Tom Humphrey

Tom Humphrey

On Corker, Trump and Alabama’s Moore-Strange runoff

The Washington Post has a quote attributed to Tennessee U.S. Sen. Bob Corker when he urged President Donald Trump to campaign in Alabama for Sen. Luther Strange in a Republican primary runoff election set for Tuesday:

“You’ve got to go,” the Tennessee Republican told Trump, according to people briefed on the exchange. “We need you there.”

That’s part of a story on how Washington Republican leaders persuaded Trump to campaign in Alabama, despite the president’s misgivings.

And here’s an excerpt from a Roll Call article this week:

When Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker asked President Donald Trump to campaign for Alabama Sen. Luther Strange ahead of next week’s Senate Republican runoff, he might have had a little self-preservation in mind.

A win by Roy Moore, the controversial former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, would throw a wrench into the deliberative body in which the moderate Tennessee Republican serves. But a Moore victory could also embolden primary challengers to other sitting senators, like Corker.

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TennCare director bucks national group, backs Haslam on Obamacare bill

The National Association of Medicaid Directors is criticizing the Graham-Cassidy health care bill that faces a U.S. Senate vote next week, reports Nashville Post. But with Gov. Bill Haslam supporting the proposal as “flat-out good for Tennessee” — Tennessee’s Medicaid director, Wendy Long, stands with her boss rather than the national organization.

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HHS chief’s June Washington-to-Nashville trip cost $17,760

A June trip to Nashville from Washington is being cited in national news media as an example of how U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price flew by charter airplane at taxpayer expense rather than taking less expensive commercial flights.

From Politico, which says Price has taken 24 charter flights since early May at a cost of more than $300,000 to taxpayers:

HHS officials have said Price uses private jets only when commercial travel is not feasible.

But many of the flights are between large cities with frequent, low-cost airline traffic, such as a trip from Washington to Nashville that the secretary took on June 6 to make a morning event at a medication distributor and an afternoon speech. There are four regular nonstop flights that leave Washington-area airports between 6:59 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. and arrive in Nashville by 9:46 a.m. CT. Sample round-trip fares for those flights were as low as $202, when booked in advance on Orbitz.com. Price’s charter, according to HHS’ contract with Classic Air Charter, cost $17,760.

A Tennessean report of Price’s visit to Nashville at the time says he made a morning visit to Dispensary of Hope, a subsidiary of Saint Thomas Health and Ascension that ships medications across the country to free clinics and charitable pharmacies. He called it “wonderfully inspiring.” In the afternoon, Price made a speech, centered on opioid addiction, to a conference on drug abuse organized by Healthy Tennessee and Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing.

Hamilton County mayor backs Boyd for governor

News release from Randy Boyd campaign

Chattanooga, Tenn. – Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced his full support and endorsement for Randy Boyd in his Republican campaign for governor at a news conference today in Chattanooga.  Continue reading

County, company settle probation lawsuit for $14.3M

Rutherford County and Providence Community Corrections have settled a class action lawsuit over private probation practices for $14.3 million, reports the Murfreesboro Post. The settlement will compensate nearly 30,000 Tennesseans for fees the company allegedly extorted from probationers.

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Former county mayor, employees indicted on theft charges

News release from state comptroller’s office

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, working in conjunction with the investigator from the 24th Judicial District, has released an investigation related to several former Decatur County employees and former County Mayor Michael Smith.

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Unemployment declines in all 95 TN counties

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips today announced that unemployment rates decreased last month in all 95 counties and significantly dropped in many rural counties, which often have the highest unemployment rates in the state. The county figures were released one week after the state posted an August statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent – the lowest in recorded history.  Continue reading

UT says only private donations will fund LGBT pride center

The University of Tennessee Knoxville is using private funds to operate its LGBT pride center following last year’s decision by state lawmakers to strip state dollars from the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, reports the News Sentinel.

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Lawsuit challenges suspension of driving licenses for unpaid fines

A group of civil rights advocates has filed a federal class-action lawsuit challenging Tennessee’s suspension of more than 250,000 driver’s licenses affecting people too poor to pay traffic tickets, reports the Nashville Ledger.

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Trump picks 4 nominees to TVA board (1 from TN)

The White House announced today that President Donald Trump will nominate four men to fill vacancies on the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors – one each from the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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