Monthly Archives: January 2018

Bill pending in Congress would return 76 acres of TN land to Cherokees

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann says he expects a House floor vote “very soon” on legislation that would effectively make 76 acres of land in Monroe County a part of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians reservation, reports the Times Free Press.

The property includes land that is currently home to the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore and tracts once part of two major Cherokee towns that were tribal centers before the forced removal of Cherokees to Oklahoma 180 years ago. Much of the Cherokee homeland in the area was covered with water when the 129-foot-high Tellico Dam became operational in 1979.

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At guber forum, Democrats call for Medicaid expansion; Republicans don’t

A health care forum Friday in Nashville illustrated the partisan split in the Tennessee governor’s race over Medicaid expansion, with Democrats ranking it their top priority and Republicans opposing it or espousing other priorities, reports the Associated Press.

The Democrats, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, called for expansion of Tennessee’s Medicaid program, TennCare, to 280,000 more low-income patients. The Republican-led General Assembly killed the plan in 2015.

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Legislator proposes that TN stay on daylight saving time year around

State Rep. Rick Tillis is renewing a push – the last try failed in the House four years ago — to have the legislature make daylight saving time permanent in Tennessee.

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Haslam names committee to study TN water resources

Press release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced he has appointed a steering committee of leaders from federal, state and local governments, industry, academia, environmental advocacy groups and public utilities to develop a statewide plan for future water availability in Tennessee.  Continue reading

McCormick drops ‘bathroom bill’ after talk with AG and Harwell

State Rep. Gerald McCormick says he is withdrawing his controversial school “bathroom bill” after assurances from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery that he already can and will step in with legal aid to smaller systems facing lawsuits over LGBT access policies, reports the Times Free Press.

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeals of nine TN death row inmates; one execution set for Aug. 9

Press release from Administrative Office of the Courts

The Tennessee Supreme Court set an execution date of August 9, 2018, for Billy Ray Irick, who was convicted of the 1985 murder and rape of Paula Kay Dyer, age 7, in Knox County, Tennessee. The Court received notice from the State Attorney General on January 11, 2018, that the United States Supreme Court had denied the defendant’s appeal challenging the constitutionality of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol. Under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 12.4(E), the Court, on its own, may set a new execution date when a case with a previous execution date had stays or reprieves lifted or dissolved. Mr. Irick has had multiple previous execution dates.

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December state revenue $171.6M over budget estimate

Press release from Department of Finance and Administration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin announced today that revenues for December posted higher than expected and exceeded the monthly revenues from the previous year.  State revenues for December were $1.4 billion, which is a growth of 11.34 percent and $139.9 million more than December 2016.

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Legislators file revised medical marijuana bill

Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) speaks on the House floor on Jan. 18., 2018 (Photo credit: Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) speaks on the House floor on Jan. 18., 2018 (Photo credit: Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Press release from Senate Republican Caucus

NASHVILLE – State Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) and Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) today introduced Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018, legislation that would allow Tennessee patients with specific health conditions access to safe, regulated medical cannabis oil-based manufactured products only.
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Speakers quietly drop hand-held sign ban at Cordell Hull

The Tennessee Legislature has quietly revised its “Facility Use Policies” to remove a ban on all signs within the Cordell Hull building. Moving forward, “small letter sized signs that do not obstruct the view of visitors are acceptable,” according to the policy.

Under the previous set of rules, all signs were banned, regardless of whether they were hand-held or mounted to sticks or poles. The fact that this was done in the name of preventing “a serious safety hazard to visors and tenants” was the cause of much mockery because it was imposed alongside a new policy allowing handgun carry permit holders to be armed within the building.

House Democrats announced Wednesday that Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) had requested a legal opinion from state Attorney General Herbert Slatery about whether ban on “hand-carried signs and signs on hand sticks” violates the First Amendment. Jones’ letter is dated Jan. 11.

House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) signed the revised policy on Jan. 3.

Note: This post comes via Erik Schelzig, editor of the Tennessee Journal. Previous post on the policy, HERE.

Haile named state Senate speaker pro tempore; Bowing deputy speaker

Senate GOP leaders hold weekly press gaggle on Jan. 18, 2018. From left are Sens. Mark Norris, Randy McNally, Bo Watson and Ferrell Haile. (Photo credit: Schelzig, Tennessee Journal.

Senate GOP leaders hold weekly press gaggle on Jan. 18, 2018. From left are Sens. Mark Norris, Randy McNally, Bo Watson and Ferrell Haile. (Photo credit: Schelzig, Tennessee Journal.)

Press release from Lt. Gov. Randy McNally

NASHVILLE — Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) today announced the appointment of Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Senate. Haile replaces Jim Tracy who resigned late last year to accept a presidential appointment.

Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) will replace Haile in the position of Deputy Speaker.

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