Gavel Down/Tennessee (9/18–23, 2016)
With the General Assembly special session over, we return to our regularly scheduled scuttlebutt and speculation about the legislative year ahead, and there were no shortage of stories this week. Here are the highlights:
- Feds confirm: TN now complies with fed DUI standards (topic of last week’s special legislative session) and will keep the $60 million in road funding that was in jeopardy
- Bill introduced in Congress to name a new Nashville federal courthouse after late Senator Fred Thompson. [Weigh in on the bill with POPVOX]
- Rep. Jim Cooper is only TN delegation member opposed to naming the building for Thompson.
- Nashville passed marijuana decriminalization ordinance. Memphis City Council advanced a similar provision (final vote Oct. 1); Shelby County may do same. TN Black Caucus supports the measures. One state rep who opposes is “strongly considering” bill to withhold highway funds in response.
- Loopholes in TN campaign finance system leave supporter-provided tripsand private investment of campaign funds unreported. Speaker Harwell supports legislation to limit or curtail private investments.
- Governor Bill Haslam was ranked as number 7 most popular governor in the US.
- At 51% approval, Tennessee senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker are among the most popular in the Senate. Approval of Congress overall is up to a whopping 20%.
- Major data error inflated TN’s unintentional gun death numbers for 2014: Should have been five, not 105. (TDH corrects).
- House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) will not seekthe leadership position next year. Reps. Sheila Butt (Columbia), Glen Casada (Franklin), Cameron Sexton (Crossville) are reportedly interested.
- The state is accepting public input on Tennessee’s Social Studies education standards until October 28.
- Nashville passed “One Touch Make Ready” policy on Tuesday to speed deployment of Google Fiber and other broadband services. AT&T filed lawsuit challenging the measure on Thursday.
- Electronic monitoring system in Scott County could violate state constitutional ban on jailing those too poor to pay fines.
- TN Comptroller says Gainesboro nursing home improperly billedMedicaid by over $2 million. Charges included gift cards and expenses for the owner’s daughter’s wedding.