bill haslam

With Haslam signature, legal Sunday booze sales can begin this weekend

Gov. Bill  Haslam today signed into law legislation that authorizes Sunday sales of liquor and wine, according to his communications department. The bill (HB1540) says that, insofar as liquor stores go, it takes effect “upon becoming law” – meaning when governor signs it.

Thus, Tennessee liquor stores could legally be open on this Sunday if the operators wish – or have time to prepare. But the bill also declares the effective date for grocery stores and supermarkets that sell wine only is Jan. 1, 2019. The first Sunday after that date is Jan. 6, 2019.

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GOP legislators spurned renewed Haslam pitch for Medicaid expansion in private meeting

Gov.  Bill Haslam asked Republican legislative leaders earlier this month if they would reconsider Medicaid expansion legislation, which was rejected when he initially proposed the idea three years ago, reports The Tennessean. House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Speaker Randy McNally were open to discussing the idea but others were not and the notion was dropped.

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Senate panel spurns four more Haslam nominees to UT Board of Trustees

Four of Gov. Bill Haslam’s 10 nominees to a new University of Tennessee Board of Trustees were effectively rejected by the Senate Education Committee Thursday – a day after another, current board Vice Chairman Raja Jubran, withdrew amid criticism from legislators. That leaves just five of the governor’s 10 appointees up for approval on floor votes.

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Poll: Trump approval in TN higher than Alexander or Corker; lower than Haslam

President Trump’s approval rating in Tennessee stands at 56 percent, according to polling focused on Southern states and reported by NBC News. That’s higher than favorablity ratings for U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker; lower than for Gov. Bill Haslam.

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Legislators grill Haslam UT board nominees over Sex Week and more; one withdraws

The University of Tennessee system’s current Board of Trustees vice chairman, Raja Jubran, on Wednesday withdrew as a nominee to serve on UT’s freshly re-configured board after it became clear the Knoxville businessman and friend of Gov. Bill Haslam faced significant hurdles in winning legislative confirmation, reports the Times Free Press. After four hours of grilling the governor’s nine other nominees, a House committee approved their confirmation while a Senate committee delayed a vote.

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Haslam appoints deputy commissioner as new TDEC chief

Press release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today named Dr. Shari Meghreblian as commissioner of the Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) effective May 1. Meghreblian has served as deputy commissioner for the department since 2011, overseeing TDEC’s environmental regulatory programs.

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Legislators approve raising welfare payments for first time in 22 years

The state House gave final approval Monday to legislation increasing Tennessee’s welfare cash payments for the first time in 22 years while toughening the program’s anti-fraud provisions, reports the Times Free Press.

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Martineau exits as TDEC commissioner; joins real estate development firm

Press release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Commissioner Bob Martineau will return to work in the private sector in May.

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Haslam’s overhaul of UT governance gets final legislative approval

The Senate signed off on House amendments to Gov. Bill Haslam’s overhaul of University of Tennessee’s governance system Wednesday, sending the bill to his desk for a signature that will be followed by submission of nominees for 12 new UT Board of Trustees members. They will replace the current 27-member board on July 1.

As submitted by the governor, the bill (SB2260) called for an 11-member board. One of the House changes was to add another member – a student who won’t have authority to vote on the panel. The bill also creates four new “advisory” boards – one each for UT campuses at Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin and Memphis – and each of those will have seven members.

Final approval came on a 24-7 Senate vote, a bit closer than the 27-3 margin given in initial Senate approval before the House amendments. The House vote last week was 51-41.

Administration lobbyists told legislators that the governor intends to submit a slate of nominees promptly after signing the bill into law, hoping that they can win the required legislative confirmation prior to adjournment of the 2018 session. If not approved this session, the nominations must be confirmed within 90 days after the 2019 session convenes.

Note: Roll call votes on the bill are HERE.

House approves, 51-41, Haslam’s overhaul of UT board of trustees

The state House on Thursday approved Gov. Bill Haslam’s controversial plan to dismantle the existing University of Tennessee system’s board of trustees, reduce its size and appoint new members, reports the Times Free Press. The Senate approved the measure earlier but in a different form and the bill now returns to the Senate for approval of the House amendments.

The bill, known as the UT FOCUS Act (SB2260), narrowly passed on a 51-41 vote. (It passed the Senate 27-3 on Monday)

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