Governor on a secret Asian trip

The governor is on a secret Asian trip. But why?

Haslam spokesman David Smith declined to elaborate on the itinerary and who specifically was traveling with the governor.

“We don’t talk about private meetings,” Smith said in an email.

Haslam left on the trip on Saturday and is scheduled to return on Friday. The governor’s office and the state Department of Economic Development could not immediately provide a breakdown of how much the trip is costing.

Jun 18, 2014 6:43 AM

Former state rep, TNGOP political director is TSEA's new lobbyist

Randy Stamps takes a gig as government affairs director for the state employees' association.

Jun 17, 2014 1:46 PM

Blogger files ethics complaint against the three Supremes

Have the Supremes facing retention violated the code of judicial ethics.

George Scoville thinks so:

Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Wade and Justices Clark and Lee have been using Court facilities and resources for campaign purposes. They have all appeared in public together, interceding into each others’ campaigns, a form of public endorsement of each other. They have also failed to stop each other from certain electioneering behaviors, which the Tennessee Supreme Court’s ethical canon compels them to do. While they are allowed to form their own campaign committees, and are prohibited themselves from directly soliciting donations from individuals, they have together been raising money through, and have paid monies for campaign services to, Keep Tennessee’s Supreme Court Fair, a secretive, unauthorized political organization. They and this organization have made repeated public overtures to the need to protect the independence of the judiciary, yet all three justices were appointed by a Democratic former governor of the state, and two of the three voted to appoint Tennessee’s Democratic attorney general. That Democratic attorney general is on record saying that controlling the partisan composition of the Court and the Office of the Attorney General has been a project of Democratic Party politics in Tennessee since the early 1970s. Keep Tennessee’s Supreme Court Fair is an organization run and staffed exclusively by Democrats and is using campaign vendors in the Washington, DC area who cater to Democrats exclusively. So when Chief Justice Wade and Justices Clark and Lee claim that they are campaigning to protect the judiciary’s independence, they are knowingly making false statements and misleading voters.

Jun 17, 2014 1:45 PM

DHS cuts 121

The Department of Human Services has laid off 121 employees:

She said the jobs were being eliminated from the department's Family Assistance division as case loads in that area continue to decrease.

The Family Assistance division deals primarily the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which is the food stamps program.

All of the state workers had been on probationary status as new employees within the last 12 months.

Jun 17, 2014 11:30 AM

Symbolic legislation

The number of students who will benefit from a change in the law allowing children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition? Probably zero, because they were all paying in-state as it was. And the immigrant groups knew that:

TIRRC didn’t raise this point during the legislative debate, primarily because they were pinning their hopes on Gardenhire's other bill that would have granted instate tuition to so-called “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. as kids but went to high school in Tennessee. That bill never came to a vote, even though the proposal for citizens passed rather easily.

“Was it a positive, did it reflect a more refined attitude towards immigration in our state? Absolutely,” Cathey says. “But I think granting undocumented students in-state tuition would have a much larger impact.”

Jun 17, 2014 6:56 AM

Minor parties make push

Likely to appear on the ballot (barring a successful appeal by the state's attorneys before November), the Greens and Constitutionalists are looking for enough votes to stay on the ballot even longer.

Jun 17, 2014 6:52 AM

DHS laying off more than 120

The state's Department of Human Services has laid off more than 120 people in its Family Assistance division, which has seen a drop in the number of people using some of its main programs. Chris Bundgaard at News2 has more info on the layoffs and the prospects for more cuts in the near future.

Jun 17, 2014 6:50 AM

Your most effective legislators

The Dean runs down a study that determined Tennessee's most liberal and conservative legislators and the most and least effective.

Jun 16, 2014 1:47 PM

PACs love Black

When she was first elected, Diane Black received only 16 someodd percent of her donations from PACs. These days? Up in the 60s.

Jun 16, 2014 12:32 PM

Today in endorsements

Craig Fitzhugh endorses Gary Odom and another slate of legislators endorse Joe Carr:

Today, the Joe Carr for Senate Campaign announced the endorsements of Middle Tennessee Representatives Sheila Butt (R-Columbia), Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma), Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), Courtney Rogers (R-Goodlettsville), Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna), Billy Spivey (R-Lewisburg), and Rick Womick (R-Rockvale).

“After what we’ve seen in Virginia and Mississippi, there is no question that this is an election year of change and what happened this week to the Washington establishment will repeat itself in Tennessee,” said Chairman Judd Matheny on behalf of the group of Middle TN Representatives.  “The fact that just last week Sen. Alexander voted to support and confirm the person hand-picked by President Obama to implement ObamaCare shows us just out-of-touch he has become.  We need someone in the U.S. Senate that will stand for working Tennesseans and champion true conservative values.  Joe Carr is a proven conservative leader who challenges the status-quo and does everything he can to combat the Obama-Alexander agenda."

“I’m proud that my fellow Middle Tennessee colleagues have decided to stand with me in our fight to bring Tennessee conservative values back to Washington,” said Rep. Carr.  “Without a meaningful change in leadership, ObamaCare will continue to impose on all of us, the Obama-Alexander climate change regulations will drive businesses away and amnesty will become law.  The choice in this election is very clear, a vote for Sen. Alexander is a vote to support a status-quo agenda that working families in Tennessee don’t want. Voters in Mississippi have rejected the establishment, voters in Virginia have rejected the status-quo, and now it’s time for voters in Tennessee to take a leadership role in this movement for change."


Jun 16, 2014 10:31 AM