By The Associated Press
Here is a list of uncontested races in Tennessee.<
State Senate – District 2
Doug Overbey (i), GOP
State Senate – District 4
Ron Ramsey (i), GOP
State Senate – District 8
Frank Niceley, GOP
State Senate – District 12
Ken Yager (i), GOP
State Senate – District 14
Jim Tracy (i), GOP
State Senate – District 30
Jim Kyle (i), Dem
State Senate – District 32
Mark Norris (i), GOP
The Tennessee Republican Party provided on Monday a list of 109 donations to The Governor’s Leadership Fund that were solicited by Gov. Bill Haslam and House Speaker Beth Harwell, then used toward providing financial support to Republican legislative candidates.
The list of about $272,000 in donations — in amounts ranging from $100 to $10,000 — includes several lobbyists and special interest political action committees.
The top donations of $10,000 came from Federal Express’ PAC and David Johnson, part of a Nashville architecture firm.
The governor’s father and brother donated $5,000 each, according to the list provided by Adam Nickas, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party.
The News-Sentinel reported Monday the existence of the fund, which is legal by all accounts but questioned by some as avoiding normal disclosure requirements and described as a “secret political slush fund” by a Democratic Party spokesman.
A list of candidates receiving a total of $91,800 from the fund was provided earlier, but Nickas said last week the list of contributors to the fund could not be provided. He sent the list Monday.
While Haslam and Harwell solicited donations to the “Governor’s Leadership Fund” and the money is kept in a separate bank account, it is legally treated as an arm of the Tennessee Legislative Campaign Committee, the state Republican Party’s main PAC for funding GOP candidates for the General Assembly.
Nickas said that, while Harwell and Haslam can suggest where the money should be spent, the party controls the spending — a distinction that means The Governor’s Leadership Fund does not have to register as a separate PAC and file lists of donors and contributions on its own. The list of donors and contributions are instead lumped together with all other reports on receipts and expenditures by the TLCC.
The list of about $270,000 in donations to the fund versus about $92,000 in contributions to candidates indicates the fund had substantial money still on hand at last report, dated Oct. 27. That surplus could have been sent to candidates after Oct. 27 or otherwise spent by the TLCC, which does not have to file another disclosure until the end of the year.
Note: The list of donors may be viewed HERE.
By the Associated Press
Here is a list of some of the legislation that failed in this year’s legislative session:
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LIMITS: Repealing a ban on local governments from enacting stricter anti-discrimination standards than the state. SB2762.
ATTORNEY GENERAL: Proposed amendment to constitution to have governor appoint the attorney general. SJR0693.
BI-ANNUAL SESSION: Holding legislative sessions only every other year. HB2785.
BIGGER CUT FOOD TAX: Requiring state to make cuts in sales tax on groceries if state has surplus revenues. SB3666.
CLASS SIZE: Lifting the cap on average class sizes at public schools. SB2210.
COLLEGES-RELIGIOUS GROUPS: Banning colleges from enacting nondiscrimination policies on student religious groups. SB3597. (Vetoed by Gov. Bill Haslam)
By the Associated Press
Here is a list of some of the legislation that has been approved by the Legislature this year:
ABORTION DOCTORS: Requires physicians to have hospital privileges in the home or adjacent county of woman seeking abortion. HB3808.
AMAZON SALES TAX: Requires Amazon.com to begin collecting Tennessee sales taxes in 2014. HB2370.
BATH SALTS: Makes it a felony to sell synthetic drugs known as bath salts. HB2286.
BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS: Allows governor to appoint heads of boards, including Tennessee Higher Education Commission. HB2387.
CASH GRANTS: Creates more ways for state to give cash grants to companies investing in Tennessee. HB2344.
The Division of Elections has compiled a list of all candidates filing for state House and state Senate seats, available HERE. It’s unofficial and remember that candidates can withdraw as a candidate for 10 days after the qualifying deadline, which was Thursday.
There’s also a list of candidates qualifying for the U.S. Senate and for congressional district seats, which is HERE.
Here is a list of bills recently signed by Gov. Bill Haslam, released late Friday by the governor’s office:
Senate Bill No. 2175 (Johnson)
This is the Comptroller’s TIF bill, which is referred to as the “Uniformity in Tax Increment Financing Act of 2012.”
(Amended Bill Passed Senate 31-0; House Passed Amended Bill 95-0; Senate concurred in House Amendment 31-0)
Senate Bill No. 2192 (Southerland)
This bill makes the appropriate changes to the code to reflect the renaming of the Senate Environment, Conservation and Tourism committee as the “Senate Energy and Environment committee.”
(Passed Senate 22-9, present not voting-2; House Concurred in Senate Bill 92-0, present not voting-2)
Senate Bill No. 2205 (Norris, Yager, Faulk)
This is an administration bill. It grants certain employees of the Department of Corrections law enforcement authority, including the authority to carry firearms, where previous law did not.
(Passed Senate as Amended 31-0; Passed House as Amended 95-0; Senate concurred in House Amendment 32-0)
Senate Bill No. 2242 (Norris, Bell)
This is an administration bill. If revises current code regarding highway- utility relocation plans, which under current law required that when the department of transportation is informed of an existing utility facility, the department had to provide the owner of the facility with at least two (2) sets of complete project plans by certified mail or hand delivery.
(Passed House 91-0; Passed Senate 33-0)
Kristi Nelson has reports on Gov. Bill Haslam’s plans to close Lakeshore Mental Health Institute at Knoxville, one beginning with the observation that the Legislature seems likely to accept the new arrangement and the other on legislator questioning about a “black list” of Lakeshore patients deemed too “challenging” for the private hospitals that will take over care of most state-paid patients.
Excerpt from the latter report:
At a Feb. 8 state House committee meeting, Knoxville Reps. Steve Hall and Joe Armstrong both asked Commissioner of Mental Health Douglas Varney about a “blacklist” that allegedly allowed local psychiatrist hospitals to turn away certain patients — patients, Armstrong said, Lakeshore Mental Health Institute has filled the “role” of taking in the past.
“Effectively, we have not gotten rid of that ‘blacklist'” with the contracts that are currently in place, Armstrong said, echoing concerns advocates, families and Lakeshore employees have voiced at various public meetings
. “We’ve had multiple meetings talking about issues like blacklisting,” Varney told committee members, adding that “admissions policies” will be addressed in the new contracts with providers.
Varney said he envisioned beds at Middle Tennessee State Mental Health Institute in Nashville, where patients will be sent if local providers can’t handle them, as a “safety valve” for patients who meet very specific criteria — not as a dumping ground.
Tony Spezia, CEO of Covenant Health, which owns Peninsula, said it has been taking “more challenging patients” all along. “We’ve essentially been seeing Lakeshore patients for a number of years,” as the state facility has downsized, Spezia said. “Our admissions have been three times what Lakeshore’s are.”
Number of delegates in parenthesis
Arizona primary (29): The winner gets all the delegates, and private polling shows Romney well ahead. Candidates gather in Mesa on Feb. 22 for their first debate in three weeks.
Michigan primary (30): The relative lack of suspense about Arizona heightens the political significance of Michigan, the first of the big industrial states to vote in the Republican race. Romney, who grew up in the state, won it four years ago. Santorum’s support in the polls is rising statewide as well as nationally, and he hopes for an upset that can strengthen his chances on Super Tuesday.
Washington caucuses (40 delegates): Santorum hoping for a victory. Three delegates go to the winner of each of the state’s 10 congressional districts, an invitation for strong competition.
March 6 (Super Tuesday, seven primaries, three caucuses, 419 delegates total)
Alaska caucuses (24): Delegates are awarded in proportion to the statewide vote. Paul may fly there in search of an elusive victory.
Georgia primary (76): Gingrich’s home state when he was in Congress, and anything other than a victory would resurrect talk of a campaign exit.
Idaho caucuses (32): A large Mormon population makes this a natural fit for Romney. Santorum campaigned there last Wednesday, Paul on Friday.
Massachusetts primary (38): Romney could win all of the delegates in his home state.
North Dakota caucuses (28): Santorum made three stops in the sparsely settled state in a single day recently, and hopes to add it to his list of earlier caucus victories in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado. Paul is also hoping for success.
Oklahoma primary (40): Private polling makes this a three-way toss-up among Romney, Santorum and Gingrich, who’s targeting it as part of a Southern-based revival strategy.
Ohio primary (63): A big battleground state, although the results of the Michigan primary on Feb. 28 are likely to reset the race instantly. As elsewhere, Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney Super-Pac, got the jump in television advertising.
Tennessee primary (55): One of the states Gingrich hopes will launch a comeback, and polling currently shows a competitive three-way race in a state that allocates delegates in proportion to the popular vote.
Vermont primary (17): The second New England state on the ballot, and the one with the fewest delegates of all the Super Tuesday states. Romney is favored although the delegates could be divided.
Virginia (46) : Romney figures to get all the delegates for little effort, with neither Santorum nor Gingrich on the ballot.
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Among those no longer receiving Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s daily news roundup are 74 lawmakers, five dead people, former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen – and Bredesen’s mother.
Haslam’s staff cut distribution of the widely read “Daily News Clips” email from more than 1,200 to 183. A spokesman has said the change makes the email list more manageable and hasn’t saved any money.
Documents turned over to The Associated Press after a public records request show that among the lawmakers dropped are 42 Republicans, 32 Democrats and one independent. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey remains on the list, but fellow Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell does not.
“We talked to legislative leadership before the change and asked them to identify who should receive the clips to get them distributed to the larger body, so our list reflects the staff that was identified,” Haslam spokesman David Smith said in an email.
According to a list prepared by legislative staff, there are 508 new state laws that take effect on Friday, July 1. (Link to the list is available at the bottom of this post.) Today there are several media reports on this, focusing on one topic or the other.
From the Commercial Appeal: On Friday in Tennessee: The old “Move Over” law for motorists is expanded and a new “Move On When Ready” law for students goes into effect. Laws against cyberbullying are enhanced. And motorists must be more careful around bicyclists and pedestrians.
People who get entertainment-subscription services fraudulently can be charged with theft, so don’t share the passwords to your streaming-video movie subscriptions. “Sky lantern” fireworks are outlawed. And it will be legal for mothers to breastfeed their children over 12 months old in public places. (They’ve had that right since 2006 for babies under a year old.)
Scores of new state laws go into effect on July 1, Tennessee’s traditional date for most of its new laws. Some new laws take effect on other dates, however, such as the sweeping changes in the state’s liability laws, which go into effect Oct. 1. And a new law requiring photo IDs to vote is effective Jan. 1.
From the Memphis Business Journal: A key business lobby win in the state legislature will take effect Friday, shifting workers’ compensation requirements in favor of employers. Before the close of its legislative session in May, the Republican-controlled Tennessee General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1785/House Bill 2047.
Under the legislation, employees who are injured and failed or refused to take a drug test must meet a higher burden of proof in filing for workers’ compensation. Proponents of the legislation, which included business leaders and Republicans, have long argued that the shift is needed to ensure claims for workers compensation are founded and not the fault of employees who are on drugs.
While the legislation garnered weak opposition, some workers’ advocates said it shifted too much power toward employers in situations where drugs may have had nothing to do with an injury.
From the Associated Press: Laws that create tougher tenure requirements for teachers and crack down on terrorism are among a number of new measures that take effect in Tennessee on Friday.
The tenure law and anti-terrorist legislation are probably the most contentious of the bunch. Both drew protesters to the Capitol throughout their legislative process. The tenure law requires a teacher to be on the job five years instead of three to get tenure and creates a way for job security to be revoked for poor teaching performance.
Critics of the law say the evaluation system to be used is suspect and that it hasn’t been determined how best to rate educators whose subjects aren’t covered by the state’s value-added test scoring program.
The full list of 508 new laws (or public chapters as they are known until incorporated into the Tennessee Code book) is available by clicking this link: effective_07_01_11.rtf