FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) — A potential Republican presidential candidate is headlining Tennessee state Sen. Jack Johnson’s annual summer barbeque in Franklin.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, of Bowling Green, Ky., is scheduled to attend the fundraiser at the Factory in Franklin on July 28. Several hundred people have attended the event in years past. Tickets are $50.
Johnson is the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and a prominent fundraiser in the Tennessee General Assembly.
Tennessee Republicans have not voted for the eventual presidential nominee in the primary since giving the nod to President George W. Bush in 2004.
In 2008, the Tennessee GOP primary was won by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee over U.S. Sen. John McCain, and in 2012 Republicans voted for former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Franklin County has moved ahead of the Legislature by adoption of local ordinances to require a prescription for cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, reports the Chattanooga TFP. The General Assembly has debated the idea, but has not enacted it (though Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey recently said he expects a “huge push” in next year’s session, HERE) Cowan, Decherd and Estill Springs are the remaining municipalities in the county set to pass new rules on pseudoephedrine-based cold medicines as law enforcement takes a new step in the battle against methamphetamine.
Pseudoephedrine is the primary ingredient in meth production.
“The only way it’s going to be successful is if the entire region does this,” Winchester police Chief Dennis Young said. The new, countywide rules will be a first among Tennessee counties.
Young said officials from Franklin County are meeting with neighboring counties, Grundy County being the next stop over the next few days.
…”Tennessee this year is reclaiming No. 1 in the nation in the production of meth,” Young said. Missouri was the top-ranking state, but more than 70 cities in Southern Missouri implemented regulations similar to those being pursued in Franklin County.
“This dramatically reduced their meth labs,” Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller said.
“Our Legislature is having a problem getting a law passed, so we’re taking baby steps to do what we need to do here.”
Current Tennessee law restricts the sale of pseudoephedrine-based cold medicines by placing them behind the counter. Buyers must present a valid ID and sign a log for products containing the precursor.
“We’re not making it a controlled substance,” Fuller said. “The state of Tennessee has already said that it can be sold with a prescription, and, if you sell it without a prescription, the statutes say that there are guidelines on how it can be sold.”
Local rules fit those guidelines, he said.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam told participants in a school safety summit on Tuesday that the state is committed to doing what it can to provide better security at Tennessee schools.
The event was organized to discuss current safety resources and practices as well as to hear from leading state and national experts on safety, law enforcement and mental health.
The Republican governor told officials from state agencies and representatives from school districts across the state that he hopes the summit will provide “practical things that we can do.”
“Our job is to listen and come up with a strategic plan,” Haslam said of state officials. “We’re committed to working alongside of you.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to create a new national wildlife refuge in Middle Tennessee.
The refuge would cover approximately 25,000 acres in Franklin County near Estill Fork, Hurricane Creek and Larkin Fork.
Dwight Cooley, who manages refuges in Alabama, said the tract is one of the most important in the Southeast with respect to natural resources.
Living within it are at least 15 federally endangered or threatened species and a number of species considered endangered or threatened in Tennessee. Much of the land is forested and provides habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” he said. “It’s a wonderful area.”
The Williamson County Republican Party this morning notified police about a package received last week that claims to include copies of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s tax returns hacked from an accounting office in Franklin, reports The Tennessean. A letter in the package corresponds to an incredible claim posted anonymously on a website popular among computer hackers that boasts of having downloaded copies of the tax returns obtained by hacking into systems via PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Franklin office. Whoever is behind the message is threatening to release the filings by the end of the month unless they receive $1 million.
For the same price, someone interested in seeing the returns made public could guarantee that action, according to the letter. Whomever pays first, wins.
The author of the online letter also states copies of Romney’s tax returns were left with the county Republican and Democratic offices, and on Wednesday morning both those organizations confirmed that they received suspicious looking packages containing a flash drive and a copy of the letter.
Jean Barwick, executive director of the Williamson County Republican Party, held up a small manila envelope in her office that she said contained the drive and the letter. Scrawled in green lettering across one side are the words “For Rep Learders” (sic).
Barwick said she found the package Friday and called the state GOP office to see if they’d received a similar envelope. Barwick did not call the police until Wednesday, she said, because she didn’t think the extortion attempt seemed credible.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is scheduled to attend a private fundraiser in Franklin on Tuesday.
An invitation obtained by The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/KwmrSw) says the event will be at the home of Lee Ann and Orrin Ingram.
Guests must give or raise $10,000 to attend a reception with the former Massachusetts governor and have their pictures made with him. Others can attend a “general reception and program” for $2,500 per person.
This will be at least the third visit Romney has made to Tennessee. He came to the Nashville area for fundraisers in November and March.
Gov. Bill Haslam, Romney’s state campaign chairman, is expected to attend the fundraiser, as well as Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville and House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville.
Mayor Ken Moore and the elected aldermen of Franklin, Tennessee, unanimously approved a resolution last Tuesday warning against overbearing central government. That may not be a surprise, reports Stateline, since Franklin is a conservative, reliably Republican city.
What is surprising is that the target of Franklin’s concern wasn’t the Obama administration or the federal government. Instead, it was the central government half an hour up the road in Nashville: the Republican-led Tennessee General Assembly.
The resolution included a list of 14 bills the mayor and aldermen opposed. On the list was legislation to substantially reduce local zoning and planning powers, as well as narrower bills to limit local regulation of signs, to ban localities from requiring residential sprinkler systems and to end local regulation of fireworks.
Taken together, local officials are worried that these bills will preempt powers they consider an essential part of their jobs. “All the mayors in our region,” says Moore, a Republican, “are quite concerned about this potential gutting of our ability to do what’s in the best interest of our communities
“All the mayors in our region,” says Moore, a Republican, “are quite concerned about this potential gutting of our ability to do what’s in the best interest of our communities.”
Debates about the relative authority of state and local government are not new. But in places like Tennessee, where Republicans claimed comfortable majorities in the legislature in 2010, they come with a different subtext.
Many of these state lawmakers have accused the federal government of adopting an imperious, one-size-fits-all mentality and of subverting the rightful powers of states. At the same time, many high-profile debates in the Tennessee Capitol over the last two years — on topics such as local wage rules and local non-discrimination rules, among others — have centered on the state trying to limit the power of localities to make decisions for themselves.
To some critics, that’s a sign of hypocrisy. What conservative supporters of these laws argue, though, is that localities sometimes use their power in ways that are inconsistent with values the state holds dear, such as defending property rights and reducing government regulation. Their case is that the only way the legislature can enact its vision for government is to use the power it has, not delegate it to others. Most of the legislation in Tennessee hasn’t passed yet and some of it seems unlikely to pass soon. Still, in Tennessee and elsewhere, it’s clear that for conservative lawmakers local control is just one principle, a principle that sometimes is superseded by others.
While the extent of local government autonomy varies from state to state, nowhere is that autonomy absolute. Even in states like Tennessee that offer limited “home rule,” state governments can act to overrule the localities. “What the locals need to remember,” says Jim Gotto, a member of the Tennessee legislature, “is that all the power they have is what has been delegated to them by the state.”
News release from state Department of Financial Institutions:
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions (“Department”) took possession of Tennessee Commerce Bank, Franklin, Tennessee at 4:00 p.m. CST on January 27, 2012. The Department has appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) as Receiver of the Bank effective upon the Department taking possession of Tennessee Commerce Bank.
The Department took possession of Tennessee Commerce Bank due to Tennessee Commerce Bank’s impaired capital, unsound condition and the bank’s inability to continue normal operations.
Through an agreement with the FDIC, deposit accounts of Tennessee Commerce Bank have been transferred to Republic Bank & Trust Company, Louisville, Kentucky and will be available immediately. Depositors of Tennessee Commerce Bank will automatically become depositors of Republic Bank & Trust Company. Depositors will be able to access their accounts at the former main office of Tennessee Commerce Bank during regular business hours. Customers of both banks should continue to use the existing office until Republic Bank & Trust Company can fully integrate the deposit records of Tennessee Commerce Bank. Additionally, the former depositors of Tennessee Commerce Bank can continue to access their accounts through automated teller machine transactions, checks and debit transactions.
Since deposits transferred to Republic Bank & Trust Company, there will be no loss exposure to former customers of Tennessee Commerce Bank. The FDIC has established a website and a toll-free phone number to answer questions from depositors, creditors and other interested parties regarding the receivership of Tennessee Commerce Bank. Please refer to the FDIC’s website at http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/tcb.html for further information regarding the details of the transaction. The toll-free number is 1-800-450-5668. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Central Standard Time (CST); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., CST, on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., CST; on Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., CST; and thereafter from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., CST.
The Department’s Commissioner, Greg Gonzales, reminds depositors that deposits for all Tennessee banks are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. Special rules are in place for accounts held in trust status and joint accounts that may further expand deposit insurance coverage. Additional information on FDIC Deposit Insurance may be found at www.fdic.gov.
SAVANNAH, Tenn. (AP) — A former state senator from Tennessee says the scandal that drove him from office and cost him his marriage is a fall he must live with, but he has moved on.
Paul Stanley’s affair with a legislative intern and a subsequent extortion attempt erupted in the summer of 2009.
The former conservative Republican lawmaker from the Memphis suburb of Germantown told WMC-TV he isn’t a person who went after interns, but conceded he knew he was going to have an affair with 22-year-old McKensie Morrison as soon as he saw her (http://bit.ly/vDMOvb).
Stanley now lives in Franklin and is the political editor of an online publication, The Christian Post.
Stanley has also written a book, “The Extortion of Forgiveness,” which is set for release next year.
— Note: He’s also got a blog, link HERE.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has ordered flags over the state Capitol and all state office buildings flown at half-staff Monday in honor of a fallen East Tennessee Marine.
Lance Cpl. Franklin Watson was killed Sept. 24 when his patrol came under fire in Afghanistan. His funeral was Sunday in Madisonville.
Note: For more on the tribute to Lance Cpl. Watson, click HERE.