Tag Archives: flag

DesJarlais, Fleischmann want flags lowered nationwide

Two Southeast Tennessee congressmen are complaining that President Obama has not ordered American flags lowered nationwide in tribute to five servicemen killed in last week’s Chattanooga shootings, reports the Times-Free Press.

“I am disappointed that this is the case,” U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann told Times Free Press editors and reporters Monday. “We have asked at our federal offices that they be lowered to [half-staff], as well as at the Oak Ridge facility, and they have acquiesced.”

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais had similar comments Monday.

“It needs to happen, and it needs to happen soon,” he told Fox News Insider.

…Gov. Bill Haslam ordered banners at state facilities lowered a day after the shootings. And he extended that period of mourning through July 24 — one business day for each of the five servicemen who died.

But President Barack Obama has not ordered flags to be lowered nationally.

…Obama lowered flags one day after 13 service members were killed and 30 wounded in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009. And in July 2012, the White House lowered flags for the victims of the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. Later that year, when students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary were slain in Newtown, Conn., the White House ordered banners lowered.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a briefing for reporters Monday that Obama has expressed his condolences to the families of those who were killed, but Earnest couldn’t comment on the flag status. He said Obama may have more to say today during a meeting with the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“I would anticipate that you’ll hear the president discuss this a little bit more in his remarks to the VFW [Tuesday]. I don’t have more information about the status of the flag over the White House,” Earnest said.

Haslam Flags Medicaid Expansion Legislation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration has served written notice that it opposes a freshman Republican lawmaker’s bill to block Medicaid expansion under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
Leslie Hafner, the governor’s legislative director, wrote in a Monday letter to Rep. Jeremy Durham of Franklin that the administration opposes the bill on philosophical grounds.
Haslam spokesman David Smith said the governor has sent a similar letter to Democratic sponsors of a bill encouraging the state to participate in an expansion of Medicaid.
The governor has said he plans to make a recommendation to Legislature about whether to pursue an expansion by the end of the month.
The U.S. Supreme Court has left a decision on Medicaid expansion up to the states, though the federal government will pick up most of the cost.

Haslam Flags 22 Bills, Including Motorcycle Helmets, Guns in Schools

Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration has officially voiced opposition to 22 bills pending in the Legislature, including measures revising the state’s motorcycle helmet law, allowing school faculty and staff to carry guns and increasing the penalty for motorists not wearing a seat belt.
The governor this year is not issuing formal “flag letters” to legislators except when there are “philosophical” objections to the measure, according to gubernatorial spokesman David Smith.
In the past, Haslam also issued “fiscal flags” against bills that called for what the governor deemed inappropriate state spending. But this year, Smith said the administration policy is to caution against any legislation that has a “fiscal note,” prepared by legislative staff, projecting a need for spending that is not part of Haslam’s budget proposal for the coming year.
“Basically, any bill with a fiscal note with at least $1 of impact on the state budget would get a fiscal flag since it’s not accounted for in the budget proposal (under prior practice),” Smith wrote in an email. “So we stopped issuing a letter because between our office issuing a letter and a non-administration bill having a fiscal note we found those efforts duplicative.”
In response to a News Sentinel request, the governor’s office provided copies of all “philosophical flag” letters that have been sent to legislators this year as of Friday. The form letters, signed by Leslie Hafner, the governor’s chief legislative liaison, do not explain reasons for opposition, but state that an administration representative will seek a meeting with the lawmaker for discussion.
“The administration understands this is an important issue to you and is cognizant of your efforts. The administration, however, respectfully disagrees with this legislation in its current form,” says a standard line in most of the letters.
Here is a list of the bills questioned by Haslam:

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Senate Saluting ‘Three White Stars on a Field of Blue’

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.”

Mayor Fact Checks State Rep’s Flag Remarks, Finds Fault

Mayor Tommy Bragg sent two letters to state Rep. Rick Womick in March challenging “misstatements” he made in the General Assembly about city codes enforcement to garner support for a resolution against United Nations Agenda 21, reports the Murfreesboro Daily News.
Bragg sent the first letter March 19 “to correct” several things Womick said on the House floor about the city’s dealings with Papa’s Butts and BBQ Hot Sauce Store on Old Fort Parkway. The second letter, dated March 20, said Womick made other “misstatements” in a House Judiciary subcommittee meeting March 14 about Murfreesboro’s flag regulations.
“At the meeting, you began describing the event when you presented a Tennessee flag to the president of the Murfreesboro Medical Clinic (Joey Peay). You commented that after I presented it to him publicly, (he) comes to me and says, ‘Well, Rep. Womick, thank you very much for the Tennessee flag. I appreciate it, but you’re going to have to talk to the City of Murfreesboro because they won’t let me fly the Tennessee flag on my property. We’re not allowed to fly any flags. No U.S., no Tennessee, nothing.'”
…Bragg’s letter states that Womick did not contact any city staff about flag or flagpole regulations, which led to his failure to “accurately describe the situation.”
City Manager Rob Lyons spoke to Peay, who told him he made a comment in jest that he would have to “go through the process with the city” to put up the flag. Peay made no comments that the city had banned state or U.S. flags, the letter states.
Bragg’s letter points out that the city requires a flagpole permit — at no charge — to verify proper footings and wind-load design. Nineteen flagpoles have been permitted in the last three years since the permit was established and none have been rejected, the letter states.
The mayor noted that the city lost a court case over flag regulations after previously exempting the American flag from its ordinance. The court ruled that it had to treat the U.S. flag the same as all signs.
Bragg wrote that Murfreesboro Medical Clinic did not apply for a flagpole, so the city could not have denied a permit request.
….”Your comments ….created the impression that the city banned the display of the flag and damaged our reputation statewide as a patriotic community.”
American and Tennessee flags fly over city buildings, Bragg stated, and Murfreesboro police officers and firefighters wear American flag patches on their uniforms.
…The Rockvale Republican, who is serving his first term in the state House, refused to speak to a DNJ reporter when approached Thursday morning on the House floor. Asked if he would talk when the House let out for the day, Womick, said, “I don’t have anything to say.” He has declined to return phone calls.

Andrea Conte Walkway Crisis Averted

Gov. Bill Haslam says he has “no problem” naming a sidewalk at the bottom of Capitol Hill after his predecessor’s wife despite red-lighting the move as costly last month, reports TNReport.
“It’ll happen. It’ll happen,” Haslam laughed when asked by reporters about the proposal Tuesday. “We’ll get that paid for, with state money.”
The Republican governor’s staff raised objections to the cost of naming the perimeter track of Bicentennial Capitol Mall — down the hill from the Capitol Building — after former first lady Andrea Conte, wife of Phil Bredesen. Former Democratic Speaker Jimmy Naifeh had brought forward the proposal.
…”Let me just say, that was one of those cases where we put a fiscal flag on anything that cost money,” Haslam told reporters after speaking to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. “Anything that cost us, we just said, ‘Hold it, that wasn’t in the initial budget so that will take some consideration.’ And that’s one of those.”
“Obviously, we have no problem honoring Andrea for the things she’s done, and it’s not a significant amount of money,” he said.

(Note: Naifeh says six former Bredesen staffers had told him they would put up $750 each to cover the estimated $6,000 cost to the state for signs bearing Conte’s name along the pathway. The speaker emeritus says he and Haslam talked after the “flag letter” was issued and Haslam said he didn’t know about it, but was sure the cost could be covered in routine Department of Environment and Conservation regular operations budget.)

Haslam Administration Flags Bill Honoring Bredesen’s Wife

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The administration of Gov. Bill Haslam has flagged a bill that would name a perimeter trail around the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville in honor of a former governor’s wife.
Haslam is a Republican and his predecessor Phil Bredesen is a Democrat, but bill sponsor Rep. Jimmy Naifeh said he thinks the issue isn’t politics, but money.
It would cost an estimated $6,000 for signs to designate the trail to honor Andrea Conte — Bredesen’s wife.
Naifeh — a Covington Democrat — told the Chattanooga Times Free Press he can raise the money if the state can handle the signs (http://bit.ly/AbEL9L).
Naifeh noted his request has precedent. A decade ago, lawmakers named the Martha Sundquist State Forest in Cocke County to honor the wife of Republican Gov. Don Sundquist.
Note: Naifeh says, further, that he talked briefly with the governor about the flag and Haslam had not known about the letter expressing opposition — which was apparently instituted by staff. “We’re going to work it out,” he said.