bill haslam

Senate signs off on Haslam restructuring of UT Board of Trustees, 27-3

The state Senate approved 27-3 Tennessee Monday evening Gov. Bill Haslam’s legislation to restructure  the University of Tennessee board of trustees, slashing the main governing panel from 27 to 11 members and creating “advisory” boards for each of the system’s four campuses. A few critics noted that there will now be 39 appointees on five boards overseeing UT operations under the “FOCUS Act” and questioned whether that is actual streamlining.

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Haslam adds $74M to budget bill; $30M for school safety, $10M for aviation grants

Press release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today proposed $30 million to improve school safety across the state in the amendment to the fiscal year 2018-19 budget proposal to be considered by the General Assembly in the coming weeks.

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Haslam: “Leave James and Sarah where they are”

A visitor walks by the tomb of James K. Polk tomb in Nashville on March 13, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Knoxville News Sentinel caught up with Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday, asking him about a variety of issues including his feelings about a work requirement for TennCare recipients (he supports the bill), his NCAA bracket (it’s busted), and calls to exhume the bodies of President James K. Polk and and his wife, Sarah, from the grounds of the state Capitol grounds and move them to Columbia.

Haslam said he’d be disinclined to move the Polks: “I guess if the vote was up to me I’d leave them buried there on the grounds.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Reports of guns in TN schools running at double national average

Tennessee has double the national rate of kids caught bringing a gun or possessing one at school, state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen told the opening session of Gov. Bill Haslam’s working group on school safety on Thursday. At the same time, the state currently has just 865 school resource officers assigned to protect an estimated 1 million children in the state’s schools.

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Haslam spokeswoman: ‘Political affiliation did not play a role’ in appointing school safety panel

Through a spokeswoman, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s office is pushing back against criticism of his appointments to a  task force assigned to study school safety and recommend revisions in state laws or policy, reports the Times Free Press. Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris has been the lead critic, saying the 16-member panel is solid Republican with no Democratic members “where a bipartisan consensus is sorely needed.”

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Haslam appoints school security task force

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has announced a 17-member task force to evaluate ways to improve school safety in Tennessee.

The governor has asked the  group chaired by Safety Commissioner David Purkey  to “move quickly in making practical recommendations” before the end of the current legislative session.

UPDATE: Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris (D-Memphis) criticized the governor for setting up “a solid Republican task force on an issue where bipartisan consensus is sorely needed.”

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Haslam: No executive order to restore net neutrality in TN (but there’s a bill)

Gov. Bill Haslam is spurning request from Democratic state legislators that he join some other governor in issuing an executive order to preserve “net neutrality,” reports the Nashville Post. Rep. John Ray Clemmons of Nashville and Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis wrote him a letter last week with the request, which could have restored regulations repealed by the Federal Communications Commission.

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