Tuesday, August 7

New Tennessee veterans cemetery being dedicated Tuesday (AP) A new Tennessee state veterans cemetery is being dedicated this week. The Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery at Parkers Crossroads is in West Tennessee midway between Nashville and Memphis, in Henderson County. The state Department of Veterans Services said Gov. Bill Haslam, Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and others are expected for the ceremony at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday. The cemetery is located at 693 Wildersville Road in Parkers Crossroads. http://www.wsmv.com/story/38817638/new-tennessee-veterans-cemetery-being-dedicated-tuesday

Governor, Supreme Court Won’t Intervene In Tennessee’s First Execution In Nearly A Decade (WPLN Radio) Both the Tennessee Supreme Court and Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday they will not intervene in the state’s first execution in nearly a decade. Haslam said in a statement he has declined to grant clemency to Billy Ray Irick, who will be put to death on Thursday. The Knox County man was convicted of raping and murdering a 7-year-old girl in the 1980s. Irick’s supporters claim he was suffering a psychotic episode when he committed the crime. But Haslam noted that a health expert and a jury had considered Irick’s mental state before his sentencing, while state and federal courts have reviewed the evidence afterward. http://www.nashvillepublicradio.org/post/governor-supreme-court-wont-intervene-tennessees-first-execution-nearly-decade#stream/0

Governor Bill Haslam explains decision not to intervene in execution (WKRN-TV) The Tennessee Supreme Court’s majority ruled against staying the execution of convicted child killer Billy Ray Irick Monday night, and Gov. Bill Haslam decided against intervening. A statement from the Governor’s office read:  “After careful consideration, I am declining to intervene in the case of Billy Ray Irick, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1986 by a Knox County jury for the murder and aggravated rape of 7-year-old Paula Dyer. Irick requests clemency based upon his mental health status at the time the crime was committed.  However, Irick was examined by a mental health expert and ruled competent to stand trial.  The jury heard evidence regarding Irick’s mental health during sentencing, and state and federal courts, including the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States, have reviewed and upheld the jury’s verdict and sentence on 17 different occasions, 11 of which occurred after additional evidence emerged years after the trial regarding his behavior in the weeks leading up to the offense. https://www.wkrn.com/news/governor-bill-haslam-explains-decision-not-to-intervene-in-execution/1350450656

Tennessee joins 14 states in legal push to allow Nevada execution using controversial drug (Tennessean) Drug companies have no right to prevent their products from being used to execute people, Tennessee and 14 other states argued Monday in a Nevada court filing.  The states argue lawsuits filed by drug companies only serve as attempts to circumvent capital punishment laws. “The 15…states have an interest in halting the nationwide trend of pharmaceutic https://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/crime/2018/08/06/death-penalty-drug-tennessee-nevada-execution/918463002/

Supreme Court denies stay of execution for Billy Ray Irick, Haslam will not intervene (Tennessean) The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the scheduled execution of Billy Ray Irick should proceed as planned on Thursday, denying his request for a stay. Shortly after the Monday evening ruling, Gov. Bill Haslam announced he would not intervene and would allow the execution to go forward. “I took an oath to uphold the law,” Haslam said in a statement. “Capital punishment is the law in Tennessee and was ordered in this case by a jury of Tennesseans and upheld by more than a dozen state and federal courts.” https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2018/08/06/supreme-court-denies-stay-irick-execution-proceed/883766002/

TN Supreme Court, Gov. Will Not Intervene In Execution Of Billy Ray Irick (WTVF-TV) The Tennessee Supreme Court and Governor said they would not intervene in the execution of death row inmate, Billy Ray Irick. The execution is set for Thursday. If it happens, it will be the first execution to take place in Tennessee since 2009. The last execution in Tennessee was held on December 2, 2009. In that case, 53-year-old Cecil Johnson was executed by lethal injection. He was the sixth person executed in the state since 2000 and had spent 28 years on death row. Billy Ray Irick was sentenced to death following his 1986 convictions for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old child. Following Irick’s exhaustion of all levels of appellate review, the Tennessee Supreme Court set his execution date for December 7, 2010. He however, was granted a stay based upon his claim that he was mentally incompetent to be executed. https://www.newschannel5.com/news/state-supreme-court-will-not-issue-stay-of-execution-for-billy-ray-irick

More than $1.1 billion in UT projects in planning, design or construction phase (WATE) With classes starting up just two weeks from now, the University of Tennessee is trying to finish several construction projects before the students get back. From last minute changes to the student union, to new parking facilities, you can already see some of the big changes coming to UT. “It’s growth for UT, which in my heart is amazing because I love this university,” said UT senior Courtney Burnette. The university is surely seeing some changes, as workers finish up construction on one of the main roads through campus, Volunteer Boulevard. The Ken and Blaire Mossman Building welcomed faculty and staff this summer, holding classes like microbiology in the fall. https://www.wate.com/news/local-news/more-than-11-billion-in-ut-projects-in-planning-design-or-construction-phase/1349861240

Cost of road projects rising with property values (WSMV-TV) Nashville’s rising property values are making road projects more expensive. TDOT will have to shell out millions more than it originally planned to widen Nolensville Pike in Nashville due to the cost of buying property for right of way. Drivers in South Nashville said rush hour on Nolensville Pike is a pain to get through. “It’s increased over the last several years. It has gotten so bad that going to work has been almost impossible any way you go,” said Joyce Owens, a Nolensville resident. TDOT plans to widen th3 road to five lanes, stretching from Old Hickory Boulevard to Burkitt Road.  “There’s a lot of people moving into the Nolensville area, especially up and down this highway, and it’s just not accommodating for the amount of people moving in,” said Ray Gough, a Nolensville resident. http://www.wsmv.com/story/38824511/cost-of-road-projects-rising-with-property-values

Protesters arrested after blocking CoreCivic headquarters in Nashville (Tennessean) Officers worked for hours Monday to unchain protesters as they occupied the property of a private prison company’s corporate headquarters, shutting down Nashville-based CoreCivic’s office building for the day. As of Monday afternoon, the Metro Nashville Police Department had arrested at least 19 of the few dozen protesters on trespassing charges, some of whom had locked themselves to cement-filled barrels to block parking garage entrances to the office. ‘We have no intention of leaving,” said the Rev. Jeannie Alexander from No Exceptions Prison Collective. “It’s a nonviolent, peaceful resistance.” https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/08/06/nashville-corecivic-private-prisons-headquarters-entrances-blocked-protesters/912735002/

Leatherwood Fills Republican Vacancy in State House Race (Memphis Daily News) Outgoing Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood is the Republican nominee for the state House seat held by the late Ron Lollar. Leatherwood was named the party’s nominee for the Nov. 6 general election for state House District 99 Monday, Aug. 6, in a decision by three members of the Shelby County Republican Party’s steering committee who live in the district. Lollar died suddenly less than a month before the August state legislative primaries. He was running unopposed in the Republican primary for a seventh term to the district covering northeast Shelby County. https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2018/aug/7/leatherwood-fills-republican-vacancy-in-state-house-race/

Grand Divisions Episode 11: Tennessee GOP takes a stab at unity, Democrats prepare for November (Tennessean) Over the weekend the vanquished Tennessee Republican gubernatorial candidates tried to grit their teeth and show support for Bill Lee, but didn’t stick around long enough to answer media questions. At the same time, Democrat Karl Dean and his supporters must find answers for how they’ll defeat an outsider with no political record. Both Lee and Dean join us on the podcast this week. Plus, we take a look at how each campaign could win, how Diane Black and Randy Boyd lost, and where the Senate campaign goes now that it’s time for the General Election. https://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/politics/tn-elections/2018/08/07/grand-divisions-episode-11-gop-takes-stab-unity-democrats-prepare-november/918089002/

Local Republican leaders call for unity (Times Free Press) The bumps and bruises from Thursday’s intramural squabble might still be tender, but now it’s time to forget them and suit up for the big game in November, local Republicans heard Monday. U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and the entire Republican state legislative delegation joined several county GOP elected officials and party stalwarts for a unity rally at the weekly Pachyderm meeting. Fleischmann said he’d attended a unity event in Nashville over the weekend and that statewide Republicans feel urgent about being unified and strong going into the Nov. 6 general election. He said there will be a “battle royale” for Congress this year and that the House is “very competitive.” https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2018/aug/06/local-gop-leaders-call-unity/476455/

Bredesen camp: ‘Status-quo is panicking’ (TN Journal/On the Hill) A memo from Phil Bredesen’s campaign manager Bob Corney warns of impending attacks from out-of-state dark money groups which he calls a sign that the “Washington status-quo is panicking” about the Democrat’s prospects in the U.S. Senate race. “While our opponent and her backers aim to divide and scare Tennesseans with half-truths and misinformation, Governor Bredesen is committed to bringing people together and putting Tennessee first,” Corney said in the memo. Here’s the full “State of the Tennessee U.S. Senate race” memo from Corney: http://onthehill.tnjournal.net/bredesen-camp-status-quo-is-panicking/

New Bredesen ad features Corker, Fleischmann speaking favorably of him; Fleischmann pushes back (Times Free Press) Tennessee U.S. Senate Democratic nominee Phil Bredesen and Republican nominee Marsha Blackburn are up online with dueling digital spots as they make their respective cases to voters in the Nov. 6 general election. The spot from Bredesen, a former governor and Nashville mayor, was posted Monday on his website. It features video of favorable statements about him made by Republicans, including incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, both of Chattanooga. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Blackburn of Franklin is highlighting her role as a state senator who successfully fought a proposed state income tax proposed in the early 2000s by some Republicans and championed by then-Gov. Don Sundquist. In her 15-second digital ad, Blackburn says, “here in Tennessee I fought my own party to stop a massive, job-killing state income tax. And we stopped it. We won.” https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2018/aug/06/new-bredesen-ad-features-corker-fleischmann/476461/

Blackburn campaigns on experience, not her gender (Johnson City Press) U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who became the first woman from the Republican Party in Tennessee nominated as a candidate for a statewide office on Thursday, said it is her experience, not her gender, that interest voters in the race for U.S. Senate. “We are going across the state and asking Tennesseans for their vote,” Blackburn, who faces former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in the Nov. 6 general election for the Senate seat now held by Republican Bob Corker, said Monday. “We’ve got 93 days to gain their support.” Jane Eskind, a Democrat, was the first woman in Tennessee to win her party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1978. Eskind, who died in 2016, lost that race to Republican incumbent Howard Baker. https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Politics/2018/08/06/Blackburn-campaigns-on-experience-not-gender.html?ci=stream&lp=10&p=

Blackburn touts role in fighting state income tax (TN Journal/On the Hill) Marsha Blackburn in her latest 15-second digital ad touts her rule in fighting a state income tax proposal made by then-Gov. Don Sundquist, a fellow Republican. “Here in Tennessee I fought my own party to stop a massive, job-killing state income tax,” Blackburn says in the ad. “And we stopped it. We won.” http://onthehill.tnjournal.net/blackburn-touts-role-in-income-tax-fight/

Blackburn touts Trump endorsement in US Senate race ad (AP) Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn is keeping President Donald Trump at the center of her Senate campaign in her second TV ad. The digital and statewide TV ad replays a Nashville rally in May when Trump boosted Blackburn. The ad touts Trump’s endorsement and Blackburn’s commitment to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, repeal the Affordable Care Act and keep tax cuts permanent. Blackburn is in a tight red-state race against popular Democratic ex-Gov. Phil Bredesen. Bredesen says he’ll be independent and support Trump’s good ideas for Tennessee and oppose the bad ones. Blackburn’s campaign is painting Bredesen as in lockstep with Washington Democrats. A recent Bredesen digital ad shows several Republicans, including Sen. Bob Corker, speaking kindly about Bredesen in news clips. Two of the Republicans issued irked statements about it. https://wreg.com/2018/08/07/blackburn-touts-trump-endorsement-in-us-senate-race-ad/

Congressman Roe speaks at noon Rotary (Morristown Citizen-Tribune) U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, spoke to the Noon Rotary Club at The Country Club last week on the eve of his election victory and hit on subjects from President Donald Trump to the Robert Mueller investigation to the Space Force. Roe, the U.S. congressman for the Tennessee First District, easily won his primary last Thursday with almost 74 percent of the vote. He will face Democrat Marty Olsen in the November general election. He spoke about President Trump extensively. “The president, I don’t think subtle would describe him,” Roe said. Roe told some stories about his interaction with the president the last two years. He said, at one point, he went to a Veterans Affairs bill signing and afterward the president gave him the pen he signed the bill with. He said Trump then asked him into the Oval Office and they spent half an hour talking about policy. https://www.citizentribune.com/news/election_2018/congressman-roe-speaks-at-noon-rotary/article_35c00a62-9992-11e8-871a-672c5c285321.html

Wounded Republicans face rocky future in Shelby County (Commercial Appeal) After Thursday’s rout of the Republican Party of Shelby County, I looked at the future of the county and Democratic party. But what about the future of the Republican party? In Tennessee’s largest and largely Democratic county the forecast isn’t sunny, as I said on WREG’s Informed Sources last week. Local businessman and political insider Karl Schledwitz — who presciently predicted a “big sweep” for Democrats in a letter the day before the election — also predicted hard times ahead for the local GOP party: “If these results hold up, Republicans will have a hard time recruiting county-wide candidates four years from now because they will not have the benefit of incumbency and they will not likely have the benefit of an open gubernatorial election, and the demographics continue to point toward increased Democratic advantage. https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/local/the-901/2018/08/06/9-01-thrashed-republicans-face-rocky-future-shelby-county/861575002/

MTSU professor: Nearly $1.4B in Tennessee exports could suffer from tariffs (Nashville Business Journal) Up to $1.38 billion in Tennessee exports could be impacted by tariffs in a deepening trade war, according to a new report from a Middle Tennessee State University professor. Political science professor Steven Livingston recently wrote a report on how products listed as potential targets for tariffs by countries like Mexico, Canada, China and the European Union would impact Tennessee companies. Compared to the rest of the country, Livingston said Tennessee’s exports are less affected than most states. While $1.38 billion is a big number, it represents about 4 percent of Tennessee’s total exports. But the biggest product targeted by tariffs is featured in a slew of country songs: Tennessee whiskey. https://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2018/08/06/mtsu-professor-nearly-1-4-billion-in-tennessee.html?iana=hpmvp_nsh_news_headline

Report: Tennessee in the Trade War (MTSU) http://capone.mtsu.edu/berc/global/sum18/main.html

Where are the corporate tax cut savings going? (Commercial Appeal) The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was celebrated by Republicans last year as a measure that would usher in new economic growth, business expansions, more jobs and wage increases long held back by the high tax rates levied on U.S. businesses. The corporate tax rate dropped to about 21 percent from 35 percent, a significant decrease that saved many Tennessee companies millions — or hundreds of millions of dollars. So where has the money gone? Many companies won’t say or are scant on specifics. Several publicly traded companies in Tennessee have issued news releases announcing bonuses or minimum wage increases, but few have offered details on the size and scope of those raises. Meanwhile, privately held companies in Tennessee have been reticent to share any of their spending strategies. https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/money/business/2018/08/06/tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-savings-tennessee-companies/915046002/

Why is Eastman’s bottom line growing? (Times News) Eastman Board Chair and CEO Mark Costa seems to think the Kingsport-based global specialty chemicals producer can work around President Trump’s trade war. Still, “trade uncertainty” was listed as a near-term headwind as Costa recently talked with Wall Street analysts about Eastman’s positive second quarter that included earnings growth and higher revenues in all four operating segments. “One sensitivity is trade and the tariffs that could be implemented by the U.S. and China in the coming months,” Costa noted. “At this point, we see no exposure to any of the U.S. tariffs that have been implemented or proposed, which highlights another benefit of vertical integration for most of our raw materials. Regarding the proposed tariffs, we see some modest but manageable exposure with our mitigating actions.” http://www.timesnews.net/Business/2018/08/06/div-class-libPageBodyLinebreak-br-div-111.html?ci=stream&lp=12&p=

The Pill by phone? Telemedicine birth control/PrEP service expands to Tennessee (News Sentinel) Need birth control? There’s an app for that — and three years after its U.S. debut, it’s now available in Tennessee. Telemedicine company Nurx (pronounced “new Rx”) announced Monday it’s expanded its services to the Volunteer State, following a push to have a larger presence in the South. It’s now available in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Through Nurx’s website or iOS app, women can obtain various types of prescription birth control, including about 40 brands of pills, an insertable ring and a wearable patch. First, said medical director Dr. Jessica Knox, women upload some information confirming their identity; then, they answer a series of questions to help doctors determine whether it’s safe for them to use birth control. https://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/health/2018/08/06/birth-control-nurx-tn-telemedicine-pill-contraceptives/917016002/


Frank Bruni: Democrats, Do Not Give Up on the Senate (New York Times) The chamber of Congress that Democrats are best positioned to wrest control of in the midterm elections is the House. That’s indisputable … More recently, Kyrsten Sinema in reddish Arizona and Phil Bredesen in redder Tennessee have emerged as fearsome contenders for seats being vacated by Trump-averse Republicans (Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, respectively). Democrats struck gold when Bredesen agreed to run: He’s a former two-term governor of Tennessee who exhibited bipartisan appeal. He’s polling strongly. And he’s campaigning sagely. In one ad he tells voters that if Trump pushes a policy “good for the people of Tennessee,” he’ll support it. “It doesn’t matter where it came from.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/07/opinion/democrats-senate-midterm-elections.html

George Korda: In Tennessee, negatively campaigning – positively – was a triangulation winner (News Sentinel) Americans don’t like negative political campaigning, polls say, and newly-christened Tennessee Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Lee’s victory seems to support that contention. However, it’s too early to believe the advantage now belongs to the angels of political campaigns’ better natures. Rather, Lee’s campaign was effective political messaging “triangulation.”  While U.S. Rep. Diane Black and Randy Boyd, a former state economic development commissioner, napalm-bombed each other with fiery attack ads, Lee didn’t follow suit. He negatively campaigned, positively. With his non-attack ads he contrasted himself to his two principal opponents – putting them in a negative light – as well as diminishing the typically consultant-driven, go-for-the-throat style. https://www.knoxnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/george-korda/2018/08/06/tn-negatively-campaigning-positively-triangulation-winner-korda-bill-lee/913722002/

Gayle Ray: Lethal injection drug puts corrections employees at risk (Tennessean) Many Tennesseans followed the recent trial regarding the new lethal injection protocol including the sedative midazolam, but few people realize the immense risk of harm to corrections officials if an execution does not go as planned. Midazolam has been used in disturbing executions in seven states. Eyewitnesses to those executions testified in the recent trial that the prisoners moaned, choked, gasped, shook, clenched their jaw, and reopened their eyes after the consciousness check. One Arizona prisoner gulped and gasped for nearly two hours during a midazolam execution.  https://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2018/08/06/lethal-injection-drug-harms-corrections-employees/915548002/






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