Court Panel Eliminates Tennessee Limit on Punitive Damages

A Tennessee statute capping punitive damages is unconstitutional, a panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit has ruled. The Sixth Circuit panel ruled 2-1 on Dec. 21 that state case law shows an award of punitive damages is a “finding of fact” that is allowed by jurors, Courthouse…

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Three People Are Dying Each Day From Opioids In Tennessee

Bill Haslam

by Steve Birr   A new report reveals the deteriorating national opioid epidemic is hitting Tennessee particularly hard, killing three people across the state each day. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam created the Tennessee Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education Jan. 24 to investigate the addiction crisis and develop new standards for…

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Bill Lee Agrees With Gov. Haslam That Transgender Bathroom Issue Does Not Need Leadership From the State

Bill Lee

Governor Haslam and Bill Lee propose the same approach to the use of school bathrooms and locker rooms by students whose choice of gender and anatomy may not match. Both Haslam and Lee have said that this issue does not require leadership from the state but instead, should be problem-solved…

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Confirmed: Never Trumper Bill Haslam Is Lobbying President Trump Not to Endorse Diane Black in Tennessee Governor’s Race

Bill Haslam, Donald Trump, Diane Black

The New York Times confirmed on Friday a story first reported in The Tennessee Star that officials with the Republican Governors Association (RGA) are lobbying President Trump not to endorse Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06) in the August 2 Republican primary for governor of Tennessee.

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Gov. Haslam Signs Legislation to Restrict Opioid Access, Punish Trafficking, Provide Treatment Help

Bill Haslam

The state of Tennessee is adding restrictions to opioid prescriptions and measures to track and punish unlawful distribution of the powerful pain medications. Gov. Bill Haslam signed two bills and issued an executive order last Friday to support TN Together, the latest effort to fight the opioid crisis, WBIR reported,…

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Bill Lee Donated $164,000 to Federal and State Candidates, 99.3 Percent Went to Republicans

Bill Lee

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee donated $164,540 to candidates for federal and state offices during the 19 year period beginning in 1999 and ending in 2017, according to records provided to The Tennessee Star by the Lee campaign. Of that amount, 99.27 percent, or $163,340, went to Republican candidates, while…

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Lawmakers Call For Acting TBI Director to Resign Over Alleged Affair With High-Ranking State Employee at Taxpayer Expense

TBI Chief

The acting director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is on paid leave and under investigation for an alleged affair at taxpayer expense, and some legislative leaders have called for his resignation, various media outlets reported. Acting Director Jason Locke will be off the job starting Wednesday, June 20, WKRN…

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State Sen. Mark Green Calls for Special Session of Tennessee General Assembly to Override Gov. Haslam Veto of Cancer Patient Bill

State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) and State Rep. Bob Ramsey (R-Maryville) have called on the Tennessee General Assembly to reconvene for a special session to override the Governor Bill Haslam’s veto of the Cancer Patient Choice Act. That Act, which gives patients and their physicians the choice of proton therapy…

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Nashville Draws $70 Million Corporate Finance Headquarters

A global asset management firm will build a $70 million corporate headquarters in Nashville, the state announced in a press release Wednesday, May 2. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and AllianceBernstein L.P. (AB) officials made the announcement. The relocation of its company…

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State Senator-Elect Mark Pody and Gubernatorial Candidate Mae Beavers Applaud the Exoneration of Wrongly-Convicted Lawrence McKinney

Gubernatorial hopeful Mae Beavers and state Senator-elect Mark Pody issued a joint statement Wednesday praising Governor Bill Haslam for his decision to exonerate Lawrence McKinney. McKinney was wrongly convicted in 1978 for the brutal rape of a Shelby County woman and sentenced to 100 years behind bars. Throughout the trial and conviction,…

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As Governor, Democrat Phil Bredesen Diverted Road Money to Balance the Budget and Pay for TennCare

Last week, Tennessee’s former Governor Phil Bredesen announced that he would run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) in the 2018 election. Even though Bredesen is a Democrat and Corker is a Republican, both disfavor President Trump, both have no aversion to raising…

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Tennessee Capitol to Continue Prohibiting Handguns

The Tennessee Capitol will continue to prohibit handguns despite a new policy at the new home for state lawmakers that will allow permit holders to have them, Gov. Bill Haslam said this week. Haslam told reporters Monday he has no intention of proposing a change in policy at the Capitol, according…

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Tennessee Unemployment Rates Drop Below 5 Percent in All 95 Counties

For the first time in recorded state history, unemployment rates in all 95 Tennessee counties fell below 5 percent in September, Gov. Bill Haslam announced last week. September was also the fourth consecutive month that the state had a historic low statewide unemployment rate. The 3 percent statewide unemployment rate…

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Gov. Haslam Has Not Kept Campaign Promises to Curb Illegal Immigration in Tennessee

Broken promises from Bill Haslam’s 2010 campaign could figure prominently in any run for Bob Corker’s Senate seat.  While campaigning for governor, Haslam repeatedly raised the issue of illegal immigration and how he, as governor, would work to insulate Tennessee from the negative fiscal effects of illegal immigration and from…

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Tennessee to Reinstate Work Requirement for Food Stamps

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced this week that the state will bring back the federal work requirement for able-bodied adults receiving food stamps that was waived in 2008 because of the recession. The requirement, to be reinstated across most of the state starting Feb. 1, will affect adults without dependents…

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Christian Hymn Singing Fills Grand Ole Opry

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee — The Grand Ole Opry House was filled Monday evening with the sound of Christians singing hymns old and new. Hymn-writers Keith and Kristyn Getty led a spirit-filled event related to a conference they are leading this week at Brentwood Baptist to promote congregational singing. The husband and…

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Governor Haslam Echoes Lamar Alexander’s Sense of Urgency to ‘Fix’ Obamacare at Senate Hearings

  The second of four hearings scheduled by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee and Patty Murray of Washington as Chairman and Democratic Ranking Member, respectively, of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on the topic of “Stabilizing Premiums and Helping Individuals in the Individual Insurance…

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State Rep. Judd Matheny Calls on Gov. Bill Haslam to Use Influence to Stop Players with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns from Dishonoring National Anthem

  State Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma) on Tuesday called on Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to do what he can to stop NFL players from taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Haslam’s brother, Jimmy, is owner of the Cleveland Browns in addition to being CEO of the…

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Senator Lamar Alexander Joins Calls to Remove Bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from Tennessee Capitol

Tennessee Star

  U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has joined demands to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, reports WKRN News 2. The Tennessee Republican spoke to reporters Tuesday about the issue when he was in Nashville for an event. Alexander said the Civil War can…

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Nashville To Get Direct Flights To London

  Nashville International Airport will offer direct flights to London on British Airways starting in May 2018, Gov. Bill Haslam announced at a press conference Tuesday morning. Haslam was joined at the press conference by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and Simon Brooks, British Airways senior vice president for North America.…

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Vice President Mike Pence Visits Nashville, Thanks Tennesseans For Supporting President Trump

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday personally thanked the Volunteer State for helping put President Trump in office. “We were counting on Tennessee last fall and Tennessee delivered,” Pence said during his keynote speech at the Tennessee Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner. The annual fundraising event was…

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Tennessee Businessman William F. Hagerty Confirmed As Ambassador To Japan

Tennessee Star

  William F. Hagerty was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday to be President Trump’s ambassador to Japan. Senators voted 86-12 to to approve Hagerty’s nomination, the Associated Press reports. Hagerty is a founder and the managing director of the private-equity firm Hagerty Peterson and Company, which has corporate offices…

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Delaware Governor John Carney Signs Pro-Abortion Legislation

Fetus on Health

Delaware has passed a bill to guarantee abortion rights in the state should Roe v. Wade be overturned, a move that removed restrictions in current law. Pro-life advocates strongly opposed the legislation, signed last week by Gov. John Carney, a Democrat. “With a pro-life President in the White House and already…

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Nashville Mayor Megan Barry Wants Gov. Haslam To Veto Gun Bill

Tennessee Star

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry is asking Gov. Bill Haslam to veto a bill that would require cities and counties to enhance security at public venues or allow permit holders to carry handguns. The legislation would apply to parks, zoos, buses, auditoriums, museums, fairs and more. Places like Bridgestone Arena and Nissan…

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SC Gov. McMaster Vetoes Gas Tax, In Stark Contrast to TN Gov. Haslam, Who Championed It

Tennessee Star

  South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster posted a video “Gas Tax Veto” to his Facebook page, saying “Today I vetoed the General Assembly’s gas tax bill, and I would like to tell you why.”  He continued, “Unfortunately, raising taxes was the only solution seriously considered by the legislature.” Quite a…

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Gubernatorial Candidates Randy Boyd and Karl Dean Will Fight for Votes of Political Moderates

Tennessee Star

  Four months into his 2015 appointment as the new Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, and two years before he announced his run for governor, Randy Boyd told his hometown weekly that, “I’m probably the most hated, disrespected, untolerated political entity in existence… I’m a moderate.” Former Nashville Mayor…

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Follow The Money: Campaign Receipts May Shed Light on Why Some Republicans Voted For The Gas Tax

  “Follow the money” is a catchphrase made popular in the 1976 movie, “All The President’s Men,” based on the actual events of the Watergate Break-in and suggests a money trail or corruption scheme within the political arena. While campaign receipts are no guarantee of how an elected official will…

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Haslam’s Gas Tax Increase May Force Tennessee Lawmakers to Violate the Copeland Cap Amendment to State Constitution

Tennessee Star

Governor Haslam’s 2017-18 budget that incorporated IMPROVE Act and other spending promises now exceeds the constitutional budget growth limit established by the 1978 amendment to Article II, Section 24 of the Tennessee Constitution that states, “In no year shall the rate of growth of appropriations from state tax revenues exceed the estimated…

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State Rep. Tillis Responds to ‘Group That is Calling Me A Liar’ for Supporting Gas Tax Increase ‘After I Had Said Publicly That I Could Not’

Constituents of State Rep. Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg) have a message for him after he switched from a “no” vote on Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increasing IMPROVE Act to a “yes” vote. A red and white banner questioning his truthfulness was prominently displayed just below a large billboard by the side…

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Gov. Haslam Joins Forces With Rhode Island’s Democratic Governor to Push Free College Tuition

“The Republican governor of Tennessee, a national leader in the push for tuition-free education, joined Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo on Thursday to support her push to launch such an initiative in Rhode Island,” WPRI reported yesterday: Raimondo’s proposal, Rhode Island’s Promise, is notably more expansive than Haslam’s – she wants…

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6 Things Boss Doss Got Wrong In His Sales Pitch For Governor Haslam’s Gas Tax Increasing IMPROVE Act

  As the House sponsor of the IMPROVE Act Tax Cut Act of 2017 (HB 534), State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma) was well versed on all of the related subject matter and respectful throughout his long and challenging sales pitch for Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act to the various committees…

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Letter to the Editor: Governor Tim Burchett?

Burchett

  Dear Tennessee Star, With Dr. Mark Green’s nomination to be the next Secretary of the Army it has left many in the state desperately trying to find a true conservative candidate they can support in next years gubernatorial race. There is one person that all conservatives can support, that person…

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House Republican Conservatives Put Up a Valiant Fight Against Gov. Haslam’s Gas Tax Increase, Setting Stage for 2018 Election

  When the Tennessee House of Representatives passed Governor Haslam’s gas tax increase bill by a 60 to 37 margin on Wednesday, a bare majority of Republicans–37 for and 35 against—voted yes in favor of the unpopular tax increase. The 35 conservative Republicans who stood for the foundational principle of…

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Mark White’s In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrant Students Will be Back in 2018

  In the House Education committee today, State Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) moved his second bill, HB660 that would legalize in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students in Tennessee, to the 2018 legislative session. Last week when this bill failed in committee on a 6-6 vote, White indicated he would seek a…

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Haslam Reduced Highway Fund Budget By 13 Percent, Grew State Budget By 20 Percent Before Proposing Gas Tax Increases

Tennessee Star

Governor Haslam reduced the Highway Fund budget by 13 percent, while he grew the State budget by 20 percent during his first six years in office. Only after he made these reductions in the Highway Fund budget did he propose the gas tax and diesel tax increases included in the…

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Haslam’s IMPROVE Act Includes Same ‘Economic Development’ That Lost Millions in TNInvestco

Tennessee Star

  “A performance audit from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has revealed the State of Tennessee has only recovered $5.3 million of its initial $200 million investment in the TNInvestco program,”  according to a statement dated November 10, 2016, under the name of Justin P. Wilson, Comptroller, referring to a performance…

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TDOT Reduces Backlog From $6 Billion to $4.7 Billion, But Total ‘Project Needs’ Grow to $10.5 Billion

Tennessee Star

  The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) list of projects issued at the end of 2015 totaled $6.1 billion.  The updated project list included with the 2017 IMPROVE Act, on its surface, has a bottom line figure of $10.5 billion with the backlog potion being $4.7 billion. A spreadsheet document…

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No Evidence Haslam Administration Requires Reporting of Female Genital Mutilation to Tennessee Department of Health, Despite High Potential Risk in Nashville

  The Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 20th in the country for the potential risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) being performed on women and girls, as reported by the Population Reference Bureau. Among state rankings Tennessee is number 18  overall for risk to women and girls from FGM. Yet under…

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Gas Tax Increase Lobbyists Begin Advertising Campaign on Ralph Bristol’s WWTN Show

Regular listeners to Nashville’s Morning News With Ralph Bristol on 99.7 FM WWTN may have noticed a new advertiser on Thursday–the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee. The Coalition is a group of 39 lobbying groups that support Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017,” the majority of which will directly…

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The 962 Road Construction Projects Costing $10.5 Billion in The Gas Tax Increase Bill Can Be ‘Modified’ by TDOT

Tennessee Star

  Governor Haslam and other administration officials have stated since announcing the IMPROVE Act , now the “Tax Cut Act of 2017,” on January 18 that the purpose of the gas and diesel tax increases included in the bill is to fund 962 needed road construction projects in all 95 counties for a…

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Letter to the Editor: Haslam’s ‘Tax Cut Act of 2017’ Straight Out of Orwell’s 1984

Tennessee Star

  Dear Tennessee Star, In George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece 1984, the unfortunate character Winston is battling desperately to grasp objective truth. Meanwhile the power mongers ruling the Ministry of Truth tell him, “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Orwell thought he was writing satire; too bad he…

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Despite Ethics Cloud, ‘Proud’ Barry Doss Presented ‘New and IMPROVED’ Gas Tax Bill for ‘Rebranding’ as ‘Tax Cut Act of 2017’

Tennessee Star

  Rep. Barry Doss (R-Leoma) told the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday he was “proud to bring the bill before you,” as he presented Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, the gas tax increase proposal he co-sponsors, for consideration.   Rep. Doss continues to sponsor and present the bill, despite the call…

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Speaker Harwell Says She Will Have a Road Funding Plan That Does Not Raise The Gas Tax

Tennessee Star

  Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) says that she and many other members of the Tennessee House of Representatives will introduce an alternative plan that will not increase gas taxes when the IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017” comes before the House Finance Ways and Means Committee on Monday for consideration.…

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Tennessee Farm Bureau Supports Haslam’s Gas Tax Because They Don’t Have to Pay It

Tennessee Star

  Since January 2008, Tennessee farmers have benefitted from expanded agricultural tax exemptions, including sales and use taxes on “gasoline or diesel fuel used for ‘agricultural purposes’ as defined in Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-6-102.” Farmers in Tennessee who own or lease “agricultural land from which $1,000 or more of…

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