While Timothy Hill runs for a Tennessee House seat, his business is making thousands of dollars off political campaigns, according to Hank Hayes’ review of quarterly campaign finance disclosures filed with the state.
Hill’s Blountville-based Right Way marketing firm has been paid to do polling for his GOP 3rd House District campaign as well as the campaigns of his brother, Republican state Rep. Matthew Hill, and House District 6 GOP nominee Micah Van Huss.
Timothy Hill gave his company $7,869 out of his campaign account for political research, according to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance (TREF).
When asked how his campaign contributors would feel about the move, Timothy Hill said in an e-mail: “My contributors have placed tremendous trust in me and my campaign by giving their hard-earned dollars to someone who will make a difference in Nashville, and I do not take that for granted. … The campaign believes it is best to use a tried and tested provider that could deliver results. I’m very blessed to employ local folks that provide the best results in their field, and my goal is to spend contributions wisely and locally when possible.”
TREF Executive Director Drew Rawlins indicated Timothy Hill’s action is completely legal.
“There is no law that restricts someone from buying services from their own company. Yes, he can do that,” Rawlins said.
Matthew Hill, a five-term Jonesborough Republican who represents House District 7, gave $1,500 to his brother’s marketing firm for polling.
Van Huss, who defeated incumbent state Rep. Dale Ford of Jonesborough in the August GOP primary, reported spending $3,000 with Timothy Hill’s marketing firm for polling during the general election campaign, in addition to $5,100 for work done during the primary.
A state agency has awarded Washington County $300,000 in disaster relief for damage from last month’s floods, reports the Johnson City Press. The Tennessee Housing Development Agency funds would supplement a Federal Home Loan Bank grant for housing repairs not covered by insurance or other disaster relief programs. The funds would be used to serve households at or below 80 percent of area median income and would require a 50 percent personal match.
“All of Washington County has spoken with one voice about the need for disaster assistance in our area,” state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, said in announcing the relief in a news release. “I appreciate THDA stepping up and bringing help to those in our community who faced flooding.
“This is a great first step and I will continue working with Mayor Eldridge and other leaders to make sure we receive the help we need.”
The funds were made available from the THDA Housing Trust Fund. The funds will either be administered from the county or another agency. A decision on that will be made later this week, according to Hill’s news release.
…The Federal Emergency Management Agency ruled that the area did not meet the criteria for aid despite significant damage to scores of homes and other properties in Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties.
There was an $8.5 million threshold for the area to qualify for federal dollars to help residents rebuild what raging flood water swept away or destroyed. Affirmation would have cleared the way for residents to be reimbursed up to $30,000 for repairs.
Zelenik Ad Gets a Politifact ‘False‘
“Diane Black voted to fund Obamacare, then she voted to repeal it. I guess she was for it before she was against it,” says Lou Ann Zelenik in a radio ad for her 6th Congressional District campaign.
Politifact Tennessee has rated the claim on Black’s vote to fund Obamacare as false. HERE. Third District Review
Chris Carroll, who has followed the 3rd Congressional District campaign more closely than any reporter in the state, sizes up the campaign situation in the final days, HERE.
A sample: But the tone changed when the foursome realized they differed little on issues — they’re all interested in cutting spending, aiding industry and promoting social conservatism. As they sought to differentiate themselves, negative attacks began hitting 3rd District mailboxes, televisions and computer screens. Gardenhire Equals Vital in Spending
Fueled by $57,000 in personal loans to his campaign, Todd Gardenhire matched rival Greg Vital dollar for dollar in spending on the Republican Senate District 10 primary from July 1-26, state records show. HERE Black Remembers TennCare
U.S. Rep. Diane Black recalls her days in the Tennessee state legislature and the woes of TennCare in an interview with The Hill. HERE. Hill ‘100 Percent’ Claim Questioned
The Tomahawk of Mountain City says there’s been confusion over Timothy Hill claiming a “100 percent rating” from Tennessee Right to Life in his House District 3 campaign. Right to Life has actually endorsed one of his opponents, Kevin Parsons. HERE. Rogers, Maggart & the Phone Factor
Post Politics has a news release from Courtney Rogers in House District 45, wherein she says Debra Maggart has emailed supporters Rogers’ unlisted home phone number in an unwarranted harassment effort. HERE.
Elam Chiles Lynn on Residence
Rep. Linda Elam issues a “blue card” challenge to her Republican primary opponent, former state Rep. Susan Lynn, in House District 57. HERE.
Three Tennessee 3rd House District GOP candidates addressed jobs, tourism and K-12 education during a Bristol Chamber of Commerce forum Thursday night, reports Hank Hayes. Blountville businessman Timothy Hill, former Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons and Bluff City Republican Thomas White fielded questions drawn from a glass bowl during the event held at Bristol Motor Speedway.
All three are seeking to win the Aug. 2 GOP primary, defeat Democrat Leah Kirk in the November general election, and take the state House seat held by retiring state Rep. Scotty Campbell, R-Mountain City.
When asked how they would strengthen K-12 education, Parsons indicated he favored tying teacher pay to performance.
“I think more needs to be looked at in what the teachers are actually producing,” Parsons explained.
White said the state needs to attract higher quality teachers.
“They should shine like a new penny. … Unfortunately we can’t afford to pay for that,” he said.
Then White changed the subject to talk against red light traffic cameras.
“In 2008, all the Democrats and all the Republicans decided we needed red light cameras. … Then during election time in 2010, the same fellows that made the law decided someone had implemented a bad law and wanted to get to the bottom of it. … I thought that since this is an election year, they would want to look at it again. … To me, it’s still a major issue,” White said.
Hill stuck to the K-12 question and said lawmakers need to continue to look at teacher evaluations.
“We’ve got to look at bold ideas where the money is sent with where the children go (to school),” Hill said. “We don’t need to be afraid to look at those types of options. … We need to look at vocational training. … A university education is not for everybody.”
From Hank Hayes comes this report on the race in state House District 3:
Timothy Hill has been down this road before.
Hill, a Blountville businessman and former press secretary for ex-U.S. Rep. David Davis, looked like the front-runner to win the GOP primary for Tennessee’s 3rd House District seat two years ago.
Hill, the brother of GOP state Rep. Matthew Hill of Jonesborough, had name recognition in Sullivan County, a number of campaign donors, and a conservative message to go with his candidacy.
But Mountain City Republican Scotty Campbell’s base of Johnson County voters in the district showed up in droves, and Hill came in second to Campbell after splitting the rest of the primary vote with five other candidates. Campbell, a former legislative aide to ex-House Speaker Kent Williams of Elizabethton, easily defeated Democrat Joe Mike Akard and two independents in the November 2010 general election.
After one term, Campbell isn’t seeking re-election, and Hill is again seeking the seat.
And now Hill is facing another GOP candidate with considerable Johnson County name recognition — former Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons. Also in the primary race are Karen Greene Morrell and Lee White, both of Bluff City.
You can still jump into a swimming pool at 27 state parks this summer, but Morgan Simmons reports that might not be true next year. “We’re constantly reviewing our operations and trying to make everything better,” said Brock Hill, the state’s deputy commissioner of parks and conservation. “We talk about pools all the time in connection with whether or not to close them.”
Early this year at a state budget hearing in Nashville, Bob Martineau, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, proposed closing six state park swimming pools and replacing them with splash parks, which would be cheaper to maintain. The closures were expected to save about $200,000 a year.
The proposal was rejected, and this summer, pools at Tennessee state parks are open as usual.
There are 27 swimming pools throughout Tennessee’s state park system. Of those 27, seven pools are reserved for inn guests, and the remaining 20 are open to the public for a small fee.
All of the state park pools are staffed with lifeguards. The pools lose money, but other state park amenities such as restaurants, campgrounds, and inns generate enough revenue to cover the loss. As a whole, park hospitality operations generate about $36 million each year, enough to break even.
Hill said that of the 20 general admission state park pools, about one-third stay extremely busy throughout the three-month season from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Ignoring a plea from the Republican chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and criticism from Democratic legislators, a Senate committee Thursday approved Gov. Bill Haslam’s plans for a transformation of the agency.
“Maybe it’ll work. Maybe not,” said TRA Chairman Kenneth Hill of the Haslam plan. “Why go there and inflict damage to the utilities of Tennessee and to the people of Tennessee … then have to come back and fix it?”
Hill, appointed to the TRA by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, said the utility-regulating agency is working extremely well, cutting back on costs on its own, operating at a lower cost than any similar regulatory agency in the Southeast and earning top scores in national ratings in such areas as enforcing gas pipeline safety.
In contrast, he contended that the governor and Herbert Slatery, the gubernatorial legal counsel who has served as point man in pushing the bill through the Legislature, has never explained why an agency “doing a good job” needs to be changed.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill that puts new restrictions on doctors who perform abortions is intended to make it more difficult for women to get the procedure in Tennessee, opponents of the legislation said Thursday.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Matthew Hill of Jonesborough would require physicians performing abortions to hold hospital privileges in either the home or adjacent county of the woman seeking an abortion. It was approved 72-24 on Thursday. Eight Democrats voted for the mostly Republican-backed proposal.
Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville, was among critics who questioned why abortions would be singled out for extra restrictions on doctors, when others like tonsillectomies to eye operations would not.
Hill responded that his aim is to ensure the safety of women undergoing the procedure if there are complications.
House Speaker Beth Harwell was declared the winner over Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey in a goat-milking contest held in conjunction with “Agriculture Day on the Hill” last week, but questions have been raised about cheating.
“I’ve been accused of that, but it was not me,” said Harwell after the event.
“I’ve never seen cold mild come out of a goat before. That’s all I’ll say,” said Ramsey.
A review of the TNReport video of the event shows both may be right. (Link below) House Finance Chairman Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, can be seen standing behind Harwell holding what appears to be a plastic cylindrical cup and, at one point while the milking is underway, a hand holding the cup appears beside Harwell’s bucket. In other words, it appears that someone poured extra milk into Harwell’s bucket.
The winner was determined by measuring which contender had the most milk in the bucket.
Going into the contest, Ramsey, who grew up on a dairy farm, had been predicting victory and describing himself as “the boot-wearing, tobacco-chewing” pickup truck driver facing “the Belle Meade belle.”
“Agriculture Day on the Hill” is an annual event put on by the Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, wherein farmers put up displays of their products and meet with legislators. There are some freebies — including pint-sized bottles of milk handed out to lawmakers and other attendees.
The Tennessee Journal, meanwhile, reports that Sargent has received a letter “purportedly from TBI director Mark Gwyn,” notifying him that the agency has “opened a file on this matter” and warning that “a proven allegation of fraud could result in your removal from office” under TCA 8-17-106.
To see the video, click HERE. The actual goat-milking part begins about 1:30 into the tape.
By Sheila Burke, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A proposed amendment in the Tennessee Legislature that would have published the names of doctors who perform abortions and required statistical information about women who receive abortions has been withdrawn amid controversy.
The measures got national attention and were opposed by the Tennessee Medical Association and the only physician in the state legislature. Both opponents and supporters of legalized abortion feared that publishing the names of the doctors on the Internet would put them in danger. Critics worried the latter measure could inadvertently identify women.
The original bill is moving forward. It would require all doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges in a licensed hospital either in the county where the procedure is performed or in an adjacent county. The bill passed in the Health and Human Resources Committee and is now being scheduled for a vote on the House floor.
Rep. Matthew Hill, the Jonesborough Republican who sponsored the bill, said during a committee meeting Wednesday he was pulling the amendment after opponents used their “15 minutes of fame to slander my character on a national scale” and vilify the people of Tennessee who value life.
“This reckless disregard for the truth and their characterization of me as a terrorist, murderer and more has been used by their leftist friends to engender hatred and insight the threat of violence,” Hill said. He said he had received threats as a result of the widespread publicity about the more controversial elements of his bill.
Opponents, however, said Hill’s bill contained dangerous proposals.
“The bill was clearly designed to intimidate and terrorize not only women but the physicians who would be providing those services,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.
The amendment would have made public the age, marital status, race and county of residence of all women who’ve undergone an abortion. It expressly forbid identifying women who have undergone an abortion, but critics said those living in rural areas might easily be outed. It would have required listing the woman’s pre-existing medical conditions, as well as the number of prior pregnancies and abortions.
Hill said the bill has always been about women’s health and safety.
Critics, however, contend that abortion providers are being singled out because the law doesn’t require doctors at other ambulatory clinics to have hospital admitting privileges.