Pro-Trump super PAC and Club for Growth backing Blackburn

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of has been endorsed by two more big conservative political organizations in her run for the U.S. Senate, reports the Nashville Post.

The pro-Trump super PAC Great America Alliance endorsed Blackburn, saying, “The best way to advance the ‘America First’ movement is to hold elected leaders accountable — get on board and get the job done or be replaced by someone who will.”

And the anti-tax, free market 501(c)(4) Club for Growth has also endorsed Blackburn, along with state Sen. Mark Green (R-Ashland City), who officially filed with the FEC on Friday to raise money for a run for Blackburn’s current 7th District Congressional seat.

Continue reading

Bredesen now considering run for U.S. Senate

Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, who previously had said he wasn’t interested in running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Bob Corker next year, now says he re-considering the idea after being contacted by several people who urged him to do so.

His comments came in a statement to the Associated Press:

 “In the days ahead, I’m going to do some research, talk with people and carefully think this through,” he said. “I’ll make a decision quickly.”

Bredesen, who turns 74 next month, served two terms as governor, leaving office in January, 2011. The only announced Democrat for the Senate seat, so far, is Nashville attorney James Mackler – though Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke says he’s also eyeing a run.

Blackburn bashed over bill undercutting DEA authority over opioid distribution

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, now running for the U.S. Senate, is cited in a 60 Minutes report as a leading proponent of legislation approved by Congress – after heavy lobbying by the drug manufacturing industry — that apparently undercut the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s authority to oversee distribution of products involved in the national opioid abuse crisis.

The report has brought a round of criticism aimed at Blackburn from Democrats and former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, who is exploring a run against Blackburn for the Republican nomination to U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Bob Corker.

Continue reading

TN September tax collections $58.8M over estimates

News release from Department of Finance and Administration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee’s revenues exceeded budgeted estimates for the second month of the state’s fiscal year.  Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin today reported that overall September revenues were $1.4 billion, which is $48.3 million more than September of last year and $58.8 million more than the budgeted estimate. The growth rate for September was 3.68%.

Continue reading

Haslam fills 217 positions on state boards and commissions

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the appointments of 217 Tennesseans to 93 boards and commissions.

“By serving on our state boards and commissions, these Tennesseans are helping us provide responsive, effective and efficient service to their fellow citizens,” Haslam said. “I am grateful for their service and know they will well represent the people of Tennessee.” 

Appointment terms are varied due to differing statutory requirements or term limits determined by specific qualifications.

The appointments are listed below:

 

Advisory Committee for Purchase From the Blind and Other Severely Disabled

Continue reading

Fincher already contrasting himself with Blackburn

Stephen Fincher hasn’t yet declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, but the Associated Press reports he is drawing a stark contrast between himself and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who launched her campaign for the Republican nomination within an hour of Gov. Bill Haslam’s announcement that he isn’t running.

Continue reading

Commission votes against moving N.B. Forrest statute

Meeting in Athens, the Tennessee Historical Commission on Friday denied the City of Memphis’ request to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from a city park, reports the Commercial Appeal. The vote came after two hours of discussion.

City Attorney Bruce McMullen said he intends to file an appeal with the Chancery Court in Davidson County within the 60 days allotted by law.

Separately, the commission approved the city’s request to seek a declaratory order from an administrative law judge this November on whether the city even needs a waiver to remove the statue. State lawmakers didn’t add protections of historical figures to the language of the state’s preservation law until 2016, after the city filed the waiver. A previous version of the law protected “war memorials” but not statues like Forrest’s.

Further, from the Memphis Flyer:

Before the commission voted, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told the commission he is speaking on behalf of a very united Memphis that wants the statue removed.

“But first we must understand and come to terms with why this statue exists in the first place,” Strickland said, citing that the statue was put in its current location 40 years after the Civil War, just as Jim Crow laws were becoming active. “It’s a monument to Jim Crow.”

Strickland concluded by adding that his administration has respected the legal process thus far and he asked that the commission would “respect the will of Memphis” and formally take up the waiver request.

However, Sons of Confederate Veterans spokesperson Lee Millar told the commission the picture that Strickland painted about Memphis’ consensus to remove the statue is not accurate. Thousands of Memphians say leave history alone, he said.

One of those Memphians is history teacher Elizabeth Adams, who told the commission that everyone is not in agreement with the mayor and city council.

“If you don’t know your history, you are doomed to repeat it,” Adams said. “Next they’ll want to remove the crosses from our churches.”

Steven Stout, an attorney with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, advised the commission not to vote on the waiver until after the new THC rule-making process is completed and becomes effective, which could take until February.

“It would be a poor decision to not vote until the rules are adopted,” Stout said.

He added it is “practically impossible” to take a vote and provide reasoning for the vote without referencing the rules. This could present legal challenges in the future. He says his counsel is aimed to make the commission “less vulnerable.”

But, after nearly two hours of hearing comments and discussion, commissioner Keith Norman of Memphis made a motion to vote on the waiver, which was seconded by Beverly Robertson, also of Memphis. Norman and Robertson are two of three African Americans on the commission.

More TNReady troubles: Test scores wrong for 9,400 students

About 9,400 students across the state received incorrect scores in this year’s TNReady testing, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee. Seems the testing vendor, Questar, used a scanning program that included an error.

According to an email to (Shelby County school) board members Friday, the errors were isolated to English I and II and Integrated Math II tests for high school students.

Continue reading

Corker laments Trump’s ‘castration’ of U.S. secretary of state

Excerpt from a Washington Post piece based on an interview with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker:

(A)s Corker sees it, the biggest problem is that Trump is neutering his own chief diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and thereby inviting “binary” situations in which the United States will have to choose between war and a North Korea or Iran capable of threatening the United States with nuclear weapons.

“You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice,” Corker told me in a phone interview Friday. “The tweets — yes, you raise tension in the region [and] it’s very irresponsible. But it’s the first part” — the “castration” of Tillerson — “that I am most exercised about.”

Continue reading

Lobbying trio sets up new firm

Veteran lobbyists Courtney Atnip, J.A. Bucy and Dustin Goforth launched their own company, Capitol & 5th Public Strategies, reports Nashville Post Politics.

The new lobbying firm will serve corporate, government and non-profit organizations in areas like technology, finance, tourism, food and beverage and health care.  

Continue reading

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.