lobbyists

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

Bill to give legislators oversight of airports stirs flap in Northeast TN

Legislation introduced by Rep. Matthew Hill and Sen. Steve Southerland would create a board of state legislators to oversee – and overrule, if they wish – decisions made by regional airport authorities. The bill involves the Tri-Cities Airport Authority’s use of a $4.1 million state grant and is stirring controversy in Northeast Tennessee.

Continue reading

TMA criticizes Haslam’s ‘cookie-cutter’ opioid legislation, will lobby for revisions

Press release from Tennessee Medical Association

The Tennessee Medical Association Board of Trustees has adopted the following position on Governor Haslam’s TN Together plan for addressing the state’s opioid abuse epidemic. Our position is based on a thorough review of the proposed legislation and feedback from member physicians in various medical specialties and practice environments across the state.

·         The governor’s proposal unfairly labels and segregates patients. Definitions for “acute” and “opioid naïve” patients in the draft bill are confusing, impractical and unfair. Every person is different, yet the legislation would put some patients into multiple categories, set broad-brush restrictions and take away doctors’ medical discretion.

Continue reading