Monthly Archives: December 2017

Polling from opposite poles: Blackburn leads Bredesen; Bredesen leads Blackburn

A poll commissioned by a pro-Trump super PAC found that  Republican Marsha Blackburn is  ahead of Democrat Phil Bredesen in a potential 2018 general election for a Tennessee U.S. Senate seat, reports the Hill, while a survey sponsored by a Democrat-supporting organization found Bredesen ahead.

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In ‘warm conversation,’ Corker tells Trump of ‘newfound empathy’

Press release from Sen. Bob Corker (with headline saying, ‘Corker Pushes Back on False Reports About Why He Supported Tax Reform’)

WASHINGTON – In an interview with host Brian Kilmeade on “Fox & Friends” today, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) pushed back against false reports about why he supported tax reform. Corker is not a member of the tax-writing committee and had no involvement in crafting the legislation. He requested no specific tax provisions throughout the months-long debate and had no knowledge of the pass-through provision in question. Corker said he supported the legislation because our country will be better off with it than without it.

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Early GOP gubernatorial polls: Black leads Boyd (most voters undecided)

A majority of Republican voters are undecided about who to support in the 2018 governor’s race, but of those willing to give a pollster a preference, U.S.  Rep. Diane Black apparently holds the lead with former Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd running second.

Black’s margin over Boyd is five points bigger in the Tennessee Star poll than in the Tennesseans For Student Success polls.

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Alexander gives up on Obamacare premium fix — until February or so

Joint press release from Sens. Lamar Alexander and  Susan Collins

WASHINGTON, December 20, 2017—United States Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today jointly released the following statement:

“Rather than considering a broad year-end funding agreement as we expected, it has become clear that Congress will only be able to pass another short-term extension to prevent a government shutdown and to continue a few essential programs,” said the Senators.  “For this reason, we have asked Senator McConnell not to offer this week our legislation which independent analysts Avalere and Oliver-Wyman say would reduce premiums by about 20 percent for the 9 million Americans who have no government subsidies to help them buy insurance in the individual market. Instead, we will offer it after the first of the year when the Senate will consider the omnibus spending bill, the Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization, funding for Community Health Centers, and other legislation that was to have been enacted this week.

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Confederate statute removal brings Democratic cheers, Republican jeers

House Republican leaders Thursday criticized the sale of two Memphis city parks to clear the way for removal of Confederate statues, suggesting there may be legislative efforts against the move. House Democrats, on the other hand, praised the Memphis maneuver.

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TN November unemployment rate was 3.1 percent (up a tad from Oct.)

Press release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE  Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips today announced the November statewide unemployment rate posted significantly lower than November 2016 and notably lower than the national average. The preliminary, seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for November 2017 was 3.1 percent – two percentage points lower than it was one year ago and one percentage point below the national average of 4.1.  Continue reading

Memphis sells city parks, buyer removes Confederate statues

A private group headed by a county commissioner and fueled by anonymous donations bought two parks from the city of Memphis at little cost this week in a maneuver that cleared the way for swift removal of two Confederate statutes that have sparked conflict for years, reports the Associated Press.

Shelby County Commissioner and attorney Van Turner told a news conference Thursday that his group, Memphis Greenspace Inc., is ready for any lawsuits that arise from its deal with the city, which took months of planning to sidestep a Tennessee law that makes it tough to take down Confederate monuments on public grounds.

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On the ‘Hush Fund Elimination Act” and an age discrimination lawsuit against Duncan

While  co-sponsoring the “Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act” and enthusiastically supporting its provisions dealing with sexual harassment, the Nashville Post reports that U.S. Reps. Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn are vague on whether it should apply to settlements of other legal claims – such as a payment settling an age discrimination lawsuit brought by one of Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan’s staffers.

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Haslam goes against parole board, exonerates man in 1978 rape conviction

Press release from Gov. Bill Haslam

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today issued the following statement on the exoneration of Lawrence McKinney:

“Today I granted Lawrence McKinney’s request for gubernatorial exoneration from his 1978 convictions. Though the facts of this case are complex and reasonable minds may draw different conclusions from them, ultimately I respect the determinations of the Shelby County Criminal Court and District Attorney General that Mr. McKinney was not guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted and would not have been prosecuted if the DNA testing results had been available at the time of trial. Mr. McKinney was released after more than 30 years in prison when the court set aside his convictions in 2009.

“In the eyes of the judicial system, Mr. McKinney is innocent. While I appreciate the hard work and recommendations of the Board of Parole, in this case I defer to the finding of the court charged with determining Mr. McKinney’s guilt or innocence.”

McKinney, 61, was convicted of rape and burglary in Shelby County. had his record expunged after his release from prison where he spent 31 years.

Further, from The Tennessean:

Although he was out of prison and had his record expunged, McKinney still sought an executive exoneration from the governor to enable him to file for compensation with the Tennessee Board of Claims.

McKinney had the support from state Rep. Mark Pody, Pastor John Hunn of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon and attorneys Jack Lowery and David Raybin in his efforts.

…The Tennessee Board of Parole voted unanimously against recommending exoneration for McKinney in 2016. At the time, at least one parole board member questioned the completeness of the DNA evidence that cleared McKinney. 

The governor is not bound to follow that recommendation and can either grant, deny or choose not to act on an executive clemency request.

Nashville getting Major League Soccer team

Press release from Major League Soccer

NASHVILLE – (December 20, 2017) – Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber today announced that the historic and culturally dynamic city of Nashville, Tennessee has been awarded an MLS expansion club.

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