Tom Humphrey

Tom Humphrey

Harwell seeks comptroller review of TNReady contract vendor Questar

Press release from House Republican Caucus

(NASHVILLE) — Under the direction of House Speaker Beth Harwell (R–Nashville), State Representative Jeremy Faison (R–Cosby) has officially requested a review by the Tennessee Comptroller related to recent testing issues of the TNReady school assessments.

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VP Pence again declares support for Blackburn

Vice President Mike Pence, who had already donated to U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn through his political action committee last year, on Monday sent out a tweet declaring he supports her bid for a U.S. Senate seat. The Blackburn campaign produced a press release and the Times Free Press says Pence effectively “doubled down” on backing Blackburn.

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Whiskey barrel tax exemption bill goes to the governor

The House voted 78-12 Monday to exempt Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrels and those of smaller Tennessee distillers from paying property taxes. An attorney general’s opinion says they are subject to being taxed and Moore County – home of the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg – wants to do so. Taxing the barrels as personal property would mean more than $2 million in new revenue for the county.

The Senate had approved the bill (SB2076) earlier on a 30-0 vote, so it goes to Gov. Bill Haslam for his presumed signature — or maybe without his signature as a bow to the AG opinion.  The bill was pushed by lobbyists for the distilleries — Jack Daniel’s and others — and opposed by local government lobbying groups including the Tennessee Municipal League and the Tennessee County Services Association contending the tax break amounted to special treatment for one group in violation of the state constitution. Proponents of the bill sharply disputed the AG opinion.

Previous post HERE.

Bredesen: Corker ‘feels the same way I do’ — and Trump campaigning for Blackburn won’t hurt him much

In Chattanooga Monday, former Gov. Phil Bredesen said “it’s odd and very telling to the nation’s political climate” that Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker is being criticized by some fellow Republicans for “being friends and working closely with someone from the opposite party,” according to WDEF TV. The Democratic candidate to succeed Corker in the Senate, of course, is speaking of himself as the person Corker has worked with. He told another station that his campaign won’t be harmed significantly if President Trump campaigns within the state for Republican nominee-apparent Marsha Blackburn.

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Legislature mandates that state health insurance cover experimental cancer treatment

An experimental cancer treatment has won a rare endorsement from the Tennessee legislature despite some criticism, reports WPLN. The measure requires insurance coverage of proton therapy, which benefits a Knoxville-based company that is building a treatment center in Franklin.

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Haslam’s ‘Complete College TN Act’ flops on House floor — a second setback for governor’s higher ed agenda?

A bill cutting state-funded scholarships of college students who complete less than 30 hours of course work per year – part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s legislative package for the year – got more negative votes than positive votes on the House floor Monday.

The “Complete College Tennessee Act” (HB2114) has been promoted by the governor as a means of improving college graduation rates, now reported at 26 percent in two-year colleges and technical institutes and at 57 percent in four-year universities. But some legislators contend it would unfairly penalize students who are working while going to school, who are sidelined by illness for a semester or otherwise have valid reasons for completing 30 hours of credits in three semesters, as the bill requires.

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Senate votes to urge — rather than require — erection of a TN ‘monument to the unborn’

A House-approved bill mandating erection of a monument to unborn children on the Tennessee state Capitol grounds was amended in the Senate Monday to instead just voice support for the idea. After the revision, the measure was approved 23-3 and sent back to the House.

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TN tax take in March: Complicated but basically about what was expected

Press release from Department of Finance and Administration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin (Friday) announced that Tennessee tax revenue fell short of budgeted estimates in March. Overall March revenues totaled $1.1 billion, which is $84.1 million more than the state collected in March of 2017, but $2 million less than the budgeted estimate for the month.

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Corker defends favorable comments about Bredesen on national TV shows

Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker defended his favorable comments about former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat running to succeed him,  on two national TV talk shows Sunday though other Republicans have criticized his remarks as possibly damaging Republican Marsha Blackburn’s prospects. Corker also repeated his general support for “our nominee” though never mentioning Blackburn by name.

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House GOP retaliation for Confederate monument removal: A scripted political show?

Some Republicans familiar with the discussions leading up to Tuesday’s state House vote cut $250,000 in funding for Memphis in retaliation for the city removing Confederate statues say the money was put into the state budget on the front end only so that it could be later taken away as  part of an effort send a message to Memphis, reports the Commercial Appeal. Others deny that was the case.

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