Tuesday, October 31

Can Other States Tap Tennessee’s Secret Sauce for Government Efficiency? (Governing) Seven years ago, Tennessee was seen as a laggard in the field of public administration. Today, it’s a leader. Gov. Bill Haslam has made improving the operations of the state government a major focus of his administration. LEAD Tennessee and other innovative programs, as well as an overall willingness to invest in training, have been attracting attention from other state governments. In 2012, the Haslam administration took on civil service reform, overhauling the state’s antiquated hiring and promotions practices and replacing them with a pay-for-performance system. http://www.governing.com/topics/mgmt/gov-tennessee-public-administration.html

Tennessee State Parks see increase in volunteers for National Public Lands Day (Times Free Press) Tennessee State Parks saw a 15 percent increase in volunteer service on National Public Lands Day, according to a news release. Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail State Park had the most volunteer helpers at 122. Pickwick Landing State Park in West Tennessee and Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park near Chattanooga saw the biggest increases in participation — from two and six volunteers in 2016, respectively, to 50 and 32 volunteers in 2017. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2017/oct/31/public-lands-day-volunteers-2017/455875/

Vol State completes $475,000 building renovation fundraising (Tennessean) Ron Hibbard, of Ron Hibbard Toyota in Gallatin, has donated $10,000 to the Volunteer State Community College J. Howard Warf Science and Math Building renovation fund. The Toyota Dealer Match Program equaled the donation for a total of $20,000. The latest donations make $475,000 that has been raised for the campaign, completing college fundraising requirements established by the state of Tennessee for the $4.6 million project. The design process for the renovation is underway. The science labs in the building were constructed in the 1970s and have become worn and outdated. The project focus is upgrading the classroom facilities students use and improving the technology teachers need for better instruction. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/sumner/2017/10/30/vol-state-completes-475-000-building-renovation-fundraising/813397001/

Currie being thorough with decision on Butch Jones (WATE) After a loss to Kentucky on Saturday, a report came out Sunday night saying Tennessee athletic director John Currie was having discussions with administrators and head football coach Butch Jones – a rare thing to do on a Sunday. We sat down with SEC Country’s Mike Griffith, who broke the story. “Butch jones was asked today if he had received any assurances about his job security for the rest of the season. He went back to his old standby saying, ‘It’s a week-to-week season.’ But that wasn’t what he was asked,” said Griffith.:So the fact that he wasn’t able to say that John Currie has assured him that he will have his job for the rest the season does leave some room for speculation about how important this game [against Southern Miss] could be Saturday night. http://wate.com/2017/10/30/currie-being-thorough-with-decision-on-butch-jones/

Fake tweets, accounts surface about Butch Jones, UT football (WATE) Tweet after tweet have been surfacing, claiming Butch Jones had been fired. Another claimed a press conference was happening Sunday. All of them are false claims and some are coming from fake social media accounts. VFL and radio host Erik Ainge said he’s had someone pose as him on social media more than once this season. “First off, who has time to do that anyway? But there’s just not a lot of accountability. I have thick skin, I played football, I have heard it all, but there’s a big difference in people trying to be malicious and attacking,” said Ainge. John McCulley, senior web developer at Moxley Carmichael, says fake accounts are popping up more and more. http://wate.com/2017/10/30/fake-tweets-accounts-surface-surface-about-butch-jones-ut-football/

VERIFY: False tweets spread Butch Jones rumors (WBIR) In the days since the Vols lost to Kentucky, social media has been flooded with false posts alleging Butch Jones was fired. In the days since the Vols lost to Kentucky, social media has been flooded with false posts alleging Butch Jones was fired. The rumors are totally false, and we can verify that Butch Jones is still the head football coach. He held a press conference Monday morning as he does every Monday during the season, and the university has not released any information about his future with the team. http://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/verify-false-tweets-spread-butch-jones-rumors/51-487351622

What would it cost Tennessee to fire coach Butch Jones? (WATE) University of Tennessee coach Butch Jones is on the hot seat. However, firing him isn’t cheap for Tennessee. Jones is under contract through February 2021. An analysis of his contract shows he would be owed $8.2 million if he were fired next week. Chatter about his future is getting louder after last weekend’s defeat in Kentucky. It got more expensive to fire Jones after he got a raise in 2015. An amendment increased his buyout payments by $500,000 per year remaining on his contract. This means the university now needs to pay him $2.5 million for each of the three years remaining on his contract. http://wate.com/2017/10/30/what-would-it-cost-tennessee-to-fire-coach-butch-jones/

Tennessee athletic director focuses on ‘supporting’ coach Butch Jones’ program (Times Free Press) Tennessee football coach Butch Jones said Monday that “nothing has changed” since Saturday night when Jones said he “absolutely” expects to have the support of athletic director John Currie with the last four games of the regular season. Several hours later, Currie weighed in, breaking his silence on the state of the program. “I believe that supporting our staff and supporting our players getting ready for the Southern Miss game is the best thing I can do for our football program right now,” Currie said in an evening interview on the Vol Network’s “Big Orange Hotline” radio program. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/sports/college/story/2017/oct/31/business-usual-vols-football-program/455885/

Tennessee Navigators Make Most Of Downsized Obamacare Enrollment Period (WPLN) So-called health care navigators in Tennessee are making the most of a downsized open enrollment period for Obamacare insurance plans. They’re holding kickoff parties Wednesday as the shortened 6-week window begins. While the Obamacare marketplace is now starting its third year, many people are turning to the Affordable Care Act for the very first time. Keller Hawkins is a student at Vanderbilt’s divinity school. “I was diagnosed with MS five years ago, so insurance is not an option. It’s a necessity for me,” she says. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/tennessee-navigators-make-most-downsized-obamacare-enrollment-period#stream/0

Radio Silence: Rep. Holt on Las Vegas (Memphis Flyer) Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden) and the National Civil Rights Museum left Flyer questions unanswered recently, but you should know that we did ask. Holt famously gave away two AR-15 rifles at his Hogfest and Turkey Shoot last year. The event came just days after a gunman used a semi-automatic rifle and semi-automatic handgun to kill 50 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. https://www.memphisflyer.com/NewsBlog/archives/2017/10/27/radio-silence-rep-holt-on-las-vegas-ncrm-on-bernice-kings-anti-gay-stance

Country songwriter likely to run for Congress (Nashville Post) Lee Thomas Miller, a country music songwriter prominent in the industry both for his hits and his advocacy, is on the verge of jumping in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the 7th Congressional District. Blackburn is leaving her seat to run for Senate. Miller has penned or co-written such songs as Tim McGraw’s “Nothin’ to Die For” and “Southern Girl,” Brad Paisley’s “Perfect Storm” and Chris Stapleton’s “Whiskey and You” over an almost 30-year career. He’s also led the lobbying efforts of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (as an unpaid advocate) working to advance changes in copyright and royalty laws. http://www.nashvillepost.com/politics/elections/tennessee-federal-offices/article/20980963/country-songwriter-likely-to-run-for-congress

Blackburn says opioid bill was ‘right thing’ (Nashville Post) Will she return pharma donations? ‘That is absurd.’ Two weeks after a Washington Post and 60 Minutes joint investigation of opioid legislation, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn is hitting back at criticism over her role in the bill. The legislation, which the Drug Enforcement Agency claims has limited its ability to target problem opioid distributors, passed both chambers of Congress unanimously and was signed into law by President Barack Obama. But a DEA whistleblower told the Post and CBS that pharmaceutical lobbyists worked with the offices of sponsor Rep. Tom Marino (R-Penn.) and Blackburn, a primary cosponsor, to weaken the language of of the bill to benefit their industry. http://www.nashvillepost.com/politics/federal-government/article/20980865/blackburn-says-opioid-bill-was-right-thing

Blackburn set as Reagan Day speaker (Daily Banner) U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-7th District) will be the keynote speaker at the Bradley County Republican Party’s Reagan Day Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Cleveland High School. The event will begin at 6 p.m. The congresswoman recently announced she will run to fill U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s seat as he has decided not to seek reelection in 2018. Blackburn began her elected service career in 1998 as a Tennessee state senator and was one of the leaders in opposing a state income tax. She was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2002 and has served as a Republican whip every Congress. She currently holds a seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee serving as chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. http://clevelandbanner.com/stories/blackburn-set-as-reagan-day-speaker,68699

Sen. Bob Corker: Time to update resolution allowing president to order use of military force (Tennessean) Sen. Bob Corker said Monday the time has come for Congress to update the resolution authorizing the president to order the use of military force in foreign countries. An ambush that killed four American service members in Niger earlier this month showed that U.S. service members can find themselves in combat at any moment, said Corker, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But Congress has been unable to pass a new use of force authorization because of disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over whether such a resolution should restrain the president’s powers to order military strikes, Corker said. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/30/sen-bob-corker-time-update-resolution-allowing-president-order-use-military-force/813073001/

TN Senator Bob Corker convenes hearing on authorizations for the use of military force (WTVC) Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, convened a hearing on authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) Monday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis testified at the hearing. Tillerson and Mattis told Congress on Monday the 2001 war authorization for combat operations against terrorist groups is legally sufficient and warned that prematurely repealing the law could signal America is “backing away from this fight.” At the beginning of the hearing, Senator Corker issued the following statement: http://newschannel9.com/news/local/tn-senator-bob-corker-convenes-hearing-on-authorizations-for-the-use-of-military-force

State extends Homebuyers Assistance program to Erwin (Johnson City Press) Officials with the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency and U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, came to Erwin on Monday to announce $15,000 in down payment assistance newly available to homebuyers across the Erwin ZIP Code area. In a morning press conference at town hall, Roe joined THDA Community Outreach Liaison Katie Moore in announcing an expansion of the Down Payment Assistance program. Roe said the program will benefit people who live paycheck to paycheck without the ability to save the money needed to secure a mortgage. “This will help people who would never, ever be able to afford to buy a home,” he said. http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Government/2017/10/30/Homebuyers-assistance-program.html?ci=stream&lp=1&p=

Wacker maintains staff while production idles for plant repairs (Times Free Press) The biggest manufacturing investment in Southeast Tennessee will likely remain idle until early next year after a pair of explosions in late August and early September forced the plant in Charleston, Tenn., to cease production of a key ingredient for the solar power industry. Wacker Chemical expects to lose one-fourth of its global production of polysilicon while it assesses and repairs its Charleston plant, which was damaged in a fire and explosion Sept. 7 and a plant fire eight days earlier. But the German chemical company is continuing to maintain its 687-employee staff in Charleston, reassigning and training workers while plant repairs are made and an ongoing $150 million expansion of the facility continues. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2017/oct/31/kaspersky/455878/

Nashville’s Hotel Boom Isn’t Over, But Experts Say Slowing Demand Is A Cause For Concern (Tennessean) Nashville’s hotels might be growing a little too quickly. A recent report on the city’s hospitality market suggests that hotels around town may have some trouble filling the thousands of new rooms they’ve built. Hotel occupancy from January to August was down compared to 2016, according to the new report from industry analytics firm STR. Bobby Bowers, one of the people behind the numbers, says it’s all about supply: the number of new hotel rooms in Nashville is outpacing new visitors. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/nashvilles-hotel-boom-isnt-over-experts-say-slowing-demand-cause-concern#stream/0

Opioid distributors say they won’t be epidemic ‘scapegoats’ (Times News) Lawyers may have them in their cross hairs, but opioid distributors say they won’t be the “scapegoats” for the opioid epidemic of the past decade. Last week, Hawkins County joined a growing list of Tennessee counties that will be filing federal nuisance lawsuits against opioid distributors. Approximately 90 similar nuisance lawsuits have been or are being filed separately in counties across Tennessee, West Virginia and Ohio in a cooperative effort by various law firms. The lawsuits will allege that the three main distributors — McKesson, Cardinal and ABC — violated the terms of their federal permits by failing to red flag any irregularities in the opioid distribution pattern indicating that they were sending tons of narcotics into counties — more than the population rate could sustain. http://www.timesnews.net/Health-Care/2017/10/30/Opioid-distributors-say-they-won-t-be-epidemic-scapegoats.html?ci=stream&lp=2&p=

Kingsport’s water is safe and secure (Times News) You should be glad to know that Kingsport’s water source, and how the city gets water to your home, is more secure than ever. The city’s intake system is now more reliable and should serve the city for at least the next 100 years. Water gets to your home or business through a raw water intake system located at the Holston River near John B. Dennis Highway. Originally, water flowed from the river into a giant pipe and was then pumped over the cliff to the nearby water treatment plant off Konnarock Road. http://www.timesnews.net/Government/2017/10/30/Your-water-is-safe-and-secure.html?ci=stream&lp=9&p=

WLM member allegedly assaults woman at Brentwood restaurant (WZTV) A 30-year-old woman is allegedly assaulted by a member of a the White Lives Matter group that came to the middle Tennessee on Saturday for two rallies. The incident occurred at the Corner Pub in Brentwood just before 8 p.m. on Saturday. The victim tells FOX 17 News that a group of 20-30 people became involved in an altercation with the bi-racial couple and then she was hit in the face. An argument escalated after someone in the group identified themselves as White Lives Matter, then another person allegedly told the woman to leave her boyfriend (who is black), and join them, according to the report taken by Metro Nashville police. The woman went outside and was followed. While arguing with another woman, a man punched her in the face. http://fox17.com/news/local/wlm-member-allegedly-assaults-woman-at-brentwood-restaurant

White nationalists are fighting among themselves after White Lives Matter rally (Leaf Chronicle) Ku Klux Klan members lined the sidewalk in Shelbyville next to men extending their arms in Nazi salutes. Some bore swastika tattoos and others wore “SS” bolt patches, perhaps unsurprising for a rally involving members of the National Socialist Movement, an organization considered by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center to be the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/2017/10/30/white-lives-matter-rally-alt-right-infighting-white-nationalism-ridicule/815435001/

OPINION

David Plazas: Law enforcement at White Lives Matter events deserve thanks (Tennessean) Murfreesboro and Shelbyville could have been our Charlottesville. It is easy to imagine the worst-case scenario of race-fueled conflict between White Lives Matter rally supporters and counter-protesters during this divisive era in American politics. The tragic violence that ensued in that Virginia college town in August, however, eluded Tennessee on Saturday. Many folks merit thanks for keeping the peace, but law enforcement officials at the local, county and state level deserve generous gratitude for doing the tough work of protecting people’s safety and their First Amendment rights. http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/10/30/law-enforcement-white-lives-matter-events-deserve-thanks/813736001/

Georgiana Vines: State Sen. Becky Massey forms new committee on disability services (News Sentinel) State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville, plans to spend more time on legislative duties after she retires Wednesday as executive director of the Sertoma Center, which serves individuals with disabilities and where she has worked for 24 years. A major focus will be co-chairing a new joint ad hoc committee on disability services appointed by Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell, to examine state services for the disabled, with a goal of making recommendations on how to streamline the services and improve their quality, access and affordability. The recommendations are for the next governor elected in 2018, she said. The other co-chair is Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/local/2017/10/30/state-sen-becky-massey-forms-new-committee-disability-services/806513001/

Greg Johnson: UT football coaches embody Peter Principle (News Sentinel) “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence,” Canadian educator Laurence J. Peter wrote in his 1969 book, “The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong.” No, sports fans, we are not today discussing the orange-haired infant in adult daycare in Washington. Rather, as a very former (30-plus years ago) college football coach (Austin Peay State University), your opinionated columnist today applies the Peter Principle to those guys in orange football coaching shirts at the University of Tennessee. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/greg-johnson/2017/10/26/ut-football-coaches-embody-peter-principle/802627001/

Column: Trump or Pence? Either way, the Koch brothers have already won (Baltimore Sun)  The Democrats’ favorite party game these days is guessing whether they would be better off politically with a full four years of Donald Trump in the White House or with some kind of political upheaval that would produce a President Mike Pence. It’s the old quandary of dealing with the devil they know versus the devil they don’t know. Or, to be more precise, the dangerously ignorant, erratic, boorish narcissist they know versus the smugly pious tool of the Koch brothers they don’t know. Mr. Trump is such a disaster that Republicans who care about the republic and care about the future of their own party — like Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and Arizona’s two senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake — are now openly ridiculing their president’s policies and personality. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-op-1031-horsey-20171030-story.html

Despite good intentions, Tennessee’s literacy initiative is failing (Tennessean) It was the end of the road for fall break in Nashville and my little 6-year-old cousin begged a full six days for me to help him with a very ambitious 12-page packet of homework. By the time I reached him, the packet was 99 percent complete, due in no small part to his grandmother who makes sure no homework is left behind in her house. As I reviewed each exercise, mostly reading with a little math mixed in, I made sure to heap praises onto the tiny scholar. But there was one problem he completely skipped. The exercise asked the student to complete the three-letter word by identifying the picture provided below. http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/10/30/despite-good-intensions-tennessees-literacy-initiative-failing/107071586/

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Monday, October 30

What the story of a Vietnam War veteran’s death says about how Tennessee protects elderly from abuse (Tennessean) Edward Rice told multiple doctors in June he felt like he was being abused. Rice, who earned a Silver Star in Vietnam, was dead a month later. His two-line obituary is as vague as the circumstances that unfolded in the weeks before his death. Determining what took place and whether his death could have been prevented is shrouded in secrecy. Tennessee law shields from public view the records of the state agency charged with protecting the elderly from abuse, and it’s unclear the outcome of some 34,000 reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation the agency has investigated in the last five years alone. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/10/30/death-vietnam-veteran-edward-rice-secret-investigations-tennessee-elder-abuse-cases/731683001/

Video: The mystery of tens of thousands of adult abuse cases (Tennessean) Edward Rice told multiple doctors within a week in June he felt like he was being abused, but nothing was done to separate him from his alleged abuser. Edward Rice was dead a month later. http://www.tennessean.com/videos/news/2017/10/29/-mystery-tens-thousands-adult-abuse-cases/106501062/

Black uses Trump tweet praise for fundraising (TN Journal/Humphrey) President Donald Trump on Friday sent a tweet praising U.S. Rep. Diane Black. She promptly turned it into a fundraising effort for her gubernatorial campaign. The Trump tweet: “Diane Black of Tennessee, the highly respected House Budget Committee Chairwoman, did a GREAT job in passing Budget, setting up big Tax Cuts.” http://humphreyonthehill.tnjournal.net/black-uses-trump-tweet-praise-fundraising/

On a rural West TN doctor’s fight with feds, backed by area politicians appealing to Alexander, Kustoff (TN Journal/Humphrey) The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has shut off payments to Dr. Bryan Merrick after finding clerical errors in billings through McKenzie Medical Center for a handful of Medicare patients. The move threatens to shut down the center – which serves around 4,000 patients in a rural area with few medical providers — and has brought a bipartisan outpouring of pleas to help Merrick from West Tennessee political leaders to members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, so far without results. http://humphreyonthehill.tnjournal.net/rural-west-tn-doctors-fight-feds-backed-area-politicians-appealing-alexander-kustoff/

Corker hasn’t ruled out challenge to Trump in 2020 (Times Free Press) Retiring U.S. Sen. Bob Corker on Friday wouldn’t rule out a possible 2020 challenge to President Donald Trump, but stressed his primary focus remains on completing his third and final term in the Senate. “The only thing I’m talking about now over the next 14 months truly is doing the best job I can as a senator,” the former Chattanooga mayor told reporters in Gatlinburg after a state economic and community development conference. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/27/corker-refuses-rule-out-2020/455692/

Sen. Bob Corker: ‘Short window of time to deliver on tax reform’ (Tennessean) With renewed attention on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s interference in the presidential election this week, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said Sunday any new developments could detract from the Republican Party’s agenda on tax reform. Republicans and Democrats waited anxiously Sunday for details about potential charges in Mueller’s Russia probe and possible collusion with associates of President Donald Trump. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/29/sen-bob-corker-short-window-time-deliver-tax-reform/811332001/

Corker support shrinks in MTSU poll (Times Free Press) A new poll suggests U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s ongoing feud with President Donald Trump isn’t going over well in his home state. The MTSU fall poll released Friday shows Corker’s approval rating fell from 52 to 45 percent from the spring, as he and the president swapped insults, while his disapproval rating rose 14 points to 41 percent. Meanwhile, Trump’s approval ratings held steady at 50 percent — well above his national average of 37 percent — while his disapproval rating rose 8 percentage points to 40 percent in the same period. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/27/corkers-disapproval-ratings-rise/455687/

AP FACT CHECK: Trump admin on opioids, international relief (Washington Post) TRUMP: “Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts….” And: “Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!” — tweets Tuesday. THE FACTS: Trump, who spelled Tennessee right the first time, continues to label the Republican senator an enabler of the Iran nuclear deal when he was a leading critic of it. Corker had nothing to do with the 2015 international agreement forged by the U.S. and other world powers to constrain Iran’s ability to build a nuclear arsenal. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ap-fact-check-trump-admin-on-opioids-international-relief/2017/10/30/44224548-bd42-11e7-9294-705f80164f6e_story.html?utm_term=.e4e90f9a25f7

Trump finds golf isn’t the way to Congress’ heart (Politico) One weekend in early June, President Donald Trump tested out his golf course diplomacy with Sen. Bob Corker, making the Tennessee Republican one of his first congressional partners at his Northern Virginia country club. The pair shared a cart and partnered up in a match that included former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning. They discussed both politics and policy — “a little of it all,” Corker recalled in an interview earlier this week — and there wasn’t much in the way of the trash talking that Trump is known for on the green. “Honestly, it was enjoyable,” Corker told POLITICO. “You learn a lot about him personally.” https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/28/trump-golf-congress-244266

Corker to use power, alliance with Flake to question Trump on foreign policy (Washington Times) President Trump has dubbed him “Liddle Bob Corker” on Twitter, but the Tennessee Republican still wields big-time influence over American foreign policy. While the recent criticism of Mr. Trump from Mr. Corker and from Sen. Jeff Flake — both longtime moderate Republicans and both on their way out at the end of next year — might seem like garden-variety theatrics from two lame-duck lawmakers, Capitol Hill sources say the implications are deep. Mr. Corker heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Mr. Flake is a member, and has suggested he intends to use the panel as a forum in the coming months to air concerns about Mr. Trump’s leadership on a range of fronts, including Iran, North Korea, Russia and the Middle East. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/oct/29/bob-corker-donald-trump-feud-fuel-foreign-policy-p/

Sen. Bob Corker: Tillerson getting “kneecapped” by Trump “hurts our nation” (Washington Times) Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, suggested Sunday that President Trump’s tweets taking aim at North Korea are undermining diplomatic efforts regarding the country and its surrounding region. “When our Secretary of State is sitting down with a partner that matters most, China, trying to negotiate something that would resolve and keep us from going into military conflict with North Korea which brings in South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia, and he’s kneecapped by the president, it hurts our nation. It hurts our efforts,” Corker said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” Corker called China our “greatest partner” when it comes to North Korea, and said “every military leader wants the State Department and our Secretary of State to be successful” in exercising diplomacy to “keep our men and women in uniform out of harm’s way.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sen-bob-corker-tillerson-getting-knee-capped-by-trump-hurts-our-nation/

Blackburn says it would be ‘absurd’ to return drug company money (AP) Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a co-sponsor of legislation criticized as checking federal power to stop companies from distributing opioids, is calling it “absurd” to suggest she return contributions from big drug companies that supported the new law. Blackburn, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Republican Bob Corker next year, tells The Tennessean that her involvement in the bill came out of an effort to ensure people who needed the prescription drugs were able to get access to them while also cracking down on illicit opioid use. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/27/blackburn-says-it-would-be-absurd/455689/

Gibson Confirms Plans for New Memphis Facility (Memphis Daily News) Nashville-based guitar maker Gibson Brands Inc. confirmed Friday, Oct. 20, it is putting its Downtown Memphis factory on the market and plans to build and lease a new facility nearby. Gibson Brands Inc. confirmed it will sell its Memphis guitar factory in the heart of Downtown Memphis and build a new facility for its manufacturing operation here. The Gibson Beale Street Showcase and Guitar Factory opened more than 16 years ago at 145 Lt. George W. Lee Ave., across South B.B. King Boulevard from FedExForum. The 127,000-square-foot building includes production facilities, administrative offices and a large entertainment venue. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/24/gibson-confirms-plans-for-new-memphis-facility/

Records: Safety manager at Kingston disaster destroyed proof of fly ash danger to workers (News Sentinel) Three supervisors say in court records they saw the man tasked with protecting workers at the nation’s largest coal ash spill destroy evidence of dangerous levels of toxic chemicals. The supervisors – two construction foremen and a TVA-paid overseer – say in affidavits filed in U.S. District Court they saw separate instances in which Tom Bock intentionally destroyed or skewed air monitoring results and knowingly endangered workers. The firm was tapped by TVA and approved by the EPA and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to manage the clean-up of the massive coal ash spill at the TVA Kingston Fossil Fuel Power Plant in the Swan Pond community of Roane County in December 2008. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2017/10/30/tennessee-kingston-coal-fly-ash-tom-bock/804800001/

Residents to have opportunity to express views on Bi-County’s landfill expansion (Leaf-Chronicle) Local residents will have an opportunity to express their views on the expansion of Bi-County Solid Waste’s landfill at a public hearing Monday evening. Officials from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will hear comments from residents beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 30, at the Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library. TDEC is the state agency that will issue a permit to Bi-County for the landfill expansion. “This is the last administrative piece before TDEC issues its approval,” Bi-County Director David Graham recently told Bi-County board. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/2017/10/27/residents-have-opportunity-express-views-bi-countys-landfill-expansion/808290001/

OPINION

Guest column: How economic ties are growing between Tennessee and Japan (Tennessean) I have served as Consul General to the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee for more than two and a half years. During this time, I have been very impressed with the ever strengthening bonds between the people of Japan and Tennessee. One of the ways these bonds continue to grow is through Japan’s highly prestigious Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, which marked its 30th anniversary this summer. The Japanese government is currently accepting JET applications for 2018. http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/10/29/how-economic-ties-growing-between-tennessee-and-japan/106962474/

Robert Houk: Finding a cure for the ‘Cumberland Croup’ (Johnson City Press) Federal lawmakers who become caught up in the glitz of insider politics in Washington, D.C., are often said to suffer from “Potomac Fever.” This affliction has led to the downfall of many ambitious politicians. A similar disorder, the “Cumberland Croup,” has been known to afflict state legislators who drink too much of the water in Nashville. It’s a condition the FBI has diagnosed at least twice in the last two decades. I was a reporter for this newspaper in Nashville in the late 1980s when operation “Rocky Top,” an investigation into bingo gambling, rocked both the legislative and executive branches of government. Nearly 20 years later, there was “Tennessee Waltz,” an undercover investigation that resulted in the indictments of five former or current lawmakers, as well as a lobbyist. http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Column/2017/10/29/Finding-a-cure-for-the-Cumberland-Croup.html?ci=stream&lp=3&p=

Column: Anti-Trump Republicans have three options — but only one can save their party (Los Angeles Times) The most stinging critiques of Donald Trump’s presidency in the last few weeks have come not from Democrats, but from Republican members of the U.S. Senate. “I will not be complicit,” said Jeff Flake of Arizona. Trump’s “reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior … is dangerous to a democracy.” “The debasing of our nation, the constant non-truth-telling … will be what he is remembered for,” said Bob Corker of Tennessee. “He is obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president.” “Half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems,” said John McCain of Arizona, slamming Trump’s foreign policy. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mcmanus-no-trump-opposition-20171029-story.html

Tipper Gore: America’s mental health system is fragile and needs careful treatment (Tennessean) Just weeks ago, families across the nation breathed a sigh of relief: the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed—again. It was the least popular piece of legislation in more than three decades, and that was no surprise. That’s because, quite simply, it violated a sacred medical oath: “First, Do No Harm.” The harm it would have caused for those with mental illness and their families is unimaginable. http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/10/29/americas-mental-health-system-fragile-and-needs-careful-treatment/106739474/

Lucas Johnson: Free at last: Escaping a cycle of drugs and prison (Tennessean) I had waited almost a decade – 9 years and 11 months, to be exact. So I didn’t mind taking off from my job in Nashville and driving three hours to pick up my cousin Harold from the Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville. When Harold and I were both 9 years old, we watched our older cousins get high. They would often let Harold take puffs just to see his reaction. But they never let me smoke. It was as if our fates depended on their misconstrued judgments. http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/10/29/free-last-escaping-cycle-drugs-and-prison/106717620/

Friday, October 27

Tennessee unemployment rate dips below 5 percent in every county across the state (Tennessean) Tennessee’s unemployment numbers in September dipped below five percent in every county across the state for the first time in recorded state history, Gov. Bill Haslam announced on Thursday in a news release. This is the second consecutive month rates have declined in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties, according to the release. And September also marked the fourth consecutive month Tennessee experienced a historic statewide unemployment rate, the release said. At three percent, Tennessee has the lowest unemployment in the southeast and the eighth lowest rate in the nation. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/10/26/tennessee-unemployment-rate-dips-below-5-percent-every-county-across-state/804445001/

Chattanooga’s jobless rate falls to 17-year low (Times Free Press) Unemployment in metropolitan Chattanooga fell last month to its lowest level in more than 17 years as Chattanooga area employers added nearly 12,000 jobs in the six-county area during the past 12 months. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday the jobless rate in the Chattanooga area fell by seven-tenths of a percent in September to 3.2 percent — the lowest monthly rate since May 2001. In metro Cleveland, unemployment fell even lower to a mere 2.8 percent last month — the lowest rate since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has kept such records in 1990. In the Cleveland area, employers added an estimated 3,125 jobs over the past year. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/26/chattanoogas-jobless-rate-falls/455625/

TN lawmakers respond to president’s opioid declaration (WSMV) Several Tennessee lawmakers have issued statements in response to President Donald Trump declaring the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. Gov. Bill Haslam:  I appreciate the president’s efforts to call attention to the nation’s opioid crisis. We’ve been hit particularly hard in Tennessee by the opioid epidemic and anytime you have the President of the United States calling attention to an issue, it has an impact. Over the past several months, our departments have been working together to study this issue and to provide me with options for us to consider as we head into the next budget cycle and legislative session. We will prioritize addressing the opioid crisis in our state and are working toward a comprehensive plan that we will bring forward soon http://www.wsmv.com/story/36695399/tn-lawmakers-respond-to-presidents-opioid-declaration

The Spacemen of the Drug Epidemic (UT Tennessee Journalist) Cleansing buildings until there’s little to no evidence of devastation. They don white, oversized suits and place masks over their heads. They look like they are protected from the vacuum of space, preparing for a trip to the moon. They move slowly, cautiously. These spacemen are preparing to enter a different kind of vacuum: One that’s gripped the nation for years, ripping homes, families and lives apart. These spacemen are preparing to enter a quarantine zone. Quarantine reason: methamphetamine lab. Meth lab cleanup is common business in Tennessee, and business is booming. According to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, 2,390 quarantines have been issued by law enforcement since 2007. Of that number, 1,201 properties have been cleaned, recertified for human use and released from quarantine. What’s left are 1,189 properties still under quarantine, some for as long as 10 years. http://www.tnjn.com/2017/10/26/spacemen-drug-epidemic/

29 House Fires in Rutherford County Caused by Hazardous Waste (WGNS) Rutherford County Fire and Rescue has reported that 29 house fires within Rutherford County have been caused by hazardous waste, so far this year. RCFD urges residents to dispose of household hazardous waste properly to prevent more potential fires. “Hazardous waste is a danger to your family, animals, and property. It can affect you mentally and physically. Rutherford County Fire and Rescue recommends getting hazardous waste out of the home”, said Rutherford County Fire and Rescue Chief, Larry Farley. Rutherford County hosts 2 household hazardous waste collections a year through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. http://www.wgnsradio.com/29-house-fires-in-rutherford-county-caused-by-hazardous-waste-cms-42166

Here’s how Tennessee tries to draw big business (Tennessean) Economic development experts and officials from across Tennessee convened at the Gatlinburg Convention Center on Thursday, telling their colleagues how recent big development deals were done and pointing the way to future projects. About 700 registered for the 64th annual Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development, said state Economic and Community Development Director Bob Rolfe, who spoke at the opening session. The conference continues Friday, including a lunch with Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. In 2016 the state drew 21,000 new jobs, Rolfe said. http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/2017/10/26/tennessee-big-business-economic-development-conference/791096001/

Omens warned of proposed $553M Alcoa ammo plant misfire (News Sentinel) It looks like Mark Kresser was right all along. In a late 2016 lawsuit he argued that Advanced Munitions International, or AMI, didn’t have the money to build its promised $553 million “global headquarters,” research lab and ammunition factory on 236 acres in Blount County’s Partnership Park North. In fact, the company controlled by Jim Antich and his son Jeffery didn’t have enough money to pay Kresser what he’d been promised to run the Alcoa facility, the suit alleged. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/2017/10/26/omens-warned-proposed-553-m-alcoa-ammo-plant-misfire/798670001/

Northeast to close Bristol campus, sell facility in Gray (Times News) Northeast State Community College will close its Bristol campus at the end of the fall 2017 semester, the school announced Thursday afternoon. It is part of an ongoing budget realignment at the school. And for the same reason, the school has moved offerings from its Gray campus to other locations and put that campus up for sale. Aside from the main campus in Blountville, Northeast has a satellite campuses in downtown Kingsport, including the Kingsport Center for Higher Education and other operations in the Academic Village, Johnson City and Elizabethton, as well as dual enrollment and other instruction space in area high schools. Northeast owns or leases those facilities. http://www.timesnews.net/Education/2017/10/26/Northeast-to-close-Bristol-campus-to-sell-Gray-campus.html?ci=stream&lp=6&p=

Philosophy students say Austin Peay program in ‘jeopardy’ (Leaf Chronicle) To study philosophy at Austin Peay or transfer to another university? That’s the question some students may face after administrators chose to reallocate some money used for a now-retired philosophy professor’s salary to create another faculty line for the music program. A letter signed by 28 faculty members and published in the university’s student newspaper, the All-State, states that with the retirement of Bert Randall the APSU administration decided to cut one of three faculty lines. It claims there are 55 majors and minors who might not be able to take the classes they need to graduate with a degree in philosophy and religion. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/2017/10/26/philosophy-students-say-austin-peay-program-jeopardy/803748001/

APSU ramps up sustainability efforts with compost machine (Leaf Chronicle) One of the missions of Austin Peay State University’s Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement is to keep things local. From its S.O.S. Food Pantry that takes donations and makes them available for needy students to its Victory Gardens and egg-producing chickens that generate fresh food, the Center has a keen interest in taking care of its own. Now, with the recent installation of a large-scale composter known as an Earth Tub and partnerships with campus and community organizations, the Center has found a way to keep its food waste local — all while helping to reduce the University’s impact on the environment. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/local/communities/2017/10/26/apsu-ramps-up-sustainability-efforts-compost-machine/802253001/

MTSU students form coalition against white nationalist protests (WKRN) After some Middle Tennessee State University students heard about the white nationalist rally coming to Murfreesboro; they reached out to several student organizations and formed an impromptu coalition against hate. The Student Coalition Against Hate has been learning de-escalation tactics this week just in case they come in contact with protesters. No one is sure about what to expect Saturday, so this student group wants to be ready just in case. Students are hoping for the best, but are preparing for the worst just in case they come face to face with protesters on Saturday. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/26/mtsu-students-form-coalition-against-white-nationalist-protests/

Tennessee Towns Heighten Security Ahead of White Nationalist Rallies (Wall Street Journal) Law-enforcement officials in Tennessee are gearing up for two white nationalist rallies this Saturday, preparing expansive security measures and calling for community members to avoid the events by groups that marched in Charlottesville earlier this summer. “White Lives Matter” events will be held in Shelbyville, Tenn., a city of 21,000, and Murfreesboro, a city of 132,000, both south of Nashville. Groups sponsoring the marches include the League of the South, which calls for the South’s secession from the U.S., and the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi Party. Both participated in the August demonstration in Charlottesville, where a young woman was killed when a Nazi sympathizer drove a car into a crowd of protesters. https://www.wsj.com/articles/tennessee-towns-heighten-security-ahead-of-white-nationalist-rallies-1509096603

Groups prepare to counter planned white nationalist rallies (WSMV) Minority groups and equality organizations are speaking out against the planned white supremacist rallies in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro Saturday. While city leaders are urging people to stay home, others want to counter-protest to show they don’t accept hate. Several businesses have signs up that say Murfreesboro Loves, and others have boarded up windows. Business owners want to make sure white supremacists see they condemn hate speech. http://www.wsmv.com/story/36696629/groups-prepare-to-counter-planned-white-nationalist-rallies

Businesses Board Up Windows Ahead Of Murfreesboro Rally (WTVF) Businesses in Murfreesboro are getting ready for this weekend’s planned White Lives Matter protest. Many in the public square are closing up shop, even boarding up their windows, worried about potential violence. But others say they’re passing on the plywood so they don’t close themselves off from the community. “We feel like part of the community’s history is sending this message of love to the whole world,” said Gloria Christy with Shacklett’s Photography. “I hope more people watch what’s happening here and are lifted up all over this country.” http://www.newschannel5.com/news/businesses-choose-to-board-up-windows-ahead-of-murfreesboro-rally

To Ready Themselves For White Nationalists, Two Tennessee Towns Prepare As If A Hurricane Is Coming (WPLN) Murfreesboro is one of the fastest growing cities in Tennessee, and like many in the South, it has a busy town square where locals often hang out, shop and dine. But this weekend, it’s probably going to look very different. “They told the business owners to think about it as a category 5 hurricane coming through,” says Eric Lamure, who works at a family-owned smoke shop on the courthouse square in Murfreesboro. Normally, they make most of their money during the weekend, but they’ll be closed tomorrow — and warned to board up their windows, which Lamure says feeds into the fear of what both white supremacists and counter protesters might do. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/ready-themselves-white-nationalists-two-tennessee-towns-prepare-if-hurricane-coming#stream/0

Show will go on for dozens of marching bands, despite rally (WSMV) Thousands of music students refuse to stay silent this weekend, even though a white supremacist rally almost shut them down. A massive competition, a year in the making, has been scrapped. One local high school is now trying to recreate it in just two days. The Contest of Champions expected 5,000 students this weekend from all over the South. It was scheduled to take place Saturday at MTSU. The Spring Hill High School marching band hoped organizers of white supremacist rallies would have a change of heart, but since they didn’t, band students needed a change of venue. http://www.wsmv.com/story/36697094/show-will-go-on-for-dozens-of-marching-bands-despite-rally

We are going to attack it’: TBI tackling human trafficking (WBIR) TBI says Tennessee is one of the leading states in the country in the fight against human trafficking. Tackling human trafficking is a priority for Tennessee law enforcement officials. In fact, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation claims it’s one of the leading states in the country in the fight against human trafficking. Out of 212 calls to the human trafficking hotline, there have been 54 cases reported to law enforcement so far this year in the state of Tennessee. http://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/we-are-going-to-attack-it-tbi-tackling-human-trafficking/51-486396001

In Tennessee, more women than men admitted to hospitals for opioids (WKRN) Here in Tennessee, we are dealing with a unique problem. More women than men are being admitted for opioid-related hospitalizations– the opposite of the national trend where more men are hospitalized. At a luncheon Thursday, several women shared their personal battles with addiction. A woman who asked us to refer to her as Vicki B. shared her journey in recovery. She has battled opioid addiction for 38 years after slipping and falling one rainy October day. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/26/in-tennessee-more-women-than-men-admitted-to-hospitals-for-opioids/

UT Board of Trustees to discuss outsourcing at next meeting (WATE) The University of Tennessee’s Board of Trustees is set to discuss campus facilities outsourcing at its next meeting. This is as state Democrats are calling for an investigation into outsourcing contracts. The Board of Trustees will meet on November 2-3. On the agenda is campus presentations on facilities services outsourcing decisions. Meanwhile, Rep. Darren Jernigan and other members of the State Democratic Caucus are planning a press conference Friday in Nashville to discuss the need for an investigation into the subcontractors used by companies the state outsources for building management. http://wate.com/2017/10/26/ut-board-of-trustees-to-discuss-outsourcing-at-next-meeting/

Proposed bill would allow Tennessee school districts to install cameras on buses (WATE) Tennessee lawmakers might soon allow school districts to install something similar to a red light camera on school buses. The idea is to catch drivers who don’t stop for school buses as they pick up or drop off kids. The cameras would be placed around the bus to take a photo of cars illegally passing a stopped school bus, the driver would receive a fifty dollar citation in the mail. Ellie Whitesell, a mother of two, said she is all for the idea, anything to help keep her family safe. She submitted video of cars passing her child’s school bus and said it happens every week. “Some child is going to die. It’s not okay,” said Whitesell. http://wate.com/2017/10/26/proposed-bill-would-allow-tennessee-school-districts-to-install-cameras-on-buses/

State rep. proposes ‘recovery high schools’ for students after drug rehab (WBIR) House Bill 1460 would create recovery high schools across the state, which provide extra resources for students who want to continue their education after entering drug rehabilitation. Leaders in East Tennessee are not ready to give up on the opioid and drug crisis. One state representative is fighting the epidemic by putting his focus on students struggling with addiction. House Bill 1460, created by Eddie Smith,R-Knoxville, creates a recovery high school in each region of the state. “We want to make sure that we have the best practices in these high schools,” Smith said. The bill proposes setting up a recovery high school, giving students extra help with drug addiction. http://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/state-rep-proposes-recovery-high-schools-for-students-after-drug-rehab/51-486455635

Rep. Rick Staples hopes to make it easier to test schools’ drinking water for lead (WATE) State Rep. Rick Staples is working on a bill he says would be a big help in keeping Tennessee children healthy. Staples says currently, it is difficult for the state to test lead levels in schools’ drinking water. He says he is working with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to craft a bill that would make it easier for the state to collect those figures. “What I’m trying to do is, schools built prior to 1986, to capture data to test the lead levels in the drinking water,” said Staples. “It’s a chance for us to be the bipartisan and proactive to put a mechanism in place for the safety of our kids.” http://wate.com/2017/10/26/rep-rick-staples-hopes-to-make-it-easier-to-test-schools-drinking-water-for-lead/

TBI looking at Durham for bribery? (Nashville Post) Investigation of disgraced former legislator heats up as fines accumulate. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has been interviewing current legislators about expelled former House member Jeremy Durham, reportedly in connection to potential bribery schemes. The Williamson County Republican was kicked out of the Tennessee General Assembly in 2016 after almost two dozen sexual harassment allegations. He has since been hit with $465,000 in fines for campaign finance violations and $30,000 in fines for ethics violations. Durham is appealing the campaign finance fines and is also suing the state over his expulsion. http://www.nashvillepost.com/politics/courts/article/20980695/tbi-looking-at-durham-for-bribery

TBI agents interview House Majority Leader, Rep. Andy Holt in Jeremy Durham criminal probe (Tennessean) Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents recently interviewed at least two state lawmakers in conjunction with a criminal investigation into ex-legislator Jeremy Durham, specifically inquiring about bribery. House Majority Leader Glen Casada, R-Franklin, and Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, confirmed Wednesday they met several weeks ago with two TBI agents to discuss Durham. “They wanted to know if I knew anything about bribery,” Casada said. “I said I don’t.” The interviews provide renewed signs both the state and federal probes into the expelled lawmaker remain open. East Tennessee prosecutor Stephen Crump was assigned to lead the state criminal investigation after Williamson County prosecutor Kim Helper recused herself. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/26/tbi-agents-interview-casada-holt-jeremy-durham/800840001/

House Majority Leader interviewed as part of Jeremy Durham investigation (WSMV) State investigators are looking into whether a former state lawmaker engaged in bribery. Jeremy Durham was expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives more than a year ago. Since then, the state has launched an investigation into the ex-legislator. For the first time, News 4 is getting a glimpse into what the probe may entail. Majority Leader Glen Casada told News 4 he was interviewed by the TBI three weeks ago. Casada said two agents came to his legislative office and asked if he knew about any alleged bribery linked to Durham. Casada said he did not. http://www.wsmv.com/story/36692515/house-majority-leader-interviewed-as-part-of-jeremy-durham-investigation

Citing Health, Longtime Tennessee Representative Charles Sargent Says He Won’t Run Again (WPLN) State Rep. Charles Sargent will not seek re-election, after more than two decades in the Tennessee House of Representatives. The Franklin Republican announced the decision Thursday morning, citing health reasons — namely, the need to seek treatment related to a previous bout with skin cancer. Sargent plans to serve out the remainder of his term, which runs for another year. In a statement, House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams praised Sargent as a “fierce advocate for students and educators,” as well as a lawmaker who has possessed a deep knowledge of the state budget. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/citing-health-longtime-tennessee-representative-charles-sargent-says-he-wont-run-again#stream/0

Rep. Sargent, finance chairman of Tennessee House, to retire (AP) Republican state Rep. Charles Sargent, the chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee, says he won’t seek another term in the Tennessee General Assembly. Sargent says he plans to retire at the end of his 11th two-year term because of health concerns. The 72-year-old insurance agent from Franklin says he’s dealt with skin cancer in the past, and that he has recently been diagnosed with a related condition. Sargent, a New York native, was first elected to the House in 1996. As finance chairman he has played a key role in crafting the state’s $37 billion budget. http://www.wsmv.com/story/36690911/sargent-finance-chairman-of-tennessee-house-to-retire

Sargent, Finance Chairman Of Tennessee House, To Retire (AP) Republican state Representative Charles Sargent, the chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee, said he won’t seek another term in the Tennessee General Assembly. Sargent said he has planned to retire at the end of his 11th two-year term because of health concerns. The 72-year-old insurance agent from Franklin said he’s dealt with skin cancer in the past and that he has recently been diagnosed with a related condition. Sargent, a New York native, was first elected to the House in 1996. As finance chairman he has played a key role in crafting the state’s $37 billion budget. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/sargent-finance-chairman-of-tennessee-house-to-retire

Rep. Charles Sargent will not run again for House seat in Williamson County (Tennessean) After 21 years in the legislature, top Republican Charles Sargent will not run for his seat in 2018. Sargent will focus on his health instead of politics in District 61, according to a press release from the legislator. “It has been my honor and pleasure to serve the citizens of the 61st District for the last 21 years. I would not trade that experience, but circumstances change,” Sargent said. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/williamson/2017/10/26/rep-charles-sargent-not-run-again-house-seat-williamson-county/801973001/

‘Veterans Coalition’ backs Bill Lee for governor (TN Journal/Humphrey) Williamson County businessman and farmer Bill Lee announced the formation of the Veterans for Bill Lee Coalition. The group, consisting of Tennessee military veterans across every branch of service, will serve in an advisory role to Lee on state veterans and Tennessee Military Department issues. “I’m honored and grateful to have the support and counsel of these great Tennessee leaders,” said Lee. “There is no group that we owe more to than our veterans, and I will make our state the number one state for veterans to live and work.”  The Veterans Coalition will help advise the campaign and coordinate with outreach within the veteran community in Tennessee. Leading this group as Honorary Chairman is Major General (Ret.) Gary Harrell of Washington County. http://humphreyonthehill.tnjournal.net/veterans-coalition-backs-bill-lee-governor/

Corker: Trump feud not over secretary of state snub (Politico) Retiring Sen. Bob Corker said Thursday that it’s “ridiculous” to believe he has become increasingly outspoken against President Donald Trump because he was passed over as secretary of state. Corker, who interviewed for the position, said Rex Tillerson “was an inspired choice” to lead the State Department. “I was thrilled with the person they selected, especially after I’ve seen how they treated him,” Corker told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “That’s a ridiculous thing.” “I don’t think Rex Tillerson has a closer friend on Capitol Hill, closer supporter, someone who wants to see diplomatic activity succeed, than Bob Corker,” the Tennessee Republican continued. “He knows that. The White House knows that. I mean, President Trump has — anyway, it’s a ridiculous assertion.” https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/26/bob-corker-trump-fight-secretary-of-state-244204

Sen. Bob Corker: Some of the ‘ridiculous’ things in tax reform are just ‘buying off’ special interests  (CNBC) Some of the items in the GOP tax reform discussion are just “buying off” special interests and serve no other purpose, Republican Sen. Bob Corker told CNBC on Thursday. “Some of the things we’re doing, I’m sorry, are ridiculous,” Corker told “Squawk Box,” though he did not mention any specifics. “I’m sorry, but we live in a political world,” said Corker, a member on the Senate Budget and Banking committees. Those things are “not going to drive 1 ounce of economic growth. But it’s what you have to do to pass a tax bill.” Corker described some efforts to pass tax reform as “unfortunate.” https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/26/sen-bob-corker-some-of-the-ridiculous-things-in-tax-reform-are-just-buying-off-lawmakers-to-pass-it.html

There’s Bredesen, and then there’s … State Democrats work to rebuild thin roster of viable candidates (TN Ledger) Murfreesboro resident Jon Santee woke up “a different person” on Nov. 9, 2016, the day after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency. “I saw something that in my time I thought was pretty much unfathomable at a top political level,” says Santee, a 41-year-old father of four who works in the IT field. Frustrated and upset initially with the Trump election, the case of a real estate magnate and reality TV star ascending to the White house, Santee decided to channel his energy into something more constructive. http://www.tnledger.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=101408

Even As Other National Parks Double Prices, The Smokies Will Still Be Free (WPLN) National parks are moving to double their entry fees, but the country’s most-visited park still won’t charge a dime — because it’s not allowed. The National Park Service said Tuesday it needs the additional fees in order to pay for a $12 billion backlog of projects. “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting,” Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a statement. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/even-other-national-parks-double-prices-smokies-will-still-be-free#stream/0

Economic Overview Spotlights Q3 Trends (Memphis Daily News) CEOs, banking industry leaders, real estate professionals and plenty of other business leaders in Memphis have told The Daily News in recent weeks and months they think the economy generally continues to improve. Anecdotally, they’re hearing it from customers, they’re seeing it in the field – not everyone, and not uniformly – but it is an increasingly common sentiment to hear from business professionals. “The economy from our perspective continues to look steady,” the CEO of First Tennessee Bank’s parent company told Wall Street analysts a few weeks ago. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/27/economic-overview-spotlights-q3-trends/

Despite explosion and two hurricanes, Eastman still expects earnings growth (Times News) Eastman Chemical’s expectation to get back on an earnings growth track apparently hasn’t been shaken by an Oct. 4 explosion or two hurricanes. Eastman Board Chair and CEO Mark Costa touted the global specialty chemical producer’s “excellent” third quarter report to shareholders on Thursday. “As a result, our expectations for adjusted 2017 EPS (earnings per share) growth have improved to be solidly at the high end of the previously projected range of 10 to 12 percent compared with 2016, excluding the financial impact of the Kingsport operational incident,” Costa said in a release. A six-year earnings growth streak ended last year. http://www.timesnews.net/Business/2017/10/26/Despite-the-explosion-and-two-hurricanes-Eastman-still-expecting-earnings-growth.html?ci=stream&lp=3&p=

Eastman: Normal operations in coal gasification area to resume in early 2018 (WJHL) Weeks after explosions rocked Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, the company confirmed normal operations in part of the plant are expected to resume early next year. Eastman released a report earlier this month showing the company expects to take a multi-million dollar hit to their profits following those explosions. The company’s coal gasification plant experienced what they called a “process upset,” which led to the blasts. http://wjhl.com/2017/10/26/eastman-normal-operations-in-coal-gasification-area-to-resume-in-early-2018/

State designation will enhance appeal of Washington County Industrial Park (Johnson City Press) Showcasing a cow pasture just isn’t sufficient enough when it comes to attracting, and even more so convincing, a large manufacturing company to relocate to a particular area. That’s why local economic development groups have invested so much energy into transforming Telford’s Washington County Industrial Park into a “pad ready” site, and most recently earning the designation as a Select Tennessee Certified Site. On Monday, the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development announced the 67-acre parcel off U.S. Highway 11E at the Washington County Industrial Park was one of three other state manufacturing sites that earned the designation for 2017. http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Business/2017/10/26/State-designates-Washington-County-Industrial-Park.html?ci=featured&lp=1&ti=

Nashville’s upcoming Family Justice Center will be world’s largest (WKRN) One major sign of growth in Nashville is the construction along Murfreesboro Pike just south of downtown. Crews are hard at work on a new police headquarters and Family Justice Center going up near Fesslers Lane. When it’s all said and done, the facility will be a place where practitioners can work with domestic violence and sexual abuse victims. On Thursday, a ceremonial “topping out” celebration was held where the last frame of the structure was put into place. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/26/nashvilles-upcoming-family-justice-center-will-be-worlds-largest/

OPINION

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Mike Rounds: Health Care Needs a Bipartisan Fix (Wall Street Journal) No one wants to ‘bail out’ insurers, and our bill wouldn’t do that. President Trump has asked for a bipartisan short-term solution to reduce health-insurance premiums and avoid chaos in the individual market so 18 million Americans won’t be hurt. Last week, 12 Republican and 12 Democratic U.S. senators proposed a solution. After eight years of ObamaCare speeches and votes but zero legislative victories, our bill actually could make conservative ideas law. It would permanently roll back some restrictions on states and allow anyone to buy a lower-cost catastrophic plan. To achieve these conservative victories, we agreed to extend cost-sharing reduction payments for two more years. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy are co-sponsors. This bill is not a substitute for their repeal-and-replace legislation, which wouldn’t take effect until 2020. Meanwhile, they want to avoid chaos. https://www.wsj.com/articles/health-care-needs-a-bipartisan-fix-1509059172

Otis Sanford: Corker’s truth about Trumps lies (Commercial Appeal) It came courtesy of The New York Times. You know, the newspaper President Donald Trump repeatedly and erroneously calls the “failing” New York Times. The paper that added staff and thousands of new subscribers after Trump’s election last year. And the paper that – with The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and various online news sites – has been leading the journalistic charge to investigate the many scandals that have plagued this administration from the start.  A Times ad includes this message: The truth is hard to find. The truth is hard to know. The truth is more important than ever.” http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/opinion/columnists/otis-sanford/2017/10/26/corkers-truth-trumps-lies/797889001/

Editorial: Our Confederate Past: A Selective History (Memphis Flyer) Yes, that’s “Confederates in the attic” you’re hearing now, but it’s the living who are rattling their chains, a ruckus caused by our lack of understanding of the past. Like many Southern cities, Memphis is wrestling with ghosts these days. One of ours is Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, whose bronze likeness sits atop a horse in Health Sciences Park. Calls to remove the statue have sparked controversy, but they shouldn’t. Defenders of the site today seem to have forgotten who Forrest was, why the tribute was put there in the first place, and even the purpose of monuments generally. https://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/our-confederate-past-a-selective-history/Content?oid=9118872

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, October 26

Haslam: Corker-Trump Twitter feud ‘obviously the way of the world now’ (Times News) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam tried to make sense Tuesday of Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker’s Twitter feud with President Donald Trump. “I think you have two people who are both very strong minded and both have a tendency to speak their mind, and I think you saw that today. … (As for their Twitter feud) that’s obviously the way of the world now,” Haslam said during a stop at the Eastman Road Food City. “That’s how people communicate. I prefer everybody sitting in a room and saying ‘Here’s the issue.’ My sense is the tendency of the president is to do social media and have that sit-down conversation later and talk. … My sense is they are both very much results-oriented people.” Haslam, in his media availability with reporters, also answered the following questions: http://www.timesnews.net/Politics/2017/10/25/Haslam-Corker-Trump-Twitter-feud-obviously-the-way-of-the-world-now.html?ci=stream&lp=2&p=

Haslam names new director of legislation (Times Free Press) Gov. Bill Haslam announced Wednesday that Katie Ashley will become his new director of legislation as well as chief adviser and strategist for legislative affairs for the term-limited governor’s last legislative session in 2018. Ashley, 31, who currently serves as deputy director, will replace Warren Wells. He departs the administration at the end of November to join the government affairs team of insurer Unum in Chattanooga. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/politics/state/story/2017/oct/26/haslam-names-new-director-legislation/455560/

Ashley new legislative director (Nashville Post) Longtime Haslam aide promoted. Katie Ashley will become Gov. Bill Haslam’s new director of legislation, the governor’s chief advisor and strategist for legislative matters. Ashley, 31, replaces Warren Wells, who is stepping down next month to work for Unum. Ashley has worked for Haslam since 2009, starting out as a campaign staffer before transitioning to a legislative liaison position in 2011. She has served as deputy director of legislation since 2015.  http://www.nashvillepost.com/politics/people/article/20980576/ashley-new-legislative-director

Health initiative targets seven Memphis neighborhoods (Commercial Appeal) The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness launched an expansion of its Healthier Tennessee Communities program into Memphis with the formation of Healthier Tennessee Neighborhoods. It will assist seven neighborhoods — Binghamton, Crosstown, Klondike Smokey City, Orange Mound, South Memphis, Uptown and Vollintine Evergreen — in developing and funding initiatives promoting better nutrition and more physical activity. The foundation, active in nearly every county of the state, is a nonprofit formed by Gov. Bill Haslam to help lift Tennessee out of the ranks of the bottom-10 states in many measures of health. Its focus is on nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use. For each of the participating neighborhoods, the foundation provides support in the form of personnel and, when appropriate projects are identified, grant money. http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2017/10/25/healthier-tennessee-initiative-targets-memphis-neighborhoods/797964001/

VFL and Pilot founder Jim Haslam receives 2018 Pat Summitt Award (WBIR) The award is given to the person who best exemplifies the outstanding character of legendary Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt for integrity, high standards and hard work. The founder of the Pilot Corporation will receive a rare honor at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet next June. Jim Haslam (not to be confused with his son Jimmy Haslam, the current CEO of Pilot Flying J), has been named the recipient of the 2018 Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award. Haslam will receive the award on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at the 52nd Annual Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet in Nashville. http://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/vfl-and-pilot-founder-jim-haslam-receives-2018-pat-summitt-award/51-485983140

James A. Haslam II is recipient of 2018 Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award (Herald Chronicle) James A. Haslam II has been named as the recipient of the 2018 Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award will be presented to Mr. Haslam at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame 52nd Annual Induction Banquet on Saturday, June 16, 2018, at the Omni-Nashville Hotel. The Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame to an individual who best exemplifies the outstanding character of Pat Summitt.  Her integrity, high standards and hard work were the key to her unprecedented success.  The individual selected to receive this award embodies the character Pat Summitt graciously displayed throughout her life.  Past recipients were Mack Brown and Commissioner Roy Kramer. http://www.heraldchronicle.com/james-a-haslam-ii-is-recipient-of-2018-pat-summitt-lifetime-achievement-award/

Jim Haslam named recipient of 2018 Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award (WVLT) Jim Haslam, founder of the Pilot Corporation, has been named as the recipient of the 2018 Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award, according to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. The award is presented to the person who best exemplifies the character of Pat Summitt throughout their life. Haslam is a 1952 graduate of the University of Tennessee. He was starting tackle on the UT football team in 1950-52 and captain of the 1952 team. He was also commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1952, serving on active duty from 1953 to 1955 doing a tour of duty in Korea. http://www.local8now.com/content/news/Jim-Haslam-named-recipient-of-2018-Pat-Summitt-Lifetime-Achievement-Award-453009653.html

Pilot Flying J founder Haslam receives Pat Summitt Award (AP) Pilot Flying J founder Jim Haslam is the latest recipient of the Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award. The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame hands out the award each year to an individual it deems as someone who best exemplifies the character of Summitt, the former Tennessee women’s basketball coach who died in June 2016. Previous recipients included former Texas football coach Mack Brown and former Southeastern Conference commissioner Roy Kramer. http://wjhl.com/2017/10/25/pilot-flying-j-founder-haslam-receives-pat-summitt-award-2/

California Republicans say raising gas taxes is a bad thing. GOP politicians in some red states don’t agree (Los Angeles Times) What do Republican politicians in many red states understand that the California GOP does not? Answer: That increasing gas taxes is good public policy and, potentially, winning politics. Republicans in red states recently have accepted the uncomfortable truth that fuel taxes need to be raised to pay for repairing dilapidated highways and making life easier for motorists. By contrast, Republican pols have been squawking about a California fuel tax hike enacted by Democrats — Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature — that will go into effect Wednesday. In Tennessee, which is completely controlled by Republicans, Gov. Bill Haslam pitched hard for the fuel tax and registration fee increases. To ease the pinch at the pump, Tennessee trimmed the sales tax on groceries. (California doesn’t tax groceries.) http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-california-gas-tax-republicans-20171026-story.html

Weapon of Choice (Nashville Scene) When Tennessee’s Achievement School District first started operating in the 2012-13 school year, its intent was to bring the state’s lowest-performing schools into the top 25 percent. In 2011, when a new state law brought about the ASD, expansion didn’t appear to be part of the plan. But now, as the ASD’s numbers are dwindling, the state is suing the Metro Nashville Board of Education after it refused to hand over data so the state can seek out students to fold into the ASD. The Tennessee Department of Education says gathering this data so it can contact potential students to move into the ASD schools is part of a parent’s right to choose where their children go to school — an argument that state Democrats like Rep. Mike Stewart have said is an incorrect interpretation of law. http://www.nashvillescene.com/news/features/article/20980584/weapon-of-choice

MTSU residence halls to be locked down due to White Lives Matter rally (WKRN) Out of an abundance of caution and the safety of students, the president of Middle Tennessee State University has decided to lock down residence halls on campus all weekend. This in response to the White Lives Matter rally scheduled to take place in downtown Murfreesboro on Saturday. It’s not unusual for dorms on campus to lock the doors on weekends starting at 11 p.m. Friday nights. Students have to use their student ID, which serves as a key card and swipe to enter the building. But come this Friday, the lockdown will begin a lot earlier. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/25/mtsu-residence-halls-to-be-locked-down-due-to-white-lives-matter-rally/

League of the South explains why Shelbyville was chosen for rally (WSMV) Tensions in Middle Tennessee continue to rise ahead of planned white supremacist rallies in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville. In Shelbyville, a “White Lives Matter” rally is set to take place Saturday morning, organized by the League of the South. Many are asking why the group chose Shelbyville. “They didn’t just draw Shelbyville out of a hat,” said David Clark with Shelbyville Loves, one of the groups planning to counter-protest Saturday’s rally. http://www.wsmv.com/story/36683909/league-of-the-south-explains-why-shelbyville-was-chosen-for-rally

Tennessee Guard, State Police Will Monitor Protests But Remain On Standby, For Now (WPLN) The Tennessee Guard and state police say they’ll be on standby this weekend, if planned protests and counter protests in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro erupt into violence. Hundreds of white nationalists — and perhaps even more opponents — are expected for the pair of so-called White Lives Matter rallies on Saturday. The events are drawing national attention, with both sides calling on supporters to gather for a show of force. The Guard, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency are all playing roles in preparations for the rallies. They’re letting local police take the lead, but spokespeople say they’ll be monitoring the situation closely. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/tennessee-guard-state-police-will-monitor-protests-remain-standby-now#stream/0

Appeals Court backs Memphis in renaming Confederate parks (Commercial Appeal) The Sons of Confederate Veterans suffered another legal loss Wednesday in its efforts to reverse the renaming of three parks in Downtown Memphis. The Tennessee Court of Appeals in Jackson, affirming a February ruling by the Shelby County Chancery Court, found that the city had the authority in 2013 to rename Forrest Park as Health Sciences Park, Confederate Park as Memphis Park, and Jefferson Davis Park as Mississippi River Park. Memphis Park is now known as Fourth Bluff Park. Lee Millar, a spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp No. 215, said the group is still digesting the 18-page ruling it received Wednesday and has yet to decide whether to appeal the court’s decision to the state Supreme Court. http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/government/city/2017/10/25/appeals-court-backs-memphis-renaming-confederate-parks/799587001/

No One Monitoring Lead In School Water, Lawmakers Told (WTVF) When your children go off to school, you hope they’re not being exposed to poisons in their drinking water. But, following a NewsChannel 5 investigation, Tennessee lawmakers heard Wednesday that lead could be a problem that no one’s watching. “There is a significant risk of lead getting into the drinking water, is that correct?” Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, asked retired environmental regulator George Proios. “That’s correct,” Proios answered. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/newschannel-5-investigates/lead-in-school-water/no-one-monitoring-lead-in-school-water-lawmakers-told

How One Student’s Answer Led A District To Identify Statewide TNReady Grading Problems (WPLN) Tennessee lawmakers were surprised to hear that widespread grading errors in the new standardized test might have gone undetected if not for a school’s concern about a high performing student. This week legislators are holding a hearing on problems with TNReady. The tests looked OK and the answer keys matched up, says Nakia Towns, who oversees standardized testing for the state. But Rutherford County had a school where a teacher was confused why a smart kid would miss so many answers in a certain subject. “So the question that came back to us was essentially, ‘We have this really high performing student, and we’re curious as to why that student would not be doing well on this particular standard,'” Towns said Tuesday. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/how-one-students-answer-led-district-identify-statewide-tnready-grading-problems#stream/0

Some area sheriffs, DAs back Black for governor (Times Free Press) Bledsoe County Sheriff Jimmy Morris and 10th District DA Steve Crump are among a group of sheriffs and district attorneys supporting Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s campaign for governor, according to a campaign news release. Black’s Law and Order Coalition of 23 Tennessee sheriffs and 11 district attorneys “have endorsed Diane’s campaign for governor and signed on to provide guidance on law enforcement issues,” the release states. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/25/back-black-governor/455542/

Speaker Harwell talks Williamson education funding, opioid crisis (Tennessean) In a conversation with Williamson republicans, Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell shared her plans if she were elected as the next governor. At a luncheon with a Republican Women of Williamson County, Harwell entered a room of familiar faces, some of who had helped Harwell in past campaigns in Davidson County. Now, she pitched her campaign to succeed Gov. Bill Haslam. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/williamson/2017/10/25/speaker-harwell-talks-williamson-education-funding-opioid-crisis/799398001/

Sumner law enforcement officials join Diane Black’s Law and Order Coalition (Tennessean) On Wednesday Diane Black for Governor announced its statewide Law and Order Coalition. Twenty-three sheriffs and 11 district attorneys have endorsed Black’s campaign for governor and signed on to provide guidance on law enforcement issues. Sumner County District Attorney Ray Whitley, District Attorney Amy Weirich, District Attorney Russell Johnson, Sheriff Bill Holt, Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford and Former Sheriff Terry Ashe have agreed to co-chair the coalition. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/sumner/2017/10/25/sumner-law-enforcement-officials-join-diane-blacks-law-and-order-coalition/798800001/

Fighting human trafficking overseas is a priority for Sen. Corker (WBIR) While the fight against human trafficking is happening in the United States, there’s also an effort to end sex slavery overseas. While the fight against human trafficking is happening in the United States, there’s also an effort to end sex slavery overseas. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker has made fighting international human trafficking a priority of his after an Atlanta paster asked him, “If not you than who?” Corker said that question sparked his interest in making a change to help millions human trafficking survivors around the world. http://www.wbir.com/article/news/investigations/selling-girls/fighting-human-trafficking-overseas-is-a-priority-for-sen-corker/51-486082053

Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake: Spat with Trump won’t impact work on foreign relations (Tennessean) Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake have held nothing back in their torrent of criticism of President Trump. But both insist their spat with the commander-in-chief won’t influence their work on foreign policy. “President Trump has never been a factor in how we deal with foreign relations,” said Corker, the Tennessee Republican who has been relentlessly mocked by Trump on Twitter. “Liddle Bob Corker,’” as Trump has demeaned him, has a big foreign policy role as chairman of the  Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The panel has oversight of the State Department and is involved in a number of foreign policy matters, including treaties and authorizations for use of military force. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/25/bob-corker-jeff-flake-donald-trump-foreign-relations/801559001/

Tennessee’s Corker Doubles Down on His Criticism of Trump (AP) Taking on a crowd of jeering union workers, standing up to a charismatic Democratic opponent on the man’s home turf or lecturing upper management of one of the world’s largest corporations, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker has rarely backed down from a fight. So it came as little surprise to those who know him well that the pugnacious self-made multimillionaire who once floated his own name as a 2016 Republican presidential candidate doubled down this week on his criticism of President Donald Trump, calling him “utterly untruthful” and responsible for “the debasement of our nation.” “If he feels something isn’t right, he’s going to say that,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who has known Corker since he was a teenager. https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/10/26/us/ap-us-trump-corker.html?_r=0

The Republicans’ Donner Party (Wall Street Journal) Advice for the tender: Do not let yourself be blown over by Donald Trump’s tweets. We are in the foothills of the same tax mountains that Congress crossed on the way to tax reform in the 1960s and 1980s, and the Republicans are starting to sound like members of the Donner Party in 1846. Overwhelmed by snowstorms in the Sierra Nevadas, some in the feuding Donner Party’s wagon train ate the dead to survive. History regards them with ambivalence. As of this hour, the distinguished senator from Tennessee, Bob Corker, was last seen on television saying he would never vote for Donald Trump again, and the nation’s president was counter-tweeted that Mr. Corker “couldn’t get elected dogcatcher,” an insult not only to Mr. Corker but to dogcatchers, who I’d guess are part of Mr. Trump’s base. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-republicans-donner-party-1508970431

The Deafening Silence of the Republican Lambs (Politico) Bob Corker and Jeff Flake’s denunciations of Trump once would’ve made a difference to Republicans. In today’s GOP, they may not matter at all. If you are one of the millions of Americans who believe that a dangerously unfit man is presently occupying the Oval Office, you are likely to be cheering the words of Senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake. On Tuesday, having announced their respective retirements in 2018, the two Republicans were unsparing in their denunciations of the titular leader of their party. President Donald Trump exhibits “a flagrant disregard for truth and decency,” Arizona’s Flake thundered from the Senate floor, denouncing “the coarseness of our leadership.” Trump’s conduct is “reckless, outrageous, and undignified,” Tennessee’s Corker charged earlier in the morning. “He is debasing our nation.” http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/25/republican-corker-flake-trump-senators-215745

NBC’s Todd: Flake, Corker would still be running if ‘Trump were more polite’ (The Hill) NBC’s Chuck Todd argued Wednesday that Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) would be running for reelection “if Donald Trump were more polite.” The commentary from the “Meet the Press” moderator comes one day after Flake shocked Capitol Hill by announcing he would not seek reelection in 2018. Corker announced in late September he would be stepping down at the end of his term. Both Senators have offered scathing criticisms of the president after engaging in Twitter and verbal battles with Trump in recent weeks, with Flake most recently going on a media tour with stops at CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and MSNBC on Wednesday morning one day after denouncing the president’s behavior on the Senate floor. http://thehill.com/homenews/media/357170-nbcs-todd-flake-corker-would-still-be-running-if-trump-were-more-polite

Sen. Bob Corker touts his poll numbers, refutes Trump’s claim he had ‘zero chance’ of re-election (Tennessean) The flap between President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker continued Wednesday, this time with the New York real estate mogul questioning the Chattanooga Republican’s support in Tennessee. In an early morning Tweet, Trump said both Corker and U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who announced Tuesday he would not seek re-election in 2018, had “zero chance of being elected.” http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/25/sen-bob-corker-touts-his-poll-numbers-refutes-trumps-claim-he-had-zero-chance-re-election/798591001/

Sen. Bob Corker poised to use foreign relations committee as legislative check on Trump (Tennessean) Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake have held nothing back in their torrent of criticism of President Donald Trump, but for Trump their influence on foreign policy should be more worrisome than a Twitter spat or a scornful speech. Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is promising a series of legislative hearings that have the potential to assert more legislative control over foreign policy and potentially shift public opinion on the Trump presidency. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/25/sen-bob-corker-poised-use-foreign-relations-committee-legislative-check-trump/798557001/

Lamar Alexander on Donald Trump: [Silence] (Nashville Scene) Sen. Lamar Alexander has nothing to say about President Donald Trump. His close colleague and fellow Tennessean, Sen. Bob Corker, has found religion and spent yesterday calling the president a dangerous liar — well, Corker doesn’t use “the ‘L’ word” but that’s what he meant — who is debasing our nation and could lead us to World War III. Another one of Alexander’s colleagues, Sen. Jeff Flake, delivered a somber speech on the floor of the Senate mourning the Republican party’s capitulation to Trump and Trumpism. But Lamar Alexander has nothing to say.  Pith asked Alexander’s office yesterday whether he agreed with Corker’s assessment of the president but got no response. As of this writing, Alexander has made no public comments about his colleagues’ apparent belief that Trump is utterly unfit for the office of the presidency. http://www.nashvillescene.com/news/pith-in-the-wind/article/20980469/lamar-alexander-on-donald-trump-silence

Blackburn Points Finger Back At DEA For Measure That Blocks Policing Of Opioid Shipments (WPLN) Congressman Marsha Blackburn is blaming the Drug Enforcement Administration for not speaking up if legislation she co-sponsored is causing such a problem. An investigation by “60 Minutes” and the Washington Post highlighted her role in a law that made it tougher for the DEA to regulate opioids. Former DEA lawyers told “60 Minutes” that legislation backed by Blackburn made it virtually impossible to suspend shipments of opioids that looked suspicious — like way too many pills going to a pharmacy in a tiny West Virginia county. After the story came out, the Brentwood Republican acknowledged there could have been unintended consequences. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/blackburn-points-finger-back-dea-measure-blocks-policing-opioid-shipments#stream/0

Blackburn names Tennessee state lawmaker as Senate treasurer (McClatchy) Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn has named southwestern Tennessee state Rep. Ron Gant as campaign treasurer for her bid for the Senate. Blackburn joined the race for Senate following incumbent Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s decision not to seek a third term and Gov. Bill Haslam’s announcement that he wouldn’t run for the seat. Former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher has since joined the Senate race that also includes conservative activist Andy Ogles. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article180967221.html#storylink=cpy

Walley running for 7th? (Nashville Post) Former state Rep. Page Walley is considering a run for the 7th Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for Senate. Walley, a Republican who currently serves as the vice mayor of Bolivar in West Tennessee, is a clinical psychologist and licensed minister. He served in the legislature from 1990 until 2000, when he left to become the first commissioner of the Department of Children’s Services. He then ran the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs and later served as the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Human Resources. “Working with communities and families locally, nationally, and internationally, I see the insecurities and struggles that our people face in order to provide for their families,” Walley said in a press release. http://www.nashvillepost.com/politics/elections/article/20980500/election-roundup-walley-running-for-7th

Environmental Groups: TVA Should Should Not Use Wells Until Full Investigation (Memphis Flyer) State officials should stop the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) from using wells drilled into the city’s drinking water to cool a new energy plant here until the utility can prove the plant won’t contaminate that water, according to the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and an environmental consulting firm. A Tuesday letter from Amanda Garcia, an SELC attorney, expressed “concern” to Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, that the TVA will begin operating wells, bored into the city’s drinking water, before complying with a state-mandated investigation. https://www.memphisflyer.com/NewsBlog/archives/2017/10/25/groups-want-full-investigation-before-firing-up-new-power-plant

Pilot Flying J trial delayed to November (WATE) A trial concerning Pilot Flying J was delayed. The trial was set to begin on Oct. 31 in Chattanooga and will now be Nov. 6. Pilot Flying J is accused of fraudulently withholding fuel rebates and discounts from customers. The company has already paid a $92 million federal penalty and spent $85 million on a class-action settlement. In September, four people pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy in the rebate scheme:  former Vice President of Sales John “Stick” Freeman, District Sales Director Vicki Borden, Direct Sales Regional Sales Manager John Spiewak and Direct Sales Account Representative Katy Bibee. http://wate.com/2017/10/25/pilot-flying-j-trial-receives-delay-by-week/

Philips sets up shop as 800-job Nashville hiring spree begins (Nashville Business Journal) The Dutch giant Royal Philips is opening a temporary office in downtown Nashville as the company begins hiring the first of the 800 jobs the company is pledging to create. As Philips continues scouting for a permanent home for that expansion, multiple real estate sources said the company is setting up a short-term office in the Nashville City Center tower at 511 Union St. Sources said Philips (NYSE: PHG) is occupying some of the 90,000 square feet of space that engineering and architecture firm Gresham Smith & Partners vacated to move its headquarters to the 222 office building high-rise in SoBro. Warner Music Group is leasing one-third of that former Gresham space for an expansion the music label revealed a year ago. https://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2017/10/25/philips-sets-up-shop-as-800-job-nashvillehiring.html

Trump’s looming decision threatens to crimp hiring at LG’s $250M factory (Nashville Business Journal) President Donald Trump could decide as early as December whether to slap tariffs or other penalties on a company that represents one of Greater Nashville’s biggest economic development wins in recent years. LG Electronics is hustling to build a $250 million washing machine plant that is supposed to employ at least 600 people when it opens in the first quarter of 2019. The 1 million-square-foot plant in Clarksville is designed to produce 1 million washing machines or more per year — about one every 10 seconds — to satisfy demand from U.S. and Canadian customers. https://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2017/10/25/trumps-looming-decision-threatens-to-crimp-hiring.html

Shelby County may hike air pollution emission and permit fees (Commercial Appeal) The Shelby County Commission may increase fees for air pollution emissions and permits as a shrinking number of local companies continue reining in emissions. A committee voted 4-0, with four abstentions, to recommend approval of an ordinance to raise fees per ton of emissions from $48 to $53, increase the major source permit fee from $2,000 to $5,000, and increase the minimum emissions fee from $1,000 to $1,500. The current emission and permit fees are “insufficient to fund the direct and indirect costs” of the county’s air pollution control program, according to the ordinance. http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/government/county/2017/10/25/shelby-county-may-hike-air-pollution-emission-and-permit-fees/798594001/

Parks and Recreation grants announced (Citizen Tribune) The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced Monday the 2018 grant cycle for the Local Parks and Recreation Fund, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Recreational Trails Program. TDEC’s Division of Recreational Educational Services will host three workshops across the state from Nov. 28-30 to assist communities interested in the grant application process. http://www.citizentribune.com/news/local/parks-and-recreation-grants-announced/article_54b2330c-b994-11e7-8c75-23820c38fc47.html

OPINION

David Plazas: Bob Corker’s great awakening about Donald Trump (Tennessean) Bob Corker once prided himself on being Donald Trump’s closest adviser in the U.S. Senate. Now he has become one of the president’s sharpest and most outspoken critics. Ladies and gentlemen, we are just getting started on month 10 of the Trump presidency. Corker, who just last year described Trump’s bluster as “inartful” when he campaigned with him, now describes the commander in chief as “untruthful.” It’s really not surprising. Any reasonable person, and especially someone of Corker’s status, could only take so much humiliation and insults in presidential tweets peppered throughout the month. http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/columnists/david-plazas/2017/10/25/bob-corkers-great-awakening-donald-trump/795595001/

Column: Corker missed his chance to do the right thing (Chicago Tribune) You might think that as an opponent of President Trump — a #NeverTrump conservative, as they say — I’d feel heartened, if not vindicated, to see Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona laying into Trump the way they did Tuesday. Corker said Trump was “an utterly untruthful president” and Flake blasted the president for his “reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior.” But not so fast. Flake always opposed Trump, and he can say that he finally decided to issue the full-throated denunciation Trump had coming. Corker? His late awakening shouldn’t win him any points. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-corker-trump-gop-too-late-1026-20171025-story.html

Column: Corker, Flake are not listening to their constituents (Sinclair Broadcast Group)EDITOR’S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations. There’s a dust up in Washington, D.C. Senators Jeff Flake, of Arizona, and Bob Corker, of Tennessee, are using some very colorful language to attack the President of the United States, personally. Both senators are retiring at the end of their current term. They’re not running for reelection in 2018. http://wjla.com/news/bottom-line/opinion-corker-flake-are-not-listening-to-their-constituents

Column: Sen. Bob Corker’s plea to Trump: Stop talking (Sun Sentinel) Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., made the rounds on the morning shows Tuesday, all the while diplomatically doubling down on his recent criticisms of President Donald Trump. Perhaps as striking was his overall message to the president: Just back off. On NBC’s “Today” show, Savannah Guthrie asked him directly: “Left to his own devices, do you think the president is a threat to national security?” Corker’s answer was decidedly not, “No.” “CORKER: I think there are people around him that work in an effort to contain him. That would be [Defense] Secretary [Jim] Mattis and [Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson and General [John] Kelly, there — his chief of staff. I do think . . . http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/fl-op-bob-corker-donald-trump-war-words-20171025-story.html

Sam Stockard: Democrats Hope Bredesen Run Will Reinvigorate Party (Memphis Daily News) Tennessee Democrats are canvassing the state to find candidates at every political level, but their next star is a well-known veteran who has people of all political stripes holding their breath. Phil Bredesen, the former mayor of Nashville and a two-term governor, could alter the landscape of Tennessee politics if he enters the race for U.S. Senate to fill the void by departing Republican Sen. Bob Corker in 2018. The last Democrat to win a statewide election, Bredesen would have to consider the cost of a U.S. Senate race, expected to be in the tens of millions, as well as commuting to and from D.C. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/26/democrats-hope-bredesen-run-will-reinvigorate-party/

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen: Haslam’s SNAP decision a slap in the face to Memphis (Tennessean) I am deeply concerned about Governor Haslam’s decision to reintroduce work requirements for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in most Tennessee counties. Those in Memphis who benefit from SNAP, many of whom are African American, rely on its financial assistance to feed themselves and their families. The governor’s announced change in policy will turn back time for Shelby County and make it harder to prevent some of our most vulnerable citizens from going hungry.   http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/10/25/haslams-snap-decision-slap-face-memphis/785694001/

Wednesday, October 25

Gov. Haslam applauds local employment opportunities for people with disabilities (WCYB) Governor Haslam created the Employment First task force, four years ago. On Tuesday, he was in the Tri-Cities touring a local business doing just that. The governor’s initiative supports school-to-work programs like the one at Dobyns Bennett. There are 24 DB students in the transitional program, which is now in its second year. And there are already a lot of success stories. Governor Haslam walked up and down the aisles of Food City, meeting the students most affected by his statewide initiative, Employment First. “There are some real life people who have taken advantage of it and have a different life,” the governor said. “So you see the excitement of a Caleb, working in produce, or Parker at checkout.” http://www.wcyb.com/news/gov-haslam-applauds-local-employment-opportunities-for-people-with-disabilities/644747715

Haslam says TNReady test snafu overblown (Times Free Press) Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday he thinks last week’s controversy over scoring problems impacting 9,400 students on the latest TNReady tests is overblown because the problem was discovered before results were sent to families. “I think the one thing that’s gotten lost in all this discussion is the process worked,” Haslam told reporters. “It was during the embargo period before any of the results were sent out to students and their families that this was caught.” The governor said “one error is too many, but it is important to remember this is 94,000 tests out of a million something. And it worked. Before anybody’s results were impacted or any student got their results it was caught. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/24/haslam-says-snafu-overblown/455451/

From grocery bagger to assistant cook: D-B’s Transition School to Work lauded by Gov. Haslam (Times News) In case you were grocery shopping Tuesday afternoon at Food City on Eastman Road and saw a bunch of folks overdressed for canned food shopping and followed by television cameras, that was Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and his entourage wandering the aisles. However, the focus of the afternoon was on folks like Parker Stephen White, Jadin Warner and Caleb Peters, who as special education Dobyns-Bennett students bag groceries and in one case prepare hot food at the grocery store. http://www.timesnews.net/Education/2017/10/24/From-grocery-bagger-to-assistant-cook-D-B-s-Transition-School-to-Work-lauded-by-Gov-Haslam.html?ci=stream&lp=3&p=

Haslam says Corker-Trump clash involves ‘two very strong-willed people’ (Times Free Press) Gov. Bill Haslam said today the latest public explosion between President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., doesn’t come as much of a surprise given that it involves “two very strong-willed and strong-minded people who don’t mind speaking their mind.” “I think, like I said, my sense is that Bob has always been somebody that if he had a concern that he thought this was something I need to share with folks, he’s going to do that,” said Haslam, a fellow Republican and longtime friend of Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor. “I really don’t know beyond that.” http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/24/haslam-says-corker-trump-clash-involves-two-very-strong-willed-people/455448/

We will fix TNReady, Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen promises (Tennessean) Tennessee’s education chief said she expects, and requires, 100 percent accuracy on the state’s TNReady assessment after scoring issues affected thousands of tests this year. “That is our commitment,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said to state representatives gathered for a Joint House Education hearing. “When we started this year that was our commitment and when we ended that was our commitment. We didn’t meet that.” The House hearing focused heavily on how McQueen and the Tennessee Department of Education can get TNReady running smoothly after two years of issues with the new assessment. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/2017/10/24/tnready-problems-candice-mcqueen-promises-fixes-house-hearning/790256001/

Tennessee officials, vendor vow no more mistakes on TNReady tests (Times Free Press) State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen and a vendor sought to reassure Tennessee lawmakers Tuesday that a testing problem involving digital scans of 9,400 students’ TNReady assessment tests has been fixed and won’t happen again. “While we reported 99 percent of our scoring accurately, that’s not good enough,” McQueen told a joint meeting of the House Education Instruction & Programs and Education Administration & Planning committees. “We expect — we required — 100 percent, and that’s our commitment.” http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2017/oct/25/tennessee-officials-vendor-vow-no-more-mistak/455500/

Wells leaving Haslam administration (Nashville Post) Director of legislation headed to Unum. Warren Wells, Gov. Bill Haslam’s director of legislation, will leave the administration at the end of next month. Wells, 34, has worked in Haslam’s administration since 2011 and became its chief strategist for legislation in 2015. “Warren has been invaluable to some of this administration’s biggest achievements and bringing about significant positive change to his home state,” Haslam said. “We will miss his guidance and insight at developing and implementing our legislative strategy, and personally I will miss having him as a senior member of my team. I wish him all the best in his new endeavor.” http://www.nashvillepost.com/politics/people/article/20980416/wells-leaving-haslam-administration

Tennessee pension gains 11.4 percent, beats target after 2 years of weak returns (Tennessean) Tennessee’s pension plan for state workers exceeded investment targets in 2017, minimizing the impact of weak returns in the previous two years. The Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, which serves the state’s 350,000 retirees and active employees, gained 11.4 percent in fiscal year 2017, well above the 7.5 percent annual returns target. In fiscal years 2015 and 2016, returns flagged between 2 and 4 percent. http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/2017/10/24/tennessee-pension-gains-after-shortfalls/751742001/

Education lobbyist group rates legislators — seven get ‘A+,’ two graded ‘F’ (TN Journal/Humphrey) In its first rating of state legislators, Tennesseans for Student Success today gave “A+” scores to seven members of the General Assembly while only two got ‘F’ grades and eight got ‘D’ grades. The group bills itself as an education advocacy group and has been generally in line with Gov. Bill Haslam in its legislative lobbying on issues. (It was initially founded by Jeremy Harrell, Haslam’s former campaign manager and an administration staffer who has also worked with the state Republican party.) The seven legislators at the top “SuccessCard” ratings, deemed “top of the class,” are all Republicans. They are Sens. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, Brian Kelsey of Germantown and Mark Norris of Collierville and Reps. Harry Brooks of Knoxville, Dawn White of Murfreesboro, Charles Sargent of Franklin and Eddie Smith of Knoxville. http://humphreyonthehill.tnjournal.net/education-lobbyist-group-rates-legislators-seven-get-two-graded-f/

Another Republican for Harwell’s seat (WPLN) Attorney Joseph Williams second to announce run. Joseph Williams, a 31-year-old attorney, has announced a run for the seat of House Speaker Beth Harwell. Williams becomes the second announced Republican to run in the district, which includes parts of Green Hills, Belle Meade, Oak Hill and South Nashville. Harwell will have represented the district 30 years in 2018; she is running for governor next year instead of reelection. According to his campaign website, Williams is the founding partner of The Peacefield Group, a legal and policy consulting firm in Nashville. Prior to that, he practiced law for the rightwing American Center for Law & Justice, run by part-time Franklin resident Jay Sekulow, who’s also currently serving as a personal lawyer for President Donald Trump. http://www.nashvillepost.com/politics/elections/tennessee-state-offices/article/20980394/another-republican-for-harwells-seat

Republican Joseph Williams to run for Beth Harwell’s Tennessee House seat (Tennessean) Joseph Williams, a Nashville attorney and Teach for America alum, says he’s running as a Republican for the Tennessee House seat in Nashville held by departing Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell. Williams recently filed papers to run for Tennessee House District 56 in the 2018 election, becoming the second Republican to announce their candidacy for the seat after Harwell entered the race for Tennessee governor. Republican Brent Moody, a Nashville surgeon, also is seeking the GOP nomination for the House district, which includes parts of Green Hills, Belle Meade, Forest Hills, Oak Hill and Crieve Hall. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/10/24/republican-joseph-williams-run-beth-harwells-tennessee-house-seat/794326001/

Ethics commission levies $30,000 fine against Jeremy Durham (Tennessean) Another state agency has fined former lawmaker Jeremy Durham, this time imposing a $30,000 penalty on the Williamson County Republican for not fully disclosing financial investments. On Tuesday, the Tennessee Ethics Commission levied the fine against Durham for neglecting to include all sources of income in a document called a “statement of disclosure of interest” while he was a member of the legislature. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/24/ethics-commission-levies-30-000-fine-against-jeremy-durham/793815001/

Bob Corker: Donald Trump is ‘devolving’ as president, intentionally dividing country (Tennessean) President Donald Trump and Tennessee Senator Bob Corker traded punches on Twitter and television Tuesday morning, evoking dog catchers, tax reform and, once again, adult day care. The battle escalated very quickly and on national television, with the president not only attacking Corker on social media but dispensing his press secretary to lambaste the Senator on FOX News. Surrounded by a slew of reporters late Tuesday morning after hours of the back-and-forth began, Corker said he believes Trump is regressing as a president. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/24/donald-trump-targets-bob-corker-tweet-says-senator-couldnt-get-elected-dog-catcher-and-fighting-tax/793570001/

Video: Donald Trump and Bob Corker continue public battle: A timeline of the escalating fight (Tennessean) http://www.tennessean.com/videos/news/politics/2017/10/24/donald-trump-and-bob-corker-continue-public-battle-timeline-escalating-fight/106960534/

Sen. Bob Corker says spat with President Trump won’t jeopardize tax reform (Tennessean) Sen. Bob Corker insisted Tuesday his high-stakes feud with President Trump won’t jeopardize the GOP’s push for tax reform, but the Tennessee Republican made it clear he’s still not ready to sign onto the administration’s proposed tax cuts. “Tax reform has been something that all of us would like to see happen, and I can’t imagine there’s any senator …. that would vote against something they thought was good policy over some personal issue,” Corker said, just minutes after GOP senators met with Trump in the Capitol. “I certainly would not do that,” Corker said. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/24/sen-bob-corker-says-spat-president-trump-wont-jeopardize-tax-reform/794562001/

Sen. Bob Corker’s #AlertTheDaycareStaff tweet criticizing President Donald Trump sets Twitter on fire (Tennessean) U.S. Sen. Bob Corker set Twitter on fire Tuesday morning when he used the hashtag #AlertTheDaycareStaff to criticize President Donald Trump. From dirty diaper and tangerine toddler references to one person calling it the hashtag of the year, the phrase evoked a slew of both serious and light-hearted responses on social media. The hashtag from Corker, R-Tenn., quickly began trending on Twitter.  http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/10/24/sen-bob-corkers-alertthedaycarestaff-tweet-criticizing-president-donald-trump-sets-twitter-fir/794023001/

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker Implies He Now Regrets Supporting Trump (WPLN) Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker delivered his harshest criticism yet of President Donald Trump on Tuesday, again questioning the Republican leader’s competency, calling the president untruthful, and implying for the first time that he now regrets supporting Trump. In a series of television interviews and a post on social media, Corker said Trump has failed to grow into the role of president, as Corker had hoped he would. Asked by a CNN correspondent about his past support for Trump, Corker said he “would not do that again.” “He’s proven himself unable to rise to the occasion,” Corker said. “And he’s obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president.” http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/tennessee-senator-bob-corker-implies-he-now-regrets-supporting-trump#stream/0

AP FACT CHECK: Trampled Truths in Trump-Corker Dustup (AP) President Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Bob Corker are lobbing insults at each other again. The slings and arrows are largely a matter of opinion — is Trump “debasing” the nation as Corker says? Is the senator “incompetent” and a “lightweight,” as the president tweeted? But aside from those negative reviews of each other, Trump, in particular, got a couple of facts wrong. TRUMP tweets Tuesday: “Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts….” And: “Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!” https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/10/25/us/politics/ap-us-trump-corker-fact-check.html

GOP Divisions Explode in Dramatic Fashion (Wall Street Journal) In the 11 months since voters elected President Donald Trump, a rift has run just below the surface of the Republican Party in Washington. On one side were those who thought they should make their peace with Mr. Trump and the jarring change he had brought to their party; on the other side were those who weren’t sure they ever could. On Tuesday that rift was laid bare in dramatic fashion. Now, Republicans are looking at the very real possibility that it could simply begin opening wider. https://www.wsj.com/articles/gop-divisions-explode-in-dramatic-fashion-1508886695

Trump purges enemies and reshapes party in his image (Politico) President Donald Trump is squeezing out his enemies in the Republican Party — diminishing the power of the GOP establishment and reshaping his party in his own image. With the looming exits of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, Trump will rid himself of his two most outspoken Republican detractors. What happens before they depart in 2019 — Flake and Corker demonstrated Tuesday they are fully emboldened now to take on the president without fear of consequences — could determine the success or failure of the GOP-controlled Congress through the 2018 midterms. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/24/trump-republicans-corker-flake-purge-244139

Bob Corker, Jeff Flake on an island in Republican repudiation of Donald Trump (Tennessean) After another public Twitter feud, most Republicans are shying away from criticizing President Donald Trump and aren’t publicly going to bat for U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. When Corker, R-Tenn., heaved his latest criticisms at Trump on Tuesday — saying he’s “devolving” as a president and intentionally dividing the country — the president immediately fired back with his well-known name calling.  The only Republican who truly echoed Corker’s critiques was a senator who simultaneously announced his decision not to run for re-election in 2018. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/25/bob-corker-jeff-flake-island-republican-repudiation-donald-trump/794829001/

Flake, Corker can’t break the GOP fever (CNN) Any other President would be facing an existential crisis after being accused by two pillars of his own party of debasing the nation. Donald Trump, however, was in “high spirits,” an aide said, celebrating a big political victory and another step toward transforming the GOP in his own image. If Trump’s presidency ends in disaster, Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake may one day be remembered as heroes who pleaded with the Republican Party to change a ruinous course, after baring their political souls to assail the President on Tuesday, accusing him of trashing the values and norms on which American democracy was built. http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/25/politics/donald-trump-corker-flake-republican-party/index.html

Flake, Corker push Trump criticism to new level (The Hill) Two Senate Republicans on Tuesday called on their party to take on President Trump in separate scathing assessments of his public conduct and leadership. The unprecedented criticism from Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) overshadowed what the White House and GOP leadership hoped would be a day of unity on the party’s biggest agenda item: tax reform. It also demonstrated the deep fissures Trump and his GOP antagonists are creating within their party, which threaten his agenda and complicate Republican efforts to retain control of the House and Senate in next year’s elections. http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/357022-flake-corker-push-trump-criticism-to-new-level

Trump relishes fighting enemies in his own party (Politico) The president shows no restraint going after fellow Republicans he perceives as opposed to his agenda – even when it’s not entirely clear what it is. Senators left Tuesday’s lunch with President Donald Trump relieved. He read from notecards. He praised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He spoke about his brother’s death from an overdose. He didn’t diverge into his usual tangents and stuck to orthodox positions. He boasted less than usual. “I was really impressed with him today,” said Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch. But the rest of the day was filled with intra-party skirmishes. Trump spent the morning whacking retiring Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker on Twitter, calling him “incompetent” – drawing a sharp rebuke from Corker, who said he regretted supporting Trump. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/24/trump-republican-enemies-fight-244134

White House brushes off Corker, Flake as ‘petty’ attack dogs (Politico) The White House on Tuesday fought back against blistering attacks from Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, calling the retiring Republicans “petty” for their harsh words about President Donald Trump while praising their exits as “the right decision.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused the lawmakers of trying to gin up headlines but predicted their rhetoric would have little effect on Trump. “I think that the people both in Tennessee and Arizona supported this president, and I don’t think that the numbers are in the favor of either of the two senators in their states, and so I think that this is probably the right decision,” Sanders said of the senators’ plans to retire after their terms expire in 2018. “Look, I think the voters of these individual senators’ states are speaking in pretty loud volumes,” she added at the White House press briefing. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/24/white-house-jeff-flake-retirement-response-244118

Establishment Republicans Fall Like Dominoes: Luther Strange, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake Gone (Breitbart) Establishment Republicans standing in the way of President Donald Trump’s agenda are falling like dominoes heading into the midterm elections in 2018, as Breitbart News Executive Chairman and former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon ramps up his “season of war” on the political class. The latest failed Republican to tap out is Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who announced on Tuesday he will not seek re-election after originally planning to. President Trump’s America First movement is on a winning streak now that Jeff Flake has been left on the ash heaps of political history alongside Luther Strange and Bob Corker. And rest assured that Mitch McConnell and the rest of his Never Trump establishment cohorts are next on our agenda.” Meanwhile, subsequent Breitbart News investigative reporting into Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has led to Haslam deciding against running for the U.S. Senate. http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/24/establishment-republicans-fall-like-dominoes-luther-strange-bob-corker-jeff-flake-gone/

CBS Radio pulls back on 200-job Nashville expansion (Nashville Business Journal) CBS Corp. has tabled a Nashville expansion for its radio division, a deal which would have involved 200 jobs from the name-brand company. CBS (NYSE: CBS) surfaced almost one year ago when a state official revealed a potential deal dubbed “Project A,” which multiple sources identified as CBS Radio Inc. CBS Radio was eyeing a $5 million investment in downtown and entered into lease negotiations for office space at Bank of America Plaza, according to multiple sources. At the time, the state was prepared to pledge $1 million of incentives in exchange for the 200 jobs, which would have had an average annual pay of $48,000. https://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2017/10/24/cbs-radio-pulls-back-on-200-job-nashville.html

Tri-Cities not a fit for new Amazon headquarters (WJHL) Amazon now has hundreds of bids from cities across the country all vying for the chance to house the company’s second headquarters in North America. Some of the cities are in Tennessee including, Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville. News Channel 11 wanted to know if any of the Tri-Cities or the region as a whole met what Amazon was looking for in a new home base that’s expected to provide around 50,000 jobs in a $5 billion investment for the company. “It’s an incredible project but it’s not an incredible project for just anybody,” CEO of the NETWORK Sullivan Partnership, Clay Walker said. http://wjhl.com/2017/10/24/tri-cities-not-a-fit-for-new-amazon-headquarters/

U.S. Nitrogen ordered to pay $1500 state fine after gas burner limit violation (WJHL) U.S. Nitrogen in Greene County has been hit with another state fine. According to documents from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation or TDEC, the industrial explosive manufacturer is ordered to pay $1500. Documents say the fine is being assessed  for “failing to limit the total number of lighted natural gas burners associated with the ammonia train to 15 before the SCR unit comes online.” A recent resolution brought forward by Greene County commissioner Eddie Jennings to create an environmental board to give people the opportunity to interact with administrators at U.S. Nitrogen did not pass. http://wjhl.com/2017/10/24/u-s-nitrogen-ordered-to-pay-1500-state-fine-after-gas-burner-limit-violation/

BPU will seek city OK for waste water rate hike (Post Intelligencer) The Paris Board of Public Utilities unanimously approved a motion Tuesday to recommend a planned waste water rate increase to the Paris City Commission. The motion was considered at the board’s regular monthly meeting. These increases, to take effect in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, are required for the BPU to remain compliant with a 2016 consent order agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to eliminate permit violations at the waste water treatment plant and in the wastewater collection system, over a three- to five-year period. http://www.parispi.net/news/local_news/article_87b96850-b90e-11e7-8ffd-2701ce8e1203.html

At A Family’s Request, Sewanee Decides To Relocate Confederate Memorial (WPLN) The University of the South in Sewanee is relocating a 77-year-old memorial to a Confederate general, after determining there was little reason for the stone marker to stand at an intersection just off the school’s main campus. The remote liberal arts institution will move markers honoring Edmund Kirby Smith to his grave in the university cemetery on the sprawling, wooded campus. The decision was finalized in September and first reported last week by The Sewanee Purple, a student newspaper. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/familys-request-sewanee-decides-relocate-confederate-memorial#stream/0

MTSU cancels campus events ahead of white nationalist rally (WSMV) Middle Tennessee State University announced Tuesday that it is canceling campus events on Saturday ahead of a planned white nationalist rally. The university said the Contest of Champions band competition has been canceled and the Expanding Your Horizons science event has been postponed. In a letter to the university community, MTSU President Sidney McPhee said the decision was made to reduce traffic to the surrounding area on Saturday. http://www.wsmv.com/story/36675451/mtsu-cancels-campus-events-ahead-of-white-nationalist-rally

Group behind Tennessee rallies say more than 100 could show up (WKRN) There are many unanswered questions about what could play out during the two separate rallies in Middle Tennessee this weekend. A spokesperson for the League of the South, an organization hosting the rally, told News 2 on Tuesday that he expects more than a hundred white nationalists will be there. He said they picked Shelbyville and Murfreesboro for several reasons, including the fact that rallies held there before were peaceful. Even though the groups rallying have a loud chant, several of them are not as identifiable as the Ku Klux Klan of years before. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/24/group-behind-tennessee-rallies-say-more-than-100-could-show-up/

White nationalist rallies have state of Tennessee on high alert (WKRN) Governor Bill Haslam said on Tuesday that all hands are on deck with local and state agencies, including the National Guard, in the case that he declares a state of emergency due to the rallies. “Bigotry and violence are not part of who we are and it is really not welcome in Tennessee,” Haslam told reporters in Nashville. The two rallies planned in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro have the entire state of Tennessee on high alert. “Local law enforcement will play the lead but THP and the safety department are ready to support in anyway necessary,” explained Haslam. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/24/white-nationalist-rallies-have-state-of-tennessee-on-high-alert/

#MurfreesboroLoves: Graphic spreads on Facebook ahead of white nationalist rally (WKRN) – Many Facebook users have added the graphic image “#MurfreesboroLoves, A Community Action Against Hate” to their profile picture. Murfreesboro resident Art Growden is the graphic designer who created the Facebook image in response to the white supremacist groups planning rallies on Saturday. He says so far more than 4,000 people have added the image to their profile picture. “We just wanted to make the narrative not be about these people who don’t live here, are coming from outside and stuff, and don’t represent the way we see Murfreesboro, and what we know about Murfreesboro,” said Art Growden, who designed the #Murfreesboro Loves graphic. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/24/murfreesboroloves-graphic-spreads-on-facebook-ahead-of-white-nationalist-rally/

Permit for white nationalist rally not yet issued (WSMV) Four days before a planned white nationalist rally in Murfreesboro, the city has yet to release any plans. City leaders want people to steer clear of downtown on Saturday, but Murfreesboro residents say they need more direction. Darlene Neal with Power Tennessee said if white supremacists are going to be on the square, so will she. The city has not yet granted the League of the South a permit, but even if they decide not to, the group has a right to be on public sidewalks. “The hate group rallies are going to go forward because free speech,” Neal said. http://www.wsmv.com/story/36675527/permit-for-white-nationalist-rally-not-yet-issued

Hawkins Commission questions, approves opioid lawsuit (Times News) The Hawkins County Commission agreed Monday to move forward with an opioid “nuisance lawsuit” against narcotics distributors, but not before questioning a key attorney about the nature of expenses the law firm will receive along with one-third of the potential settlement. This suit is seeking damages from opioid distributors and isn’t connected to a lawsuit filed by area attorneys general earlier this year against opioid manufacturers, pharmacies and doctors. http://www.timesnews.net/Government/2017/10/24/Hawkins-Commission-questions-and-then-approves-opioid-lawsuit.html?ci=stream&lp=1&p=

East TN woman to meet with President Trump, share story of addiction and recovery (WBIR) An East Tennessee woman is heading to the White House this week to speak with President Donald Trump about the opioid epidemic. Mallie Moore from Jefferson County will meet President Trump on Thursday. She said she got a call earlier this week from a White House representative asking that she stand onstage with the president during a press conference on the opioid epidemic. http://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/east-tn-woman-to-meet-with-president-trump-share-story-of-addiction-and-recovery/51-485812704

OPINION

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn: On opioid crisis: Still, we must do more (Tennessean) In March 2012, I joined my colleague Mary Bono to write a letter to then Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder to question their use of resources and approach to working with all federal agencies in addressing the growing opioid crisis in our nation. We wrote because to us, as mothers, we were witnessing addiction’s devastating impact on families and friends. I expressed my outrage to Sebelius and Holder, noting that 30,000 Americans were dying each year because of prescription drug abuse. http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/10/24/marsha-blackburn-opioid-crisis-still-we-must-do-more/793472001/

Column: Corker: Trump Could Be Leading United States ‘Into a World War’ (Updated) (Nashville Post) Tennessee’s outgoing U.S. Sen. Bob Corker made the rounds on the morning shows today to reiterate his newly public view that the man he helped become president is a lunatic who could cause a global catastrophe. Corker famously decided to speak honestly about President Donald Trump in an interview with The New York Times earlier this month. The Republican senator told the Times, among other things, that Trump “doesn’t realize that, you know, that we could be heading towards World War III with the kinds of comments that he’s making.” On Tuesday, Corker made appearances on all three network morning shows. During an interview on NBC’s Today, he appeared to accept the premise that Trump is “a threat to national security” and criticized the way Trump has undermined diplomatic efforts by his own State Department. http://www.nashvillescene.com/news/pith-in-the-wind/article/20980291/corker-repeats-warning-trump-could-be-leading-united-states-into-a-world-war

Column: What about Bob? (Wall Street Journal) Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who has decided not to seek re-election, has lately been trading insults with President Trump over social media—and via traditional media as well. Mr. Corker seems to be enjoying his new freedom to speak his mind without the normal political restraints, and perhaps this can be written off as the congressional equivalent of senioritis. But even if voters no longer get to issue a report card on the good senator, perhaps a little context is in order. While our President seems to have a knack for getting into ugly public disputes, a timeline constructed by CNN suggests that in this case Mr. Corker has been the aggressor. His criticisms have not been subtle. The senator has repeatedly attacked the President’s competence, stability and integrity. https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-about-bob-1508870554

Pam Sohn: GOP needs to stand with Corker against Trump (Times Free Press) Donald Trump might as well have set fire to the White House. And drizzled gasoline to the Capitol. Especially into the dome’s Republican corners. News lines were smoking Tuesday with the war of words between retiring Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and Trump.To summarize, in the words of Vox’s Ezra Klein, “Corker thinks Trump is a clear and present danger to the country and the world, and Trump believes Corker is short and wouldn’t have won re-election in Tennessee.” http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/opinion/times/story/2017/oct/25/sohn-gop-needs-stand-corker-against-trump/455491/

Clint Cooper: Trump, Corker feud – again (Times Free Press) Tennessee Republicans increasingly are feeling in the middle of a feud between a president they overwhelmingly voted for and a United States senator they twice voted into office and who is the essence of a plain talker. The pair, President Donald Trump and Sen. Bob Corker, should be expected to be on the same team. Lately, at least in their war of words, they are not. That war escalated again Tuesday morning. The senator, a former Chattanooga mayor and businessman, may have triggered this round by suggesting the president’s trip to Capitol Hill Tuesday to speak to Republicans at their weekly policy luncheon, was “a photo-op.” http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/opinion/freepress/story/2017/oct/25/cooper-trump-corker-feud-again/455495/

Guest column: Why is ‘Big Government’ firing our small-town doc? (Commercial Appeal) The Trump administration is using an Obama administration regulation to give a well-respected, highly trusted West Tennessee doctor a professional death sentence. This is the worst abuse of an individual by Big Government I have ever seen. Dr. Bryan Merrick of McKenzie has selflessly practiced medicine here for 30 years. He has more than 4,000 patients in Carroll, Henry and Weakley counties. He makes house calls and even treats patients in his home. He gives his cell number to fragile patients so they can reach him day or night. http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/10/24/why-big-government-firing-our-small-town-doc/792196001/

Frank Cagle: With cancer diagnosis, it’s time for some hand-holding (News Sentinel) My wife had an aunt who subscribed to The New Yorker for decades. She didn’t read the magazines. She boxed them up and put them in her attic. She told people she was saving them to read when she “got her cancer.” I, too, have been a long time New Yorker subscriber, but I was so short sighted that I read them as they arrived each week. So now that I’ve got the Big C, I’ve nothing to read. I haven’t been spreading the news, except for family members, but I know this town and I know how gossip tends to spread. So I thought it better if you get your news straight from the, er, horse’s mouth, so to speak. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/frank-cagle/2017/10/24/diagnosis/794301001/

Tuesday, October 24

Techni-Glass, Inc. announces expansion at Surgoinsville facility creating 54 new jobs (WJHL) Officials with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, as well as those with Techni-Glass, Inc., announced the manufacturer would be expanding its operations in Hawkins County. According to a news release, the custom glass manufacturer will invest $1.5 million and create 54 new jobs in Surgoinsville. Techni-Glass reportedly makes double edging, CNC cutting, CNC milling, roll coating, tempering and laminating glass products. http://wjhl.com/2017/10/23/techni-glass-inc-announces-expansion-at-surgoinsville-facility-creating-54-new-jobs/

Memphis charters could soon qualify for free rent in district-owned buildings (Chalkbeat Tennessee) In a sea change, some Memphis charters could soon use district buildings without paying rent, though which would qualify is yet to be determined. The proposal is the latest from the committee of charter and district leaders tasked with working through thorny issues between the sectors, which often have a tense relationship because they are competing for students. Shelby County Schools board members will discuss the recommendation at its meeting tomorrow evening and vote next Tuesday. The group is also recommending that Shelby County Schools sell its unused buildings to charter schools if the buildings are in good enough condition. Of the 10 vacant district-owned buildings, four would qualify. https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/tn/2017/10/23/memphis-charters-could-soon-qualify-for-free-rent-in-district-owned-buildings/

Tennessee lawmakers give Cordell Hull facilities management contract to Siemens, not JLL (Times Free Press) Chicago-based real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle will not handle facilities management services at Tennessee lawmakers’ new home in the just-renovated Cordell Hull State Office Building, a top legislative official said. While JLL now manages operations at the existing Legislative Plaza and War Memorial Building, home since 1973 for lawmakers’ offices and committee hearing rooms, officials are using Siemens Corp. for Cordell Hull, where lawmakers and staffers will start relocating to beginning next week. “They will provide services to manage it,” said Connie Ridley, the General Assembly’s director of Legislative Services, of Siemens.” http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/politics/state/story/2017/oct/24/tennessee-lawmakers-give-cordell-hull-facilit/455412/

Pody supports Tennessee consumers, employees (Cannon Courier) During the 2017 legislative session, State Representative Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) and his colleagues serving on the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee advanced a total of 10 legislative initiatives; all were signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. These initiatives reduce instances of job-killing requirements, enhance consumer protections, and also shield citizens from financial exploitation. http://www.cannoncourier.com/pody-supports-tennessee-consumers-employees–cms-16972

Ashes, Haslams, Stowers give to Burchett; Mike Strickland gives to foe (News Sentinel) Victor Ashe, a former Knoxville mayor and U.S. ambassador; his wife, Joan; and former Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey are among those who have contributed to the campaign of Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. The Ashes hosted a fundraiser for Burchett on Tuesday at their Kingston Pike home, with Ramsey coming from Blountville in upper East Tennessee to help a former Republican colleague in his quest to become the next congressman in the 2nd District. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/23/ashes-haslams-stowers-give-burchett-mike-strickland-gives-foe/783728001/

Kustoff and Blackburn Map Different Incumbent’s Strategy for Republicans (Memphis Daily News) Tennessee Republicans are mapping a different incumbent’s strategy for 2018 midterm elections less than a year into Donald Trump’s presidency. “This is our chance to get the Republican agenda done,” was how U.S. Rep. David Kustoff of Germantown put it, speaking to 200 delegates at the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women convention at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis this weekend. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running next year in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat Bob Corker is giving up, said Trump’s election was “the warm up for the conservative revolution in this country, for people saying I buy into and I agree with the message of President Donald Trump,” she said to cheers from the group. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/24/kustoff-and-blackburn-map-different-incumbents-strategy-for-republicans/

Fincher officially in (Nashville Post) As expected, former House member jumps in Senate race against Blackburn. It’s official — former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher has launched his bid for Senate to replace U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. Fincher, a retired three-term congressman and farmer from the unincorporated area in West Tennessee called Frog Jump, had been traveling across the state the past two weeks on a “listening tour” ostensibly to decide whether he would run (although some sources have said his mind was made up before the tour). On Sunday, he made that decision public. “Tennesseans are fed up with Washington dysfunction, special interests and the failure of career politicians to deliver results,” Fincher said in a press release announcing his run. “I am as frustrated as they are. To use a phrase from the farming business: What Washington needs is to be plowed — turn the ground over and grow something new.” http://www.nashvillepost.com/politics/elections/tennessee-federal-offices/article/20980107/fincher-officially-in

Corker: Trump meeting with GOP on tax reform is just a ‘photo op’ (The Hill) Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) reportedly said Monday that President Trump joining Republican senators at their weekly policy lunch on Tuesday to talk tax reform is just a “photo op” for the president. The retiring Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, one of Trump’s harshest GOP critics, is said to have made the comment to NBC News. Trump’s appearance at the lunch will be his first time addressing senators at the Capitol since taking office. He’s expected to push Republicans on passing his tax-reform plan. http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/356787-corker-trump-meeting-with-gop-on-tax-reform-is-just-a-photo-op

Should the state rethink its incentive policy? Here’s what the candidates for governor say (Memphis Business Journal) Incentives are the name of the game when it comes to wooing major corporations, and Tennessee has certainly played its part. For instance, state and local officials likely put millions of dollars worth of incentives on the table last week in an attempt to lure Amazon’s highly coveted HQ2 to Middle Tennessee. One calculation suggested it could take at least $1.7 billion of taxpayer incentives for Nashville to win the bid. As voters decide who will be their next governor, incentives and the role they play in recruiting and retaining businesses may influence their decision. Accordingly, MBJ sister publication the Nashville Business Journal asked each of the candidates how their administration would use incentives and if there were any existing practices they’d like to re-examine. https://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2017/10/23/should-the-state-rethink-its-incentive-policy.html

Early Differences Surface at Republican Governor’s Forum in Memphis Oct. 20 (Memphis Daily News) When the six declared contenders for the Republican nomination for governor met at this weekend’s Tennessee Federation of Republican Women convention in Memphis, there were some early differences certain to grow as the campaign intensifies. The forum Friday, Oct. 20, was mostly about the contenders introducing themselves. Former state Economic and Community Development commissioner Randy Boyd of Knoxville touted his workforce development programs for the state. They include post-high school training and certification programs and two years of free state community college for Tennessee high school graduates. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/24/early-differences-surface-at-republican-governors-forum-in-memphis-oct-20/

Rep. Frederica Wilson, at center of dispute with Trump, graduated from Fisk University (Tennessean) U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, who has been involved in an adversarial back-and-forth with the White House for the past week, has a Nashville connection. She graduated from Fisk University in 1963, a spokesman confirmed. Wilson has sparred with President Donald Trump and John Kelly, White House chief of staff, for several days, starting when the Miami-area Democrat called Trump insensitive for the way he consoled the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson in a phone call last week. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/10/23/rep-frederica-wilson-center-consolation-call-dispute-trump-graduated-fisk-university/792075001/

Shelbyville creates parking, traffic plan for white nationalist rally (WKRN) This Saturday, Oct. 28, white nationalist groups will be holding rallies in both Murfreesboro and Shelbyville. City officials and police in Shelbyville have been preparing ever since they got word of the planned event with businesses taking against it. Keeping public safety in mind, the Shelbyville Police Department and city officials created a parking and traffic plan. The rally is expected to take place between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Shelbyville before moving north toward Murfreesboro. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/23/shelbyville-creates-parking-traffic-plan-for-white-nationalist-rally/

Businesses plan to close, board windows for white nationalist rally in Murfreesboro (WKRN) Businesses around the square in Murfreesboro are preparing for the unexpected this weekend. Many are closing up shop and boarding up windows. The League of the South is planning to hold a rally in downtown. They will be joined by the group White Lives Matter, and counter protesters are also expected. The Downtown Murfreesboro Business Association met with city, police, and sheriff’s office officials last week, and has decided for the safety of business owners and customers, its best if they don’t open for business. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/23/businesses-plan-to-close-board-windows-for-white-nationalist-rally-in-murfreesboro/

Businesses shutting down Saturday in anticipation of white nationalist rally (WSMV) Leaders in two Middle Tennessee cities are prepping for violence and destruction, hoping it does not come to that. So-called “White Lives Matter” rallies in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville are planned for Saturday. In the square in Murfreesboro this week, some businesses have already placed signs saying they’ll be closed Saturday, but other businesses plan to stay open. The Shacklett family, which has owned and operated Shacklett’s Photography for 80 years, said it will not close. “We are not going to be fearful. I think that is sending the wrong message. That is why we’ve chosen not to shut our store,” said owner Gloria Christy. http://www.wsmv.com/story/36664820/businesses-shutting-down-saturday-in-anticipation-of-white-nationalist-rally

Shelbyville And Murfreesboro Businesses Close Up Shop For ‘White Lives Matter’ Protest (WPLN) Many of the businesses in the area where two white nationalist rallies are expected to happen next Saturday will be closing their doors. Most of the establishments affected are small, private businesses. Though most shops — and employees — can’t exactly afford to miss out on one of the busiest days of the week, it is fear of violence that has led many to make the hard decision to close up shop. That is according to community organizers who’ve been canvassing the area since the announcement about the rally was made. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/shelbyville-and-murfreesboro-businesses-close-shop-white-lives-matter-protest#stream/0

‘White Lives Matter’ Protesters Really Want ‘White Man’s Land’ (WTVF) Middle Tennessee police are preparing for two rallies by white supremacists this weekend in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville. The theme: “White Lives Matter.” The main group behind the rallies, the League of the South, is one of the groups that descended upon Charlottesville back in August. Its founder, Michael Hill, is a retired history professor who lives just across the Tennessee line in northern Alabama. When clashes broke out in the streets with anti-fascist protestors, one involving Hill himself, League members saw it as fulfillment of their leader’s declaration of war. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/newschannel-5-investigates/-white-lives-matter-protesters-really-want-white-man-s-land-

Hate groups continue to grow across country, says Southern Poverty Law Center (WKRN) According to one group tasked with tracking groups like the Klu Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, the number of white nationalist groups is rising. Several of these organizations have their sights set on Middle Tennessee this month. “Tennessee has become a state that is heavily targeted by white supremacist organizations for recruitment,” the Director of Intelligence for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) told News 2 by phone. The SPLC is a non-profit organization in Alabama that has been tracking these groups for years. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/23/hate-groups-continue-to-grow-across-country-says-southern-poverty-law-center/

Officials Examining What To Do When Landfills Fill Up (WTVF) The Middle Point Landfill just north of Murfreesboro collects about one million tons of trash every year from 19 different Tennessee counties, and it’s estimated that it will be full before too long. “The number varies anywhere from eight to eleven years,” Rutherford County Solid Waste director Mac Nolen said. “We’re looking really hard, what are we going to do when it’s over.” A meeting will be held on Monday, October 30, to discuss the potential problem and what the county can do to resolve the issue before it arrives. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/officials-examining-what-to-do-when-landfills-fill-up

OPINION

Clint Cooper: Black’s warning could bite her (Times Free Press) Gubernatorial candidates across Tennessee today are filing away remarks U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, recently made on MSNBC about changing a federal law in order to allow hospital emergency departments to turn away patients. “I would get rid of a law that says that you are not allowed, as a health care professional, to make that decision about whether someone can be appropriately treated the next day, or at a walk-in clinic, or at their doctor,” she said. The problem is that, with the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act, many hospital emergency rooms have become treatment centers for sniffles, sore throats, and minor aches and pains. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/opinion/freepress/story/2017/oct/24/cooper-blacks/455393/

 

 

Monday, October 23

Governor proclaims Oct. 26 as Lights On After School Day (Lebanon Democrat) Gov. Bill Haslam named Oct. 26 as Lights On After School Day in Tennessee to recognize the role afterschool programs play in giving children the opportunity to discover hidden talents as they grow academically and socially. The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, a steering committee member of the Tennessee Afterschool Network, requested the proclamation. In his proclamation, the governor said, “The citizens of the state of Tennessee stand firmly committed to quality afterschool programs and opportunities because they provide safe, challenging and engaging learning experiences that help children develop social, emotional, physical and academic skills.”   http://www.lebanondemocrat.com/Education/2017/10/20/Governor-proclaims-Oct-26-as-Lights-On-After-School-Day

U of M Files $33.5M Permit for Land Bridge (Memphis Daily News) The University of Memphis has filed a $33.5 million building permit application with the Office of Construction Code Enforcement to move forward with a parking garage and a long-awaited land bridge over the Southern Avenue railroad track. Finalized plans for the project were announced at the university’s board of trustees meeting early this month, along with a revised plan for the new recreation center, now pegged to cost $30 million. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/23/u-of-m-files-335m-permit-for-land-bridge/

‘I just want my good name back’ (Murfreesboro Post) Former Motlow State President Anthony “Tony” Kinkel is trying to restore his reputation four months after resigning from the post, but the Tennessee Board of Regents is putting the matter behind it. “I’ve never seen anything like what happened here,” says Kinkel in a recent interview. “I just want my good name back.” Kinkel went from being hailed on the front page of the New York Times as a change agent for Motlow State and the Tennessee Promise scholarship program to the subject of an unflattering report by the audit committee of the Board of Regents, which oversees Tennessee’s community colleges. In fact, not long after he stood shoulder to shoulder with Gov. Bill Haslam at Motlow’s Smyrna campus for the bill signing of Tennessee ReConnect, Kinkel resigned. https://www.murfreesboropost.com/news/i-just-want-my-good-name-back/article_ed679abe-b765-11e7-aa47-7f736a581fa8.html

Kinkel speaks out on Motlow resignation (Tullahoma News) Former Motlow State Community College president Anthony Kinkel started a new job in Minnesota on Tuesday; but he’s still fighting to clear his name here in Tennessee after a Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) audit criticizing his “integrity, treatment of employees and handling of personnel matters” forced his resignation in June.  With a resignation effective date of Sept. 30, Kinkel remained on the Motlow payroll for months after the audit’s release, unable to comment on its allegations. Now he can say publicly that he believes the TBR report to be the result of a flawed investigation into complaints from a handful of employees who had become disgruntled with sweeping, but necessary, changes at the college. Changes, Kinkel said, that he initiated with the full support of TBR. http://www.tullahomanews.com/all-i-want-is-my-name/

Tennessee lawmakers renew push for guardrails on state outsourcing (Times Free Press) Members of a legislative study committee told Haslam administration officials Friday the Tennessee General Assembly needs greater say over state outsourcing on the front end and said he and colleagues will have a revised bill that provides it when they return in January. “We really would like the state to prove when we’re going to outsource something that it’s not a job that can’t be done just as well by state employees,” said Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville, the co-chairman of the panel. Briggs added that “if all of those things are equal, we’re going to give the benefit of the doubt to people who work for us already.” http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2017/oct/21/tennessee-lawmakers-renew-push-guardrails-sta/455254/

Sen. Haile named ‘Legislator of the Year’ (Tennessean) State Senator Ferrell Haile (R- Gallatin) has been named “Legislator of the Year” in Tennessee for his efforts on behalf of abused and neglected children.  The award from Tennessee Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association was presented to Haile on Tuesday in Nashville. “As an adoptive parent, Senator Haile understands the needs of children and how important families are for children’s ability to thrive and grow,” said Lynne Farrar, Executive Director of Tennessee CASA Association.  “Because of this, Senator Haile has kept the needs of children and families in the forefront of issues facing the Tennessee General Assembly.  We salute Senator Haile for his thoughtful, innovative and courageous legislation on behalf of children.” http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/sumner/gallatin/2017/10/22/sen-haile-named-legislator-year/788580001/

Former Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher enters Tennessee U.S. Senate race (Tennessean) Former Republican U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher is entering next year’s U.S. Senate race in Tennessee, a move that pits him against one of his former GOP congressional colleagues in the election to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker. Fincher, a seventh-generation cotton farmer from tiny Frog Jump in West Tennessee — who bypassed college to continue the family business — announced his bid in an interview with the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/22/stephen-fincher-enters-tennessee-u-s-senate-race-bob-corker/780779001/

Olsen formally announces congressional run at democratic rally (Johnson City Press) Dr. Martin Olsen, a Johnson City resident, East Tennessee State University Obstetrics and Gynecology professor and medical practitioner, formally announced his bid Saturday for the Tennessee 1st U.S. House District seat held by Phil Roe at a Democratic Party Rally held at Sycamore Shoals State Park. Olsen first informally announced his bid back in August and since then has visited 10 counties in the district. http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Politics/2017/10/21/Olsen-formally-announces-congressional-run-at-democratic-rally.html?ci=stream&lp=7&p=

ETSU professor announces candidacy for Congress on Democrat ticket (WJHL) A local physician officially announced his candidacy in the 1st Congressional District on the Democrat ticket Saturday. Dr. Marty Olsen is a long-time professor at ETSU’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine. The rally, hosted by the Carter County Democrats, featured a live band and food at Sycamore Shoals State Park in Elizabethton. Olsen said as a professor and physician, he has seen first hand how lack of healthcare can affect people in this region, which is what inspired him to run for Congress. “The thought of 22 million Americans loosing their healthcare coverage I felt was offensive and as a physician it’s just for me, another way for me to advocate for the people that are going to work everyday and doing their part to make our country strong,” Olsen said. http://wjhl.com/2017/10/21/etsu-professor-announces-candidacy-for-congress-as-democrat/

Alexander and Corker on Trump and pending tax overhaul (TN Journal/Humphrey) Congressional Republicans involved in crafting a federal tax overhaul are bracing for President Trump to potentially disturb their negotiations at any moment, as he has done throughout his nine months in office and this week on a bipartisan Senate agreement to shore up Obamacare insurance markets, reports Politico. “Sure, it’s going to come,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who’s been the target of his share of tweets from the president. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who brokered the health agreement that Trump has shifted between criticizing and praising, added that he had already told the president that his staying on track on tax reform could be key to getting a landmark achievement. “If the president of the United States focuses on one thing, with everything he’s got, for as long it takes, he can usually get what he wants,” Alexander said. http://humphreyonthehill.tnjournal.net/alexander-corker-trump-pending-tax-overhaul/

Trump on his feuds with GOP senators: ‘Sometimes it helps, to be honest with you’ (Politico) President Donald Trump suggested Friday that his personal feuds with Republican lawmakers are an asset, not a liability, because “sometimes it gets people to do what they’re supposed to be doing.” Asked about the intraparty fighting between Trump and Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John McCain of Arizona, the president denied that such clashes hamper his legislative agenda. “Sometimes it helps, to be honest with you,” the president told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo in a two-part interview to air Sunday and Monday. “So we’ll see what happens in the end.” http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/20/trump-feuds-senators-response-243993

Who in the hell is Bob Corker?! (Salon) A totally true, absolutely verified, no-fake-news deep dive on Trump’s nemesis, the “liddle” senator from Tennessee FULL NAME: Robert Phillips (Buster) Corker OCCUPATION: U.S. Senator from Tennessee HOBBIES: Gardening, bitch slapping FAVORITE RAPPER: (3-way tie) Liddle Jon/Liddle Wayne/Liddle Kim NOT SO LAME DUCK: Corker has been more full-throated in his criticism of President Trump since he decided not to run for reelection to the Senate in 2018. First, he was quoted saying Trump was “on the path to World War III.” Or worse, “The Hangover IV.” Then he referred to the White House as “an adult day care center where someone obviously missed their shift.” Good point. You really should find a fill-in when you blow off work for a follow-up interview with Bob Mueller. https://www.salon.com/2017/10/21/who-in-the-hell-is-bob-corker/

Why Tennessee’s top gubernatorial campaigns held a conclave (Tennessean) It wasn’t quite the gathering of the five families working to broker a peace deal as depicted in “The Godfather.” Instead of Marlon Brando and bottles of wine, there was Tennessee Republican Party chairman Scott Golden and executive director Michael Sullivan offering Edley’s Bar-B-Que. On Oct. 11, the two party officials sat down with representatives of the top-tier Republican gubernatorial candidates to stress the party’s continued support for the candidates throughout the campaign. The meeting at the party’s headquarters in Nashville included emissaries of U.S. Rep. Diane Black, House Speaker Beth Harwell, Knoxville entrepreneur Randy Boyd and Williamson County businessman Bill Lee. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/22/like-the-godfather-movie-why-tennessees-top-gubernatorial-campaigns-held-conclave/768533001/

Republican Contenders for Governor Acknowledge Memphis Differences (Memphis Daily News) The red Farmall tractor that Republican contender for governor Bill Lee drove through 30 counties in a 758-mile journey from Mountain City to Memphis at 24 mph was pretty comfortable as tractors with cabs go. Republican contender for Governor Bill Lee pulled into a Millington shopping center Friday, Oct. 20, at the end of a Mountain City to Memphis tractor ride Lee undertook at the outset of a busy six-way GOP primary for Governor. “It wasn’t terribly comfortable,” Lee, a Williamson County cattle farmer and construction business owner, told about a dozen people Friday, Oct. 20, shortly after he ended the cross-state journey in a Millington shopping center. “But it wasn’t bad.” The Mountain City-to-Memphis route is what might be called a Republican article of faith when it comes to campaigning. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/23/republican-contenders-for-governor-acknowledge-memphis-differences/

Tennessee Press Association hosts forum for 2018 gubernatorial candidates (Herald Chronicle) The Tennessee Press Association will host a forum with the announced candidates for Governor of Tennessee at the Nashville Public Library on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. The forum will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. The forum is part of the TPA’s annual Winter Convention held Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2018. The gubernatorial forum kicks off an intense cycle of election coverage by the 125 members of the state newspaper association, who are committed to helping educate readers about the candidates, races and issues, said Chris Vass, public editor of the Times Free Press in Chattanooga and vice president of the press association. http://www.heraldchronicle.com/tennessee-press-association-hosts-forum-for-2018-gubernatorial-candidates/

Why Oscar Health is betting bigger on Obamacare (Politico) The much-hyped health insurer will participate in six ACA markets next year in a play to win new business while helping people get covered. While some insurance companies are pulling out of the Affordable Care Act’s troubled insurance markets, Oscar Health is doubling up. The much-hyped health insurer will participate in six ACA markets next year — adding Ohio, Tennessee and New Jersey to holdovers California, New York and Texas — in a play to win new business while helping people get covered, Oscar’s leader told POLITICO’s “Pulse Check” podcast. “It drives us to [be able to] say, when others are leaving, we want to go ahead and … get you insured,” Oscar’s CEO Mario Schlosser said on the podcast. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/21/pulse-check-why-oscar-health-is-betting-bigger-on-obamacare-244025

Tech giants are paying huge salaries for scarce AI talent (Nashville Business Journal) Silicon Valley’s startups have always had a recruiting advantage over the industry’s giants: Take a chance on us and we’ll give you an ownership stake that could make you rich if the company is successful. Now the tech industry’s race to embrace artificial intelligence may render that advantage moot — at least for the few prospective employees who know a lot about AI. Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence, banking on things ranging from face-scanning smartphones and conversational coffee-table gadgets to computerized health care and autonomous vehicles. https://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2017/10/22/tech-giants-are-paying-huge-salaries-for-scarce-ai.html

OPINION

Column: Blackburn’s ‘unintended consequences’(Daily Herald) U.S. Rep.,Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., has never needed contributions from the pharmaceutical industry to win re-election to Congress. Or at least that’s how it seems on the surface. Voters have agreed eight times to let the ultra-conservative voice represent their interests from the Seventh Congressional District. She was so popular, she could have spent zero on her re-election efforts and won. Blackburn’s right-wing stances on everything from Obamacare to building a wall on the Mexican border put her in lockstep with her district and with President Donald Trump. She has announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Bob Corker in 2018. http://www.columbiadailyherald.com/opinion/20171021/facebook-feedback-blackburn8217s-8216unintended-consequences8217

Friday, October 20

Tennessee unemployment rate drops for fourth straight month (WKRN) Tennessee’s unemployment rate continues to trend in the right direction. Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commission Burns Phillips announced Thursday that the rate has reached its lowest in history. September is also the fourth consecutive month that the rate has fallen. The state first hit the historic low in June, when the rate hit 3.6%. That rate was then bested by 3.4% in July, and then 3.3% in August. September sets the new record at 3%. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/19/tennessee-unemployment-rate-drops-for-fourth-straight-month/

Tennessee jobless rate hits all time low (Times Free Press) Unemployment in Tennessee fell to another historic low last month as employers across the state added 44,200 jobs over the past year to push unemployment in the Volunteer State to a mere 3 percent of the workforce. Tennessee’s jobless rate, which was well below the comparable U.S. rate of 4.2 percent or Georgia’s 4.5 percent rate in September, was the lowest monthly rate in Tennessee since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the information in January of 1976. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2017/oct/20/tennessee-jobless-rate-all-time-lowgeorgiunem/455167/

Haslam announces lowest unemployment rate in history (Cannon Courier) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips today announced the state unemployment rate fell to 3 percent in September, marking the lowest it has been since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the information in January of 1976. Tennessee first marked a historic low unemployment rate in June at 3.6 percent, which was bested by the July rate of 3.4 percent, and then fell even lower in August to 3.3 percent. http://www.cannoncourier.com/haslam-announces-lowest-unemployment-rate-in-history-cms-16958

Toyota/Mazda looking at Megasite while locals fight route for wastewater line to Randolph (Covington Leader) While state officials deal with complaints from locals about the proposed wastewater pipeline from the Memphis Regional Megasite, across Tipton County and on to Randolph, some news broke about a possible tenant for the development. Several media outlets reported that Toyota/Mazda is considering the Megasite in Haywood County (located just 14 miles from downtown Covington) for a $1.6 billion car plant. The plant would reportedly generate 4,000 jobs upon its planned completion in 2021. “We’re very interested in having the proposed Toyota/Mazda plant come here,” Gov. Bill Haslam told The Jackson Sun. “We would love to see that happen. It’s a very competitive process. There’s a lot of states that are interested in a plant with that amount of investment and that amount of employees. We’re actively pursuing that.” http://www.covingtonleader.com/news/toyota-mazda-looking-at-megasite-while-locals-fight-route-for/article_5ca4ee78-b50d-11e7-85fe-3fcf37a577be.html

Good communications make good neighbors. Universities, nearby residents learn how to manage rapid growth (TN Ledger) As college and university enrollments rise in Nashville, so too does campus construction. In a fast-growing city so attractive to infill developers, it can be hard to distinguish building by Nashville’s half-dozen colleges and universities from general residential and commercial development. But despite universal complaints about parking and traffic problems, many residents of urban neighborhoods say they value living near a campus and applaud universities’ efforts to build relationships with neighborhood associations by including them in their planning process – and heeding their input. The benefits, they say, outweigh the increased numbers of people that higher ed campuses bring to town. http://www.tnledger.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=101227

TNReady test details show mixed results in Hamilton County schools (Times Free Press) Hamilton County’s elementary and middle school students are underperforming compared to students across the state, but gains have been made in high school classrooms. Relative to numbers seen statewide, there are higher percentages of Hamilton County third- through eighth-graders testing below grade level in math, science and English, according to newly released TNReady data from 2016-2017. The results will serve as a new baseline for assessing future academic growth among elementary and middle school students, and the numbers indicate local students are lagging behind their peers. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2017/oct/20/tnready-hamiltcounty-students-lag-behind-peer/455184/

2017 TNReady results show overall growth for high school students (WATE) “We are also particularly proud given what today’s results represent: providing families and educators with better information about students’ performance so they can help them improve,” Tennessee Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen said.Tennessee high school students showed growth across the board in all subject areas, according to the 2017 TNReady results. TNReady scores fall into one of four achievement levels: mastered, on track, approaching and below grade-level expectations. The high school scores are the first complete set of results for the TNReady test. The state department of education said this test is a more rigorous assessment that is aligned to Tennessee’s academic standards. http://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/education/2017-tnready-results-show-overall-growth-for-high-school-students/51-484564339

Five takeaways from TNReady, now that we have all the data (This is not a drill!) (Commercial Appeal) Now that we have TNReady testing results for all grade levels and subjects at the state and local levels, let’s dive into a few takeaways about the data.This is not a drill! After two years, we finally have one complete set of data for all schools, grades and subjects. All future years’ successes or failures will be judged in comparison to this year. So even if the numbers in your district aren’t great, they’re a place to start. http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/education/2017/10/19/five-takeaways-tnready-now-we-have-all-data-this-not-drill/780065001/

Tennessee AG Announces $120M Settlement With General Motors (WTVF) A new development has come to light in the ongoing General Motors ignition switch scandal. Thursday, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced a $120 million settlement with the automaker. “It is unacceptable for a company to knowingly hide significant safety concerns from the public,” General Slatery said. “This settlement holds GM accountable for their dishonesty and ensures a change in company behavior that will better protect consumers.” That move followed GM’s failure to tell car owners about safety defects in a timely manner. Reports stated GM issued seven vehicle recalls in 2014 in response to the ignition switch and unintended key rotation issues. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/tennessee-ag-announces-120m-settlement-with-general-motors

Tennessee House Democrats call for multi-year TNReady accountability moratorium (Tennessean) Prominent Tennessee House Democrats are calling for a multi-year moratorium on holding students and teachers accountable on the state’s education test. The call for a three-year stay on accountability comes after another round of TNReady issues, the state’s standardized assessment. This is the second year in a row that Tennessee House Democrats have called for such a moratorium. “Right now, as it stands, Tennessee isn’t proficient in getting students assessed,” said Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis. “We encourage you (the Tennessee Department of Education) to put your pride aside … and give TNReady three years to be perfected.” http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/2017/10/19/tennessee-house-democrats-call-multi-year-tnready-accountability-moratorium/777760001/

Lawmakers Call For TN Ready Results Moratorium (WTVF) Democratic lawmakers in the Tennessee House of Representatives have called for a three-year moratorium on results from TN Ready tests after the State Department of Education announced nearly 10,000 tests were scored incorrectly by Questar. “We need to make sure that these scores have no impact on any student, on any teacher, on any school,” Representative Mike Stewart said. TN Ready results were not used against teachers or students last year due to problems with the administering company, Measurement Inc. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/lawmakers-call-for-tn-ready-results-moratorium

Overbey approved as U.S. attorney for East Tennessee (WATE) The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Tennessee State Senator Doug Overbey’s nomination to serves as the next U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee on Thursday. President Trump nominated Overbey to the post. Overbey, a Republican, has practiced law in East Tennessee for more than 37 years and is in his third term as the senator for District 2 in the General Assembly. Before he became a state senator, Overbey served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008. In a statement, Senator Lamar Alexander said, “I’ve known Doug for a long time – and I know that Tennessee will be well-served by a man of such good character.” http://wate.com/2017/10/19/overbey-confirmed-as-u-s-attorney-for-east-tennessee/

Video: Doug Overbey confirmed by committee as U.S. Attorney (News Sentinel) Nearly three months after he was nominated, State Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, was confirmed to serve as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. http://www.knoxnews.com/videos/news/politics/2017/10/19/doug-overbey-confirmed-committee-u.s.-attorney/106808894/

Will Mitch McConnell Help His Friend Get a Health Care Deal? (New York Times) Mitch McConnell and Lamar Alexander go way back. The two Southern Republicans met in Washington in 1969 when Mr. Alexander was a promising young aide at the Nixon White House and Mr. McConnell an up-and-coming legislative assistant to Senator Marlow W. Cook of Kentucky. The story goes that Senator Howard H. Baker Jr. suggested to Mr. Alexander, his fellow Tennessean, that he should look up Mr. McConnell, that he was a “smart young man and I think you’d like him.” A nearly 50-year friendship and political alliance was born. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/19/us/politics/mcconnell-alexander-health-care.html?_r=0

GOP to Trump: Stop flip-flopping on Obamacare deal (Politico) The president has alternately praised the plan and dismissed it — confusing lawmakers and slowing momentum for a fix to the health law. Key Senate Republicans are urgently trying to get President Donald Trump to reconsider his apparent opposition to a bipartisan deal shoring up health insurance markets, several senators said Thursday morning. Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who negotiated the deal with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, both spoke to the president about it on Wednesday evening. Trump has variously praised the deal and trashed it as a “bailout” of insurance companies, and both Graham and Alexander are trying to pull him back from the brink. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/19/trump-bipartisan-obamacare-plan-senate-republicans-243941

Trump’s Support for Bipartisan Health Bill Hinges on Rollbacks Long Sought by Conservatives (Wall Street Journal) President Donald Trump will support a bipartisan bill on health care only if it includes a series of conservative measures that Republicans sought in their failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a White House spokesman said Thursday, as two senators officially unveiled the legislation without many of those demands. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D., Wash.) released their bipartisan bill Thursday with the backing of 22 additional senators, evenly split between the two parties. Acknowledging the challenge of advancing legislation currently opposed by Mr. Trump, both senators said they were open to working with the president to strengthen it. https://www.wsj.com/articles/insurers-and-governors-urge-gop-lawmakers-to-back-bipartisan-health-bill-1508426232

Rep. Cooper joins call to repeal law restricting DEA response to opioid epidemic (WSMV) Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper is joining the call to restore power to the Drug Enforcement Agency following an explosive investigation by “60 Minutes” and The Washington Post that uncovered a law currently prevents agents from cracking down on opioid abuse. People who work with recovering addicts told News 4 it’s disheartening to find out lawmakers made their jobs more challenging. “It’s astounding and I’m very upset by it,” said Rebecca Baillie, a treatment specialist with Addiction Campuses in Nashville. http://www.wsmv.com/story/36640611/rep-cooper-joins-call-to-repeal-law-restricting-dea-response-to-opioid-epidemic

Fincher Ready to Take on “Career Politician” Blackburn in GOP Senate Primary (Memphis Flyer) LIke the Governor’s race, the race for U.S. Senator in Tennessee is shaping up to be a real donneybrook in 2018, at least on the Republican side. Stephen Fincher, the former 8th District congressman from Crockett County, was in Memphis this week as part of his statewide “listening tour,” and, during a stop by the Flyer office, he left little doubt that he’d long since heard enough to get him into the GOP primary for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican incumbent Bob Corker. First elected to Congress in 2010, with a convincing win over Democrat Roy Herron, Fisher surprised most people with an abrupt announcement in 2016 that he wouldn’t be running for reelection that year. https://www.memphisflyer.com/JacksonBaker/archives/2017/10/19/rep-fincher-ready-to-take-on-career-politician-blackburn-in-gop-senate-primary

In 2nd Congressional District, Matlock leads Burchett in cash on hand (TN Journal/Humphrey) Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett led candidates to succeed U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. in collecting donations but state Rep. Jimmy Matlock has more cash on hand for his campaign, according to financial disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission this week. Duncan, who announced his retirement on July 31, still has far more campaign money than all his would-be successors combined with a reported balance of $917,303. The veteran congressman reported $52,500 in contributions received during the past quarter and continued using campaign funds to pay family members — a practice that inspired some controversy earlier this year. http://humphreyonthehill.tnjournal.net/2nd-congressional-district-matlock-leads-burchett-cash-hand/

Olsen will formally announce Congressional campaign Saturday (Johnson City Press) The Carter County Democratic Party will host a district-wide event Saturday at the Sycamore Shoals Historic Site, West Elk Avenue, Elizabethton, where Dr. Martin Olsen will formally announce his bid to represent Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District.  The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Joe LaPorte Recreation Area, located behind the state park. Three pavilions and a stage have been reserved. Live music will be performed by J.P. Parsons and the American Bandwagon. Olsen, as West Virginia native, is now an East Tennessee State University ObGyn professor and medical practitioner who is passionate about expanding health care coverage. Other local and statewide Democratic candidates will be present to discuss various topics. A $5 contribution is requested for a hot dog lunch plate. http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Politics/2017/10/19/Olsen-will-formally-announce-Congressional-campaign-Saturday.html?ci=stream&lp=6&p=

New U.S. Budget Is A ‘Hoax,’ Says Republican Senator Bob Corker (Newsweek) The Senate narrowly passed the blueprint for how the U.S. government will spend $4 trillion in its 2018 budget late Thursday. But a senior Republican says the whole process is a “hoax” designed to push through plans for a GOP tax bill. “This is the biggest hoax cast upon the American people ever that this budget process even exists. The only thing about this that matters is in preparation for tax reform,” said Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee before voting on the bill. While Corker voted for the budget in the 51-49 vote, he said that “unless we create a real budget process, which this is not, our country’s fiscal situation is going to continue to go down the tube.” http://www.newsweek.com/new-us-budget-biggest-hoax-cast-upon-american-people-says-bob-corker-689139

Why Bob Corker would be re-elected (Times News) People seem to think Tennessee GOP U.S. Sen. Bob Corker wouldn’t stand a chance to be re-elected in 2018 considering his recent anti-President Trump Tweet and subsequent backlash. I’m here to make the argument that Corker, who’s said he will not run for a third term in 2018, would have been re-elected. Corker’s campaign account had about $6.5 million in it as of last summer. He could also have been a self-funder if he couldn’t raise more cash, but incumbents always attract donors. http://www.timesnews.net/Blog/2017/10/19/Why-Corker-would-be-re-elected.html?ci=stream&lp=1&p=

Gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd talks law and order with local police (Jackson Sun) Randy Boyd is making a “wish list” his to-do list if elected governor. That wish list is one based on the concerns and issues that police departments, sheriff’s offices, and district attorneys across Tennessee face daily. Boyd said he wants those problems to become a part of his priorities if he is elected. “If I’m going to be able to serve them, I need to listen to them,” Boyd said. “One of the things that I do hope we talk about today is opioids, and I hope that these officials see that the state can do a better job at helping them stop the opioid crisis that we have.” http://www.jacksonsun.com/story/news/local/government/2017/10/19/gubernatorial-candidate-randy-boyd-talks-law-and-order-local-police/782455001/

Boyd campaign responds to Black criticism: ‘This is Tennessee. Not D.C.’ (Times Free Press) Republican Randy Boyd’s campaign is hitting back at GOP gubernatorial primary rival Diane Black after her campaign labeled his plans to have former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush headline a Nashville fundraiser as a “match made in establishment heaven.” Boyd spokeswoman Laine Arnold suggested U.S. Rep. Black has spent a little too much in Washington. “Each of those claims is ridiculous and false, and honestly beneath the dignity of Diane Black,” Arnold said. “This is Tennessee. Not DC. We don’t act that way down here.” On Wednesday, the Nashville Post reported that Bush, the son and brother of two presidents and ran unsuccessfully for the 2016 presidential nomination against Donald Trump, will headline a Nov. 30 event in Nashville. Tickets start at $1,000 per head. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/19/boyd-campaign-responds-black-criticism-tennessee-not-dc/455080/

Where the new Amazon headquarters could land in Nashville area (Tennessean) The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce officially submitted the city’s bid for online retailer Amazon’s second headquarters Wednesday on behalf of the 10-county region. Now comes the wait along with hundreds of other North American cities that are vying for the project, which would involve a $5 billion investment to create up to 50,000 jobs. Ralph Schulz, the chamber’s president and CEO, said the bid prepared in conjunction with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s office and other stakeholders outlined the city’s  standard business recruitment case “that No. 1, it’s a business-friendly environment.” http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/real-estate/2017/10/19/amazons-h-2-q-where-tech-giant-could-land-nashville-area/758222001/

OPINION

Greg Johnson: ’60 Minutes’ story opens race to pragmatic challengers (News Sentinel) The race to replace retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker fascinates right out of the gate. Term-limited Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam briefly considered, then quickly decided against, a run. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn quickly announced and immediately claimed Republican primary front-runner status after Haslam demurred. With Corker retiring and Haslam declining and Blackburn entering, a seismic shift seemed underway. Republicans dominate in Tennessee, controlling the governor’s mansion, both houses of the Legislature and almost all local government save for a few western counties and some urban areas. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/greg-johnson/2017/10/19/60-minutes-story-opens-race-pragmatic-challengers/779934001/

Otis Sanford: Bredesen too blue for new red state reality? (Commercial Appeal) As I sat at my desk one Thursday afternoon in 2009, reviewing letters to the editor and opinion columns to run the next day in The Commercial Appeal, my phone rang. “I’m calling to let you know that I am about to walk down the hall and announce the veto of the guns-in-bars bill,” then-Gov. Phil Bredesen told me. I was the paper’s editorial page editor, and we had strongly editorialized against what we considered a dangerous and unnecessary expansion of gun rights in Tennessee. During an earlier visit to our offices, Bredesen, a moderate Democrat, agreed and promised to let me know his decision on a veto. http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/opinion/columnists/otis-sanford/2017/10/19/sanford-bredesen-too-blue-new-red-state-reality/773790001/

Editorial: Carter County needs to act now on landfill (Johnsion City Press) An environmental consultant recently told Carter County commissioners they shouldn’t put off finding a new location for a construction and demolition landfill. Kim Raia, who works with the University of Tennessee’s County Technical Assistance Service, said the county has between two and five years of space left at  the current facility. Given the cumbersome nature of state regulations and the permit process, Raia said time is quickly running out for the commissioners to make a move. “It takes at least 240 days to get a permit for a new landfill,” Raia said earlier this week. http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Editorial/2017/10/20/Carter-County-needs-to-act-now-on-landfill.html?ci=stream&lp=1&p=

Guest column: The GOP establishment’s days may be numbered (The Hill) With Roy Moore’s defeat of Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) and decisions from many GOP incumbents to forgo reelection — prompted more out of necessity than choice — the Republican establishment has reason to be on guard. Republicans haven’t even been in control of the White House and Congress for a full year, but voters are already beginning to signal buyer’s remorse. And for good reason. In the first 10 months of a Republican-led Congress and White House, a handful of liberals masquerading as Republicans sabotaged efforts to repeal ObamaCare. In fact, if it weren’t for President Trump’s recent actions with regard to health care, Republicans in Congress might be seeing even greater discontent in the ranks. http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/356259-the-gop-establishments-days-may-be-numbered

 

Thursday, October 19

Few protesters turn out for Ben Shapiro talk at University of Tennessee (News Sentinel) Only a handful of students turned out to protest conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s talk at the University of Knoxville campus Wednesday, even as visits by Shapiro to other campuses in recent weeks have sparked large protests and arrests. Instead, students and others waiting in line for Shapiro’s sold-out talk at the Alumni Memorial Building said largely that they were excited to hear from the former editor-at-large of Breitbart News and current editor of the right-leaning news site The Daily Wire. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/education/2017/10/18/few-protesters-turn-out-ben-shapiro-talk-university-tennessee/777653001/

Hundreds attend to hear Ben Shapiro speak at UT (WATE) A high-profile conservative commentator spoke at the University of Tennessee Wednesday night. Ben Shapiro is a radio host and former editor of the conservative media outlet Breitbart. When asked to speak at other colleges, his presence drew protests. Last month, he visited the campus of the University of California Berkeley. Police wore full riot gear and arrests were made. However, it was a much quieter reception at UT at a sold out event. Nearly 400 students and adults filed in to hear Shapiro speak. http://wate.com/2017/10/18/hundreds-attend-to-hear-ben-shapiro-speak-at-ut/

Carson-Newman to offer three-year bachelor’s degree (WBIR) How about getting a college degree in three years, instead of four? Starting next fall, Carson-Newman University will offer a program aimed at getting students to graduate faster and cheaper. The school announced it’s offering a three-year bachelor’s degree in business, communications, social sciences, psychology, history and nursing. “Rather than spending your fourth year paying Carson-Newman money, you can spend your fourth year working for somebody and they’ll pay you money, and I think that’s a huge benefit,” said Dr. Paul Percy, executive vice president and provost at Carson-Newman. Percy said less time in school means graduation rates go up. http://www.wbir.com/news/local/education/carson-newman-to-offer-three-year-bachelors-degree-next-fall/484430480

State Employees Association director urges higher education officials to ‘opt out’ of outsourcing services (Times Free Press) The Tennessee State Employees Association is urging higher education leaders and heads of other state government entities to “opt out” of the Haslam administration’s state-wide building outsourcing contract with Jones Lang LaSalle. “The bottom line is the administration has not produced enough long-term data for anyone who is responsible for a major state or higher education facility to make a well-informed decision,” TSEA Executive Director Randy Stamps said in a statement. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/18/state-employees-association-director-urges-higher-education-officials-opt-out-outsourcing-services/455006/

College of Medicine opioid event keeps the conversation going (Johnson City Press) Students from East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine hosted an interdisciplinary panel discussion about the opioid epidemic Tuesday as part of an ongoing effort to bring greater awareness to the issue. Presented by the local student chapters of the American and Tennessee Medical Associations and the local American Medical Student Association, the discussion featured four professional panelists on the frontline of of local efforts to address the epidemic. http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Health-Care/2017/10/17/College-of-Medicine-opioid-event-keeps-the-conversation-going.html?ci=stream&lp=3&p=

Metro Nashville Public Schools Board votes to join lawsuit against state of Tennessee (WZTV) The Metro Nashville Board of Public Education (MNBPE) has voted to join Shelby County Schools in suing the state over insufficient funding. The board voted unanimously 7-0 to join the suit, claiming both school districts are underfunded. The reason they and other districts say they are underfunded is based on a formula from the Basic Education Program (BEP). The formula dictates how money is distributed to schools. The vote to join Shelby County Schools in their suit would likely strengthen their position. First filed in 2015, the Shelby County suit has survived a motion to dismiss, gone through the discovery phase, and will soon go into the deposition phase before a possible trial in the next year. http://fox17.com/news/local/metro-nashville-public-schools-board-votes-to-join-lawsuit-against-state-of-tennessee

Memphis just gained an important ally in its legal battle with Tennessee over school funding (Chalkbeat Tennessee) For more than two years, a funding lawsuit by Memphis school leaders has been winding through the state’s legal system. Now, as the litigation inches closer to a court date next year, Shelby County Schools has gained a powerful ally in its battle with Tennessee over the adequacy of funding for its schools and students. The board for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools voted unanimously Tuesday to become a co-plaintiff in the case. The decision ends almost three years of talk from Nashville about going to court. In 2015 at the urging of then-director Jesse Register, the district’s board opted for conversation over litigation with Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration about how to improve education funding in Tennessee. https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/tn/2017/10/18/memphis-just-gained-an-important-ally-in-its-legal-battle-with-tennessee-over-school-funding/

Former Olive Branch woman charged with fraud (DeSoto Times) A Bartlett, Tenn. woman who formerly lived in DeSoto County has been charged with trying to defraud the Tennessee TennCare program. Officials with the Tennessee Office of Inspector General (OIG) have announced that 34-year-old Ashley Gilbert of Bartlett, Tenn. has been arrested by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department. Gilbert has been charged with falsely reporting her residence in order to get healthcare insurance benefits under the Tennessee program. At the time officials said she was reporting her home as being in Tennessee, she was actually residing in Olive Branch. Gilbert has since moved to her present home in Bartlett. http://www.desototimes.com/news/former-olive-branch-woman-charged-with-fraud/article_939e99a6-b459-11e7-9dfb-ff8d3d4ee6a1.html

Mississippi woman charged, arrested with TennCare fraud (WHBQ) A woman who previously lived in Mississippi is charged with TennCare fraud for falsely reporting her residence in order to obtain healthcare insurance benefits from the taxpayer-funded program. Ashley Gilbert, 34, was arrested Wednesday by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. She is accused of reporting to the state that she lived in Tennessee when officials say she actually resided in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Gilbert has since moved to Bartlett, Tennessee. http://www.fox13memphis.com/top-stories/mississippi-woman-charged-arrested-with-tenncare-fraud/626550581

Trooper bus catches distracted drivers texting, scrolling in Clarksville (Leaf-Chronicle) As they passed the large bus, some tried to hide their phones. Others tried to surreptitiously fasten seat belts. One lady flipped off the dozen police officers, District Attorney’s Office staff and media on board. She’s the only one who didn’t get pulled over. “If you see something, call it out,” said Lt. Sarah Lund of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. “We have to see it so we can testify in court.” Nearly 20 people were on board the THP bus as it rolled down the streets of Clarksville on Wednesday, looking for distracted drivers or those breaking other traffic laws. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/2017/10/18/trooper-bus-catches-distracted-drivers-texting-scrolling-clarksville/775846001/

Lawmakers introduce bill to ban bump stocks in Tennessee (WKRN) Two Tennessee lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban bump stocks across the state. Senator Lee Harris and Representative Dwayne Thompson filed the legislation on Wednesday. “If we want to limit the number of people a mass shooter can kill we should move quickly to ban the sale of bump stocks in Tennessee,” Senator Harris said. Bump stock devices were used by gunman Stephen Paddock in the recent Las Vegas attack that killed more than 50 people and hurt hundreds of others. A few weeks the National Rifle Association (NRA) even suggested a federal review of the devices. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/18/lawmakers-introduce-bill-to-ban-bump-stocks-in-tennessee/

West TN legislator introduces bill to ban bump stocks (WBIR) A West Tennessee legislator introduced a bill Wednesday to ban the sale and possession of bump stocks within the state.  State Sen. Lee Harris, a Democrat from Memphis, said it should be illegal to buy, sell or possess any device designed to accelerate the fire of a semi-automatic rifle in Tennessee. In a series of tweets, Harris said, “devices like bump stock devices that can lead to mass carnage and mass shootings have no justifiable reason for sale or possession.” http://www.wbir.com/news/local/west-tn-legislator-introduces-bill-to-ban-bump-stocks/484421203

Tennessee gubernatorial hopeful Boyd’s plan to have Jeb Bush headline fundraiser spurs attack from rival Republican gubernatorial hopeful (Times Free Press) Randy Boyd’s plan to bring in former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to headline a major fundraiser is drawing fire from GOP primary rival U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s campaign. “Jeb Bush and Randy Boyd are a match made in establishment heaven,” Black campaign spokesman Chris Hartline said Wednesday in a statement. “Their pro-illegal immigration, pro-big government, anti-Trump positions are more suited to the Democratic primary than the Republican primary.” http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/18/tennessee-gubernatorial-hopeful-boyds-plan-have-jeb-bush-headline-fundraiser-spurs-attack-rival/455020/

Jeb Bush to speak at Boyd fundraiser (Nashville Post) Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is set to speak at a fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd next month. According to sources who have seen the invitation, Bush will headline a Nov. 30 event at Bob’s Steak & Chop House in downtown Nashville. Tickets start at $1,000 per head. Boyd’s campaign confirmed Bush would speak at a fundraiser but declined to comment or provide further details. Bush, a failed presidential candidate in 2016, is the brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush. After ending his campaign, Jeb Bush vocally opposed the election of Donald Trump. http://www.nashvillepost.com/politics/elections/campaign-finance/article/20979765/jeb-bush-to-speak-at-boyd-fundraiser

Franklin Mayor Considers Congressional Bid (Patch.com) Franklin mayor Ken Moore may jump into the race to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for Senate following Bob Corker’s surprise announcement he won’t seek re-election. Moore, elected as mayor in 2011 and re-elected in 2015, told Tom Lawrence on WAKM’s Hometown Radio Show Tuesday that he was thinking about getting in the race and had been for 10 days or so. State Sen. and former U.S. Army Secretary nominee Mark Green, a Republican, and Democrat Justin Kanew, a former contest on “The Amazing Race,” have already announced for the race. https://patch.com/tennessee/franklin/franklin-mayor-considers-congressional-bid

45 After Dark: Another Day, Another Deal edition (Politico) Yesterday in the Rose Garden, President Donald Trump declared Obamacare dead. Today, in the Rose Garden the president commented on a bipartisan deal on Obamacare. Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington announced earlier in the day they had reached a deal on funding a key insurance subsidy program in Obamacare and also on providing states some flexibility to skirt requirements of the health care law, POLITICO’s Jennifer Haberkorn reports. While Trump and other Republicans have been resistant to a bipartisan compromise, preferring a full repeal of the healthcare law, Trump did not dispute the agreement out of hand — though he did call it a “short-term” solution. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/17/45-after-dark-another-day-another-deal-edition-243891

Twitter suspends fake Tennessee GOP account later linked to Russian ‘troll farm’ (Tennessean) A Twitter account that the Tennessee Republican Party tried to get suspended by the social media company had ties to Russia, according to a new report in Russian media. A report released Tuesday by Russian business magazine RBC determined the account, known as @TEN_GOP, was created by a Russian “troll farm” dedicated to influencing Americans’ political views. Since the account appeared in late 2015, the Tennessee Republican Party sent three messages to Twitter saying the account was misleading. A picture associated with the account featured the state seal and the location was set in Tennessee. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/18/twitter-suspends-fake-tennessee-gop-account-later-linked-russian-troll-farm/776937001/

Tennessee GOP Complained About Rogue Twitter Account (WTVF) The Tennessee Republican Party tried to warn Twitter about a rogue account that is now believed to be linked with a Russian effort to influence the U.S. presidential election, a spokesperson said. Candace Dawkins provided NewsChannel 5 Investigates with three emails sent to Twitter complaining that @TEN_GOP was impersonating the party’s @TNGOP account. The three emails were sent in September 2016, March 2017 and August 2017. Twitter suspended the account following that third email. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/newschannel-5-investigates/tennessee-gop-complained-about-rogue-twitter-account

Former Top Tennessee Republican Says He Tried To Stop Prominent Alt-Right Twitter Account (WPLN) One of the former leaders of the Tennessee Republican Party says he and other top officials tried to stop an unofficial Twitter account that’s being linked to Russian trolls. Former Tennessee Republican Party executive director Brent Leatherwood condemns the account as “anti-American.” The now-suspended TEN_GOP account grew to more than 100,000 followers. NewsChannel5, citing a report from independent media in Russia, says it may have been the most popular fake-news feed on Twitter. Its posts were frequently confused with the state party’s official account, TNGOP. But TEN_GOP often trafficked in conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and Muslims. It was sometimes retweeted by national figures like the pro-Trump commentator Ann Coulter and local politicians like Columbia Representative Sheila Butt. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/former-top-tennessee-republican-says-he-tried-stop-prominent-alt-right-twitter-account#stream/0

Pilot, celebrities help United Way beat 2016 fundraising (News Sentinel) This year’s “Pilot Celebrity Pumpers” brought in $94,091 for the United Way of Greater Knoxville, beating 2016’s total by $741, Pilot Flying J announced. On Wednesday, Pilot founder and chairman James Haslam II presented a check to the charity at the Pilot convenience store at 1826 Western Ave. This was the 25th year for the charity fundraiser, during which Pilot gave 5 cents from every gallon of gas and 10 cents from every dollar spent in its Knox County stores to the United Way. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/money/2017/10/18/pilot-celebrities-help-united-way-beat-2016-fundraising/776351001/

This Is What Really Happens When Amazon Comes to Your Town (Politico) Thursday is the deadline for cities bidding to host “HQ2,” as Amazon calls its planned second headquarters, and the competition has been intense. More than a hundred would-be hosts have assembled generous packages with everything from multibillion-dollar tax breaks to free utilities to an offer to build Amazon its own city (also named Amazon) in the hope of enticing the online retail giant and up to 50,000 of its handsomely paid employees. But as these cities go all-out to win Amazon’s affections, they might take a lesson from the city where those same affections have dimmed: Seattle. Many ordinary Seattleites seem relieved. Most would acknowledge the extraordinary prosperity that Amazon has brought to Seattle since Jeff Bezos and his startup arrived in 1994. But they are also keenly aware of the costs, not least the nation’s fastest-rising housing prices, appalling traffic and a painful erosion of urban identity. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/19/amazon-headquarters-seattle-215725

Local leaders sell Knoxville to Amazon: #ChooseKnox (News Sentinel) The deadline for cities to be considered for Amazon’s second headquarters is Thursday but the tech giant should have received the Knoxville Chamber’s application long before the clock strikes midnight. Amazon’s announcement that it would be looking for a second location took the country by storm in September. The $5 billion project is expected to bring 50,000 jobs. The company expects to announce a decision on “HQ2” in 2018. Cities all over the country are vying for the business. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/local/2017/10/18/local-leaders-amazon-chooseknox/775943001/

EDGE board approves incentives to entice Amazon warehouse, Pfizer jobs (Commercial Appeal) Amazon.com won a tax break for its first facility in Memphis, if the company decides to put a 600-employee warehouse here. Amazon said the “receive center” wasn’t a done deal yet, that other sites were under consideration, and that a decision would be made within a couple weeks. The Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County on Wednesday approved a 15-year payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) that would shave about $15 million off Amazon’s property tax bill. http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/money/business/development/2017/10/18/amazon-pfizer-memphis-business-tax-incentives/771756001/

Amazon, Pfizer Approved for Tax Incentives (Memphis Daily News) Despite spurring a larger debate about the types of jobs the city should incentivize in the future, Amazon was awarded 15-year PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of-taxes) from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County during its Wednesday, Oct. 18 meeting. Located at 3292 Holmes Road, the 615,440 square foot, $62.9 million receive center will create 600 new jobs, with an average salary of $29,000 not including benefits. Of Amazon’s $62.9 million investment, more than $46 million in construction costs would go towards construction costs, $23.3 million towards manufacturing machinery and $3.7 million for the land. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/19/amazon-pfizer-approved-for-tax-incentives/

Memphis selected as new home for auto parts wholesaler (Commercial Appeal) An auto parts supplier created in the merger of Memphis-area companies has put its head office in Memphis. Highline Aftermarket LLC will add 91 jobs and expand its primary distribution center at 4500 Malone Road east of Memphis International Airport. “Memphis is a fantastic location for distributing anything,” Highline chief executive officer Darcy Curran said Wednesday. “It makes perfect sense to create a national distribution center and put the headquarters here.” http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/money/2017/10/18/memphis-auto-wholesaler-highline-aftermarket/776049001/

2 years after major jobs announcement, ammo company yet to break ground in East TN (WBIR) Two years after announcing plans to build a new headquarters and manufacturing plant in East Tennessee, an Arizona-based ammunition company deadline is running up on its deadline to break ground on the new Blount County site. Advanced Munitions International announced plans to build a $553 million headquarters in Alcoa in October 2015. The company said the project would create more than 600 new jobs. The project received praise from state and local economic development leaders, and commitments of millions of dollars in tax and construction incentives. http://www.wbir.com/news/local/two-years-after-major-jobs-announcement-ami-yet-to-break-ground/484449457

West Knoxville hospital announces $99M expansion — including renovations and new construction (News Sentinel) Parkwest Medical Center in West Knoxville plans a $99 million expansion and renovation over the next three years, hospital executives announced Wednesday. The medical center, part of Covenant Health’s hospital system, broke ground Wednesday afternoon on the project, which includes both adding on to the existing facility and new construction to give the hospital a “campus-like design,” with more street-level parking. http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/health/2017/10/18/west-knoxville-hospital-announces-99-m-expansion-including-renovations-and-new-construction/777385001/

Tennessee Ranks 47th In Home Energy Efficiency (WTVF) New findings released by WalletHub showed that Tennessee ranks second to last in home energy efficiency in the continental United States, meaning homes waste more energy in Tennessee than in almost every other state. When it comes to homes, energy efficiency focuses on how well a system will heat or cool your home, and how well the home will maintain that temperature. Leading into the colder months in Tennessee, many will start turning on their heating systems, but it’s possible they won’t work as well as they could if they improved the efficiency of their home. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/tennessee-ranks-47th-in-home-energy-efficiency

No peace on the river: Citizens air concerns about commercial tubing in Townsend (Daily Times) This is the second story in a two-part series on the Little River Recreational Usage workshop held Monday in Townsend. The first story, which ran Wednesday, focused on questions about jurisdiction and safety concerns. Townsend property owners hoping environmental concerns may give the city and county a foothold to regulate commercial tubing on Little River received surprising news Monday. http://www.thedailytimes.com/news/no-peace-on-the-river-citizens-air-concerns-about-commercial/article_ab79caaf-2a7f-526b-8e46-a32e19bd9834.html

Fence, other security upgrades in the works for Washington Co. Justice Center (WJHL) Wednesday morning, chairman of the Washington County Commission, Greg Matherly, drove us to the back of the George P. Jaynes Justice Center in Jonesborough. Matherly drove us along the perimeter where they hope to soon install a fence that would stretch from the detention center all the way to the back of the justice center. “Its for the security of everyone… of course this fence does wrap around and cover the whole rear end of the detention center and the workhouse,” Matherly said. There is already a small area that is fenced in, but soon the entire back lot will be too, with gate access. http://wjhl.com/2017/10/18/fence-other-security-upgrades-in-the-works-for-washington-co-justice-center/

OPINION

Guest column: With a strong economy, Tennessee welfare reform is good for state (Tennessean) t is common sense: if you are receiving taxpayer benefits from the state, you should be contributing to Tennessee’s economy. This is the Republican way; we believe in helping those that need help, but also encouraging those that are able to be productive members of society to contribute. Reinstating work requirements for state benefits is the right move for Tennessee at the right time, and that time is now. These are exciting times in our state; business is booming, and our economy continues to thrive at historic levels. http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/10/18/strong-economy-tennessee-welfare-reform-good-state/106273910/

Sam Stockard: How Should ‘Good People’ React to Racist Ideology? (Memphis Daily News) Southern nationalists planning to lead rallies in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville are banking on Republican ideas and protection to spread their views, a burr under the saddle for state lawmakers in the controlling party. The League of the South, built for a second Southern secession and largely considered a white supremacist organization, is set to rail about America’s downfall Oct. 28 – if all goes as planned – in these two Middle Tennessee towns. Rutherford County still hasn’t approved a permit. Their targets, which shifted from a heritage assembly paying respects to the Civil War dead, will be refugee resettlement and immigrant workers, most likely the people doing jobs few others want.  https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/19/how-should-good-people-react-to-racist-ideology/

Column: Which History Should We Honor? (Memphis Flyer) As I drove down the winding highway to the small East Tennessee city of Athens last Thursday, I wondered what the next day’s Tennessee Historical Commission meeting would hold. Under no circumstances did I think the members of the commission would approve Memphis’ waiver request to remove Nathan Bedford Forrest’s statue from our public park. And as I anticipated, the waiver was denied, and “leave history alone” was a recurring theme of the morning. After Mayor Jim Strickland pleaded with the commission to vote on the city’s request and other officials spoke both for and against the statue, a pro-Forrest teacher from Memphis was the first to take the podium for public comment. https://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/which-history-should-we-honor/Content?oid=8957303

Jackson Baker: New Names on the Marquee (Memphis Flyer) A longtime intimate of Harold Ford Jr. was asked the other day if the former Memphis congressman — who, as the Democratic nominee in 2006, lost a U.S. Senate race to Republican Bob Corker by a hair’s breadth — would trade the wealth and standing he has since acquired on Wall Street for the alternate biography that would have followed from a win over Corker. The answer was quick and unequivocal: “In a minute.” He might have said, but didn’t, “In a New York minute,” since the Empire State has, for some years now, been Ford’s abode. The man, who had worked in close harness with Ford for the duration of his political career in Tennessee, went on to say, “He wanted to be president.” https://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/new-names-on-the-marquee/Content?oid=8959413

Editorial: Marsha Blackburn’s “Unintented Consequences” (Memphis Flyer) Sometimes in this trade, the act of choosing a headline can be a difficult matter. Not so in this case. The headline of this editorial happens to be the phrase used by 7th District U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn to describe the ill effects of a 2016 law she sponsored that loosened regulations on the prescription of addictive opioids, and it constitutes a wonderful irony. Blackburn, now a declared Republican candidate for the soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat currently held by Bob Corker, has found herself in hot water as a result of her role in passing the law — as documented over the last weekend in a collaborative effort by the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes and the Washington Post newspaper. https://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/marsha-blackburns-unintented-consequences/Content?oid=8959409

Rep. Mike Stewart: Republicans continue to push old ideas on health care (Tennessean) Lions and wolves carefully separate their prey from the herd, and then move in for the kill. Top Republican leaders and the rich donors who fund them have the precise same plan for Medicaid and Medicare, and President Trump, despite promises to protect those programs, is on board. Trump-backed Graham-Cassidy, the now delayed but still-on-the-table plan to kill the Affordable Care Act, followed the playbook Speaker Paul Ryan and other top Republicans have been pushing for years. First, it turned Medicaid into a block grant program administered by the states, bringing to an abrupt end the federal government’s decades-old commitment to seniors, children and disabled citizens. http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/10/18/republicans-continue-push-old-ideas-health-care/106494650/

Wednesday, October 18

Grand opening of Hankook plant held in Clarksville (WKRN) After breaking ground in 2014, the new Hankook tire plant in Clarksville is now open. The South Korean tire maker invested $800 million building the state of the art facility. The company recently moved its North American headquarters to downtown Nashville. The new Clarksville plant is expected to create around 1,800 jobs. Gov. Bill Haslam, who was fresh off a trade mission to drum up more business from Asia, attended Tuesday’s grand opening. It is the first Hankook plant to open in the United States. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/17/grand-opening-of-hankook-plant-to-be-held-tuesday-in-clarksville/

Hankook Opens $800 Million Tire Plant In Clarksville (AP) Fresh off a trade mission to drum up more business from Asia, Governor Bill Haslam attended the grand opening South Korean tiremaker Hankook’s new plant in Tennessee. Hankook broke ground on the $800 million plant in Clarksville in 2014. The company later announced it would move its North American headquarters from New Jersey to Nashville, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the new factory. When the 1.5 million-square-foot plant was announced, Hankook said it planned to create 1,800 jobs at the facility. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/haslam-to-attend-grand-opening-of-hankook-plant

Hankook opens $800 million, 1,000-worker tire plant in Clarksville (WBIR) State and Clarksville-area officials got a first extensive look inside the $800 million Hankook Tire plant during a grand opening event Tuesday morning, as the South Korean-based company unveiled its first U.S. manufacturing site. Hankook represents one of the biggest regional manufacturing scores of the modern era, amid a wave of middle Tennessee economic growth and expansion of which business executives including Hosung Suh, Hankook Tire America Corp. president, become eager players. http://www.wbir.com/money/hankook-opens-800-million-1000-worker-tire-plant-in-clarksville/483966358

Going inside Hankook: Automated Clarksville plant awe-inspiring (Leaf-Chronicle) Brian Olds, one of Hankook Tire’s inventory management specialists in Clarksville, is exactly the type of employee the company is looking for as it gains competitive momentum. Olds exited the U.S. Army six months ago after a 20-year stint, most recently at Fort Campbell.”Hankook has been very proactive about hiring veterans,” Olds told The Leaf-Chronicle from his work station, Tuesday. He monitors activity in an inventory area that can store up to 350,000 Hankook tires at a time, before they’re to be shipped out across the North American marketplace. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/local/clarksville/2017/10/17/hankook-opens-800-million-1-000-worker-tire-plant-clarksville/761784001/

Photos: Hankook has grand opening for plant in Clarksville (Leaf-Chronicle) http://www.theleafchronicle.com/picture-gallery/money/business/2017/10/17/hankook-has-grand-opening-for-plant-in-clarksville/106742688/

As Tire Plant Opens, Clarksville Expects Hankook To Become Its Largest Private Employer (WPLN) After four years in the works, Hankook Tire is ready to fire up its massive new manufacturing facility just outside Clarksville. The South Korean company officially opened the $800 million plant, which will churn out 5.5 million tires a year and eventually employ 1,800 people, with a ceremony Tuesday morning. The event offered many people, including some public officials, their first up-close look at the sprawling facility covering more than 30 acres. “It will become the third-largest employer in our entire county, after Fort Campbell and our school system,” said Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan. The impact that that can make on our community is tremendous.” http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/tire-plant-opens-clarksville-expects-hankook-become-its-largest-private-employer#stream/0

Estimated 1,800 jobs to be created with new Hankook tire plant in Clarksville (WBKO) Fresh off a trade mission to drum up more business from Asia, Gov. Bill Haslam attended the grand opening South Korean tiremaker Hankook’s new plant in Tennessee. Hankook broke ground on the $800 million plant in Clarksville in 2014. The company later announced it would move its North American headquarters from New Jersey to Nashville, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the new factory. When the 1.5 million-square-foot plant was announced, Hankook said it planned to create 1,800 jobs at the facility. Company officials have projected the factory will make around 11 million tires per year. South Korean appliance maker LG Electronics Inc., broke ground at nearby site in Clarksville in August for a $250 million washing machine plant. http://www.wbko.com/content/news/1800-jobs-to-be-created-with-new-Hankook-tire-plant-in-Clarksville-451320143.html

Haslam names three West Tennesseans to State Board of Education (Chalkbeat Tennessee) A Memphis real estate executive, a Cordova lawyer and a Decatur County high school student are the newest members of Tennessee’s State Board of Education. Gov. Bill Haslam announced appointments this week to dozens of state boards and commissions, including the 11-member education panel, which sets policy for K-12 schools in Tennessee. https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/tn/2017/10/17/haslam-names-three-west-tennesseans-to-state-board-of-education/

Mayor Barry unveils sweeping $5.2 billion transit proposal for Nashville with light rail, massive tunnel (Tennessean) Calling on Nashvillians to get behind the most sweeping and expensive project in Metro history, Mayor Megan Barry on Tuesday unveiled a $5.2 billion mass transit proposal that sets up a monumental decision for the city. Barry wants Nashville voters to go to the polls in May to approve a referendum on increases to four taxes to pay for the massive undertaking — a combination of 26 miles of new light rail, more robust bus service, and a major tunnel below downtown where the new transit lines would run. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/10/17/nashville-mayor-megan-barry-unveils-ambitious-mass-transit-plan-for-music-city/759973001/

Nashville schools board votes to join Shelby County Schools in lawsuit against state (Tennessean) Metro Nashville Public Schools voted Tuesday night to join its West Tennessee counterpart in pursuing more education funding through a lawsuit against the state. The motion to join Shelby County Schools in the district’s ongoing litigation for increased education funds passed with a 7-0 vote by the Nashville school board. Two board members were absent — Sharon Gentry and Mary Pierce. The Shelby County Schools board suit says that the state isn’t adequately funding its schools and as a result that is hurting the system’s most vulnerable students. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/2017/10/17/nashville-schools-board-votes-join-shelby-county-schools-funding-lawsuit-against-state/771394001/

Jones Lang LaSalle outsourcing bid is higher than UTC’s current cost (Times Free Press) The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga would pay a quarter million dollars more than it does now on combined institutional maintenance and student housing during the first year of a proposed outsourcing contract with real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle. The Chicago-based company acknowledged in documents the $263,217 additional cost as the for-profit company made its pitch to UTC and other UT System campuses. Jones Lang LaSalle seeks to get university facilities management contracts across Tennessee’s two systems of higher education after being awarded a statewide contract from Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/politics/state/story/2017/oct/18/utc-would-pay-more-jll-building-outsourcing-n/454974/

UT Faculty Senate announces opposition to outsourcing (UT Daily Beacon) Monday, the UT Faculty Senate unanimously passed a resolution opposing Governor Bill Haslam’s plan to outsource state employee jobs to a Chicago-based company. The decision was made after Tennessee’s outsourced, third-party standardized testing system faced problems when more than 9,000 TNReady assessments were scored incorrectly. The results of this error meant that, for the first time, Tennessee elementary and middle school students were not able to take the test due to issues with the state’s vendor Questar Assessment. http://www.utdailybeacon.com/news/administration/ut-faculty-senate-announces-opposition-to-outsourcing/article_1ad7723c-b359-11e7-8b5d-673002b6abda.html

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro to speak at UT; security measures taken (WATE) The University of Tennessee is taking security measures as a speaker who has drawn protests is coming to campus on Wednesday. Author and former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro is speaking as part of an event sponsored by UT’s chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom. Shapiro has spoken out in the past about conservative ideas not being welcome on American college campuses these days. His speech last month at UC Berkeley drew protests, just a few months after violent demonstrations against another right-wing commentator. http://wate.com/2017/10/17/conservative-commentator-ben-shapiro-to-speak-at-ut-security-measures-taken/

Dog Injures, Kills Goats On TSU Campus (WTVF) Several goats were injured and two were killed after a dog attacked the animals at Tennessee State University.  TSU officials said the incident happened Thursday night when a pit-bull mix attacked nine experimental goats at the campus’s farm. Two died and the others were injured. A police report initially indicated the goats died from gunshot wounds, but officials said no bullets were found at the scene. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/dog-injures-kills-goats-on-tsu-campus

TSU student accused of contaminating roommate’s drink with toilet water (WKRN) A Tennessee State University student is accused of trying to contaminate her roommate’s drink with toilet water. According to an arrest warrant, Tierni Williams was captured on video pouring the water from the toilet into her roommate’s water bottle. The warrant indicates on Oct. 5, the victim complained of weight loss and stomach issues and learned through social media that her roommate had allegedly tampered with her water bottles. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/17/tsu-student-accused-of-contaminating-roommates-drink-with-toilet-water/

Study: Tennessee ranks 4th in nation for women murdered by men (WATE) A new study shows Tennessee ranks fourth in the nation for women being murdered by men per capita. The study by the Violence Policy Center says 71 Tennessee women were murdered by men in 2015, which amounts to 2.10 per 100,000 people. Four of the victims were under the age of 18 and 10 were over 65. The average age was 40 years old. Out of the 71 female homicide victims, 44 were white and 27 were black. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/18/study-tennessee-ranks-4th-in-nation-for-women-murdered-by-men/

As Outcry Over Sexual Harassment Grows, Focus Shifts to State Legislatures (Governing) Hundreds of thousands of women in recent days have turned to social media – many using the hashtag #MeToo – to indicate that they have been sexually assaulted or harassed in the past. The movement, which has exploded in the wake of allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, has brought attention to sexual harassment on college campuses, in Hollywood and in corporate America. And many of the women who are speaking out have pointed to their time in and around state capitols. In California, more than 140 women in politics on Tuesday launched a campaign called “We Said Enough,” with the promise that they would no longer tolerate the widespread harassment in the political establishment. http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-sexual-harassment-state-legislatures.html

TN Governor Candidate Boyd Visits Perry County (Buffalo River Review) Republican gubernatorial candidate, Randy Boyd, visited Perry County this past week, holding a roundtable discussion, touring Planet H20 water bottling facility, had dinner with local leaders, as well as continuing his run across the state. A roundtable discussion Tuesday morning, October 10th,  was hosted by County Mayor Terry Richardson at the Perry County Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Boyd noted that Perry County is identified by the federal government as one of 19 “distressed counties.” He spoke of how it is his goal is to have no distressed Tennessee counties, as well as discussed his plans to prioritize rural communities. https://www.buffaloriverreview.com/2017/10/18/governor-of-tn-candidate-boyd-visits-perry-county/

Why you put ‘we’ before ‘me’ (Times News) How do you create an elite culture within an organization? You put “we” before “me,” according to Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green, M.D. Green, who’s running for Congress in a Middle Tennessee district and was the Trump administration’s former nominee to be Army secretary, recently gave a leadership lesson to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors membership meeting held at the MeadowView Marriott. View a photo gallery from the event: Green, a West Point graduate and former Army medic, wrote a book about interviewing the late Iraq leader Saddam Hussein the night of his capture. http://www.timesnews.net/Business/2017/10/16/Connecting-at-the-heart-level.html?ci=stream&lp=2&p=

Nashville state Rep. Sherry Jones to run for Davidson County Juvenile Court clerk (Tennessean) State Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville, one of the longest-serving members of the Tennessee House of Representatives, says she is running for Davidson County Juvenile Court Clerk next year. Jones, first elected to Tennessee House District 59 in 1994, recently filed paperwork with the Davidson County Election Commission allowing her to start raising money for the open countywide seat to replace Juvenile Court Clerk David Smith, who is retiring. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/10/16/nashville-state-rep-sherry-jones-run-davidson-county-juvenile-court-clerk/767643001/

Manufacturing wants Corker’s budget vote (Times News) Why would two major business groups be worried about Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker’s vote on a 2018 budget resolution that would lead to teeing up tax reform legislation? They were worried enough to stage a conference call with reporters on Tuesday to talk about the importance of Corker’s vote. Corker, a Republican, has announced he will not run for re-election in 2018. Corker spokesman Micah Johnson, in an email, indicated they had nothing to worry about. “Senator Corker voted for the budget resolution in committee, so unless there are substantial changes on the floor, he will support final passage,” Johnson said. “(And he has said that publicly many times).” http://www.timesnews.net/Politics/2017/10/17/Manufacturing-wants-Corker-s-budget-vote.html?ci=stream&lp=1&p=

Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray announce bipartisan Senate deal to prop up Obamacare (Tennessean) Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate announced they have reached a bipartisan deal to shore up the Affordable Care Act health insurance markets for two years while Congress continues to grapple with GOP efforts to replace the law. Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., the leaders of the Senate health committee, said Tuesday they have struck a deal for a two-year extension of subsidies for insurance companies to cover low-income clients — subsidies that President Trump canceled last week.  http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/17/sen-lamar-alexander-says-deal-set-insurers-cost-sharing/772757001/

Alexander swings CSR fix (Nashville Post) U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington have worked out a bipartisan compromise to save the cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs, on the health care exchange. President Donald Trump last week announced he would end the subsidies for insurers — a not unexpected move but one with potentially dire consequences for state and federal budgets, even setting aside the cost of massive litigation that had already been threatened by several state attorneys general. http://www.nashvillepost.com/politics/federal-government/article/20979596/alexander-swings-csr-fix

2 Senators Strike Deal on Health Subsidies That Trump Cut Off (New York Times) Two leading senators, hoping to stabilize teetering health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, reached a bipartisan deal on Tuesday to fund critical subsidies to insurers that President Trump moved just days ago to cut off. At the White House, virtually as the deal was being announced, Mr. Trump voiced support for it while insisting that he would try again to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health law. The plan by the senators, Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, and Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, would fund the subsidies for two years, a step that would provide at least short-term certainty to insurers. The subsidies, known as cost-sharing reduction payments, reimburse insurance companies for lowering deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income customers. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/17/us/politics/alexander-murray-deal-obamacare-subsidies.html?_r=0

Ogles says Trump should fix ‘legislative opioid debacle’ (TN Journal/Humphrey) News release from Andy Ogles campaign: Republican conservative U.S. Senate candidate Andy Ogles is calling on President Donald Trump to issue an Executive Order directing DEA and other federal agencies to use all available means to intensify the investigation and prosecution of those engaged in the reckless, illegal and dangerous overprescription and distribution of opioids. “Congress has tied the hands of our law enforcement officials as they seek to crack down on the illegal distribution of opioids, but with the law enforcement powers they retain they should aggressively pursue those who are fueling the opioid epidemic,” Ogles said. http://humphreyonthehill.tnjournal.net/ogles-says-trump-fix-legislative-opioid-debacle/

Blackburn hopes to ‘quickly work to address’ flaws in drug law, aide says (Tennessean) U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn is in the early stages of looking at the impact of a law that some say provided less scrutiny of drug companies and distributors. In a statement to the USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee on Tuesday, an aide to Blackburn said, “We are in process of gathering information and Congressman Blackburn will quickly work to address any unintended consequences from the legislation.” The latest comment from Blackburn, who recently launched her bid for U.S. Senate, comes after she faced scrutiny this week in the aftermath of a joint investigation by “60 Minutes” and The Washington Post. The investigation featured a whistleblower who accused the Tennessee Republican and other congressional lawmakers of passing the law that led to lax scrutiny and a rise in opioid deaths. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/17/blackburn-hopes-quickly-work-address-flaws-drug-law-aide-says/772339001/

After Scathing Report On Opioid Law, Blackburn Says She’s Ready To ‘Clean Up’ Measure (WPLN) U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn says Congress will start work next week on fixing any damage that may have been caused by an opioid measure that she helped get passed into law. The Brentwood Republican says that, even before a CBS News/Washington Post investigation claimed over the weekend that the legislation had kept drug enforcement agents from seizing shipments to pill mills, a hearing was in the works to address the situation. She says it’ll take place next week. http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/after-scathing-report-opioid-law-blackburn-says-shes-ready-clean-measure#stream/0

Blackburn in. Bredesen in Too? The Senate Scramble Begins. (Nashville Scene) Here’s the truth: No one actually thought U.S. Sen. Bob Corker was going to leave office. At least, not willingly. I didn’t think it. No one else I talked to thought it. Someone who planned to work on his re-election campaign told me Corker was definitely running. Corker even had a fundraiser the night before he announced he wouldn’t run in 2018. Pretty much everyone in this state who could see him- or herself as a senator was focusing on 2020, in the hopes that Sen. Lamar Alexander, who’ll be 80 then, would decide to retire. (And if he didn’t, then the interest and turnout during a presidential election year would make up the difference.) Now everything is up in the air. http://www.nashvillescene.com/news/features/article/20979513/blackburn-in-bredesen-in-too-the-senate-scramble-begins

Phil Bredesen says he’ll make a decision on running for Senate in next few weeks (WKRN) Former two-term mayor Phil Bredesen says he will make a decision on running for the U.S. Senate in the next few weeks. Bredesen told News 2 running for Senate is not something he had ever considered until recently. “I am taking a look. I will make a decision quickly – it is not something I ever contemplated doing – going back, but I am concerned about where the country is going and maybe if there is a role for me to play, maybe not. We will decide in a few weeks,” he explained. Three Republicans have already announced their plans to run for the race, including, Larry Crimm, Andy Ogles and Congressman Marsha Blackburn. http://wkrn.com/2017/10/17/phil-bredesen-says-hell-make-a-decision-on-running-for-senate-in-next-few-weeks/

 Fincher Says ‘Very Close’ To Senate Run (Memphis Daily News) Former Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher said Tuesday, Oct. 17, he is probably going to run for the U.S. Senate seat Bob Corker is giving up starting with the 2018 Republican primary. “We’re very close to getting in. We’re not 100 percent. But we’re very close,” Fincher said after the last stop of a week-long statewide listening tour in East Memphis. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/18/fincher-says-very-close-to-senate-run/

Roe: “No military solution” for nuclear North Korea (Johnson City Press) U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, said Tuesday “there is no military solution” to the growing threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea, despite growing tension between the two countries. Roe, who served in the Army Medical Corps in South Korea in 1973-74, first at Camp Casey, 11 miles from the demilitarized zone separating the north and south, then at an evacuation hospital near Seoul, recommended diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions to quell the threats of Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader. “Hopefully, this country can get China to bring diplomatic pressure and economic pressure,” he said, after meeting with Starbucks employees about veterans’ issues. http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Government/2017/10/17/Roe-No-military-solution-for-nuclear-North-Korea.html?ci=stream&lp=1&p=

White House tells Corker: Stop ‘name calling and get back to work’ (Politico) White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday left the door open to speak with Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a retiring Republican lawmaker who has openly criticized President Donald Trump in recent weeks. In an interview Tuesday morning with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Sanders lamented Corkers’ lack of outreach to patch things up with the White House. “You know, sadly, Senator Corker hasn’t called me, but if he’d like to visit, I’d be happy to talk to him and certainly see if we could get him back on board and do, frankly, what the people of Tennessee elected him to do,” Sanders said. “That’s come here, help do things that protect our country, protect our citizens and do a lot of the things that they campaigned on, whether it’s repeal and replace, tax reform.” http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/17/bob-corker-name-calling-sarah-huckabee-sanders-243860

U.S. Rep. DesJarlais announces re-election bid (Times Free Press) U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais on Tuesday formally announced he is seeking re-election to a fifth term as Tennessee’s 4th District congressman. DesJarlais, a Republican from South Pittsburg, Tenn., said in a news release he wants to continue strengthening the nation’s military from his seat on the House Armed Services Committee. “This country has a military readiness crisis,” DesJarlais said in the release. “Threats are mounting. I’ve been working hard to address troop strength, training, equipment, and strategy, and want to continue that important work supporting brave Tennesseans, serving in harm’s way, and a local defense industry that employs tens of thousands of people across the Volunteer State.” http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2017/oct/17/us-rep-desjarlais-announces-re-election-bid/454898/

Was ‘Tennessee’ Twitter Account Really Russian Propaganda? (WTVF) Was a Twitter account that claimed to represent Tennessee Republicans really part of Russian attempts to influence last year’s presidential election? That’s the allegation coming from an independent news organization inside Russia. The account, which went by the name @TEN_GOP and claimed to be the “unofficial Twitter of Tennessee Republicans,” has now been suspended. But it developed a following that included Tennessee conservatives and may have reached into the highest levels of Donald Trump’s campaign for president. http://www.newschannel5.com/news/newschannel-5-investigates/was-tennessee-twitter-account-really-russian-propaganda

Knoxville vying for Amazon’s 2nd headquarters (WATE) Knoxville is throwing its hat in the ring to be the location of Amazon’s second headquarters. The Knoxville Chamber officially submitted its proposal to Amazon and is asking for residents’ help to show why Knoxville is the perfect place. They’re launching a social media campaign, with the hashtag #ChooseKnox, with facts and information about what makes Knoxville a great place to do business. Posts should tag @amazon, include #ChooseKnox, include positive attributes, facts or information about Knoxville, and be creative. http://wate.com/2017/10/17/knoxville-launches-social-media-campaign-seeks-to-be-site-of-amazons-2nd-hq/

Memphis plans Mud Island aquarium, new home for Brooks (Commercial Appeal) The city of Memphis plans to build a freshwater aquarium on Mud Island connected by a pedestrian bridge to a new riverfront home of the Brooks Museum of Art. The projects could cost up to $225 million, paid for with the sales taxes collected by a Downtown Tourism Development Zone (TDZ), donations, and private investment, said Housing and Community Development Director Paul Young. City officials hope to begin raising funds for the projects in fall 2018, with construction beginning two to four years later, said Chief Operations Officer Doug McGowen. http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/government/city/2017/10/17/fresh-water-aquarium-could-come-mud-island/771475001/

‘Full-scale’ aquarium plans revealed! (Memphis Business Journal) The City of Memphis is moving forward on plans to use Downtown Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) revenues to build an aquarium and museum on the Memphis Riverfront. The Memphis Business Journal exclusively reported Monday, Oct. 16, that plans to redevelop Mud Island included an aquarium as part of a larger “River Institute concept,” where locals and tourists could study the Mississippi River, groundwater and fish and fowl. https://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2017/10/17/strickland-administration-brings-aquarium.html

Memphis Council labels Forrest statue a ‘nuisance,’ demands backup plan for removal (Commercial Appeal) Statues of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and President Jefferson Davis are officially “public nuisances,” the City Council decided Tuesday. In a surprise move Tuesday, the council unanimously approved the ordinance, which also instructed Mayor Jim Strickland’s administration to develop a plan by Nov. 21 to remove the statues of Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis “without delay” — and, in the meantime, wall them off to “protect” them from damage. http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/government/city/2017/10/17/memphis-council-demands-backup-plan-forrest-statue/768495001/

City Lays Out Numerous Options in Confederate Monuments Controversy (Memphis Daily News) The city administration and Memphis City Council laid out numerous paths forward in the Confederate monuments controversy Tuesday, Oct. 17, that include closing Health Sciences Park entirely or building a memorial to lynching victims in the park plaza where a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest is now the centerpiece. The likeness of the Confederate General, slave trader and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard is at the center of the city’s efforts that went to the Tennessee Historical Commission this month for a hearing. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2017/oct/18/city-lays-out-numerous-options-in-confederate-monuments-controversy/

City Council Calls for a Backup Plan to Remove Forrest Statue (Memphis Flyer) The Memphis City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday, calling for the city to present a backup plan to remove or relocate the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue to the council by Nov. 21. City council attorney Allan Wade said if the city cannot legally remove the statues, the ordinance provides alternative solutions like shutting Health Sciences park down completely or re-purposing the park to memorialize the 22 individuals lynched in Shelby County. The ordinance passed, sponsored by Councilman Joe Brown, replaces the previous ordinance that called for the immediate removal of Confederate statues. https://www.memphisflyer.com/NewsBlog/archives/2017/10/17/city-council-calls-for-a-backup-plan-to-remove-forrest-statue

OPINION

Gov. Bill Haslam: Good news in threes for state’s economy (Lebanon Democrat) Tennessee’s unemployment rate is on a record-setting streak. For the third month in a row, we hit a historically low statewide unemployment rate, 3.3 percent for August. The good news is echoed at the county level. All 95 Tennessee counties saw a drop in the unemployment rate in August, the third time this has happened in 2017. The downward trend of the unemployment rate demonstrates the strength of Tennessee’s economy and the sustained nature of job growth in the Volunteer State. We are matching Tennesseans with jobs while employers continue to invest in our state’s workforce. http://www.lebanondemocrat.com/Column/2017/10/16/Bill-Haslam-Good-news-in-threes-for-state-s-economy

Clint Cooper: The forest and trees of outsourcing (Times Free Press) As a businessman, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam knows what people in business know. One day, the state will have a downturn, and expenses may have to be cut. Many people in academia and government don’t think that way. They don’t worry about budgets, bottom lines or the future. They just figure in their fields the money will always continue to flow. Haslam, several years ago, proposed looking into outsourcing with an eye on saving money for the state. Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the contractor selected by the administration to handle any outsourcing, says it could — for example — save the University of Tennessee system up to $6.8 million in the first year through its plan. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/opinion/freepress/story/2017/oct/18/cooper-forest-and-trees-outsourcing/454946/

Pam Sohn: Amid storm, Alexander throws health care Hail Mary (Times Free Press) Back-to-back storms tied to health care blew gale-force winds in recent weeks — strong enough to topple two Trump appointees and place the insurance coverage for millions in critical condition. Trump’s nominee as the nation’s drug czar, Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., withdrew his name from consideration to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy on Tuesday after “60 Minutes” and The Washington Post revealed Sunday that he and Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s legislation and bullying had gutted DEA efforts to fight Big Pharma’s role in expanding the opioid crisis. Between Marino and Blackburn, they’d taken more than $200,000 in industry contributions, investigations revealed. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/opinion/times/story/2017/oct/18/sohn-amid-storm-alexander-throws-health-care/454950/

Rep. Susan Lynn: How school bus seat belts could help retain drivers (Tennessean) Recent accounts of school bus driver shortages across the country are not unique to a particular area; in fact, these shortages can be found right here in Tennessee. Driving a school bus is a great responsibility that is filled with stress and distraction and is also prone to criticism. The Lap and Shoulder Belt bill may provide a solution to resolve this difficult problem. http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/10/17/how-school-bus-seat-belts-could-help-retain-drivers/106524626/

Editorial: Justice is needed for Tennessee’s juveniles (Johnson City Press) Tennessee lawmakers are finally grappling with an issue they have put off for too long — reforming this state’s juvenile justice system. State House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally created a joint legislative task force earlier this year to develop an evidence-based policy to reform the juvenile justice system. Press staff writer Zach Vance reported in September that Harwell, who co-chairs the task force, says balancing juvenile justice system reforms with judges’ discretion in sentencing will be a particular challenge for the panel. http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Editorial/2017/10/18/Justice-is-needed-for-Tennessee-s-juveniles.html?ci=stream&lp=1&p=