EXCLUSIVE: Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton on Upcoming Legislative Session and Hot Topics

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton

As the 111th Tennessee General Assembly is set to enter its second session, newly elected Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton gave an exclusive interview to The Tennessee Star to discuss legislative priorities and current issues.

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TDOT Reports Timing for Completion of 962 Road Projects Included in the Fuel-Tax-Increasing IMPROVE Act Going from 10 to 20-Plus Years

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) officials reported last week that the timing for the completion of the 962 projects totaling $10.5 billion included in the fuel tax increasing IMPROVE Act will now take 20 plus years instead of the 10 years originally estimated.

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With One Month Remaining in the Fiscal Year, Tennessee’s Budget Surplus Is Now Up To $649 Million

  Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Stuart McWhorter announced Wednesday that Tennessee’s June revenues were $92.5 million more than the state budgeted for the month, resulting in a total budget surplus of $649.2 million with just one month remaining in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The state’s revenue collections of…

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Ohio Lawmakers Considering A Gas Tax Increase Hear Testimony About Tennessee’s Gas Tax Increase Signed into Law in 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As Ohio lawmakers consider the call by newly-inaugurated Governor Mike DeWine for an increase in motor fuel taxes of 18 cents per gallon on both gas and diesel, both the state House and Senate have heard testimony on the matter. One of the witnesses providing testimony used…

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Stokes Nielson’s Tweet On New Podcast Questioning Possible Senate Hopeful Bill Haslam’s Gas Tax Goes Viral

Stokes Nielson’s tweet about his podcast, “The Spirit of Humanity,” which raises questions about former Governor and possible U.S. Senate hopeful Bill Haslam relative to gas tax increases, goes viral with over a half million impressions within hours of its pre-release. As reported by The Tennessee Star, Stokes launched a…

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Tennessee House District 75: Bruce Griffey Challenge to Rep Tim Wirgau Has Become a House Race to Watch

Tim Wirgau, Bruce Griffey

While much of the focus during the Republican primary season has  been on the 18 House seats vacated by Republican legislators who are retiring or seeking other offices a handful of challenges to incumbents are attracting increasing attention. One of those races is in West Tennessee’s 75th District (covering Henry,…

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Gas Tax Increases Another 1 Cent Per Gallon Today Thanks to Gov. Haslam, Democrats, and ‘Moderate’ Republicans

Tennessee Star

The state gas tax increased another 1 cent per gallon today, thanks to the IMPROVE Act passed by Democrats and “moderate” Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam in May 2017. The controversial law raised state gas taxes by 6 cents per gallon…

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Democrat PAC Uses Fear Mongering and Deception to Malign Conservative Legislators, Praises Governor Haslam On Gas Tax Increase

billboard

LEBANON, Tennessee – A newly launched Political Action Committee (PAC) commissioned a billboard with a scandalous message attacking two conservative middle Tennessee lawmakers, former State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and current State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), for their votes against Governor Haslam’s gas tax increasing IMPROVE Act. The IMPROVE…

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Regional Group That Backed Failed Nashville Transit Plan Names State Rep. Susan Lynn ‘Legislator of the Year’

Susan Lynn

A Middle Tennessee mayors association that pushed for Nashville’s failed $9 billion transit plan has handed out an award to State Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) as state legislator of the year. Voters in Nashville/Davidson County resoundingly rejected the transit plan by a 64 percent to 36 percent margin in…

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Challenger Shane Disputes State Rep. Susan Lynn’s Defense of Her Vote for the Gas Tax Raising IMPROVE ACT

Conservative businessman Aaron Shane, a Republican candidate for State Representative in the 57th District has called for current State Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) to explain her support of the gas/diesel/registration tax increase (Improve Act) that raised fuel taxes and car registration fees by $350 million per year. “Prior to…

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Planning Continues for Rebuilding Interstate 440 in Nashville

traffic jam

Planning is underway for a major overhaul of Interstate 440 in Davidson County, a project that is expected to take three years. The Tennessee Department of Transportation began requesting bids in January for what is called “Design-Build,” sort of a streamlined turn-key project. Contractors bid for the project, which involves…

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TDOT: Uncertainty Over Federal Funding Puts 962 Projects Promised with IMPROVE Act Gas Tax Increase In Jeopardy

During this session’s first meeting of the House Transportation Committee, chaired by Rep. Barry Doss (R-Leoma), the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) presented their budget for fiscal year 2019, revealing that the uncertainty surrounding the 47 percent of the department’s budget that comes from federal funding puts the 962 projects…

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Metro’s Official Document Reveals That The Real Price Tag For Mayor Megan Barry’s Mass Transit Plan Is $9 Billion, Not $5.4 Billion

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s transit plan has been presented as having a cost of $5.4 billion during the 15 year construction plan through 2032. But that figure represents just the rail corridor improvements portion of the plan. But, in reality, he total cost is a whopping $8.95 Billion. The figures…

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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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Roving Patriots PAC Announces Commitment of $7,800 State Maximum In Support of Doss Challenger Clay Doggett

PULASKI, Tennessee – At Clay Doggett’s campaign kick-off event against incumbent District 70 State Representative Barry Doss (R-Leoma) in Pulaski on Monday evening, Roving Patriots PAC Executive Director Kevin Baigert pledged financial support of the state maximum of $7,800 to the grassroots conservative challenger. Roving Patriots PAC was founded with…

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Grassroots Conservative Clay Doggett Announces Challenge to Boss Doss in Tennessee House District 70 GOP Primary

PULASKI, Tennessee – Grassroots conservative candidate Clay Doggett announced his run Monday for Tennessee House District 70, a seat currently held by the chief promoter of the gas-tax increasing IMPROVE Act, Barry “Boss” Doss. Doggett said of his decision to run that, like so many others before him, he was…

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Fundraising Support For Tim Burchett Comes With Elements of Controversy

Recent campaign fund raising events and reports reveal that support for Tim Burchett, candidate for the 2nd U.S. Congressional District being vacated by Congressman John “Jimmy” Duncan, is coming from sources involved in various levels of controversy. Burchett, term-limited as Knox County Mayor, announced on August 5, 2017, his intention…

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Boss Doss Runs Away From The Tennessee Star At Megan Barry Transit Launch Event

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – After sitting in the front row throughout Metro Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s Transit Launch Event Tuesday for the “Let’s Move Nashville Metro’s Transportation Solution,” State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma) ran away from The Tennessee Star, avoiding follow-up questions on his sponsorship of the IMPROVE Act, a major…

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Sumner County Property Assessor John Isbell Will Run Against County Executive Anthony Holt

John Isbell, the four times elected and internationally recognized Property Assessor of Sumner County, announced Monday that he is running for County Executive against incumbent Anthony Holt in the 2018 election cycle to “bring transparency to the office and stop the crony capitalism that plagues the administration.” First elected as…

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Gov. Haslam’s Gas Tax Increase Sponsor ‘Boss’ Doss Offers No Explanation Why His Company’s Equipment Is Being Used on Road Construction Project

ARDMORE, Tennessee – Doss Brothers Inc., the construction company owned by State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma), the House sponsor of Governor Bill Haslam’s gas-tax increasing IMPROVE Act, is currently performing work at a road construction site on SR 7 in Ardmore, Tennessee, as well as several Giles County locations which…

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RTA CEO: ‘Daily Recurring Congested’ Areas To Get Much Worse in Metro Nashville, One Million People And $8 Billion Later

  GALLATIN, Tennessee – During the nMotion Plan Update meeting for Sumner County held last month, Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and Regional Transit Authority (RTA) CEO Steve Bland spoke to a short slide presentation that included, among others, one titled “Projected Traffic Congestion.” The slide includes two maps, shown here,…

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The Gas Tax Increase Goes Into Effect Today: How It Happened Despite Record State Revenues

  The gas tax increase of 4 cents per gallon, which will eventually increase to 6 cents per gallon, as well as a diesel tax increase that will eventually reach 10 cents per gallon, both go into effect today, July 1, throughout Tennessee. The culprit for this tax increase is Governor…

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The Tennessee Star Announces Blockbuster Month with Over a Half-Million Visits

Tennessee Star

  FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE (Wednesday, June 21) — In another stunning announcement, The Tennessee Star released updated web traffic reports in a tweet Wednesday that shows the online news, information, and opinion website surpassed 500,000 visits in the last thirty days. WOW! Thank you, Tennessee!!30days (5/20-6/20): 526,841 visits 290,288 visitorsAll time (2/06-6/20): 1,536,671…

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State Senate Candidate Mark Pody Calls The IMPROVE Act ‘Washington Politics’

MOUNT JULIET, Tennessee — At his first public speaking engagement since announcing, in an exclusive interview with The Tennessee Star, his candidacy for the State Senate seat Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) will be leaving to run for the Republican nomination for governor in 2018, Rep. Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) called the…

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Gubernatorial Candidate Mae Beavers on the Gas Tax Increasing IMPROVE Act: ‘The Joke Is On The People Who Put the Plan Together’

MOUNT JULIET, Tennessee — Gubernatorial candidate Sen. Mae Beavers at an Americans For Prosperity Town Hall meeting Monday evening honoring her and Rep. Mark Pody for voting against the gas tax, said “I think the joke is on the people who put the plan together.”  Sen. Beavers was referring to…

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Mae Beavers Tells Haslam State Will Pay For Roads After Gas Tax Repeal With $2 Billion Surplus and Ending Diversion of Road Funds to Other Uses

Tennessee Star

  Gov. Bill Haslam threw a soft ball over the middle of the plate to State Senator Mae Beavers (R- Mt. Juliet) about her campaign pledge to repeal the gas tax, and the recently announced GOP Gubernatorial candidate knocked it out of the park. Appearing in Nashville at one of…

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Gov. Haslam Holds Ceremonial Signings Today for Gas-Tax Increasing IMPROVE Act In Each of Tennessee’s Three Grand Divisions

Governor Haslam will hold ceremonial signings of the controversial and gas-tax increasing IMPROVE Act Monday in each of Tennessee’s three grand divisions, as reported last week by The Tennessee Star. According to the invitation on Governor Bill Haslam’s letterhead, the IMPROVE Act signing ceremonies will be held as follows: 10:15…

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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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Multi-Million Dollar Education Bill Still in Play, Critics Claim in Return for Democrat Support of IMPROVE Act

While last week’s two-day House floor showdown over Governor Haslam’s 2017-18 budget never did take up an amendment for a $55 million education appropriation, HB 841, known as the K-12 Block Grant Act, was approved in a new form in the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee and Committee on…

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Democrats Unlikely to Get The $250 Million Education Bill For Their Yes Vote On The IMPROVE Act

House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) said Wednesday in both the Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee and full Committee that he didn’t have the votes for the $250 million K-12 Block Grant Act, which was reportedly part of the deal Governor Haslam made to get needed support from the Democrats…

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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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Tea Party Activist Ben Cunningham Championing Charter Amendment to Limit Metro Nashville’s Debt

Tennessee Star

  Tea Party activist Ben Cunningham is leading an effort for a 2018 referendum that would limit Metro Nashville’s debt level, setting up a possible clash with regional plans for a $6 billion transit project. His proposed amendment to the Metro Nashville charter, the Nashville Debt Limit Charter Amendment,  would also…

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The $250 Million Education Bill the Democrats Reportedly Want in Return for IMPROVE Act Support is Still Alive

  Twenty-three of the 25 Democrats in the House voted for Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increasing IMPROVE Act last Wednesday,  amid rumors of a $250 million deal made between Governor Haslam and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) in a quid pro quo tradeoff: Democrats vote for the governor’s bill,…

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Nashville Mayor Megan Barry Presents Plans for ‘Income Diversity Within Neighborhoods’ and Mass Transit in State of Metro Address

In her second State of Metro address Wednesday morning, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry presented a laundry list of big-spending plans that liberals will love and make conservatives reach for their Tums. The Democratic mayor called for paid family leave for Metro employees and “income diversity within neighborhoods” that are “transit-oriented.”…

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Boss Doss Admits To TDOT Contract After Being Elected

Tennessee Star

For the first time, State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma), who is the House sponsor of Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017” and is serving as Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, admitted to having a contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) since he was elected in…

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Nashville Mayor Megan Barry To Give State of Metro Address Wednesday

Tennessee Star

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry will deliver her second State of Metro address Wednesday morning at Bridgestone Arena. The event is open to the public and will be streamed live. The Democratic mayor will present details of her budget proposal and is expected to mention the tentative $6 billion regional mass…

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House Majority Leader Glen Casada Defends His Vote to Increase The Gas Tax

Tennessee Star

House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Franklin), issued a press release Monday defending his vote to increase the gas tax through Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, after initially announcing on February 8 his support for the alternative Hawk Plan. The press release was forwarded via email, addressed to “Friends,” stating “I wanted…

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Bill Lee Announces Candidacy For Governor, Calls Gas Tax Increase ‘Water Under the Bridge Now’

Tennessee Star

NASHVILLE, Tennessee–Kicking off his campaign for governor Monday, Bill Lee described himself as a Ronald Reagan-admiring fiscal and social conservative whose leadership experiences in business and agriculture compensate for his lack of political experience. Lee, who is chairman of Lee Company, a large family-owned construction, facilities and home services company,…

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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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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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Haslam Bargained with Democrats and Establishment Republicans to Pass Gas Tax Increase Bill

Tennessee Star

  Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017” (HB 534), which includes a 6 cents per gallon gas tax increase and a 10 cents per gallon diesel tax increase phased in over three years, garnered 23 votes from Democrats and 37 establishment Republicans, which was more than sufficient to…

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Nashville Mayor Megan Barry Calls Passage of Gas Tax Hike ‘A Momentous Day in Tennessee,’ Looks Ahead to Mass Transit Plan

Tennessee Star

  Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has been cheering Gov. Haslam’s gas tax hike for road improvements, while keeping an eye ahead toward implementing a $6 billion transit plan. Barry pushed for Gov. Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, which includes the gas tax hike, in the hours leading up to Wednesday’s action on…

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Preliminary Vote on Amendment to Adopt Gas Tax Increase Bill Passes House 61-35, Final Vote Expected Tonight

Tennessee Star

  An amendment by State Rep. Charles Sargent (R-Franklin), a motion to adopt the IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017,” HB 534, passed the Tennessee House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon in a 61-35 vote. This was a preliminary vote prior to the anticipated final vote on  IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of…

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