lobbyists

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.

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.

Continue reading

De-annexation bill dead; sponsor blames city lobbyists

An effort to enact legislation allowing disgruntled residents in some areas of Tennessee cities to vote to secede is dead for the year, reports the Times Free Press. The House sponsor, Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) blames lobbyists for municipalities.

Continue reading

Late-night calls deemed ‘outrageous’ by legislator, a timing error by sponsor

State Sen. Kerry Roberts and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) are calling for multiple investigations after robocalls from the Tennessee Justice Center criticizing Roberts’ TennCare work requirements legislation went out in the middle of the night Thursday, reports the Nashville Post.

“These robocalls are outrageous and the information disseminated is false and misleading,” said Roberts (R-Springfield). “They were conducted in the middle of night with the call back number, for those who thought that it might be a dire emergency due to the late hour, going to my legislative office which is completely deceptive.”

However, the TJC — a nonprofit that assists state families with TennCare, Medicaid and Medicare eligibility and appeals — insists the error was not malicious.

Continue reading

Corker won’t be a lobbyist; otherwise ‘no idea’ of post-Senate future

In a nationally televised interview Sunday, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said he doesn’t know what he’ll do once after leaving Congress in January, but the Times Free Press notes he also declared there’s one thing his future won’t include: Following the well-worn Washington path from lawmaker to hired-gun lobbyist.

Continue reading

Haslam opioid bill approved by committees after some backroom compromising

After weeks of backroom talks, Tennessee lawmakers have apparently settled on a compromise that could establish some of the toughest rules on opioid prescribing in the country, reports WPLN. Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal, after amendments, was approved by the Senate Health Committee Wednesday at what was billed as its final meeting of the year and also got the blessing of the House Health Subcommittee.

Continue reading

Christian conservative leader has legislators scuttle bill banning child marriage

A bill aimed at banning “child brides” in Tennessee is dead for the year after a former state senator and conservative activist asked it be delayed for fear it might interfere with his legal challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 ruling on same-sex marriage, reports the Times Free Press.

Continue reading

AG contradicts Jack Daniels’ bill — says whiskey barrels can be taxed

A legal opinion from the state attorney general’s office says the barrels used to age whiskey in Tennessee distilleries are subject to property taxes paid by businesses, despite a contention to the contrary in a bill pending before the General Assembly.

Producers of Jack Daniels whiskey have been pushing the bill (SB2076) since officials in Moore County laid plans to begin applying the tax to aging barrels, something not done in the past. The fiscal note prepared by legislative staff estimates that would mean about $2.8 million in new revenue for Tennessee’s smallest county.

Continue reading

Tennessee Tech disavows study used in lobbying, financed by trucking company

The president of Tennessee Tech University has disavowed a study used to help justify the repeal of tighter federal emissions standards for a type of freight trucks, reports the Washington Post. He says that experts now question “the methodology and accuracy” of the industry-funded test.

Continue reading

Lobbyists, legislators cut a deal on Sunday booze sales; House sub approves

Liquor stores would get to start selling their products on Sundays six months ahead of wine sales at other stores under legislation approved by the House State Government Subcommittee Thursday, reports the Times Free Press. That’s part of a deal on changes to state liquor laws that’s also intended to help liquor stores boost their profits otherwise.

The profits provision declares that liquor must be sold to retail customers at a price at least 20 percent higher than the wholesale cost to the store owner. State law already mandates a 20 percent markup on wine sales.

Continue reading