Tag Archives: cool

The Gov Gave Carrie Underwood an ‘Ag Gag’ Call

By Chris Talbott, AP Music Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Carrie¬†Underwood has found her voice on Twitter.
The country music star and former “American Idol” champion admitted 3¬Ĺ years ago she was afraid to join Twitter, but since deciding to take the leap in 2011 she’s embraced the social media tool in ways that go beyond fan engagement. Recently she used Twitter to oppose the “Ag Gag” bill in Tennessee, reaching out directly to Gov. Bill Haslam with a boldly worded message saying if he signed it “he needs to expect me at his front door.”
(Note: Previous post HERE)
It was the first time she’s taken a political stand so publicly, and it seemed to have an impact. Haslam contacted Underwood to discuss the issue and went on to veto the bill that opponents claimed would have stopped investigation into animal abuse on farms.
“He really just wanted to hear everybody’s point of view, which I really respected,” Underwood said in a recent interview. “So it’s kind of neat that (tweet) led to that, which was really cool.”
Dave Smith, spokesman for Tennessee’s Republican governor, said Haslam spoke to people on both sides and that Underwood’s was the only celebrity counsel he sought.
Underwood also recently declared “Hug a soldier day,” and puts her support behind movements like the “End It” anti-slavery campaign and animals rights. She has 2 million followers.
“Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a thinker and I’m a planner and I would never weigh in on anything unless I know the full story on it,” Underwood said. “So I do my research. I don’t think I’m a bandwagon kind of person. People are always retweeting sort of weird stuff. I do my own research. I’m not a political person at all. I doubt anyone can tell you what party I mostly affiliate myself with. But that was just something that was in my backyard.”
As you might expect, there was pushback. Rather than shrink from it, she responded with some grit.
“I realize it’s not necessarily so scary,” she said. “Most of the comments I get back on anything are positive. There’s the occasional negative one, but I enjoy blocking that person.”

Bill to Expand Average Classroom Size Gets Cool Reception

Republican legislators representing Rutherford County say a proposal by the governor that could raise the average classroom size in Tennessee schools is getting a cool reception in the General Assembly, reports the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.
State Sen. Jim Tracy told members of the Murfreesboro Education Association and Rutherford Education Association “the brakes” have been put on that legislation because of lawmakers’ concerns it could negatively affect classroom performance.
Tracy’s comments came during a legislative forum Thursday at Blackman High School where local educators raised questions about new laws and bills affecting education, and opposition to increasing the number of students in the classroom was a common theme.
Rutherford County Schools finance director Jeff Sandvig told the Rutherford legislative delegation that the move to eliminate requirements for average classroom sizes will lead to larger classrooms here and, ultimately, fewer teachers.
Gov. Bill Haslam, in his recent State of the State address, introduced a plan to free up money for higher teacher pay by changing the requirements on classroom sizes. Haslam also wants to eliminate the state salary schedule for teachers and give local systems authority to set up pay structures based on student test scores and evaluations.
The Basic Education Plan funding component will increase by $3,500 per teacher, but K-8 class sizes would increase by five students, which will lead to 200 fewer state-funded positions in Rutherford County schools, Sandvig said.
…Earlier, state Rep. Rick Womick told the audience he is not in favor of raising the average classroom size.
State Sen. Bill Ketron agreed that the proposal is complex because it took Department of Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman 25 minutes to explain it at a recent legislative breakfast….(Ketron also said the legislation “may be premature.”

GovOps Now the Cool Committee?

From Metro Pulse:
The Government Operations committee of the state House and Senate used to be sort of a thankless job; the chair was awarded to someone who had the seniority to be a chair, when the cool committees were already taken.
But with the Republican takeover of the House and Senate, suddenly the Government Ops committee is a cool place to be. Most state agencies or commissions are subjected to a “sunset” provision. This was a routine affair under the Democrats, but it has set up the possibility of a major shakeup in state government next session
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The item goes on to note that troubles afflicting the Judicial Evaluation Commission and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission will be resolved, at least initially, by the GovOps committees. And that’s cool.
The chairman of the cool House committee, btw, is Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City. In the Senate, former cool Chair Bo Watson has become Senate speaker pro tempore and is to be replaced by Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey. He’s widely expected to elevate Sen. Mike Bell, now vice chair, to the cool spot, but hasn’t done so just yet.