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Comptroller: Now You Can Report Waste, Fraud & Abuse Online

News release from state comptroller’s office:
It will soon be possible to report suspected cases of fraud, waste and abuse of public funds in Tennessee over the Internet. Beginning today, you may electronically alert the state Comptroller’s office about suspected government misuse of public funds by visiting: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/shared/safwa.asp
The Comptroller’s office has provided a toll-free telephone hotline for reporting fraud, waste and abuse of government funds and property since 1983. During that time, the hotline has received more than 17,000 calls.
In the 2012 legislative session, the Tennessee General Assembly expanded the Advocacy for Honest and Appropriate Government Spending Act so government employees and citizens can report allegations of fraud, waste and abuse online as well.
“In this day and age, it makes sense to give people the option to send us fraud reports online,” Comptroller Wilson said. “This is another tool to help ensure that public money is being spent properly in Tennessee. I encourage people to take advantage of this new service if they have reason to suspect fraud, waste or abuse has occurred.”
Similar to the telephone hotline, the online reporting form will allow individuals to make reports anonymously if they wish. The information will be transmitted to the Comptroller’s office over a secure connection.
Individuals who make reports are asked to provide as much detail as possible about their allegations. They may also attach files with supporting documentation that may help those who review the allegations.
Information received over the Internet will be reviewed by the Comptroller’s staff and investigated or referred to the appropriate agencies or departments when warranted.

TN ‘Mortgage Hotline’ Set Up to Help Struggling Homeowners

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee attorney general and Tennessee Housing Development Agency have created a mortgage hotline for struggling homeowners.
The development comes after attorneys general across the country reached an agreement with the nation’s top five mortgage services that will provide an estimated $140 million in relief to Tennesseans.
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper said the idea behind the hotline is to make sure the state’s homeowners get the help they deserve.
Homeowners calling the new hotline can learn about housing assistance programs or be directed to foreclosure prevention counselors.
The toll-free number is (855) 876-7283. It is available Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time.

Note: News release below.

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State’s Election ‘Hot Line’ Activated

News release from Secretary of State’s office:
As voters head to the polls today, they should remember that the state Division of Elections has a toll-free hotline number for anyone who has questions or experiences problems during the voting process.
That number is 1-877-850-4959.
Election officials staffing the hotline can answer questions about the state’s new photo identification law or any other election-related issues.
“This hotline is offered as a public service to Tennesseans and it is the definitive source for information regarding Tennessee elections,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “I hope citizens will use the hotline to resolve any questions they may have about elections, today or in the future.”

A Few Republicans Sometimes Broke Ranks During Session

For the most part, votes cast on contentious issues by Knoxville-area state legislators uniformly followed a political party line, a review of votes cast on about a dozen key bills during the 2011 session shows.
But there were exceptions.
Sen. Mike Faulk, R-Church Hill, whose district includes Union County, was the only Republican senator in the state to vote against Gov. Bill Haslam’s tort reform bill. Similarly, Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, was the only GOP no vote on a bill to end collective bargaining between school boards and teacher organizations.
The review covered legislators representing Knox and adjoining counties. Of that group – all Republicans except Democratic Reps. Joe Armstrong and Harry Tindell of Knoxville – Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, had three departures from the prevailing party line, more than any of the others.
“What the party requires is that we support them on procedural votes, but when it comes down to voting on the issue, you can vote your conscience. That’s what I do,” said Ramsey in an interview.

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Haslam: Legislators Should ‘Straighten Out Themselves’ on Planned Parenthood

Sen. Stacey Campfield said Wednesday that he may ask Gov. Bill Haslam to use a line item veto to remove a provision in the state budget bill that could allow continued funding to Planned Parenthood despite another provision to stop it.
The governor, who has previously declared support for “defunding” Planned Parenthood, told reporters that “obviously something went wrong in the legislative process which they need to straighten out themselves” before he considers any action.
“I didn’t even know about the situation until this morning and I haven’t even thought about the possibility of using a line item veto,” Haslam said. “The Legislature thought they had passed one thing and then later found out they didn’t. Somewhere there was a disconnect.”
Last week, at the urging of Knoxville Republican Campfield, a budget bill amendment was adopted to block funding from going to Planned Parenthood. But that provision apparently was negated by another amendment tucked into the voluminous appropriations act.

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