State Rep. Ryan Haynes told the Knox County Commission that the possibility of a bill imposing term limits on school board members getting through the Legislature are poor, reports the News Sentinel. Haynes, R-Knoxville, told the commission that a Tennessee law allowing term limits for school board members would be subject to general application across the state (not just limited to Knox County).
“And that, in my opinion, presents a challenge in getting a piece of legislation passed,” Haynes said during a commission work session. Commission uses work sessions to discuss future action items. The body’s next legislative meeting is June 24.
A 15-bill limit that caps what legislators can introduce is another block on term limits, he said.
“We want to use it on something that is productive,” he said.
Commission Vice Chairman R. Larry Smith was not pleased to hear Haynes’ message.
“Personally, I think those are lame excuses,” he said. “I think it can be done.”
Haynes replied he wasn’t offering his own opinion.
“This is what my lawyers drew up,” he said.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill seeking to put controls on the secondary ticket market has been withdrawn amid what its sponsor called fierce lobbying on both sides.
Republican Rep. Ryan Haynes of Knoxville said he expects to bring back the measure backed by Ticketmaster parent Live Nation Worldwide Inc. next year.
Opponents of the bill, like eBay Inc. subsidiary StubHub, argued it would affect the legitimate transfer of tickets to sporting events and concerts by individuals and organizations. Supporters said it targeted online hoarding, price gouging and forgeries.
Lawmakers on both sides of the issue lamented what they called misinformation, large numbers of phone calls and emails, and the heavy lobbying on the bill.
A twice-delayed Senate vote on the companion bill has been rescheduled for Thursday.
The House gave final approval Monday night to a bill requiring newspapers that publish public notices to post them on their website as well at no extra charge.
The bill cleared the House on a 94-1 vote and now goes to the governor for his expected signature.
In brief debate, Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, told sponsor Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, that it seemed inappropriate to “be telling the newspaper what they can and can’t charge for.”
Haynes said the bill is supported by the Tennessee Press Association.
“They are committed to open government and this is one more service they can provide to make government more open and more transparent,” Haynes said. “To give more people the opportunity to see public notices, they’re willing to take that cost on.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge in Nashville has blocked Republican leaders’ efforts to keep Planned Parenthood of Tennessee from participating in venereal disease prevention programs. The efforts are federally funded, but administered by the state and are aimed at reducing the infection rate of HIV and syphilis.
The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/Ywffwu) reported U.S. District Court Judge William J. Haynes Jr. issued his ruling Wednesday, barring the state from defunding Planned Parenthood in contracts totaling more than $171,500 last year.
In his ruling, Haynes noted a political and legislative history of Republican efforts to cut the organization’s funding because Planned Parenthood also performs abortions. He cited statements from then-candidate Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Sen. Stacey Campfield.
The court noted a statement in which Ramsey called Planned Parenthood “the largest abortion provider in the country” and said, “It has always been the ambition of Republicans in the legislature to defund this organization.”
Barry Chase, CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region, said the agency is “thrilled that the court has permanently stopped the state from impermissibly barring Planned Parenthood from providing critical disease prevention education and services. Politics should never interfere with Tennesseans’ access to critical medical services.”
Planned Parenthood has received positive reviews over the last decade of administering the program, for which the contracts are let through competitive bidding.
A proposed “Higher Education Equality Act,” intended to end affirmative action programs in the University of Tennessee and Board of Regents systems, was rewritten Wednesday to assure efforts involving federal funding and accreditation are not impacted.
But spokesmen for UT and the Regents said they still have concern with the measure (SB8), sponsored by Sen. Jim Summerville, R-Dickson, and the amendment offered by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville.
Anthony Haynes, a UT vice president, and David Gregory, a Regents vice chancellor, said the revised version basically tracks existing federal law, but there are differences that could cause problems and lead to litigation in courts.
“It’s like a lawyer’s dream come true,” Haynes told the Senate Education Committee.
Gregory cited language in the bill banning “preferential treatment,” a phrase of “vagueness” in the legal sense that is subject to various interpretation. Federal law also prohibits discrimination based on race or gender when that discrimination is “solely” the cause of an action. The word “solely” is lacking in the proposed state law.
Haynes envision a young man rejected for general admission to UT-Knoxville bringing a lawsuit because UT, in trying to form “a women’s golf team,” granted admission to a woman with a lower ACT score.
After Haynes and Gregory spoke, Campfield and Summerville agreed to put off a committee vote for another week and hold further discussions to see if differences can be resolved.
Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham went along with the postponement, but added that she wanted to “admonish” those involved, then declared: “Don’t come back here unless you are ready to vote on this bill!”
The News Sentinel’s Jim Balloch takes a look at the House District 14 race: At 27 years of age, Knoxville Republican Ryan Haynes is seeking a third term in the Tennesseee House of Representatives. And he is still the youngest member of that body.
At 57, Jerome Miller, his Democratic challenger for the 14th District seat, is making his first ever run for public office.
Haynes appears to have all of the advantages one could ask for to keep his seat.
He has name recognition that goes with being an active and energetic incumbent. His party is the majority in the distritct. And he has a bigger war chest.
But Miller, a soft-spoken grandfather, believes he has a trump card in his favor — if he can get enough exposure in the race for enough voters to see it.
“There is nothing like experience in life,” Miller said. ” I have life experiences that he does not have, and I’m not just talking about because of the differences in our ages. Age is only a number. It is a question of how can you make decisions affecting the people in your district if you have not been exposed to the many things your constituents go through on a daily basis?”
Miller, originally from Asheville, N.C., is a mechanical engineer at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, where he oversees liquid waste operations.
News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
(NASHVILLE, TN), August 1, 2012 — A new state law making elected and appointed officials ineligible for pre-trial and judicial diversion for criminal offenses committed in their official capacity meets constitutional muster according to a recent Attorney General’s opinion. Tennessee Attorney General and Reporter Robert Cooper, Jr. opined the state “may treat elected or appointed public officials differently from the general public by making them ineligible for pretrial or judicial diversion, without running afoul of federal or Tennessee constitutional protections.”
The request was posed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Eric Watson (R-Cleveland). The bill was sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Harriman) and Representative Ryan Haynes (R-Knoxville).
“I am pleased that the Attorney General has opined that this new law passes constitutional muster,” said Senator Yager. “It is good to restate that both pre trial and judicial diversion are not a ‘fundamental rights’ for public officials. Those of us who have the privilege to hold public office should be held to a higher standard and violations of the law related to our official duties ought not to be swept under the rug by pre-trial or judicial diversion.”
“I was confident that our legislation was on solid constitutional ground,” added Representative Haynes. “With this new law we are sending the message that a public office is still a public trust and criminal conduct in public office will not be tolerated.”
The opinion stated that pretrial and judicial diversion are treated as “truly extraordinary relief” and are not fundamental rights. It also said “Tennessee and federal courts have not recognized public officials as a suspect class for equal protection purposes. The act took effect July 1, 2012.
— Note: The full attorney general’s opinion is HERE.
The Tennessean reports on the race for Senate District 20, where the GOP has carved out section Democrat-dominated Davidson County that both parties say is split fairly evenly between Democrats and Republicans. If Republicans were able to pull off a victory, even the plantation of Andrew Jackson, the father of the modern Democratic Party, would be in their hands — proof of the party’s strength in Tennessee.
…The seat’s current holder, Democratic Sen. Joe Haynes, will retire this fall after 28 years in the legislature. Three Republicans are vying to succeed him: physician Steve Dickerson, executive Rob Mortensen and contractor David Hall. The winner will face one of two Democrats in the fall: attorney Phillip North or professor James Baxter.
…North is favored to secure the Democratic nomination — so much so that party officials assume he’ll win the primary. He entered the race with Haynes’ blessing and has sought out campaign support from the state party.
Baxter, on the other hand, has not contacted party officials about his candidacy or shown many signs, such as a campaign website, of actively seeking the nomination. He did not respond to messages requesting an interview for this story.
“We have not heard a lot from James,” Forrester said. “Technically, we’re neutral.”
The Republican nomination appears to be up for grabs.
Dickerson, who lives in the Whitworth neighborhood off West End Avenue, hopes to build on the name recognition and experience he accumulated in an unsuccessful run for the state Senate two years ago, when he lost by more than 13 percentage points to Henry.
Dickerson looks to be the best financed of the three GOP candidates. He had raised more than $100,000 for his campaign when the first round of financial disclosures was filed in April. He has loaned his campaign another $100,000.
…Dickerson’s opponents in the Republican primary are unlikely to be able to match him in spending, but they have both worked to build competitive organizations.
Mortensen, the chief executive of a child services firm who lives near Lipscomb University, said he is logging as many as 10 appearances a week and has recruited close to 30 volunteers, including former Metro Councilman Buck Dozier, from across the district to campaign on his behalf.
…Hall, a home renovator from Goodlettsville, holds a reputation within the party of being a strong campaigner after a surprise victory in 2010 in the Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District. Hall upset a field of better-financed candidates mainly by employing his network of family and friends to knock on doors in Republican areas of Nashville, a strategy that he’ll largely repeat this year.
The University of Tennessee will split its government relations and communications department next month following the retirement of the vice president who oversaw those duties, President Joe DiPietro told staff in an email Wednesday.
From the News Sentinel: Hank Dye, vice president of public and government relations since 2005, will retire July 11, something he had discussed with the president since the beginning of the year, DiPietro wrote. Anthony Haynes, UT’s lobbyist in Nashville, will become vice president for government relations and advocacy, reporting directly to DiPietro.
Kurt Schlieter, UT’s advocate in Washington, D.C., will become assistant vice president for federal relations and continue to work out of D.C. DiPietro wrote in the email that he is still examining the system’s communications strategy and has asked a seven-person review committee to give recommendations for how to structure a department to handle communications, marketing and branding.
In the meantime, Gina Stafford, assistant vice president and director of communications for the system, will manage day-to-day operations.
The House unanimously approved and sent to the governor Monday a bill that – if in effect last year — would have prevented former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner from getting “pre-trial diversion” for his crimes.
“We had an instance in Knox County where we had a judge who went out and committed crimes related to his office,” sponsor Rep.. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, told colleagues who questioned the need for SB2566. “He created a whole host of problems.”
The bill, which earlier passed the Senate unanimously under the sponsorship of Republican Sen. Ken Yager of Harriman, declares that any public official convicted of a crime related to his or her duties in office cannot receive pre-trial diversion.
Pre-trial diversion is now available to first-time offenders under some circumstances. In Baumgartner’s case, by receiving diversion on a charge of official misconduct rather than a normal conviction, he was able to receive his state pension.
Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, questioned Haynes at some length on the bill, wondering at one point if it would prevent a state trooper from giving legislators a break on a speeding ticket. Haynes said it would not.