tennessee legislators for 2017, giving the state Senate an overall average score of 86 and the House an average of 70 percent in voting the way the group wanted on selected issues.

The average for Republicans in the Senate was 91 percent; for Democrats 57 percent. In the House, Republicans averaged 82 percent; Democrats 34 percent. One could thus draw the not-too-surprising inference that the Senate is notably more divided on a partisan basis than the House — and overall more conservative.

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Reeves TV ad in Senate District 14: ‘Will fight for the Trump agenda in TN’

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Rep. John Forgety, R-Athens, won’t seek reelection in House District 23

Republican state Rep. John Forgety of Athens, chairman of the House Education Instructions and Program Committee, has announced he will retire from the legislature after completing his fourth term in 2018.

Forgety, 71, a former teacher and military veteran, announced his decision in this letter, published by the Daily Post Athenian, and addressed to “the citizens of the 23rd District of the Tennessee House of Representatives of McMinn and Monroe counties”:

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Sixteen of 493 TN laws approved in 2017 take effect on New Year’s Day

Sixteen of the 493 general laws approved by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2017 take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Most took effect either on the day signed by the governor or on July 1, 2017.

Some of those effective with the new year:

-Tennessee’s version of a “Campus Free Speech Act,” which says public institutions of higher learning cannot deny student activity fees to student organizations based on their viewpoints and cannot bar guest speakers invited to campus by students or faculty because the speaker’s speech might be considered offensive or otherwise disagreeable.

-The state Alcoholic Beverage Commission loses its authority to enforce state laws prohibiting the sale and use of marijuana. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will have primary authority for enforcing such laws at the state level.

-There will a $50 fine for driving while using a cell phone within a school zone.

-New school bus drivers will be required to go through a training program and a new system for overseeing the bus drivers is established.

The Legislature’s website summarizes each of the 16 laws effective with the new year HERE. The full list of all 493 laws enacted during the 2017 legislative session —  officially known as public chapters until duly “codified” as part of state statutes as one of the first acts of the following year’s legislature — is HERE.

Wrongfully convicted man seeks $1M damages from state

A Wilson County man wrongfully convicted of rape and robbery nearly 40 years ago is officially asking the state for $1 million in damages, reports WPLN. The move comes just days after Lawrence McKinney was exonerated by Gov. Bill Haslam.

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Randy Boyd releases tax info — $42M income in past two years

Press release from Randy Boyd campaign

Knoxville, Tenn. – During his two years of public service as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd returned his state salary back to the state and personally paid for all of his own travel and other official expenses – including any use of state aircraft and all other expenses while recruiting businesses to Tennessee from around the world.
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Some end-of-the-year reading suggestions for TN political junkies

A sampling of recent Tennessee-oriented political commentary and reporting that was not included in earlier blog postings, but is perhaps of interest to political junkies not engaged in seeking post-Christmas shopping bargains, New Year’s Eve party planning or other seasonal activities:

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Lawsuit accuses county trustee of cattle rustling, womanizing

Hamblen County Trustee John Baskette is accused of cattle rustling in a lawsuit, reports the News Sentinel. The further contends Baskette used the money from the cattle sales “for his womanizing.”

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Haslam quip to Hagerty: Make Japanese crane TN official state bird

Bill Hagerty, former commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development and now U.S. Ambassador to Japan, says Gov. Bill Haslam once joked about replacing the mockingbird with the crane as Tennessee’s official state bird, reports WKRN. The red-crowned crane is the official national bird of Japan.

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Andrew Jackson magnolia dying at age of around 180 years

An enormous magnolia tree, said to have been planted on the White House grounds by President Andrew Jackson in honor of his wife, has become so damaged and decayed that it will be taken down, according to CNN.

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