News release from state Department of Human Services:
NASHVILLE, TN (June 17, 2013) – New Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) applicants will need to apply on October 1 instead of July 1. Administration of the federal program designed to assist households of low income pay utility bills will be transferred from the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) to the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) effective October 1, 2013.
Given LIHEAP’s transition to THDA, funds offered through the program will now be awarded to coincide with the federal fiscal year beginning October 1.
“Transitioning LIHEAP was identified during our Customer Focused Government process, formally known as the Top to Bottom Review, as a potential opportunity to increase efficiency and effectiveness in service to the people of Tennessee, said Department of Human Services’ Commissioner Raquel Hatter. “DHS is excited about this transition to improve customer service through better service alignment. We look forward to continued collaboration with community partners and THDA.”
Tennessee doesn’t have many coal mining jobs, but Gov. Bill Haslam was selling the state to a room full of coal executives Tuesday, reports the Kingsport Times-News.
“We’re not blessed with quite as much coal or as much oil or natural gas as other folks are, but the little we have is an important part of our economy,” Haslam, a Republican, told members of the Eastern Coal Council on the final day of their annual conference.
“We think it’s about 17,000 (energy sector) jobs in Tennessee…It enables us to be competitive with other folks in attracting industry who want low-cost reliable power.”
Haslam trumpeted Tennessee’s low-tax environment, business-friendly regulations and workers’ compensation reform efforts.
“For those of you who don’t live in Tennessee and live close, if you move to Tennessee, we don’t have an income tax,” Haslam told the group at the MeadowView Marriott. “You do the math and move to Tennessee. We would love to have you…We’ve cut the sales tax on groceries and the inheritance tax…Local taxes and state taxes together, we think we’re the third lowest state in taxes.”
Report from Hank Hayes in the Kingsport Times-News:
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today arrested a Greeneville man for stealing money raised by his political action group in charge of organizing a GOP Presidential forum scheduled for October 2011 at the MeadowView Marriott in Kingsport.
The event was never held.
Fabian Farrell Story, 36, was indicted by the Washington County grand jury in November of 2012 on one count of theft over $10,000. Story was the executive director of the group called Conservatives on the Move, allegedly coordinating the political event.
The TBI says Story contacted Johnson City political activist, Phyllis White, on July 1, 2011, to help him raise money and organize the event. White raised approximately $30,000 and deposited it in a Washington County bank. The TBI investigation revealed that Story withdrew the money and it was not refunded to the donors.
Story was arrested by the TBI at the Rutherford County court house where he was appearing on a child support case. He was booked into the Rutherford County Jail on $10,000 bond and will be transported to the Washington County Jail tomorrow.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to do away with the state’s early graduation program is advancing in the House.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin (HB2235) was approved Tuesday on a voice vote in the House Education Committee. The companion bill unanimously passed the Senate 30-0 last week.
Under the so-called Move on When Ready Act, a student who scores 27 on the ACT is only required to obtain 18 hours of specific classes to get a diploma. Casada’s proposal would require students to complete 22 hours before moving on.
Democratic Rep. John Deberry of Memphis said he voted against the legislation because he thinks students should benefit from the law’s requirements if a “child’s aptitude and all-around fitness” show they have the ability to advance.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An attempt to move the Occupy Nashville protest from the state Capitol to the city’s Public Square was short-lived.
One tent was set up on the lawn of the city government headquarters Monday night. Early Tuesday, a Metro Nashville police officer told tent dweller Matt Hammill a local ordinance barred camping there. Hammill packed up his tent and left, according to WTVF-TV (http://bit.ly/yhg6zb).
The station reported the movement might try to get a permit from the mayor’s office to resume camping on the square.
Protesters have been camped at Legislative Plaza since Oct. 7, but legislators are considering a statute that would prohibit it.
State troopers arrested protesters in October, but a Nashville judge ordered them released.
A massive move in the state legislature also came with a high price tag, according to WSMV-TV. Taxpayers have footed the bill for nearly $130,000 to re-arrange Tennessee state lawmakers’ offices.
Earlier this year, the halls of Legislative Plaza were cluttered with furniture as lawmakers both old and new, both Democrats and Republicans made the huge office swap. To the victors go the spoils, or when it comes to the state legislature, the victors get the good office space.
So, could some of the costs have been avoided?
“Every dollar counts and they should watch their budget as closely as you and I watch our budget,” said taxpayer watchdog Ben Cunningham. Much of the expense was spent on the movers, which totaled $47,000. To paint and remove wallpaper cost $35,000, and new furniture cost $15,000. Thousands more were spent to rebuild and remove walls and relocate doors.
A report from Hank Hayes:
KINGSPORT — Candidates to appear weren’t named, but a Nashville-based conservative group announced plans Thursday to stage a GOP presidential debate at the MeadowView Marriott this fall.
Conservatives On The Move (COTM) is hoping 3,000 seats to be sold for either $50 or $25 apiece will be filled for the debate, scheduled to happen at 2 p.m. on Oct. 15.
“The number one question we get is: Who’s coming?” Fabian Story, executive director of COTM’s political action committee (PAC), said before a few event supporters at MeadowView. “Our policy is we’re not going to reveal who’s accepted or declined until every candidate has had an opportunity to either accept or decline. At this point, the only candidate that has declined our invitation has been (former Massachusetts Gov.) Mitt Romney. … We have several candidates who have confirmed but have asked we not release their names until they put it on their fall calendars.”