A Bradley County man’s quest to have the Cleveland city manager and a councilman charged for ripping up his protests signs came to naught Tuesday, reports the Chattanooga TFP. Dan Rawls said Bradley County General Sessions Judge Sheridan Randolph refused to issue criminal summonses for City Manager Janice Casteel or Councilman George Poe on charges of vandalism, criminal trespass and official oppression.
After meeting with the judge to make his request, Rawls said Randolph told him that even if he signed the papers, the prosecutor’s office was likely to dismiss the charges.
The two city officials ripped up protest signs Rawls posted in front of his business, Cleveland Performance Center, when Gov. Bill Haslam was appearing across the street on July 11. Rawls said the hand-painted sign saying, “Haslam, shame on u,” was to protest the governor’s support for Common Core educational standards.
Poe said afterward that the signs were an embarrassment to the city and that they were on city right of way.
Photos showed them near a stop sign and a utility pole, but it’s hard to determine whether they are within the 6-foot right of way
Judge David Loughry dismissed new Democratic Property Assessor Rob Mitchell’s campaign sign vandalism charges against past Republican Property Assessor Bill Boner Tuesday, reports the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. Mitchell, who won the Aug. 2 election, spent nearly all of his first official day in office at the County Judicial Building after he took out a warrant to have Boner arrested in July. He accused the incumbent of damaging a campaign banner that had been hanging on the side of a wall at the Premier 6 movie theater at Jackson Heights shopping center where Boner serves as the property manager.
Judge Loughry, though, said during the preliminary hearing that Boner had to respond to a Murfreesboro Building and Codes Department warning that the city only allows three temporary signs per property.
“Mr. Boner has the approved authority to determine the three signs,” Loughry ruled in determining there was no probably cause to send the case to a grand jury.
The judge noted that the sign in question was hung back up with duct tape before Mitchell agreed to take it down.
An investigation is under way into a complaint against Tennessee House District 31 Rep. Jim Cobb, who is accused of getting into a disagreement with a woman at a polling place on election night, according to the Chattanooga TFP. The woman who filed the complaint said she confronted Cobb Thursday after he knocked down a campaign sign for Ron Travis, Cobb’s opponent in the GOP primary.
Mike Taylor, district attorney in the 12th Judicial District where Rhea County is located, confirmed the incident is under investigation as a possible assault. He said he is unsure whether an assault occurred or how the sign for Travis, who defeated Cobb, was knocked over.
“My understanding was that the person who made the complaint was out at one of the polling places, holding a sign for Travis,” Taylor said. “There was some kind of action that occurred, and the sign got kicked over.”
Jeff Knight, spokesman for the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a complaint has been filed against Cobb, but declined to confirm any details because of the ongoing investigation.
…Cobb said Tuesday that the complaint is “fabricated.”
“I take no offense to what she said, but it’s not true,” he said.
He said he and the woman spoke on election night after he brushed up against a Travis campaign sign, but “not enough to knock it down, just barely enough to make it wiggle,” and the woman approached him.
Synthetic drug sellers and makers now face felony jail time and fines up to $5,000 following a ceremonial legislation signing by Gov. Bill Haslam in front of Tennessee High School’s student body Monday, reports Hank Hayes. Two bills sponsored by state Reps. Jon Lundberg and Tony Shipley — which address both synthetic marijuana and bath salts similar to controlled substances — are now law. Shipley’s bill took effect Monday, while the effective date of Lundberg’s legislation was April 27.
The law also allows authorities to declare synthetic drug businesses as a public nuisance. Haslam indicated earlier this year he didn’t know that much about synthetic drugs, but then began hearing about student protests outside local head shops.
“I think one of the things that affected our thinking … was this is a big issue,” Haslam told reporters following the legislation signing at Viking Hall. “We had a student death up here, and we heard repeated tales from the emergency rooms here about how many patients they were seeing from bath salts or synthetic drugs. It really was something becoming way too commonplace. This place was the epicenter of it.”
Shipley, R-Kingsport, asked THS students: “How many of you know someone who’s taken bath salts or know where they’ve bought bath salts?”
Many hands went up.
“Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the reason we passed this law. This was an epidemic attacking our community,” Shipley declared.
…Haslam’s administration included more than $300,000 in the recently passed state budget to pay for incarceration expenses in the law. Those expenses were based on more than 60 people going into the Department of Corrections for a controlled substance or imitation controlled substance offense in each of the past 10 years.
The new laws and increased public focus on synthetic drugs, Lundberg said, apparently have scared off synthetic drug sellers. He added synthetic drug cases in local emergency rooms have dropped dramatically.
“I think it’s had an impact that people know it’s illegal. … It hit us the worst,” Lundberg observed
…For more information go to www.capitol.tn.gov. Shipley’s bill was HB 3175. Lundberg’s bill was HB 2286.
Gov. Bill Haslam declares that he is successfully presiding over a “cultural shift” in Tennessee’s government operations and the state’s education system, though occasionally dealing with a “perception factor” caused by inordinate media attention to some legislative activities.
His own relationship to the Legislature, dominated by fellow Republicans, is marked by a general unity of purpose and broad support on substantive issues, Haslam said in an interview last week. He discounts talk of a conservative-moderate split in Republican ranks.
“I honestly think that’s exaggerated. I really do,” he said, though acknowledging that “Any time you have a party that has the majorities Republicans do now, you’re going have times when there are people who are not in agreement.”
The governor issued his first veto during the recently completed legislative session, blocking a bill aimed at overturning a Vanderbilt University policy that Republican sponsors saw as discriminating against campus religious groups. He also refused to sign two measures, one a bill that would protect teachers from discipline if they talk about creationism in the classroom and the other a resolution condemning United Nations Agenda 21.
The sisters of Joyce Hall, who died after a bout with pain pill addiction ended her career as a nurse, were on hand Friday when Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a bill aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse at the Anderson County Courthouse, reports Matt Lakin. Nall and Judy Bensey, shook the governor’s hand Friday when he signed a bill aimed at tightening restrictions on doctor-shopping and other forms of prescription-drug abuse in Tennessee.
“In prescriptions per capita in Tennessee, we’re the second leading state in the nation,” Haslam said. “Obviously some of those are for valid reasons, but too many of them aren’t. With this legislation, we intend to change that. This is one step, but to think it will solve the problem would be naive.”
The new law expands the required use of the state’s prescription-drug database — once intended only as a research tool — and elevates some types of doctor-shopping to a felony. Police and the families of drug abusers called the legislation a decent first step.
Gov. Bill Haslam has declined to sign a resolution that denounces “the destructive and insidious nature of United Nations Agenda 21,” passed by Republican legislators over Democratic complaints that it buys into a bogus conspiracy theory.
The resolution, HJR587, was approved 72-23 in the House and by a 19-11 vote in the Senate.
“Resolutions are position statements by the General Assembly, not a law to be implemented,” said Haslam spokesman David Smith in an emailed response to a question. “The governor doesn’t support Agenda 21, but he didn’t feel compelled to and isn’t required to take any action on the resolution.”
“Some could construe the resolution as promoting a choice between business and the environment, which he thinks is a false choice,” Smith said.
Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, the lead sponsor of the Agenda 21 resolution said he was disappointed that Haslam had declined to join in showing his support for the measure.
“We would enjoy his signature and maybe we can find a way to see eye-to-eye on it in the future,” said Brooks. “I look forward to that discussion.”
Apparently, HJR587 is the first resolution Haslam had refused to sign, though Smith declined to confirm that is the case. WPLN radio said it has reviewed “hundreds” of resolutions and could not find one previously that the governor did not sign.
Resolutions have no legal effect and amount to statements of opinion by the Legislature. Governors may sign resolutions and, as a matter of courtesy, usually do so though no signature is required. Typical resolutions, for example, express condolences on the death of a constituent or praise for some accomplishment, such as a high school basketball team’s win in a tournament.
In the recently-completed legislative session, however, Republican lawmakers adopted several resolutions expressing politically-oriented viewpoints. But Haslam has signed them as well — examples including HJR614, which denounces U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and HJR614, which criticizes President Obama and calls for repeal of “the indefinite detention bill” passed by Congress last year.
Brooks’ resolution declares that “United Nations Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control” adopted at a U.N. gathering in 1992 that “is being covertly pushed into local communities throughout the United States.”
The resolution was roundly criticized by some Democrats who said Agenda 21 has laudable goals of easing poverty and hunger. The resolution wildly exaggerates the import and effect of Agenda 21, which has never been accepted by the U.S. Congress.
“Children have imaginary friends; Republicans have imaginary enemies,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville after the House vote.
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam will allow a bill that limits the number of foreign workers at charter schools to become law without his signature, the Republican announced Wednesday.
Haslam said in a statement that he questions the constitutionality of the measure and that he doesn’t want to harm the state’s efforts to improve education standards.
The governor said changes made to the bill late in the legislative session eased some of those concerns.
“I am comfortable that because it is permissive and not mandatory, it does not adversely impact the state’s momentum in education reform,” Haslam said.
Gov. Bill Haslam says the views of 3,200 Tennesseans urging him to veto a controversial bill dealing with the teaching of evolution are important, reports Andy Sher, but he emphasized the overwhelming legislative votes are, too. “Sure, one of the things we do is we weigh input of all kinds,” Haslam said when asked about a 3,200-signature petition presented to his office last week of state residents opposed to the recently passed measure.
“It’s also worthy of note it didn’t just barely pass the House and the Senate,” Haslam said. “It passed three to one. … You take that into account as well.”
The Republican governor, who last week said “probably so” when asked if he would sign the measure, has until Tuesday to decide whether he will sign, veto or allow the measure to become law without his signature.
The measure, derided as the “monkey bill” by critics including scientists and science teachers’ groups, was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson.
Watson’s bill protects public school teachers who describe “weaknesses” in evolution, climate change and other theories.
Asked Monday if he would sign into law a bill on the teaching of evolution and other scientific theories in Tennessee classrooms, Gov. Bill Haslam said, “Probably so.”
More from Andy Sher: “Nothing in the curriculum of the state of Tennessee will change and the scientific standards won’t change,” Haslam said of the bill, which has passed the House and Senate but has yet to come to the governor’s desk. “If you read through that, that part is really clear.”
The governor shrugged off concerns voiced by prominent scientists about the legislation, saying “some of the discussion about its impact is probably a bit overblown.”
Scientists, including a Tennessean who won a Nobel prize, have attacked the bill, saying it would allow faith-based theories like “creationism” and “intelligent design” into classroom discussions. Asked if he were leaning toward signing the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, Haslam said “probably so” although he noted he hasn’t seen the final version of the bill yet.
But Haslam said he has had discussions with State Board of Education officials on “does this affect our curriculum and what we teach regarding evolution in the schools and the answer is no. Does it change the scientific standards that are the ruling criteria for what we teach in schools and the answer is no.”