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Trivia Question: Name 5 Tennesseans who became president

News release from Secretary of State’s office:
Here’s a quick trivia question: Can you name five Tennesseans who became president?
If you’re a good student of the state’s history, you probably won’t have any trouble naming former U.S. presidents Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson or James K. Polk. But a fourth or fifth?
It’s a trick question, because there were also Tennesseans who later became presidents of foreign countries, such as Sam Houston, who led the briefly-independent Republic of Texas, and William Walker, who was inaugurated as president of Nicaragua on this date in 1856.
Walker’s life is highlighted in one of the Tennessee State Library and Archives’ online exhibits. The exhibit can be found at http://tn.gov/tsla/exhibits/walker/index.htm.
Walker isn’t as famous as some Tennesseans chronicled at the State Library and Archives, but in his day, he was quite infamous for his efforts to colonize Central America.
Three years before he became president of Nicaragua, the Nashvillian led a group of 45 men who landed in Baja California, Mexico. Walker declared the land to be the Republic of Lower California and proclaimed himself to be the new country’s president. Mexican forces soon threw him and his troops out of the country and he was tried (but acquitted) for violating U.S. neutrality laws when he returned.
Walker then led a group of 57 soldiers into Nicaragua. After fighting a number of battles and eventually becoming president, he launched a plan to “Americanize” the country by declaring English the official language and encouraging U.S. residents to immigrate there. He was later ousted by the combined forces of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. After unsuccessfully attempting to regain the presidency of Nicaragua, he was eventually captured and turned over to the Honduran government, which executed him for piracy.
“The story of William Walker is one of thousands that can be found at the Tennessee State Library and Archives,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Because his life is chronicled in one of our online exhibits, it is accessible to Tennesseans free of charge, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. I encourage people to visit our web site and learn more about the resources that are just a few mouse clicks away.”

Bills Signed by the Governor, 5/16/2013

A list of bills recently signed by Gov. Bill Haslam, provided by his communications office on May 16, 2013:
House Bill No. 848 (Ragan)
This bill authorizes the governor to call members of the state guard to active duty, with the member’s consent, for the performance of any official duty in connection with state guard activities.
(Passed House 93-0; Passed Senate 30-0)
House Bill No. 841 (Durham)
This bill amends the Freedom in Contracting Act.
(Passed House 67-27; Passed Senate 26-6)

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List of Some New Stuff in Next Year’s State Budget

By the Associated Press
Here is a look at some of the new items included in Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s $32.8 billion annual spending plan:
— $577 million in building and maintenance projects.
— $350 million for TennCare inflation and for increased enrollment under federal health care law.
— $126 million for jail payments, prison construction and corrections medical contracts.
— $105 million for pay increases and adjustments for state employees.
— $102 million for economic development grants and film incentives.
— $77 million for the K-12 education funding formula.
— $52 million for information technology for school districts.
— $50 million for higher education.
— $46 million for state employee health insurance.
— $22 million to pay for a 0.25 percent reduction in the sales tax on groceries.
— $19 million to reduce the inheritance tax.

TDOT Releases 3-year List of $1.5B in Construction Projects

News release from Tennessee Department of Transportation:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer today released the three-year transportation program, featuring approximately $1.5 billion in infrastructure investments for 80 individual project phases in 47 counties, as well as 15 statewide programs.
Tennessee is one of only five states that do not borrow money to fund transportation projects, and the program continues TDOT’s “pay as you go” philosophy, carrying no debt for any transportation initiatives.
“This program represents a thoughtful, balanced approach to transportation and focuses on expanding economic development opportunities, improving safety and providing important upgrades to our interstate corridors,” Haslam said. “A quality transportation system is critical to our goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs as well as the continued growth of the state’s economy.”
The three-year, multimodal program funds several improvements to the interstate system, including the addition of truck climbing lanes, interchange projects and the construction of a three-mile stretch of Interstate 69.

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Bill to Seal Handgun Carry Records Clears Senate Panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to seal Tennessee’s handgun carry permit records from public scrutiny is advancing in the Legislature.
The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Ferrell Haile of Gallatin unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 8-0 on Tuesday and is headed for a vote by the full Senate. The companion bill was approved 84-10 in the House last month.
Both versions of the bill would allow for the media and Safety Department to confirm whether someone who had run afoul of the law was a permit holder, but only by providing a legal document or other record “that indicates the named person is not eligible to possess a handgun carry permit.”
The legislation doesn’t create an exception for political operatives and lobbying groups to obtain the entire set of names and addresses.

List of Bills Signed by the Governor, 3/11/13

Here’s a list of bills signed into law so far in the 108th General Assembly from a list distributed by the governor’s office on Monday:
Signed February 28
HB 107
This bill revises the governance of Erlanger Hospital and its associated hospital authority, including revisions to the authority’s Board of Trustees.
(Passed House as amended 95-0; Passed Senate 28-0)
Signed March 7
HB 227
This bill reduces the size of the Board of Mayor and Alderman for the Town of Hornbeak from seven to five.
(Passed House 95-0; passed Senate 30-0)
HB 75
This bill amends the Charter of town of Tellico Plains.
(Passed House 93-0; Passed Senate 30-0)
HB 18
This bill amends the charter of Carroll County Highway Commission.
(Passed House 95-0; Passed Senate 30-0)

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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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House Committee Assignment List

News release from House Speaker Beth Harwell’s office:
(NASHVILLE, January 10, 2013) – House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) today announced committee and subcommittee appointments for the 108th General Assembly. The announcement comes after a new proposal by the Speaker to shake up the standing committees in an effort to make the process more efficient and save taxpayer money.
“When I was elected Speaker, I made clear that a limited and efficient government was my priority. Reaching those goals will always be a work in progress, and to that end I proposed changes to the committee system to balance the workload of each committee. I am confident this system will serve us well in the 108th General Assembly,” said Speaker Harwell.
“When appointing committees, I consider each member’s area of expertise, experience, previous service, and their interests,” said Speaker Harwell. “I’m confident I struck that balance and I’m looking forward to working with each of the members over the next two years as they serve in these roles.”
The House formally adopted Speaker Harwell’s recommended changes to the House rules on Thursday.
“I look forward to working with each of the new committee chairs and officers on the issues that matter most to Tennesseans,” she concluded.

Note: The list of committee assignments is available by clicking on this link: Committee_Appointments_108th_GA.pdf

Full List of New TN Laws Effective Jan. 1, 2013

Following is a list of state laws taking effect on Jan. 1, 2013, as compiled by Legislative Information Services. The first number is the “public chapter” number of the new law, followed by the bill number as it appeared during the legislative session, the subject and then the description. (Below the LIS list is a listing compiled by the Senate Republican Caucus that contains more description in some cases.)
1020 SB3341 Teachers, Principals and School Personnel – As enacted, specifies
that a teacher may not teach a course in which an end of course
examination is required for students to satisfy graduation
requirements set by the state board of education, if the teacher’s
license does not carry a subject specific endorsement for the
subject area of the course, unless the teacher demonstrates
sufficient content knowledge in the course material by taking, at the
teacher’s own expense, and passing a standardized or criterion-
referenced test for the content area. – Amends TCA Title 49,
Chapter 6.
1030 SB2923 Workers Compensation – As enacted, clarifies that either party in a
workers compensation dispute may bring suit in the county in which
the employee resided at the time of the injury when issues remain
after the benefit review conference; reduces from $100 to $50.00 the
maximum amount that the secretary of state may charge for certain
fees concerning construction service providers and workers
compensation. – Amends TCA Title 50.

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TN Electoral College Votes Formally Cast for Mitt Romney

News release from Secretary of State’s office:
Eleven Electoral College representatives from across Tennessee met in Nashville Monday to cast the state’s presidential votes for Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential running mate, Paul Ryan.
Like most states, Tennessee’s votes in the Electoral College are allocated based on a “winner take all” system – which means the electors pledged to award all 11 of the state’s votes to the candidate who received the highest amount of votes statewide in the Nov. 6 general election.
Results of Monday’s meeting of the electors will be forwarded to Washington, D.C., where Congress is scheduled to meet in a joint session Jan. 6 to accept the results from all 50 states.
Tennessee’s electoral votes are determined by its proportional share of the United States population. The electors this year were:

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