In-state tuition bill advances from House subcommitee

Gov. Bill Haslam, Rep. Mark White, and Sen. Todd Gardenhire pose for a photo with supporters of offering in-state tuition for students whose parents brought them to country illegally as children. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A House subcommittee on Tuesday advanced a bill to offer instate tuition to students regardless of their immigration status as long as they have spent at least three years in a Tennessee high school.

The bill has the support of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who met with more than 100 students on the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday. Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) said the challenge will be to get his bill through the full Education Administration and Planning Committee, where a similar bill was narrowly defeated last year.

Continue reading

Tennessee Journal flashback: Dear Grabby

This week’s Tennessee Journal flashback is from 1982, once again confirming that the more things change, the more things remain the same. Also, a funny joke about then-Gov. Lamar Alexander’s Perrier habit.

Bill making killer kids eligible for parole brings prosecutor protests, recalling 1997 triple murder

A bill that would make juvenile murderers eligible for parole after 30 years even if sentenced to life in prison has won approval of a House committee while touching off outspoken opposition from those recalling a 1997 triple slaying in Greene County, reports the Greeneville Sun.

HB274, filed last year by Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) and Sen. Becky Massey (R-Knoxville), cleared the House Criminal Justice Committee Feb. 28 after being amended to require 30 years in prison instead of 20, as proposed in the original version. It is on notice for a hearing this week in the House Finance Subcommittee. The bill’s fiscal note estimates that it could eventually save the state more than $4 million in incarceration expenses.

District Attorney General Dan Armstrong calls it “the Lillelid Injustice Bill” because it could apply to two juveniles convicted in the 1997 murders, though they received three consecutive life without parole sentences plus 25 years.

Continue reading

Nine Tennesseans make 2018 Forbes rich list; Jimmy Haslam richer than Trump, but not Bill

Nine Tennesseans are on Forbes’ 2018 list of the world’s richest people, including Gov. Bill Haslam, who the magazine had declared the nation’s richest politician prior to the election of President Donald Trump.

Trump is still ahead of Haslam in wealth — $3.1 billion of net worth to the governor’s $2.3 billion, by the Forbes estimate. That’s down a bit from last year for the president, who has declared Forbes underestimates his wealth. It’s unchanged for the governor, who has always refused to discuss the “private matter” of his fortune, based on the family-owned Pilot Flying J chain of gas stations.

Jimmy Haslam, the governor’s brother and CEO of Pilot, is listed with a net worth of $3.4 billion – ahead of the president as well as his brother.

Continue reading

Alexander, Corker pitch better pay for songwriters (with songwriting Sen. Hatch)

Press release from Sen. Bob Corker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today spoke with a group of Nashville songwriters about legislation they introduced earlier this year to help ensure songwriters are paid fair market value for their songs. The legislation – the Music Modernization Act – would set up a new simplified licensing entity to make it easier for digital music companies to obtain a license to play songs and ensure songwriters are paid the royalties they are owed.

Continue reading

Bredesen discusses Trump in second TV ad

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen has released his second ad in which he discusses his feelings about President Donald Trump.

Look, I’m not running against Donald Trump,” Bredesen says in the spot, pledging to support the president’s initiatives when they’re good for the state, and to oppose them when they’re not.

“I think that’s what senators ought to do,” the former governor says.

That’s a more qualified approach than Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s blanket statements of support for the president.

Continue reading

Special election provides fodder for statewide races

The outcome of Tuesday’s special state Senate election in the 14th District won’t make much difference in the how the upper chamber of the General Assembly is operated. The GOP supermajority will be firmly in place regardless. But both parties are hoping that the race will hurt opposing candidates in the U.S. Senate and governor’s races.

Continue reading

Gay couple protests TNGOP use of wedding photo in attack ad; more media reporting on Senate District 14

A direct mail attack ad against Democratic state Senate candidate Gayle Jordan uses a picture of her with two gay men – she officiated at their marriage – who have consulted a lawyer because the photograph was lifted from a Facebook page and used without their permission, reports WSMV.

Shane Morgan, an Air Force veteran who suffers from PTSD, said he and his husband, Landon, were married by Jordan in December as private citizens and didn’t sign up to be caught in mudslinging. The attack mailer has a headline over the picture saying, “Liberal Gayle Jordan will destroy the fabric of American society. Take her word for it.”

Continue reading

Blackburn, DesJarlais rally for Reeves; another Republican urges ‘protest vote’ for Democrat

U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Scott DesJarlais urged support for Republican state Senate candidate Shane Reeves on Saturday while the Murfreesboro Post reports a former GOP congressional and state Senate candidate is urging voters to cast a “protest vote” for Democrat Gayle Jordan instead.

Continue reading

Knox County mayor candidate arrested in California

Knox County mayoral candidate Rhonda “Mousie” Gallman is being held in a California jail on $100,000 bond after being arrested as arrested in Los Angeles on charges of preventing a witness from testifying in court, reports the News Sentinel.

Continue reading