Monthly Archives: April 2018

TBI reports 2017 increase in ‘hate crime’ and assaults on law enforcement officers

Press release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLE – Today, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released two reports, detailing the volume and nature of crime identified as hate crime and violence against the state’s law enforcement officers. The annual studies compile crime data submitted to TBI by the state’s law enforcement agencies through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS).

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Politico profiles Tennessee Star: A ‘baby Breitbart’ looking to expand

Excerpt from a Politico report on Tennessee Star, described as a “baby Breitbart,” a right-wing publication with a mainstream name that is looking at expanding into other states:

Since being contacted by POLITICO last week, the Star has added the names of its top three editors to the “Contact Us” section of its website. The publication, it turns out, is owned and operated by Steve Gill, a conservative commentator and radio host, and Michael Patrick Leahy, a local political activist who also writes for Breitbart, though Breitbart is not itself involved in the Star. The pair write many of the stories on the site, Gill said.

“What we really did is provide something people are just starving for,” Gill said, explaining that he and Leahy started the site last year and that there are no other investors.

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Supreme Court chief thanks legislators for authorizing three new judges

Press release from the Administrative Office of the Courts

Nashville, Tenn. ­– The Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation this session funding three new judge positions in Tennessee. The new positions will be in the state’s 19th Judicial District, which serves Montgomery and Robertson counties; the 16th Judicial District, which includes Rutherford and Cannon counties; and the 21st Judicial District, which includes Hickman, Lewis, Perry, and Williamson counties.

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NYT op-ed: Bredesen staff holding ashes of burned 1995 Blackburn expense account

Excerpt from a New York Times op-ed piece (written by Steve Cavendish, former editor of the Nashville Scene):

To understand how Phil Bredesen, a former Democratic governor of Tennessee, has a chance of winning this year’s race to replace Bob Corker as the junior senator from this deep-red state, it helps to know a story making the rounds in Nashville about his likely Republican opponent, Representative Marsha Blackburn.

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Approved bill seeks to fix $250 DUI testing fee found unconstitutional

A bill given final legislative approval last week and awaiting Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature will eliminate direct payment of a $250 fee for drug and alcohol blood tests to the Tennessee Bureau of investigation, a provision of current state law that the state Court of Appeals found unconstitutional last year. The money will now go to the state’s general fund.

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Alexander, Zinke visit Smoky Mountains to pitch more spending on National Park maintenance

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Saturday to lament the past lack of money for national park maintenance and to promote “The National Park Restoration Act,” a bill pending in Congress to change the situation, reports the News Sentinel.

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With two new nominees, Trump completes TN U.S. marshal appointments (all three previous GOP political appointees)

Former state Rep. Barrett Rich, currently a member of the Tennessee state Board of Paroles, and Denny King, who headed the state Department of Safety under former Gov. Don Sundquist, have been nominated by President Trump to become U.S. Marshals.

Rich (R-Somerville) chose not to seek reelection to the House District 94 seat in 2014 and was appointed after his term expired to the Board of Paroles by Gov. Bill Haslam. King previously served as U.S. marshal for Middle Tennessee, after his tenure as safety commissioner, under appointment of former President George W. Bush.

Trump had previously nominated David Jolley as U.S. marshal for East Tennessee and his appointment has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The King and Rich nominations await confirmation. Jolley also served as U.S. marshal for East Tennessee under former President George W. Bush and is the husband of Jane Jolley, East Tennessee field coordinator for Sen. Bob Corker.

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Haslam leaves open possibility of vetoing bill to protect Confederate monuments

Gov. Bill Haslam is leaving open the possibility of vetoing a bill inspired by City of Memphis’ moves to remove Confederate monuments from local parks and aimed at preventing any such actions in the future, reports the Times Free Press.

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Legislature sends governor bill backing ‘monument to the unborn”

In the last hours of the legislative session, a bill favoring erection of a “monument to unborn children” on the state capitol grounds was sent to the governor after a House-Senate dispute over wording of the measure was resolved.

Apparently, the bill is to be viewed as making a request for the monument to the State Capitol Commission; not the mandate that was included in the original version. And Gov. Bill Haslam says he and his staff will be reviewing the bill before he decides whether to sign it.

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Blackburn: Social media companies are censoring conservative speech

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn has warned congressional colleagues that social media companies are censoring conservative speech and recounted for lawmakers her own experience last fall when Twitter blocked a video launching her campaign for Senate, reports Michael Collins.

“This ban hit at the fundamental freedom to engage in political speech,” said the Brentwood Republican, who is running for Senate seat currently held by Bob Corker.

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