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Senate votes to ban local firearm regulation

Local governments will be permitted to regulate where guns can discharge only under restrictions OK'd by the State Senate late Wednesday.

Apr 10, 2014 7:09 AM

Public-school lobbying ban killed

The House went through the trouble of amending the bill dozens of times and debated for hours, but eventually they voted and rejected the ban on public school systems lobbying the legislature.

Apr 10, 2014 7:07 AM

House sides with higher pseudoephedrine thresholds

After debate about meth ruining lives, the state creating hoops for allergy sufferers and the integrity of lawmakers’ loyalty oaths, the House overwhelmingly approved a bill limiting how much of certain cold medicine people can buy.  

Although the measure passed 80-17 in the House, it was not until lawmakers waded through thick debate indicating the chamber is unwilling to accept stricter limits on how much allergy medicine containing pseudoephedrine people can buy without a prescription.

The House prefers limits of two 2.88g boxes of medicine like Sudafed and Claritin-D per month and no more than a five-month supply per year without a prescription. The products include pseudophedrine, a drug used to produce meth.

“If someone tries to push that number too much, they risk losing everything we’ve gained,” said Rep. Tony Shipley, who has led the opposition in the House against the governor’s preferred limits which he says are too restrictive for allergy sufferers.

The administration and Senate would prefer tighter restrictions, namely setting the limit at two 2.4g boxes per month and a two and one-half months worth before needing a prescription.

So would Rep. David Hawk, who is running the bill. He had closely aligned to the administration's restrictions before agreeing to the House’s current limits in order to advance the bill in committee. He refused to commit to members on the floor Wednesday that he would stick to his chamber’s limits if the House and Senate are forced to work out their differences in a compromise committee.

“I think both the House and Senate would need to show a little flexibility,” said Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons, who favors stricter limits but added, “Our goal is to get the very best bill that both the Senate and the House will agree upon.” 

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris is carrying the bill in the Senate. He told the Nashville Post that gravitating towards the House version will “be an easier sell” if the governor’s office is willing to go with the House version, although he earlier said the debate could turn into an all-or-nothing proposition. Influential Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally said he prefers the governor’s stricter limits but would reserve judgement until the bill makes it into the Senate chamber. The bill has yet to be scheduled for a Senate floor vote.

Apr 10, 2014 6:00 AM

Open carry bill presents Haslam campaign flashback

Via Der Kaiser, Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday that his administration is carefully examining the ramifications of a Senate-passed bill that would allow Tennesseans to openly carry guns without state-issued permits.

Apr 9, 2014 3:49 PM

Foxes in the Amp hen house

The mayor has released the names of the members of the Amp Advisory Committee, which includes anti-Ampers like Lee Beaman, Dianne Neal and Richard Fulton fils.

The group will meet for the first time on April 29 at noon at the Main Library’s conference center downtown. Dean says the committee "brings to the table varying viewpoints, and that was the goal we set out to achieve. I want to thank the local and state representatives who helped us appoint people who live or work near the route to serve on the committee, and I look forward to hearing the Committee’s recommendations on how to make this vital transit project work for Nashville."

Here's the rest of the release:

In addition to appointments being made by State Representatives, State Senators and Metro Council Members whose districts sit along the route, Mayor Dean appointed several Committee members who represent constituencies impacted by the project, including people with disabilities, the aging population and large employers.

Mayor Dean appointed Bert Mathews, of the Mathews Company and Colliers International, to serve as chairman of the Advisory Committee. House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) appointed attorney and West Nashville resident Dianne Neal and businessman Lee Beaman.

Subsequent to the April 29 meeting, the Committee will meet the last Tuesday of every month.

The Amp Citizens Advisory Committee was formed based on geographic and stakeholder diversity across the route. It is a nonpartisan, advisory body that will provide regular feedback and recommendations to the Amp engineers at Nashville MTA throughout the Final Design phase of the project. It will also serve as a vehicle for MTA to share information on a more regular basis about the Amp design with the community that each member represents.

The Committee includes merchants, property owners, neighborhood representatives, business leaders and other stakeholders interested in improving mass transit options in Nashville, both along the route and throughout the greater Nashville region.

Members of the Amp Citizens Advisory Committee include:
• CHAIR: Bert Mathews, The Mathews Company and Colliers International, and West Nashville resident
• Tina Banks, General Manager, Mapco Store 1033 on Main Street in East Nashville
• Joe Barker, MarketStreet Enterprises and developer in the Gulch
• Lee Beaman, Beaman Automotive
• Arnett Bodenhamer, Retired Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army and North Nashville business owner (Arnett & Associates)
• Drake Calton, Retired Financial Advisor and resident of Richland neighborhood
• Laura Denison, Registered Nurse, Alive Hospice and Hillsboro/West End resident
• Beth Fortune, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, Vanderbilt University
• Richard Fulton, Colliers International and West Nashville resident
• Tricia Griggs, Senior Disability Rights Advocate, Disability Law & Advocacy Center
• Barrett Hobbs, Cumberland Hospitality Group and Lower Broadway business owner
• Coralee Holloway, Director of Community Programs, Tennessee Housing Development Agency and East Nashville resident
• Mina Johnson, Community Volunteer and West Nashville resident
• Lewis Lavine, President, Center for Nonprofit Management and chair of the MTA Board Amp Committee
• Cliff Lippard, Public Policy Researcher/Deputy Executive Director, Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, State of Tennessee; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University; and member of Transit Now
• Dianne Neal, Attorney; Instructor of Law; and West Nashville resident
• David Plummer, Architect, Centric Architecture and Hillsboro/West End resident
• Mike Schatzlein, President and CEO, St. Thomas Health
• Ralph Schulz, President and CEO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
• Alan Sparkman, Executive Director, Tennessee Concrete Association and AARP advocate
• Patricia Totty, North Nashville resident
• Mary Vavra, Landscape Architect and Planner, Lose & Associates and East Nashville resident
• Chris Veit, Senior Designer, H2U-Health to You and Sylvan Park resident
• Ben Vos, Mental Health Counselor and East Nashville resident
The Committee will include ex-officio members representing Tennessee Department of Transportation, Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Nashville MTA, Metro Public Works and Metro Planning Department.

Apr 9, 2014 2:01 PM

TFA pushes House hearing for open-carry

The Tennessee Firearms Association is out with a release pressuring Finance chairman Charles Sargent to give the unpermitted open-carry bill a hearing or, alternatively, to have the House invoke Rule 53 and give the bill a floor vote.

Apr 9, 2014 1:09 PM

Promise proceeds

House Finance gave the thumbs-up to the governor's free tuition plan.

Apr 9, 2014 7:00 AM

Senate set to get voucher bill

The governor's voucher bill got out of Senate Finance and is headed for a vote of the full Senate.

Apr 9, 2014 6:56 AM

Meth bill will be close in the House, says Shipley

Legislation to curb meth production by limiting how much pseudoephedrine allergy sufferers can buy without a prescription is in danger like “a child playing on an interstate,” says Rep. Tony Shipley.

Not only will the scheduled vote on the House floor Wednesday be close, said the Criminal Justice Committee Chairman, but if there is any attempt to stray from a committee’s preferred purchasing limits, the bill will come to a swift demise, he said.

“If there’s any deviation from the perception of a gentlemen’s agreement on the volume, I suspect that it will start losing votes in the House and they run the risk of the entire bill. My recommendation is leave the bill alone as amended and the bill will pass without too much trouble,” he said, adding the margins will still be close on the bill as is. 

The House version limits buyers to about five months worth of the drug in 2.88g boxes each year. The Senate version caps consumers off at six 2.4g boxes per year, about two and a half months worth.

Senate members tend to prefer the lower monthly and yearly limits suggested by the governor’s office. To win support to advance the bill out of key House committees, the administration agreed to the higher limits. Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who is carrying the bill for the governor, has said the Senate wants more buying restrictions than the House wants, although Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey suggested his chamber may have to compromise to get some restrictions passed.

Apr 8, 2014 4:17 PM

Electrocution bill passes House panel

A bill allowing execution by electrocution if lethal injection is, for one reason or another, not possible passed a House committee.

Apr 8, 2014 2:24 PM