lobbyists

Defense lawyers name new executive director

Press release from Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 30, 2018) – The Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is proud to announce Denise Lawrence as Executive Director.

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Tori Venable is new TN head of Americans for Prosperity

Press release from Americans for Prosperity

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN), the leading grassroots advocacy organization in Tennessee with over 46,000 activists, announced Tori Venable will head the chapter as State Director.

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Knox County school board renews lobbying contract, criticizes legislators

The Knox County Schools Board of Education voted to continue paying for lobbying at the Legislature Wednesday after a discussion that included criticism of legislators, reports the News Sentinel.

“It’s been our local lawmakers pushing forward on harmful legislation that has impacted our schools and all schools in Tennessee,” said board member Jennifer Owen. “They accuse board members of only being interested in what teachers want and refuse to acknowledge the decades of experience many of us have in education.”

The board voted 7-2 to approve the funding for the lobbying group, Millsaps Gowan Government Relations. Knox County Schools will pay the group $37,500 to renew the contract it shares with the three other largest school districts across the state.  (Note: That’s known as the Coalition of Large School Systems.)

…”Our legislators refuse to listen to us in meetings and have gone so far as to insult board members in person and deny us access to meetings they have with teachers,” Owen went on. “It’s sad we need a lobbying group to let our legislators hear our concerns rather than have them shared by our own representatives.”

…’Myself personally and other members of the board have reached out numerous times to this delegation and tried to grow our relationship with them,” said board member Amber Rountree.

She said the board “does not have a relationship with the delegation where we’re on the same page.”

“I would be open to suggestions on how we can foster a positive relationship because I know I’m not the only one who has tried to work with our representatives and have a conversation that involves empirical data showing that things like Pre-K are absolutely essential,” Rountree said.

“We have experienced some adverse legislation from our delegation, but I think that speaks to our responsibility to get the types of things into legislation that we want,” Norman said. “To go ahead and spend this kind of money on a lobbyist when it’s our responsibility, I just don’t agree with it, so I’ll be voting against it.”

‘Myself personally and other members of the board have reached out numerous times to this delegation and tried to grow our relationship with them,” said board member Amber Rountree. She said the board “does not have a relationship with the delegation where we’re on the same page.”

Lobbyist Anne Carr retiring after 37 years

Anne Carr, among the first women to become an active lobbyist at the Tennessee General Assembly, is retiring after almost four decades. She started with the Tennesee State Employees Association and continued through the founding of the firm Smith Harris Carr.

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ACU legislator ratings: TN Senate more conservative than House

The American Conservative Union Foundation has produced its rating of Tennessee legislators for 2017, giving the state Senate an overall average score of 86 and the House an average of 70 percent in voting the way the group wanted on selected issues.

The average for Republicans in the Senate was 91 percent; for Democrats 57 percent. In the House, Republicans averaged 82 percent; Democrats 34 percent. One could thus draw the not-too-surprising inference that the Senate is notably more divided on a partisan basis than the House — and overall more conservative.

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Leslie Hafner leaves Harwell’s office

Press release from House Speaker Beth Harwell’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell today announced that Leslie Hafner, Senior Advisor to the Speaker, will be leaving the House of Representatives to return to the private sector.

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ECD deemed winner of Beacon’s TN 2017 ‘Pork of the Year’ award

Press release from Beacon Center of Tennessee

In the 12th annual Tennessee Pork Report, the Beacon Center revealed that state and local government officials wasted more than $400 million of taxpayer money this past year.

The Pork Report highlights a combination of government mismanagement, incompetence, and outright fraud. The Beacon Center allowed Tennesseans to choose the infamous “Pork of the Year” award, and it really came down to the wire. After nearly 400 votes were cast, the “winner” of the award was the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development for their Industrial Machinery Tax Credit. The department took 34% of the vote in the public poll.

In one of the most inefficient instances of corporate welfare in recent years, Tennessee taxpayers paid a whopping $67 million annually for a mere 55 jobs per year from 2011-2014, which adds up to $1.2 million per job. Even if the program’s main goal isn’t to create jobs, it is not the government’s role to help buy equipment for some private companies on the backs of Tennessee taxpayers. The $14 million of tax dollars given to the Opryland Hotel to build a waterpark (that residents are not even allowed to use) came in a close second with nearly 32% of the vote. Former Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold and the state Jobs4TN Program came in the 3rd and 4th with 19% and 15%, respectively.

The Beacon Center prints the Pork Report every year to make sure state and local governments are held accountable for how ineffectively they spend our tax dollars. The wasteful spending in this report should make Tennesseans’ blood boil. We hope that government officials will use this report to slash wasteful spending in 2018.

The 2017 Pork Report comes from state and local budgets, media reports, state audits, and independent research conducted by Beacon Center staff and scholars.

Note: The full 2017 “Pork Report” is HERE. Excerpt of some highlighted stuff as ‘nominated’ for Pork of the Year:

Jobs4TN: This state-based program has been taking millions of taxpayer dollars for years, spending more than $60 million in 2016- 2017 alone. This money then goes to a select few fortunate companies for their hiring and professional development needs, empowering government to pick winners and losers, and leaving left-out employers across the state to compete with these subsidized businesses.

Opryland Waterpark: The city of Nashville decided to give $14 million to Gaylord Opryland Hotel to construct a waterpark, and while taxpayers are footing the bill, the waterpark is open only to those staying at the hotel.

• Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD): ECD’s Industrial Machinery Tax Credit has doled out an astonishing $1.2 million in taxpayer money…per job. The tax credit has created just 55 total jobs at a cost of nearly $67 million.

• A Sheriff’s E-Cigarette Inmate Scheme: Former Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold profiteered off a captive audience of local inmates who were sold e-cigarettes from Arnold’s company—earning him and his wife nearly $75,000 over the course of their scheme, which was later exposed by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

Note: Arnold pleaded guilty to corruption charges and was sentenced to four years in prison. Randy Boyd, who resigned as ECD commissioner earlier this year, is running for governor.

ALEC meeting brings conservative legislators from across nation to Nashville

Conservative activists and state legislators from across the country will gather in Nashville for a summit of the American Legislative Exchange Council that runs from Wednesday through Friday, reports WPLN. Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to address the group Thursday.

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TN Beacon Center sets up ‘advocacy’ affiliate

Press release from Beacon Center of Tennessee

NASHVILLE – Today, the Beacon Center of Tennessee announced the formation of Beacon Impact, a new 501(c)(4) organization that will serve as the think tank’s advocacy partner. 

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TN Bankers Association names Heaslet as new counsel/lobbyist

News release from Tennessee Bankers Association

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 14, 2017) – Amy Smith Heaslet has been named general counsel and senior vice president of the Tennessee Bankers Association and elected secretary of its board of directors, TBA President Colin Barrett has announced.

In her new role, Heaslet will lead advocacy initiatives on legislative and regulatory issues and policies that affect the banking industry and will serve as an adviser to the TBA board of directors, officers and member banks. She was previously the TBA’s deputy counsel.

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