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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

Senate OKs no-permit open carry

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to allow open carrying of handguns in Tennessee sans permit.

Apr 8, 2014 2:23 PM

Haslam wants VW to stick with the vote

A check of authorization cards the UAW claimed it gathered prior to the vote to unionize at Volkswagen can be "influenced in a lot of different ways" and not necessarily portray how employees feel, Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday. More on what he thinks of talk that the car company might let the UAW in anyway.

Apr 8, 2014 10:20 AM

Legislators pass ‘jock tax’ repeal to governor

Lawmakers in both chambers scored an easy layup Monday night, approving a heavily lobbied bill repealing the so-called “jock tax” on NHL and NBA athletes who play here.

Democrats in the House argued the legislation would target Memphis and Nashville where the state’s effected sports teams reside. The tax for hockey players would disappear immediately once the governor signs the bill and linger for two years for basketball players. The tax does not apply to NFL players.

"We're giving tax breaks to millionaires. It's no wonder we're in the situation we're in," said Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville, voicing opposition to the bill in light of the state's budget woes.

Professional hockey and basketball athletes who play in Tennessee currently are on the hook for $2,500 per game and up to $7,500 a year. The money is deposited in municipal funds but is ultimately funneled back to team owners to bring events to their facilities. It does not go to the state.

"What we're doing is taking a little bit of money away from zillionaires that don't need it and letting athletes keep it," said House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga.

The legislation is the result of a year and a half of negotiation, officials said. A similar bill failed to make headway last year, although it passed the House on a partisan 66-25 vote and a 30-2 vote in the Senate Monday night.

For lawmakers opposed to the bill, it came down to a repeal that meddles with local control while leaving elected officials out of the negotiations. Metro officials said they have no position on the bill although House Minority Leader Mike Turner, a Nashville Democrat, said the Metro Council has asked lawmakers to oppose the bill.

The bill's next stop is the governor's office.

Apr 8, 2014 7:44 AM

Wamp raises $370,000

Weston Wamp is going to report north of $370,000 in first-quarter donations (and that's a lot).

Apr 8, 2014 7:15 AM

Senate approves lower limit on lifetime welfare benefits; Campfield wonders if exceptions reward negative behavior

The Senate approved a measure rolling back the maximum lifetime welfare from five years to four years — with exceptions for victims of domestic violence and people with mental illness.

Stacy Campfield had some questions:

Campfield said that the domestic violence exception could mean that, for those wishing to avoid a cutoff of benefits to a family member, “all they have to do is beat their wife.” The wife could then report the abuse and be exempted from an end to benefits, he said.

Further, he said, the domestic violence provision, Campfield said, could be “encouraging people to stay in a bad relationship.”

Kelsey said he doubted that anyone would “request it or ask for it (becoming a victim of domestic violence), simply to retain welfare benefits for another 12 months.”

Similarly, Campfield said the other exemption provision appears to be “rewarding people who stay on drugs.” He said it could lead people diagnosed with mental illness – or those dependent upon them – to engage in substance abuse.

Apr 8, 2014 7:13 AM