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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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(Jeff) Miller time at the Cordell Hull?

miller-mug2After a 12-year absence, former state Sen. Jeff Miller has returned to the General Assembly as a lobbyist for a golf cart company that he has represented as a lawyer. And he is soliciting more business.

“Many of the legislators I worked with still serve and we have remained in touch,” Miller writes in a solicitation letter “to whom it may concern” that has raised some eyebrows as it was circulated around  the Cordell Hull building.

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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.

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Defense lawyers name new executive director

Press release from Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 30, 2018) – The Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is proud to announce Denise Lawrence as Executive Director.

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Tori Venable is new TN head of Americans for Prosperity

Press release from Americans for Prosperity

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN), the leading grassroots advocacy organization in Tennessee with over 46,000 activists, announced Tori Venable will head the chapter as State Director.

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Knox County school board renews lobbying contract, criticizes legislators

The Knox County Schools Board of Education voted to continue paying for lobbying at the Legislature Wednesday after a discussion that included criticism of legislators, reports the News Sentinel.

“It’s been our local lawmakers pushing forward on harmful legislation that has impacted our schools and all schools in Tennessee,” said board member Jennifer Owen. “They accuse board members of only being interested in what teachers want and refuse to acknowledge the decades of experience many of us have in education.”

The board voted 7-2 to approve the funding for the lobbying group, Millsaps Gowan Government Relations. Knox County Schools will pay the group $37,500 to renew the contract it shares with the three other largest school districts across the state.  (Note: That’s known as the Coalition of Large School Systems.)

…”Our legislators refuse to listen to us in meetings and have gone so far as to insult board members in person and deny us access to meetings they have with teachers,” Owen went on. “It’s sad we need a lobbying group to let our legislators hear our concerns rather than have them shared by our own representatives.”

…’Myself personally and other members of the board have reached out numerous times to this delegation and tried to grow our relationship with them,” said board member Amber Rountree.

She said the board “does not have a relationship with the delegation where we’re on the same page.”

“I would be open to suggestions on how we can foster a positive relationship because I know I’m not the only one who has tried to work with our representatives and have a conversation that involves empirical data showing that things like Pre-K are absolutely essential,” Rountree said.

“We have experienced some adverse legislation from our delegation, but I think that speaks to our responsibility to get the types of things into legislation that we want,” Norman said. “To go ahead and spend this kind of money on a lobbyist when it’s our responsibility, I just don’t agree with it, so I’ll be voting against it.”

‘Myself personally and other members of the board have reached out numerous times to this delegation and tried to grow our relationship with them,” said board member Amber Rountree. She said the board “does not have a relationship with the delegation where we’re on the same page.”