Tom Humphrey

Tom Humphrey

Outgoing UT board approves $1.2B budget, names buildings, give DiPietro a bonus in final meeting

The outgoing University of Tennessee Board of Trustees held its final meeting Friday, approving a $1.2 billion budget for the coming year that includes $168,000 in bonuses for UT President Joe DiPietro and keeps tuition flat at two UT campuses for the coming year. The board also voted to name buildings for major donors to the university.

 

The News Sentinel reports DiPietro characterized the session as “bittersweet.” The current 26-member board will be downsized to 12 members effective July 1 under legislation approved earlier this year at  Gov. Bill Haslam’s request.

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Beavers, Pody complain about PAC billboard criticizing them

A recently-formed political action committee has placed a billboard on a Wilson County highway criticizing former state Sen. Mae Beavers and her successor, Sen. Mark Pody, for voting against Gov. Bill Haslam’s 2017 “IMPROVE Act.” The two conservative Republicans, both currently engaged in political campaigns, complain that the billboard unfairly links traffic accidents and fatalities on the highway to their vote, reports The Tennessean.

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Harr stays out of House District 26 GOP primary

Former Chattanooga Chamber president and BlueCross BlueShield executive Ron Harr said today he won’t seek the Republican nomination for the District 26 state House seat, reports the Times Free Press.

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TN politicians praise Supreme Court decision on states collecting taxes from on Internet sales

Overturning older decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that states may require most online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by their residents. The 5-4 decision came in a South Dakota case that had seen  Tennessee’s attorney general joining in support of South Dakota’s effort to begin requirement collection of the taxes.

Tennessee’s state Department of Revenue issued a new rule in 2016 requiring internet sellers to collect state and local sales taxes from their Tennessee customers. State legislators let the new rule stand, but implementation has been stalled awaiting court action.

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NRA endorses Diane Black for governor

Press release from NRA Political Victory Fund

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) today endorsed Rep. Diane Black for governor in the Tennessee Republican Primary Election. Black is the only Tennessee gubernatorial candidate with an “A” rating and perfect record on Second Amendment issues.

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Mae Beavers endorses Bill Lee for GOP gubernatorial nomination

Former state Sen. Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet, who abandoned a run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination earlier this year and is now running for mayor of Wilson County, has endorsed Williamson County businessman Bill Lee in the governor’s race.

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Testing company error — not cyberattack — blamed for TNReady computer testing shutdown in April

A state investigator told state legislators Wednesday Questar’s unauthorized change of an online testing tool — not a possible cyber attack, as earlier reported by the company — was responsible for shutting down Tennessee’s computerized exams on their second day this spring, according to Chalkbeat Tennessee.

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TDOT estimates Black’s highway improvement plan would cost billions of dollars

The Tennessee Department of Transportation estimates that one component of Republican gubernatorial candidate Diane Black’s plan to address infrastructure and traffic congestion in Tennessee could cost more than $2 billion, reports The Tennessean.

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In GOP debate, candidates for governor back Trump immigration policy, dispute Lee’s claim to be the ‘only outsider’

The leading Republican candidates for Tennessee governor tried not to second-guess President Donald Trump during a debate Wednesday night, including pledging support for his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, according to the Associated Press report.

At the debate, House Speaker Beth Harwell, ex-state economic development commissioner Randy Boyd and businessman Bill Lee blamed congressional inaction for the migrant family separations that have sparked recent public outrage. The statements likely took aim at U.S. Rep. Diane Black, who instead took a stance similar to Trump by blaming Democrats. She said Democrats are not supporting construction of a border wall.

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Robin Smith announces run for GOP nomination in House District 26; two other potential candidates step aside

Former Tennessee Republican Chairman Robin Smith says she will run for the House District 26 seat being vacated by Rep. Gerald McCormick, reports the Times Free Press. And she’ll have the backing of two men who had been considering a run for the GOP nomination.

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