Sen. Mae Beavers' push to let voters elect the attorney general ended for the year Wednesday when it failed by two votes on the Senate floor. The measure fell 15-14 with one voting present. Three other members who were in attendance but chose not to vote were Republicans Sens. Janice Bowling and Todd Gardenhire and leading Democrat Jim Kyle.
Members last year voted 22-0 to require the attorney general be selected by a joint convention of the General Assembly. Any change requires an edit to the constitution and would take years to accomplish if successful. The AG is now appointed by the Supreme Court. Some video of the debate is here.
Attorney General Bob Cooper for years has caught heat from the Republican legislature for various opinions he has issued and decisions he has made not to join lawsuits against the federal government. Beavers, who often led that criticism, told reporters after the vote she will not try her luck again this year.
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper and his team have filed a lawsuit against timeshare marketing firm Festiva. In its complaint — which follows similar moves last month by officials in Louisiana and Maine — the AG's office accuses Florida-based Festiva officials of Telemarketing Act Violations and deceptive marketing practices that it says sow confusion in part via a host of membership rules and terms.
Festiva purportedly capitalizes on this confusion in order to sell more of its products. For example, consumers have reported that the company calls its members to tell them that they are invited to an “owners update” meeting. Instead, consumers report that upon arrival at the meeting, they are confronted with another high-pressure sales presentation where Festiva tries to sell them more vacation products through “upgrades.”
Two locals have been indicted — along with two former business partners — on various charges of conspiracy, fraud and embezzlement related to Smart Data Solutions, a venture that marketed itself as a health insurer. But SDS wasn't properly licensed anywhere and Bart and Angela Posey are now facing a 57-page indictment.
According to the indictment, the company accepted more than $28 million in health care coverage premiums but denied and rejected legitimate claims. More than $5.4 million of the money was diverted for the defendants’ personal use, the indictment claims.
SEE ALSO: Our past coverage of Smart Data
A judge has frozen the personal assets of brothers and former HRC Medical Centers Inc. officials Dan and Don Hale related to the state's suing HRC last fall for allegedly failing to warn patients of the risks of the company's hormone treatments.
The move is the latest in the Hale brothers' trouble. In December, Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Amanda McClendon appointed a temporary receiver over HRC Medical Centers. (Read more here.)
Jennifer Kraus and NewsChannel5.com have the story here.