NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Governor Bill Haslam and first lady Crissy Haslam are inviting Tennesseans to tour the executive residence during the first two weeks of December.
This year’s holiday decor theme is Tennessee Music, and it incorporates pieces from the collections of the Museum of Appalachia, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Stax Museum.
Tennessee students also contributed to the holiday decorations by creating ornaments representing holiday songs, gospel music, patriotic music and Elvis Presley.
And there is a tree with ornaments by local artists from all 95 Tennessee counties.
Open home tours will be held Monday through Friday, December 3-14 and on Saturday, December 8.
More information is available at www.tn.gov/firstlady.
Responding to questions posed by state Sen. Stacey Campfield, Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper says city and county governments can dictate where their employees live while both state and local governments can give some preferential treatment to businesses located within their boundaries.
Campfield, R-Knoxville, says he sought the opinions “for clarity, mostly” in light of a prior Cooper opinion saying that a state law restricting liquor store licenses to Tennessee residents is unconstitutional. (Note: The full opinion is HERE.)
In the June opinion on liquor licenses, Cooper said the prohibition against out-of-state ownership violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The new opinion says that local government residency requirements for employees have “only a negligible effect” on interstate commerce.
“Second, where the local government acts as an employer, its conduct is generally exempt from Commerce Clause restrictions under the ‘market participant’ exception. Under this exception, where a government acts in its more general capacity of market participant, it may favor its own citizens over others without violating the Commerce Clause,” the opinion says.
The opinion also cites a 1976 state Supreme Court decision upholding a Memphis’ ordinance requiring employees of the city to live within Memphis, which had been attacked on other constitutional grounds.
News release from Tennessee Democratic party:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester demanded state election officials remove state House candidate Charles Williamson from the ballot in light of evidence showing that Williamson submitted fraudulent information on his official nominating petition.
“For the past year, the Republicans have claimed they ‘want to protect the ballot box from voter fraud.’ They now have a chance to do the right thing and demand that Williamson be removed from the ballot based on the extensive evidence showing that he put a false address on his nominating petition, apparently thinking that living in the district he seeks to represent would help him politically,” Forrester said. “Adding insult to injury, Mr. Williamson has voted in the precinct where he apparently does not live.”
The evidence that Williamson does not in fact live in the address is extensively documented:
House District 50 candidate Charles Williamson has told Metro Codes that he’s dropping his attempt to use a Goodlettsville barn as a qualification for his residence in the district after city officials told him he couldn’t legally live there without making major changes, reports Chas Sisk. In a letter dated Sept. 19 and obtained by The Tennessean through a public records request, Williamson said he has moved from the barn property, at 2360 Baker Road, and doesn’t “have any intention to use this building as my residence.” While the Republican candidate recently bought a home elsewhere in the district, he continues to own a much more expensive home on the other side of town, raising questions about where he really lives.
“My opponent seems to be looking for a place to call home,” said Metro Councilman Bo Mitchell, the Democratic nominee for the District 50 seat. “When he’s going door to door in Bellevue, he’s from Bellevue. When he’s going door to door in Goodlettsville, he’s from Goodlettsville.”
The Tennessean reported in July that no occupancy permit had been issued for Williamson’s Baker Road property, which he listed as his residence when he registered to vote and when he filed his candidate qualifying petition earlier this year.
Williamson subsequently applied for an occupancy permit, but the renovated barn is at least partially in what Metro Water Services categorizes as an unstudied flood zone. That means a surveyor needs to determine if the barn is at least four feet above flood levels before a permit can be issued. Williamson also would have had to install an expanded septic system to obtain the Metro Public Health Department’s approval for a residence.
“It really was just too great of a distraction while trying to run a campaign,” said Claire Ratliff, Williamson’s campaign manager.
The Tennessean has a roundup story on some of the state House candidates who live outside the boundaries of the district they want to represent. Jason Potts wants your vote in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary, and he’s going to need it. After all, the House District 53 candidate won’t be able to vote for himself.
Charles Williamson says he already cast a ballot for himself in District 50. But the Republican shouldn’t have, based on Metro Codes documents and rulings that show he can’t legally live where he registered to vote.
Potts, already a Metro councilman, does not yet live in the South Nashville legislative district he seeks to represent in the General Assembly. He’s one of several candidates who haven’t established residency this year in the districts where they’re campaigning for voters’ support.
“I do think it’s important to live in the place you’re going to represent,” said Jason Powell, Potts’ primary opponent.
But Powell had his own bit part in the game of musical homes that tends to play out every 10 years in the wake of redistricting by the legislature. He just moved to the district himself in March, after he had already picked up a candidate qualifying position.
The candidates have benefited from a timing quirk in state election law, which allows them to run from beyond a district’s borders but requires them to live within them to hold the office.
Earlier this year, a Knox County judge removed state Senate candidate Shelley Breeding from the ballot over residency concerns. Breeding said her home was in Knox County, but the judge determined the border property was actually in Anderson County. A state appeals court upheld the ruling, and the Tennessee Supreme Court declined to consider the case further.
Susan Lynn, a former state representative running to reclaim the District 57 seat she held for eight years, now lives in District 46. Lynn has said lawmakers, including Rep. Linda Elam, who replaced her, redrew the Wilson County district to exclude her.
An organization calling itself the Common Sense Coalition on Friday unleashed a series of accusations against City Councilman Nick Steward, who is running for the Republican nomination to the State House, reports the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. Among the claims are that Steward has misrepresented his place of residence in order to run for City Council, and again to run for House District 74.
Steward is running against Lauri Day of Humpheys County for the GOP nomination for that seat, with early voting starting Friday, July 13.
“It’s disappointing that my primary opponent and her surrogates would resort to mudslinging and personal attacks,” Steward said in response Friday. “You might want to be an adult rather than have someone else do your hatchet work.”
Day did not return calls seeking comment..
Similar claims have also been brought forward by Rep. John Tidwell, the Democratic incumbent in District 74
The claims are outlined by Neil Revlett, founder and chairman of the coalition, a libertarian-influenced group founded in the wake of the Tea Party movement. Day lists membership in the Humphreys County Tea Party among her affiliations.
Revlett, who ran as a Republican against state Rep. Joe Pitts in 2010, said he was sending his accusations to the District Attorney’s Office, as well as the Election Commission.
“I just hope an investigation goes forward, and we can get to the bottom of this,” Revlett said by phone Friday. “These rumors have been circulating for a couple of years, and it’s time he put these rumors to rest.
As reported in The Leaf-Chronicle in August 2010, Steward ran for the Ward 1 council seat on the basis of his residence being a rented room in the basement of then-Councilwoman Barbara Johnson.
At the time, he owned a house at 236 Short St. in Ward 5. He said he moved in with Johnson because he didn’t want to live alone while his wife was deployed in Afghanistan.
Steward said Friday, though, that he and his wife legally separated in spring 2010 and divorced about a year later. The Short Street residence belongs to his ex-wife, and he hasn’t “even been to her home” since he moved out.”
Knox County election officials have asked the state to decide a legal question about the Knox County residency of a Democrat hopeful for state House of Representatives, .the News Sentinel reports
Shelley Breeding has filed paperwork to run in the newly created 89th District, which lies entirely in Knox County. But her residential property lies partly in Anderson County and partly in Knox County, said Knox County Election Coordinator Cliff Rodgers.
“At this point, we are waiting on guidance” from the state election coordinator’s office, Rodgers said. “We hope to hear from them soon.”
He said an employee in his office noticed that KGIS showed part of her property was in Anderson County.
“Her mailbox and her driveway are in Knox County, but her house is entirely in Anderson County,” Rodgers said. The real estate taxes on the property “are paid to the Anderson County trustee’s office, through her mortgage company.”
News release from Department of Agriculture:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The eight local Christmas trees Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam will display at the State Capitol and the Tennessee Residence will be adorned with slightly more than ornaments this year.
Donated from tree farms across the state, the six trees at the Tennessee Residence and two at the Capitol will have a mobile phone “quick response,” or “QR,” bar code displayed with the trees, linking many smartphone users directly to the Pick Tennessee Products Christmas tree directory.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture created the bar codes so Tennesseans only have to point their phone’s camera at the bar code to launch an application giving instant information about local tree farms.
“Choosing locally grown products is one way everyone can join the effort to strengthen our rural economies,” Haslam said. “It’s a great way for us to help each other, and that’s something we all think about during this time of year.”
Pick Tennessee Products is the state’s promotional campaign to connect consumers with local farm products. Through the website, visitors can access directories, seasonal recipes and find local artisan products from wines and cheeses to aged hams and local honey. The site’s Taste of Tennessee Online Store provides links to numerous Tennessee produced or processed products popular during the holidays.
Christmas tree farms grow a completely renewable and recyclable resource which is 100 percent biodegradable. While growing, natural Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases and emit fresh oxygen. Christmas trees are often grown on soil that doesn’t support other crops, and their root systems serve to stabilize soil, protect water quality and provide refuge for wildlife. Grown on farms just like any other crop, one to three new seedlings are planted for every tree harvested to ensure a constant supply.
After the holidays, cut trees can be turned into mulch for area trails, and live trees can be replanted. Buying a live tree from a nearby farm guarantees that variety grows well in the area, and farmers are happy to share tips on planting and care for a transplanted tree. Always call ahead and confirm hours of operation and activities.
For more information about locally grown and processed products, visit www.picktnproducts.org or follow on Twitter or Facebook @PickTnProducts
About $550,000 was collected for Republican spending in campaigns for state legislative seats at a recent fundraiser at Gov. Bill Haslam’s official residence, according to House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart.
That is a new record for a legislative fundraising event, she said. It is also about twice as much as the state Republican party collected at a fundraiser held at the governor’s residence earlier this year. Adam Nickas, executive director of the state GOP, says that “leadership forum” netted about $275,000.
“If they really raised that much, that’s something,” acknowledged House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner of the $550,000 total. “I don’t know where all that money came from.”
Reports disclosing exact amounts collected and sources of the donations need not be publicly disclosed until January. Maggart said she did not know whether any money came from direct corporate contributions as authorized by a law enacted earlier this year by the Legislature because “I haven’t looked through the checks.”
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner said House and Senate Democrats have had no major fundraising events yet this year, but they plan to schedule functions in November and December.
While saying he does not anticipate the minority Democrats matching the majority Republican record, Turner said that he is optimistic that enough funding can be raised to wage competitive campaigns in selected legislative districts next year. At one recent House Democratic fundraiser with a limited invitation list, about $27,000 was collected, and checks are still coming in, he said.
Turner said Democrats are eyeing about 17 incumbent Republican freshmen and six more senior incumbents as possible targets next year, though much will depend on how Republicans draw new lines in the redistricting process under way.
Republicans have a 64-34 advantage in the House, where there is one independent, and a 19-14 advantage in the Senate.
Tennessee’s First Lady held a luncheon Thursday to raise money for continuing restoration of the Governor’s residence, reports WTVF-TV of Nashville. The Tennessee Governor’s Mansion was originally built for a family in 1929 and purchased by the state in 1949. The renovation and restoration of the home began in spring of 2010 by former First Lady Andrea Conte.
The current first lady, Crissy Haslam, is continuing the project through her term. Haslam said the looked at the master plan for the project and has chosen to work on the landscaping and gardening around the residence. She will be partnering with Tennessee landscape artist Ben Page.
Haslam and Page unveiled the plan to renovate the garden on Thursday, and began raising money for the project.
“It’ll be a project that goes on for several years, hopefully I can complete it. We’ll see. [There are] about 630 to 640 people here today — men and women from across the state with an interest in horticulture and gardening and they are here because of that reason,” said Haslam.
Mrs. Haslam said they’ve had a lot of interest in the project from Garden Clubs around the state
News release is below.