A bill that requires lottery advertisements include the text "Warning: You will probably lose money playing the lottery" has won approval by a special Senate lottery subcommittee. In pitching his bill, Sen. Jim Summerville, R-Dickson, quoted the Bible at some length. More on that from The CA.
Gov. Bill Haslam said he is considering bills extending in-state tuition to U.S.-born students of undocumented immigrants and children illegally brought to the country, but cast doubt on including them in his free community college plan.
Haslam and his office will consider and evaluate the impact of two bills moving through the legislature allowing students who have lived in the state for five years and have good grades or ACT scores to attend college at the in-state tuition rate, he said.
“I think it’s an idea that has some merit. I really do,” Haslam told reporters Wednesday.
But he said he sees a problem with extending that offer to his “Tennessee Promise” proposal, which offers last-dollar scholarships allowing graduating high schoolers to attend two-years community colleges or technical schools for free.
Metro Schools Director Jesse Register sent a letter to the governor last week praising the “Tennessee Promise” but urged the governor to add in undocumented immigrants and U.S.-born children of immigrants in the country illegally.
Haslam's plan as proposed requires students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a document that requires a social security number that undocumented students do not have. That's a problem, said Haslam, and taking that requirement out of his plan would mean “a very different financial situation for the state,” he said.
“Part of the idea to make this affordable for the state is that everybody goes out and applies and gets every bit of financial aid they can and then we fill in the last dollar. Without that, it’s a very different financial proposition for the state," said Haslam who pointed to the active legislation on the Hill as a way to address Register's concerns.
Emily Kubis with some points on why railing against Sex Week is more than a little silly:
It's striking that our state leaders can't see the value in a resource like Sex Week. It seems like a powerful educational tool that, in a more progressive state, might be embraced for reducing costs associated with unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. But not in Tennessee. It goes without saying that our legislators don't support it, but it's not even enough to ignore it and leave the college kids to their pre-marital sex and YOLO-ing. No, in Tennessee, we need our legislators to step in and issue a public moral condemnation.
In an era where abstinence-only education is generally accepted to be ineffective, fact-based sex-ed is necessary to keep people — college students or otherwise — safe and healthy. Also, several of the Sex Week lectures feature alcohol, consent and sexual assault, issues with ever-increasing relevancy, and certainly not unheard of on Nashville's own college campuses. With Vanderbilt debuting sexual assault awareness programs earlier this year — not so coincidentally following an extremely highly publicized sexual assault and a separate lawsuit related to the university's handling of such reports — it seems at least some universities are getting wise to the fact that the petri dish of raging hormones, keggers and no parental supervision might not have the best outcomes for either student health or the campus legal department. UT has apparently has figured that out, too. When the legislators will get a clue is anyone's guess.
Steven Hale with an excellent observation on The AMP debate:
If you're arguing for a cultural shift away from cars and toward mass transit, you can say BRT will "slow cars down a bit." You can say that it will change commuting habits, and that it will no doubt impact businesses in various ways. You can say all this, and then make the case for why the benefits of this cultural shift outweigh the initial side-effects. That might be a tougher row to hoe, but it's the one that really matters.
If, instead, you're focus is on defending a project, like The Amp, you can't say any of this. You can't concede that, as opponents have been saying ad nauseam, automobile traffic on West End will slow down a bit because of reduced lanes. You can't admit that neighborhood concerns about diverted traffic are legitimate. You can't be fully honest about the challenges that businesses along the corridor might face. In short, you're left doing what the Dean administration and the Amp Coalition have been doing for some time now — holding the line and refusing to acknowledge anything that might be seen as giving ground to opponents.
Lest you think your state legislators are boring sticks-in-the-mud, Sen. Campfield with some photos from a reception of a handful of them, as he put it, "rockin' out." If anyone has video of the mentioned performance of "Rocky Top" on duck calls, please forward to jrlind[at]nashvillepost[dot]com.
Outgoing Rep. Richard Floyd’s eyes began to well up when he urged the House Education Subcommittee to approve a bill granting in-state college tuition to students illegally brought to the states as children.
“I want to do the right thing. And I'm asking you guys," he said as his voice broke, "just do the right thing."
The committee ultimately rolled the bill for a third time this session, this time at the request of House Education Committee Chairman Harry Brooks seeking more information about the college admission process.
After Floyd walked out of the committee room, so did several undocumented high school students and recent grads with the Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition, with watery eyes and red noses who expect to be back next week for the next hearing.
“I think we had the votes to get it out today, I just don’t want to rock the boat on them,” said Floyd about the committee, noting he is catching heat for this bill back home in Chattanooga. “This is a very serious thing to them back in their districts. If we intend to lead, we’re going to have to bite the bullet and make some tough choices.”
A similar measure repealing rules barring U.S.-born citizens from in-state tuition passed out of the full House Education Committee Tuesday and is headed to Finance, Ways and Means Committee.
Between high price tags and self-created delays, the House appears unlikely to pass major rollbacks of Common Core state standards this year.
The House Education Subcommittee on Tuesday pushed eight bills dealing with Common Core and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment to their last calendar. The postponement means the bills are likely to be heard in late March or April, leaving little time for the legislature to pass them before its expected pre-Easter adjournment.
All but two of of the bills targeting the education standards or its corresponding test carry price tags of at least $10 million, making them unlikely to pass in a year with down revenues, said Education Subcommittee Chairman Mark White. Others would cost the state up to an estimated $50 million and another would jeopardize federal funding topping out at $525 million.
“With today’s budget, you move a bill like this out, they will have to get their fiscal note in order first,” said White.
The proposals include requiring the state dump Common Core or PARCC tests and developing its own. Others mandate the state reimburse local school districts for the cost of implementing the new standards.
Of the eight bills, half of them were intentionally pushed back to the last calendar at the request of the sponsor, Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale. So was another by Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia. Three others were abandoned Tuesday by lawmakers who failed to make it to the committee to present their bill.
Although most of the legislation dealing with Common Core is stranded in the subcommittee, one easily one won approval Tuesday reiterating the state sets education standards while building transparency about where any data collected goes -- two common issues Common Core critics have with the standards.
“We’re weeding through this slowly but surely to make sure that we’re still picking our own textbooks, to make sure we’re not sharing data with the federal government, to make sure that, again, we’re setting the curriculum,” said Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey Tuesday. “I do believe that most cases that is the case, but if we have to make sure of that by putting in the code, that’s what we’ll do.”
The Senate, which has several forceful critics of the tests and standards, has yet to take up the bulk of their bills addressing Common Core. Lawmakers there expect to take those bills up in a dedicated committee hearing this session.
Stacey Campfield and Joe Carr had planned a little trade: send money for my campaign and I'll send some over for yours. And it got a little wonky:
Carr’s latest Senate campaign disclosure shows $6,200 in contributions from Campfield – $5,200 in a personal donation and another $1,000 from the senator’s reelection campaign, both dated Dec. 28. Campfield said Carr had told him the senator’s re-campaign would be receiving donations from Carr’s political action committee, Joe PAC. Campfield, in turn, said he agreed to contribute to Carr’s campaign.
Later, however, the senator said he decided – “in the last days before the filing deadline” for disclosure reports – that he would instead “just stay out” of Carr’s Republican primary campaign against U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander. Campfield faces Knox County Commissioner Richard Briggs in the GOP primary.
Believing Carr had already sent him the money, Campfield said, he sent money to Carr thinking it would be treated as a refund.
On his own state campaign disclosure, filed in January, Campfield lists the $1,000 sent to Carr’s campaign as a “returned donation.” He said in an interview that he thought of the $5,200 the same way.
As it turned out, however, Carr has not sent any funds to Campfield.
Carr said Tuesday that he still planned to send Campfield $1,000 through Joe PAC but had assumed the $5,200 from Campfield was a straight donation of personal funds. If Campfield wants a refund, however, Carr said it will be sent.