Beth Harwell

Guber campaign money: Boyd sets new record for self-financing (Lee and Black close behind)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd has set a new record for self-financing in a Tennessee political campaign, a review of financial disclosures filed this week shows. Williamson County businessman Bill Lee has also clearly passed U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s old record and Diane Black has roughly matched it.

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Byrd running for re-election despite sexual misconduct scandal

Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) has announced he will seek re-election despite allegations of sexual misconduct with three of his teenage basketball players when he was their 28-year-old high school basketball coach.

Byrd spent much of Thursday’s floor session wandering around House chamber trying to drum up support among fellow lawmakers, embracing some of them and exchanging cell phone numbers. Byrd, who incorporates his nickname “Coach” and the outline of a basketball in his logo, may well benefit from this week’s candidate filing deadline to avoid serious opposition in this year’s election.

But Republicans worried about tighter-than-usual races in other districts likely won’t welcome having to defend inevitable political attacks based on Byrd’s candidacy.

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Byrd denies wrongdoing as lawmaker, ‘disappointed’ in Harwell

Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) attends a House committee meeting on March 28, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Statement from State Representative David Byrd (R–Waynesboro):

“First, let me say that I have done nothing wrong or inappropriate during my term as state representative for the 71st District, which I proudly serve. I am disappointed that Speaker Harwell so quickly publicly turned her back on me but understand her political posture.

Second, these recent allegations of inappropriate contact, never before made, date back over three decades ago and are disheartening to me, and my family. One must question the motives of these three former students out of the hundreds of students I have coached.

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Rep. David Byrd accused of sexual misconduct; Harwell says he should resign

State Rep. David  Byrd has been accused by three women of having inappropriate sexual contact with them while he was a high school basketball coach and they were teenagers, according to WSMV. House Speaker Beth Harwell promptly called for the Waynesboro Republican to resign from his House seat after being provided a secretly-recorded tape of Byrd apologizing to one of the women. Continue reading

McNally blocks Senate vote on Harwell’s work-for-Medicaid bill

House Speaker Beth Harwell was caught “completely off guard” Thursday when Senate Speaker Randy McNally stopped a scheduled floor vote on her House-approved bill that imposes work requirements on some able-bodied adult Medicaid enrollees, reports the Times Free Press.

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House votes (along party lines) to require work for some on TennCare

The state House voted 72-23 Monday night to direct the Haslam administration to seek a waiver of federal Medicaid rules to develop a plan imposing a work requirement on some able-bodied TennCare enrollees, reports the Times Free Press.

The vote on HB1551) sponsored by House Speaker Beth Harwell and presented by Rep. Dan Howell (R-Georgetown)  was along party lines – Republicans yes and Democrats no (with the exception of Rep. John Mark Windle of Livingston). There was spirited debate.

The measure now awaits a Senate floor vote.  Gov. Bill Haslam has said he sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

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Democratic leader: Harwell’s TennCare work bill is a ‘political stunt’ using financial gimmicks

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart says House Speaker Beth Harwell’s bill to impose work requirements on some people enrolled in the state’s TennCare program is “a political stunt to get votes in the governor’s race” and relies on “fairy tale” financial gimmicks to cover projected costs, reports the Times Free Press.

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Speakers retaliate against California: No state-paid travel to NCSL convention

From an AP report, as appearing in a California newspaper:

Tennessee’s Republican House and Senate leaders say the state isn’t paying lawmakers or staffers to attend a California legislative summit.

In a letter Thursday, Senate Speaker Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell said the state won’t cover the National Conference of State Legislatures conference trip in Los Angeles because of California’s ban on state-paid trips to Tennessee.

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Registry dismisses campaign finance complaints against Black, delays decision on Harwell

From an AP brief

A Tennessee panel has dismissed two campaign finance complaints against Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black in her gubernatorial bid.

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance dismissed complaints Wednesday that claim Black exceeded campaign contribution limits through donations from people and entities related to Tennessee trucking company Fitzgerald Glider Kits.

Linda Knight, a Black campaign attorney, called the allegations frivolous and baseless.

The registry delayed three complaints against Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell in her rival gubernatorial campaign until May. They claim Harwell’s political committee helped her campaign beyond legal limits and that she doesn’t have the money to support a $3.1 million campaign self-loan.

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Harwell’s PAC puts up second ad promoting House speaker

Just days after her campaign was hit with an ethics complaint alleging House Speaker Beth Harwell’s gubernatorial campaign has illegally coordinated with her political action committee in running one TV ad, the PAC has begun airing a second commercial promoting Harwell, reports the Nashville Post.

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