NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is balking at enforcing dam tailwater fishing restrictions by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter said anglers have a good safety record in fishing below Cumberland River dams and the agency doesn’t see the justification of banning tailwater fishing.
While Carter said TWRA wants to work with the Corps on safety solutions, the state agency won’t supply enforcement of permanent waterborne restrictions.
TWRA has asked the Corps to reconsider implementation of the ban, but noted the federal agency on Tuesday said it was putting the plan into place and asking wildlife agencies in Tennessee and Kentucky to enforce it.
The Tennessean has a lengthy story today on the possibility of Tennessee imposing extra restrictions on senior citizens’ drivers licenses.
The idea has been floated in the past, but not for years. If memory serves, former Rep. Frank Buck of Dowelltown once filed a bill calling for vision testing of older drivers when their licenses came up for renewal, but it caused such an uproar he backed off.
As the story notes, Rep. Eddie Bass recently sought an attorney general’s opinion on the subject and it basically gives a green light to laws imposing special restrictions on older drivers. But it is suggested that filing of any such bill is highly unlikely in this election year.
Exerpt from the story: As the number of elderly drivers on the road — and accompanying concerns about their ability to drive safely — increases, state officials are exploring new laws that could subject older drivers to additional testing, make it easier for Tennessee to take licenses away from older drivers at the request of family members, or both.
Last month, Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. issued an opinion that stated such laws would not be unconstitutional or discriminatory so long as they were “rationally related to a legitimate state interest.”
The opinion came in response to questions submitted by state Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, a retired sheriff who is apparently exploring more stringent licensing requirements for senior drivers. Bass did not return multiple phone messages and emails seeking comment. In his question to the attorney general, Bass did not specify a certain age where additional testing might be required.
Under present laws, Tennessee is one of the least restrictive states in the country for older drivers. Most other states do have laws in place that impose heightened licensing requirements on older drivers, from accelerated renewal cycles to requiring that drivers over a certain age pass vision and/or reaction tests. Some states go so far as to require older drivers to submit a doctor’s certification that they are safe to drive. Federal law already allows health-care providers to provide protected information to public officials if they believe there is a threat to public safety.
U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. openly bristled Monday at a deputy attorney general’s attempts to defend restrictions on ballot access for small political parties in Tennessee, reports The Tennessean.
He threw out the restrictions less than 16 months ago and the Legislature responded by amending the law to lessen the restrictions. But third parties still have more hurdles to clear than Democrats or Republicans and the new, revised law is now before Haynes for another court challenge While his annoyance was clear, Haynes did not rule on the Green and Constitution parties’ request for summary judgment in their favor after 90 minutes of oral arguments, choosing instead to take the matter under advisement. The alternative political parties sued the state in July and argue that state laws make it unconstitutionally hard for third parties to get their names on the ballot in Tennessee.
….Alan P. Woodruff, a Johnson City attorney and Democratic congressional candidate representing the third parties, told the judge that his clients have basically been denied ballot access by a requirement thehy collect more than 40,000 signatures in April to have party identity of a candidate listed on the statewide ballot. He estimated that collecting the signatures would cost $120,000.
….Haynes asked some questions but mostly listened quietly as Woodruff laid out his case. His mood changed drastically when Deputy Attorney General Janet Kleinfelter went to the podium, and he chastised the state for making arguments in defense of the new state laws that it had not presented in the previous case.
“I wish I didn’t read your brief,” Haynes said. “I’m wasting my time.”
Moving past the technical issues, Haynes noted that higher court rulings suggest the state’s deadline is unconstitutionally early, and he pressed the state to explain why it needs so much time.
“It’s a lot more complicated than it looks on paper,” responded Kleinfelter, who noted the long list of administrative tasks state and local election officials must complete and the legal requirements they must follow.
Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins attended Monday’s hearing.
“At the end of the day, we have to comply with the MOVE Act,” he said afterward, noting that another minor party, Americans Elect, is on track to comply with state requirements. “If that deadline changes, we’re going to have a hard time doing that.”