Monthly Archives: February 2018

Comptroller finds no major legal problems in Memphis Confederate statues maneuver

Press release from Office of the Comptroller

The Comptroller’s Office has completed a review of the City of Memphis’ December 20, 2017 sale of Health Sciences Park and the easement to Memphis Park to Memphis Greenspace, Inc.

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Bill putting $100K cap on loans to campaigns clears House committee

A bill that limits local and statewide candidates’ from loaning their campaign more than $100,000 was approved by the House Local Government Committee Tuesday, reports The Tennessean.

Sponsored by Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), HB1770 would not take effect until next year, after the current campaign season that has already seen at least four gubernatorial candidates loaning their campaigns more than $100,000. The bill would still allow candidates to make direct contributions to their campaigns in unlimited amounts — just not loans subject to being repaid afterwards, which sometimes occurs if the candidate wins.

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Update on Corker reconsidering: rebuff from Trump (?), Blackburn sees sexism afoot, etc.

Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s campaign said Tuesday — responding to reports that Sen. Bob Corker is considering reversing an earlier decision and running for reelection to a new U.S. Senate term — that anyone who thinks she can’t win the general election in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race is a “plain sexist pig,” reports the Associated Press.

The New York Times reports, meanwhile, that President Donald Trump has been encouraging Blackburn and rebuffing – so far – what one Republican calls a “charm offensive” by Sen. Bob Corker and supporters seeking the president’s support for Corker seeking for reelection.

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Complaints filed with FEC on Burchett and Matlock campaign financing

Separate complaints have been filed with the Federal Election Commission contending that two Republican candidates in the 2nd Congressional District primary, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and state Rep. Jimmy Matlock, have violated campaign finance laws, reports the News Sentinel.

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TVA’s $29M million aircraft fleet under attack (verbally)

A collection of consumer and environmental groups teamed Tuesday to blast TVA for spending millions on executive aircraft, contending they benefit wealthy executives, directors and business prospects at the expense of ordinary electric ratepayers, reports the Times Free Press.

TVA has spent nearly $29 million in the past two and a half years to buy nearly identical corporate jets and a specialized Mercedes-Benz Style helicopter formerly used by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The executive jets and helicopter are part of TVA’s overall aircraft fleet of nine active helicopters, airplanes and jets (plus a King Air 350 plane that TVA bought for $6.5 million and is now for sale). TVA employs five full-time pilots and aircraft supervisors and spends millions of dollars a year to operate its own aircraft.

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Politico: ‘Distaste’ for Blackburn behind GOP prodding of Corker to reconsider retirement

Following up on earlier reports, Politico says  “a faction of Republicans in Tennessee and Washington” – worried that Republican Marsha Blackburn could lose the November U.S. Senate general election and give Democrats a Senate majority – continues to urge Sen. Bob Corker to reconsider his retirement plans.

A Blackburn spokeswoman scoffs at the notion of the current congressman as a loser and Corker is non-committal (though someone ‘close’ to the senator says he’s listening), according to the lengthy article. The piece also suggests that Corker has “reached out” to President Donald Trump to get his thinking on a retreat from retirement.

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Senate approves revision in rules for online job contract companies

After a half-hour of debate, the state Senate approved 25-3 Monday night a bill that revises legal restrictions for online “marketplace platform” companies that collect a fee for putting those needing temporary work performed in touch with persons willing to do the job – TaskRabbit, for example.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Bo Watson of Hixson, says it’s a business-friendly update to the realities of today’s technology and increasing use of contract services. Critics contend it undermines protections for both workers and those who hire them.

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More than 3,700 probation or parole violators now at large in TN

More than 3,700 convicted criminals under the community supervision of the Tennessee Department of Correction are now at large, according to state records reported by WJHL-TV. TDOC confirmed all of those people are in “warrant status” for violating the terms of their probation or parole.

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Haslam: Gas tax hike gives TN ‘a step up in the game’ under Trump’s infrastructure proposal

Gov. Bill Haslam says the state fuel tax increase approved by the legislature last year puts Tennessee in a good position to leverage federal transportation funding under the new infrastructure plan proposed by President Trump on Monday, reports Michael Collins.

The Trump proposal envisions $1.5 trillion in new investments in highways, bridges and mass transit over a 10-year period, but only $200 billion would be in new federal money – the rest in state and local funding or private investment, according to the New York Times. States would have to put in a bigger share of the money for projects, or get private investment, to trigger the new federal funding.

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Politico: Poll has Bredesen leading Blackburn 47-45

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood. (Photo credit: Blackburn for Senate campaign)

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood. (Photo credit: Blackburn for Senate campaign)

Politico reports that a late January poll had Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen leading Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn 47% to 45% in a head-to-head matchup in the Tennessee Senate race.

The poll conducted by Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies indicates that a generic Republican would be preferred over a Democrat, and that President Donald Trump retains a strong approval rating. The takeaway, Politico says, is that “Blackburn is in for a tough race” even in a heavily Republican state like Tennessee.

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