News release from state Department of Veterans Affairs:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder somberly announced former Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner William H. (Dusty) Roden, Jr. passed away on July 20, 2013 at the Hospice Chattanooga Care Center. Commissioner Roden was 90 years old.
Roden served in the United States Army Air Corps as a fighter pilot from 1942 to1945 and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Air Force Reserves in 1972.
Commissioner Roden was appointed by Governor Lamar Alexander in 1979 and remained TDVA Commissioner until 1987. In 1979, Roden founded the United Tennessee Veterans Association (UTVA) which was created to bring the state’s Veteran Service Organizations together to be briefed by leaders from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure accomplishments, concerns and developments impacting veterans would be shared with UTVA representatives. Commissioner Grinder recognized Roden for this milestone contribution during a UTVA meeting on December 4, 2012.
After the controversial removal of William “Chink” Brown from the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission in February, Gov. Bill Haslam has finally appointed a replacement, reports Nooga.com David Watson, an executive and part owner of Mountain View Ford Lincoln in Chattanooga, will serve out the remainder of Brown’s term as the District 4 representative on the TFWC. The TFWC is the governing body over the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The 13 members have authority over hunting, fishing and boating regulations in Tennessee.
In the letter notifying Watson of his appointment, the governor wrote, “In the thorough and aggressive search for candidates, your individual characteristics and professional qualifications were exceptional among the number of nominees who expressed interest.”
Watson’s appointment will last until February 2015; however, insiders think it is possible that Watson will be reappointed for another six-year term at that point, although that is not guaranteed.
News release from Secretary of State’s office:
Here’s a quick trivia question: Can you name five Tennesseans who became president?
If you’re a good student of the state’s history, you probably won’t have any trouble naming former U.S. presidents Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson or James K. Polk. But a fourth or fifth?
It’s a trick question, because there were also Tennesseans who later became presidents of foreign countries, such as Sam Houston, who led the briefly-independent Republic of Texas, and William Walker, who was inaugurated as president of Nicaragua on this date in 1856.
Walker’s life is highlighted in one of the Tennessee State Library and Archives’ online exhibits. The exhibit can be found at http://tn.gov/tsla/exhibits/walker/index.htm.
Walker isn’t as famous as some Tennesseans chronicled at the State Library and Archives, but in his day, he was quite infamous for his efforts to colonize Central America.
Three years before he became president of Nicaragua, the Nashvillian led a group of 45 men who landed in Baja California, Mexico. Walker declared the land to be the Republic of Lower California and proclaimed himself to be the new country’s president. Mexican forces soon threw him and his troops out of the country and he was tried (but acquitted) for violating U.S. neutrality laws when he returned.
Walker then led a group of 57 soldiers into Nicaragua. After fighting a number of battles and eventually becoming president, he launched a plan to “Americanize” the country by declaring English the official language and encouraging U.S. residents to immigrate there. He was later ousted by the combined forces of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. After unsuccessfully attempting to regain the presidency of Nicaragua, he was eventually captured and turned over to the Honduran government, which executed him for piracy.
“The story of William Walker is one of thousands that can be found at the Tennessee State Library and Archives,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Because his life is chronicled in one of our online exhibits, it is accessible to Tennesseans free of charge, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. I encourage people to visit our web site and learn more about the resources that are just a few mouse clicks away.”
About the same time that the most despicable figure in recent Tennessee political history was found dead in a prison cell last week, a small group of folks gathered in the state House chamber to remember a man they saw as one of the most admirable and respected figures in that history.
I never knew William L. “Dick” Barry, who during tumultuous times presided over 98 other representatives in that ornate chamber as House speaker for four years, from 1963 to 1967, then served as right-hand man to Gov. Buford Ellington and then as mentor and adviser — plus, at least once, also as a backstage organizer of an unorthodox bipartisan coalition. He died quietly, aged 88, in the town of Lexington, Tenn., where he was born and where — in accord with his instructions — no formal funeral was held.
But I trust the judgment of those who did know him, including members of the mostly gray-haired bipartisan coalition that gathered Wednesday. Based on them, and the commentary of others, he was a remarkable and insightful man of great intellect with perhaps even more remarkable modesty.
The head of a state House subcommittee that handles drunken driving legislation said Tuesday that lowering the legal standard for DUI to 0.05 percent blood alcohol content is probably at least three years away in Tennessee.
Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, and other legislators attending a Mothers Against Drunk Driving news conference said next year’s legislative priority in the area likely will be lowering the blood alcohol standard — perhaps to zero — for those who have taken prescription medications.
“To have success in the Legislature, we need to do things incrementally,” said Shipley, responding to a question.
The .05 standard was recommended recently by the National Transportation Safety Board. State Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, has said he intends to propose legislation next year setting that standard. Currently, Tennessee and most other states set 0.08 blood alcohol content as the level that creates a legal presumption of drunken driving.
Shipley said the lower level was “an achievable goal” but speculated it might be “2016 or so” before passage was possible. One consideration, he said, is the cost of jailing offenders convicted at between .05 percent and .08 percent and requiring them to get ignition interlock devices installed on their cars.
William Logan “Dick” Barry, who served as speaker of the state House of Representatives in the 1960s and then executive assistant to Gov. Buford Ellington, has died in a Lexington nursing home at age 89, according to friends.
“Dick Barry’s death marks the end of an era,” said former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe, who served in the state House while Barry was top aide to Ellington.
“He was a solid rock of integrity and a real historian,” said Ashe Thursday “State government was made better by his participation and leadership.”
State Rep. Steve McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads, said Barry died Wednesday evening at a Lexington nursing home, where he had resided in recent weeks after hospital treatment for an illness.
Barry, a lawyer who once served as publisher of the Lexington Progress newspaper, was elected to the state House in 1954 and became floor leader in 1958 and then in 1963 and with the support of Gov. Frank Clement was elected speaker. He served as speaker until 1967, when joined the Ellington administration and served until Democrat Ellington left office in January, 1971, with the inauguration of Republican Gov. Winfield Dunn.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge in Nashville has blocked Republican leaders’ efforts to keep Planned Parenthood of Tennessee from participating in venereal disease prevention programs. The efforts are federally funded, but administered by the state and are aimed at reducing the infection rate of HIV and syphilis.
The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/Ywffwu) reported U.S. District Court Judge William J. Haynes Jr. issued his ruling Wednesday, barring the state from defunding Planned Parenthood in contracts totaling more than $171,500 last year.
In his ruling, Haynes noted a political and legislative history of Republican efforts to cut the organization’s funding because Planned Parenthood also performs abortions. He cited statements from then-candidate Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Sen. Stacey Campfield.
The court noted a statement in which Ramsey called Planned Parenthood “the largest abortion provider in the country” and said, “It has always been the ambition of Republicans in the legislature to defund this organization.”
Barry Chase, CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region, said the agency is “thrilled that the court has permanently stopped the state from impermissibly barring Planned Parenthood from providing critical disease prevention education and services. Politics should never interfere with Tennesseans’ access to critical medical services.”
Planned Parenthood has received positive reviews over the last decade of administering the program, for which the contracts are let through competitive bidding.
The state House overwhelmingly approved a bill Monday night that makes secret virtually all information about Tennessee handgun-carry permit holders except non-identifying statical reports, reports Richard Locker. If the Senate also approves the bill, individuals and media organizations would be unable to identify any of the 370,000 Tennessee residents with the state-issued licenses to carry guns in public. In the previous four years, lawmakers have been expanding the number of public places where permit holders may legally carry guns, including public parks and bars and restaurants serving alcohol.
A bill that passed last month allows permit holders to keep their guns in their cars on virtually any public and private parking lot — including at schools and college campuses — despite the property owner’s objections. One of the arguments advanced by the legislators who sponsored the guns-in-parking lots bill was that employers and others could still determine if their employees have permits to go armed because the permit database is public record. That would no longer be the case with the bill approved by the House Monday.
The bill, House Bill 9, declares that all information and records relating to handgun-carry permits “are confidential, not open or available for public inspection and shall not be released in any manner” except to law enforcement agencies specifically investigating an individual with a permit. It also makes confidential any information regarding the suspension or revocation of a permit.
Before approving the bill 84-10, the House added an amendment recommended by a committee that would allow any person or entity to ask the state Department of Safety to search its permit-holder database to determine if a specific person has a permit as of that date, but only if the requester presents an official government document indicating the named person is not eligible to possess a permit. That would include a court judgment of the individual’s conviction of a crime that makes the person ineligible, a criminal history report, or an order of protection.
Such limitations would prohibit the state from publicly confirming an individual charged with a violent crime, including murder, is licensed to go armed. In fact, the push by gun advocates for closing public access to permit holders’ identities began in early 2009 when real estate investor Harry Ray Coleman was publicly identified as a permit holder when he shot Robert Schwerin Jr. to death during an argument outside a Cordova restaurant.
News release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s office:
(February 25, 2013, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) congratulates Dr. Jeff McMillin of Bristol on his election as chairman of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC). The TFWC works with the State Legislature to provide direction and oversight to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). Dr. McMillin was appointed to the commission by Lt. Governor Ramsey in 2009 and elected chairman at the commission’s February meeting.
“I am extremely proud to see Jeff elected chairman of the TWRA. His deep and abiding love of the outdoors cannot help but be transmitted to everyone with whom he comes in contact,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “As a fellow outdoorsman, I have appreciated Jeff’s dedication to serving on this commission. He is a treasure to the state and the perfect person to oversee TWRA’s mission of conservation and preservation of Tennessee’s fish and wildlife.”
A native of Sullivan County, Dr. Jeff McMillin has been a practicing dentist in Bristol, Tennessee since 1981. After graduating with honors from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 1978, he acquired his doctorate of dental surgery (DDS) from University of Tennessee Memphis in 1981. Dr. McMillin has lived his entire life in Tennessee and his hobbies include hunting ducks, turkey and big game, saltwater, river and stream fishing. He also enjoys planting food plots and improving wildlife habitat on his hunting property in East Tennessee. Dr. McMillin and his wife, Debbie have two adult children, Bart and Sara, and one grandson, Colt.
Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission oversees Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The TWRA was established in 1949 and completely reorganized in 1974. It now consists of more than 600 professionals dedicated to the preservation, conservation, and enhancement of Tennessee’s fish and wildlife for the enjoyment of all Tennesseans and visitors.
– Note: The selection of McMillin as chairman comes after the previous chairman, William ‘Chink’ Brown of Chattanooga, was effectively removed as a member of the commission by the Legislature’s refusal to confirm Brown’s appointment to a new term by Gov. Bill Haslam. Previous post HERE. A spokesman for Ramsey says McMillan’s election as chairman, preceeded the effective rejection of Brown’s confirmation, contrary to an earlier version of this post.
Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission Chairman William “Chink” Brown’s Senate confirmation vote for a new term on the panel may be dead in the water, according to the Chattanoga Times-Free Press.
Freshman Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, on Thursday “bumped” the confirmation of Brown, a Signal Mountain attorney and former judge, from a consent calendar. The consent calendar is a list of usually noncontroversial bills and resolutions that are passed en masse on any given day on the Senate floor.
Other nominees to the Fish and Wildlife Commission were confirmed. But Brown’s nomination was re-referred to the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Senators say at least five of the nine-member committee won’t vote to send Brown’s nomination back to the Senate floor.
…At least part of the opposition appears to come from residual resentment by some lawmakers over a two-year battle they fought with the TWRA and the-then Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission, which oversaw the agency.
Brown was chairman of the commission during the fight. The commission eventually was renamed and other changes made.
Gardenhire, elected to the Senate last fall after the flap, said Thursday evening he had warned a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency official, which the commission oversees, over a week ago that he wouldn’t be voting for Brown “but I wouldn’t do anything to cause attention to it.”
…Brown, a Democrat, was renominated by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.
Gardenhire said he warned an administration official last weekend that Brown’s confirmation was in danger but no one got back with him to discuss it.