NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A legal opinion issued by the state Attorney General Bob Cooper outlines exactly when it’s legal for blue flashing lights to be used as part of a funeral procession in Tennessee.
The opinion requested by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet says that only full-time law enforcement officers can use blue flashing lights while escorting funeral processions — as long as it’s part of their official duty to do so. That standard applies even if they are off-duty and being paid for private security.
The attorney general said non-law enforcement may not use blue or red flashing lights of any kind, though escort vehicles can be equipped with amber lights. Note: The full opinion, answering 10 questions, is HERE.
In addition to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag, an official “Salute to the Tennessee flag” is now part of the state Senate’s opening ceremony at the start of a day’s meeting.
The first recitation came Thursday in compliance with a Senate Rules Committee proposal adopted earlier by the full Senate.
Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, the Legislature’s senior member, had proposed the recitation and led colleagues on the first occasion. The salute goes like this: “Three white stars on a field of blue
God keep them strong and ever true.
It is with pride and love that we
Salute the flag of Tennessee.”
During a committee meeting, Henry acknowledged that some senators were not familiar with the salute yet. He quoted Sen. Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, jokingly suggesting a variation: “Three starts upon a field of blue. I don’t know the rest and neither do you.”
Political action committees connected to the health industry gave a combined $71,000 to U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ successful re-election effort, according to the Chattanooga TFP. But at least six PACs that gave to DesJarlais’ 2012 campaign, including local insurance giants BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Unum, said they won’t give again in 2014. “Anytime you support someone, you have an association with them,” BlueCross spokesman Roy Vaughn said. “That becomes difficult if their behavior is something that doesn’t reflect well on your organization.”
Another half-dozen PACs representing health professionals, hospitals, nursing homes and health insurance companies said they haven’t decided on DesJarlais. The remaining 15 that donated to the physician-turned-congressman did not respond to a Chattanooga Times Free Press inquiry.
DesJarlais said he plans to seek a third term in 2014.
News release from Secretary of State’s office:
The 2011-2012 Tennessee Blue Book, considered the manual of state government and state history, is now available online.
The Blue Book can be accessed by visiting http://state.tn.us/sos/bluebook/index.htm.
“Making the Blue Book available online is another way we can provide better service to our customers, the citizens of Tennessee,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “The newest edition of the Blue Book has updated graphics, photos and other enhancements that have not been available in previous editions. The staff of our Publications Division has embraced my challenge to look for new ways to add value to the work that we do here.”
The Blue Book is published every two years by the Secretary of State’s office. It contains valuable information about the legislative, executive and judicial branches of state government – including biographical information about top elected and appointed officials. It also includes biographical information about the state’s representatives in Congress, a detailed history of the state, information about historical sites around Tennessee, statistics about cities and counties, election results, state symbols, and much more.
The online archived Blue Books date back to the 2005-2006 Tenenssee Blue Book. To view the archived books, please visit http://state.tn.us/sos/bluebook/index.htm and scroll down to “Archived Blue Books.”
The current edition of the Blue Book is dedicated to the Lt. Gov. Ronald L. Ramsey and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell for their service to the state of Tennessee.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has formed a political action committee to lobby the federal government, reports the Chattanooga TFP. The move comes with PACs in the health more than doubling their contributions to federal candidates in the last 10 years. The Chattanooga-based organization already had a state PAC and contributed to BlueCross BlueShield’s national federal PAC, spokeswoman Mary Danielson said in an email.
The organization sent out a fundraising letter to about 2,500 of its 5,300 employees statewide earlier this month, asking for contributions to both its state TPAC and federal BluePac.
“As you are well aware, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we are in a new political environment of opportunities and challenges for our company and industry,” the letter from CEO Vicky Gregg says. “Your support of our PAC is important in giving us an opportunity to help determine who will govern us and who will set the business climate in which we operate.”
The letter includes suggested monthly contribution levels for managers, directors and vice presidents. The suggested amounts range from $10 to $50 per month for the newly created BluePac and $10 to $75 per month for TPAC
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The latest edition of the Tennessee Blue Book are being delivered to the state Capitol.
Secretary of State Tre Hargett said Friday that the state has ordered 54,600 copies of the official guide to Tennessee government and history.
The 2011-2012 edition features new graphics highlighting lawmakers’ districts, and shaded tabs for easier browsing of the nearly 800-page book that is used a reference by schoolchildren, educators, archivists, journalists, government officials and other citizens.
Lawmakers routinely give copies to constituents and other visitors to the Capitol.
Hargett dedicated the volume to the Republican speakers of the House and Senate, Sen. Ron Ramsey of Blountville and Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville.
The previous version was dedicated to Tennessee service members killed in combat since 9/11
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender business owners in a push for supplier diversity is generating fire and brimstone from a conservative Christian advocacy group headed by former state Sen. David Fowler…. and Andy Sher has the story. In an email, the one-time Signal Mountain attorney who is now president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee accuses the Chattanooga-based insurer of having “officially joined the ‘culture wars’ with a quiet little move.”
“Appears that the insurer is trading in its traditional blue for a rainbow of colors,” jabbed Fowler, alluding to the color blue BlueCross uses in promotions and the multicolored gay-pride flag.
He cites an Aug. 24 letter BlueCross sent to company suppliers. In it, BlueCross states the company, through its Supplier Diversity Team, is “passionately adopting the spirit of diversity within its supplier business relationships,” including lesbian-, gay-, bisexual- and transgender-owned businesses.
Fowler said that if BlueCross is “so passionate” about the issue, “where were the press releases? Maybe they didn’t want to be too ‘loud’ about it because they didn’t want all their conservative, pro-family premium payers to realize that their premium dollars were going to support the advancement and cultural acceptance of homosexual conduct.”
…BlueCross spokeswoman Mary Danielson said diversity outreach is nothing new for the nonprofit insurers, which has private pay customers but also extensive state and federal government contracts.
“BlueCross is committed to supplier diversity as a good business practice,” Danielson said by email. “As part of that effort we regularly mail a supplier self certification form to our 3,000 vendors. We mail this form to update their business classification records in our system. Those classifications, provided by the federal government, cover a range of groups.
“Additionally,” Danielson said, “maintaining accurate vendor record information is a federal requirement when serving as a government contractor.”
..(Fowler) speculated that BlueCross’ move may stem from what he says was a backlash from national gay organizations this spring after the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed a Fowler-generated bill that banned cities from enacting ordinances banning anti-gay discrimination by local government-contractors.
Statement from Mike McWherter announcing the launch of his new ‘communication resource:‘
April 20, 2011 – Tomorrow you will be receiving a daily email from me titled “Out of the Blue.” It is designed to summarize the “Daily Buzz” of events happening around the state. It is not designed to be an “editorial,” but rather a short version of comments by others from around the state on current affairs.
Of course, with the legislature in session, many of the comments will center on their activities for now. My hope is this information will be useful in generating “coffee shop” talk throughout our state and provide you with commentary to engage in meaningful dialogue with your friends and acquaintances. Please feel free to forward this information onto others with whom you wish to share.
During my campaign for Governor, I realized a need to capture traditional and new media content in an easily accessible format to measure the thoughts of various constituencies. I am truly grateful to my supporters from the gubernatorial campaign, and in launching this communication tool, my goal is to help keep them informed.
Many of you may be like me in finding it difficult to have the time to navigate all the different sources available online. This is an attempt to summarize the “daily buzz” from around the state. Trace Sharp, former newspaper editor and social media expert, has graciously agreed to staff this effort. I hope you find it useful and informative.
So many candidates walk away and “fold the tent” following their races. I want to remain an active Democrat and do everything I possibly can to promote the values our party. Due to the recent illness of my father, Governor Ned McWherter, we were forced to delay this venture, but now we are moving forward.
Let me assure you, this is not an attempt to usurp any efforts by our leadership, but merely to help enhance communication efforts. United we can stand and develop an environment in our state which serves everyone, not just a privileged few.
To subscribe to “Out of the Blue” (go to)… http://bluetn.com/.