Tag Archives: population

TN Near the Bottom in Ranking of States on People Donating to Campaigns

The Campaign Finance Institute , which advocates some public financing of political campaigns, has done a state-by-state review of political contributions to races for governor and state legislature seats, ranking states in order of the percentage of population that made donations.
The review used the years 2006 and 2010, which CFI says were years in which most states had both gubernatorial elections and legislative campaigns. There were 33 such states in 2006 and 35 in 2010. (In Tennessee, where we have legislative elections every two years, 2006 was incumbent Gov. Phil Bredesen’s reelection year 2010 was the open-seat election won by Gov. Bill Haslam.)
The review shows Tennessee ranked 30th of the 33 states in 2006, with 0.67 percent of the state’s voting age population making donations to political campaigns. In 2010, Tennessee ranked 23rd out of the 35 surveyed states, with 0.89 percent of voting age population making donations.
The highest percentages were in Vermont and Rhode Island, which alternated as No. 1 in the two years surveyed. Both states have systems where public funding matches small donations from individuals. In 2010, Vermont was tops at 5.86 percent of adults donating to campaigns.
The lowest percentages were in states with higher populations – Florida, New York and California. In 2010, Florida had the lowest percentage, 0.22 percent.
Bills calling for some sort of public finances system have occasionally been introduced in Tennessee, though not in the last couple of legislative sessions. Those introduced previously all died in committee without a vote.
The CFI study, including the state-by-state table, can be seen by clicking on this link: 20121220_StateDonorParticipation-2006-V-2010.pdf

TN Prisoner Population Expands $50 Million Beyond Budget

Inmates are entering Tennessee prisons faster than they’re being released, and the Correction Department says the unforeseen trend is busting the agency’s budget, reports WPLN. The state prison system has asked for an extra $50 million to make it through this year.
Last year, 2,000 more inmates than the state projected entered the system after being sentenced by local courts. At the same time, the number of prisoners released into the community dropped by more than a thousand.
Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield lays partial blame on the Parole Board, which comes into play on both ends. It has a tarnished record tracking felons released on parole and overseeing offenders who get probation instead of jail time. Schofield says his goal is to rebuild trust with judges, who have discretion with sentencing.
…The department doesn’t expect the prison population to subside anytime soon. On top of the $50 million to get through this year, the agency is asking for a budget increase of $100 million next year

Redistricting Assures TN Political Power Shift to Growing Midstate

As legislators prepare to overhaul congressional and legislative district lines with Republicans in control of the process for the first time since Reconstruction, population figures pretty much mandate a shift in political power to Middle Tennessee.
Population growth and shifts since the 2000 census, used by Democrats to design the current districts, also may cause as many headaches for Republican incumbents as for the Democrats now relegated to minority status statewide.
A House committee on redistricting held its first organizational meeting last week. House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said the goal is to draft plans for approval early in the 2012 legislative session.
“People need to know where there district lines are going to be as early as possible,” he said, adding that no draft plans are on the table yet – though there are many potential scenarios and much speculation.
John Ryder, a Memphis lawyer and Republican national committeeman has been point man for the GOP in Tennessee redistricting for three decades, including involvement in lawsuits challenging Democrat-authored plans of the 1980s and 1990s.

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