Tom Humphrey

Tom Humphrey

Allison Burchett, ex-wife of Knox County mayor, gets probation in ‘cyberstalking’ case

Knox County’s former first lady  — the ex-wife of county Mayor Tim Burchett — confessed Thursday to cyberstalking the cancer-stricken estranged wife of her millionaire beau, reports the News Sentinel.

Allison Burchett, 35, pleaded guilty in Knox County Criminal Court to six misdemeanor charges of unlawful access to the computer accounts of Nicole Strickland, the estranged wife of Burchett’s live-in lover and Bandit Lites owner Michael Strickland.

She will serve no jail time. Instead, she will spend four years on probation. She is not barred from the internet but must give her probation officer access to her social media accounts and stay away from victim Nicole Strickland.

The deal has been mired in controversy, with Nicole Strickland objecting to the proposal and crying foul over her treatment by the Knox County District Attorney’s office…  Burchett is now under investigation for another hacking that occurred while she was on bond and involved two potential witnesses in the cyberstalking case.

The hearing itself proved controversial, with Senior Judge Don R. Ash blocking Nicole Strickland from reading a victim impact statement — a violation of the Tennessee Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights law.

Tribute paid to five servicemen who made ‘ultimate sacrifice’ in TN Memorial Day ceremony

News release from state Department of Veterans Affairs

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Tennessee Military Department Adjutant General, Major General Terry “Max” Haston paid tribute to five service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the state’s Memorial Day service today.

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Haslam on calls for veto of gun bill: ‘Probably wasting your breath’

Questioned about the most controversial gun bill approved by the legislature this year, Gov. Bill Haslam says there’s no point in vetoing a measure that passed by lopsided majorities.

The bill (HB508) makes it easier – perhaps even profitable – for gunowners and groups such as the National Rifle Association to sue cities and counties over any restrictions imposed on carrying firearms by persons with a concealed carry permit. A successful plaintiff, under the bill, could get triple the attorney fees paid in a legal challenge to a local ordinance.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and several groups have urged Haslam to veto the measure. Asked if he will, Haslam said he’s still officially reviewing the measure, then added (as quoted by WPLN):

“You can veto it, but if something passes two-to-one, you’re probably wasting your breath,” Haslam says. “So you’re better off to try to work on the front end to try to get the bill in as good a shape as it can be.”

In Tennessee, lawmakers can override a governor’s veto with a simple majority.

The bill passed the House 70-24. The Senate vote was 26-6. It also came back to the House for concurrence on a Senate amendment and that vote was 71-14. The bill reached his desk on May 18, according to the legislative website. Under the state constitution, he has 10 days from that date — excluding Sundays — to make a decision (which, it appears, would actually fall on Memorial Day).  Besides signing the bill or vetoing it, the governor can let it become law without his signature

Corker criticizes ‘awkward process’ of closed-door Senate development of Obamacare replacement

There has been some media attention to Sen. Bob Corker’s recent criticism of secrecy surrounding development of a Republican U.S. Senate plan to replace and repeal Obamacare – a process where fellow Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander has been actively engaged, though the committee Alexander chairs was bypassed.

Corker’s comments, as initially reported by the Huffington Post Tuesday:

“It’s a very awkward process, at best,” he told reporters. “There are no experts. There’s no actuarials. … Typically, in a hearing, you’d have people coming in and you’d also have the media opining about if a hearing took place, and X came in and made comments.”

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UT gets diversity funding back; legislator waits to see if ‘they’ll clean up their act’

Amid considerable controversy, the Legislature last year diverted $445,882 of University of Tennessee-Knoxville funding from its Office for Diversity and Inclusion and into a minority engineering scholarships fund. But the legislative mandate expires June 30, meaning UT officials could again spend it on promoting racial and cultural diversity on campus.

From a News Sentinel review of the matter:

It’s one of the first major decisions new UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport will have to make on campus and one that state lawmakers, many of whom have voiced opposition to the diversity office in the past, will closely be watching.

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Randy Boyd gets endorsement for governor from 22 East TN county mayors

News release from Randy Boyd campaign

Nashville, TN —  Randy Boyd announced today that nearly two dozen County Mayors from across East Tennessee have endorsed and are already working in support of his Republican campaign for Governor.  Boyd is the only gubernatorial candidate from East Tennessee. More than 40 percent of the projected 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary vote is expected to come from East Tennessee.
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United TN delegation finally gets Nashville courthouse named after the late Sen. Fred Thompson

Legislation naming a new federal courthouse in honor of the late Sen. Fred Thompson failed to pass Congress last year – perhaps one of the most notable bipartisan flops of the session for the Tennessee delegation to Congress. It passed the House, but the Senate where Thompson served never got around to voting on it, despite support from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. (Previous post HERE.)

The Tennessee delegation came back with the proposal again this year and declared success Wednesday. Here’s the bipartisan, collective press release, interestingly themed on asking President Trump to sign the bill (a veto, one suspects, is rather unlikely):

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TVA to cut spending, employees under Trump budget plan

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s preliminary budget plan for fiscal 2018, unveiled Tuesday by the Trump White House,  projects the agency will trim its capital spending next year by $677 million, cut its operating expenses by $263 million and trim its staff by another 316 employees compared with the current year.

Further from the Times Free Press:

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Giannini part of new TN government/political consulting firm with Memphis as first client

Bill Giannini, a former deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance who unsuccessfully sought election as Tennessee Republican chairman in December, has launched a new consulting firm that, the Nashville Post reports, will “focus on efficient government and performance management” — not lobbying.

Called Resolve Consulting, the firm of the former Haslam appointee and his team will have a mix of public and private clients, with some political consulting on the side… Rachel Selbe is also a principal and the firm’s vice president. Selbe is a former program and policy development director for the state, and she served as an assistant general counsel for the state’s Regulatory Boards Division. Other employees include Emily Janney and Greer Kelly as strategic consultants and Kellee Mannix as a consultant and coach.

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New law bans condemning land through eminent domain for industrial parks

Legislation originated by a Jefferson County commissioner last year and signed by the governor last week will eliminate the use of eminent domain proceedings to take land for industrial parks.

The bill (SB1184) is the subject of a report in the Standard Banner of Jefferson City and a column in the News Sentinel by Frank Cagle. Excerpt from the latter:

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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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