Friday, January 25

Governor Lee starts work on state budget touching every Tennessean (WKRN-TV) Just days after taking office, Governor Bill Lee begins a process tomorrow that touches nearly every Tennessean. Its the annual Tennessee state government budget hearings in front of the governor where the commissioners of each department usually update their needs and ways to save money. Thursday morning, Governor Lee offered a preview of his spending priorities for the budget he proposed to state lawmakers. “There are budget hearings in the next few days and there is a lot of work to be done,’ said the new governor. In the same state capitol room where he held his first cabinet meeting Tuesday, Bill Lee on Friday will be like Tennessee governors before him holding hearings about the state government budget that he must soon propose to Tennessee lawmakers. LINK

Gov. Bill Lee Weighs A Shift In Tennessee’s Priorities With His First Budget (WPLN Radio) Gov. Bill Lee is putting together his first budget proposal, and he has asked 28 state agencies to find places to trim. The new governor says this could help free up money to pay for his plans. Lee says that, although the state is doing well financially, he wants to make sure the new budget is fiscally conservative. To do that, Lee says funding cuts in some areas should be expected. “There’s never enough money to do everything that everyone wants,” Lee told reporters Thursday. “So, the best way to manage that is to start with, ‘How can we cut? How can we reduce costs that will allow us then to prioritize those things which we want to get done?'” LINK

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s first budget proposal to prioritize five areas (Tennessean) As he prepares to hold hearings that will shape the first budget of his administration, Gov. Bill Lee and his finance commissioner said Thursday their estimated $37.8 billion proposal will prioritize five key areas. Finance commissioner Stuart McWhorter said the administration’s primary focus will be K-12 education, criminal justice, mental health, health care and rural economic development. “Those will be areas of focus and the dollars will be focused in those areas as well,” he said. Among the notable absences on Lee’s priority list is higher education, which in recent years has seen significant investments from former Gov. Bill Haslam. LINK

Governor won’t commit to increasing K-12 spending (Daily Memphian) Gov. Bill Lee is asking every state department to prepare budgets as if they’ll face a 2 percent cut. And while he’s not planning an overall reduction in K-12 spending, he won’t commit to an increase for education either. It’s a situation that Shelby County lawmakers will follow closely because of the importance they put on education spending. Rep. John DeBerry, a Memphis Democrat, said he hopes Lee, once his new education commissioner, Penny Schwinn, comes on board, will talk to teachers, administrators and school board members and “continue to strengthen the funding that takes care of raises for our teachers and the level of education for our students.” LINK

Gov. Bill Lee issues more executive orders, building upon Haslam’s ethics policy (Tennessean) Gov. Bill Lee has issued three more executive orders, similar to those made by Gov. Bill Haslam when he entered office and only slightly changing requirements on ethics, transparency and non-discrimination practices. The three orders on Thursday followed Lee’s first executive order issued Wednesday, which called for state departments to focus on how to improve development in rural Tennessee. The first Executive Order that Lee issued on Thursday builds upon the ethics policy applying to executive branch employees that was established by Haslam. Lee’s order largely keeps in place Haslam’s ethics policy about employees who are required to file ethical disclosures, but adds all departments’ senior staff members, as well as senior advisers to the governor and staffers regularly interacting with the General Assembly members. LINK

Lee signs 3 executive orders on ethics, transparency (AP) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s newly signed executive orders show that he will largely follow his Republican predecessor’s footsteps when it comes to ethics disclosure, transparency and non-discrimination employment practices. Lee announced Thursday that the executive orders both underscore the state’s current approach to all three issues, but also expand state policies as well. “Earlier this week, I signed my first executive order to address issues facing our rural communities, and the three orders I signed today reflect firm expectations for how state government conducts business,” Lee said in a statement. “I believe in limited and accountable government, which is why I have emphasized my administration’s approach to ethics, transparency and non-discrimination in hiring.” LINK

More executive orders from Gov. Lee on ethics, transparency, and non-discrimination (TN Journal) Gov. Bill Lee has issued three more executive orders. Here’s the full release: Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued three executive orders to underscore and improve state government’s approach to ethics, transparency and non-discrimination practices. “Earlier this week, I signed my first executive order to address issues facing our rural communities, and the three orders I signed today reflect firm expectations for how state government conducts business,” said Lee. “I believe in limited and accountable government, which is why I have emphasized my administration’s approach to ethics, transparency and non-discrimination in hiring.”  LINK

Grand Divisions: Gov. Bill Lee takes office, faces heat over Medicaid stance (Tennessean) He has dropped the elect off his title. Now, the real work is underway for Gov. Bill Lee as he is in the middle of his first full week on the job as Tennessee’s 50th governor. We have the highlights from Saturday’s inauguration. Lee cited the challenges ahead in helping struggling rural communities, combating the opioid epidemic and finding ways to reduce the costs of health care. “These are the challenges of our day, and history will judge us based on how we meet them,” Lee said. But first … It didn’t take long for Lee to face some heat and a call to action specifically for policies that Lee campaigned against, such as Medicaid expansion. LINK

With new governor, House speaker, backers of school vouchers see opportunity in Tennessee (Tennessean) Tennessee’s change in leadership has emboldened some lawmakers and advocates eager to expand funding for a school voucher program. With a new governor and House speaker, there is a feeling among lawmakers that the climate is right to push a bill that will provide public money for parents that want to choose private schools or home schooling. It’s hard to quantify the amount of support in the Tennessee General Assembly, since many lawmakers are in a wait-and-see mode as Gov. Bill Lee develops his legislative agenda. Lee has said he is interested in supporting such a measure. LINK

The Dose: Inauguration of Tennessee’s 50th governor had applause, tears, protests and heavy rain (Tennessean) Bill Lee officially assumed the state’s highest office on Saturday. Thousands joined in the celebration, which began in worship at the Grand Ole Opry House, featured a 19-gun salute, and concluded with country star Luke Bryan headlining the Inaugural Ball. The day also marked the end of an photographic era: Jed DeKalb spent 38 years photographing the most important moments in the lives of five Tennessee governors. His final assignment before retirement was to document the departure of Bill Haslam. LINK

Majority Of Tennessee Counties See Unemployment Rates Drop (Chattanoogan) More than three-quarters of Tennessee’s 95 counties experienced a drop in unemployment during December 2018 according to data released Thursday by Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Dr. Jeff McCord. Seventy-six counties saw a decrease in unemployment in December; the rate remained unchanged in three counties, and 16 counties experienced an uptick in their jobless numbers. LINK

Tennessee And 45 Other States Win $120M For Defective Hip Implants (WPLN Radio) Tennessee will get a small slice of a $120 million nationwide settlement over defective hip replacements. States accused Johnson & Johnson of misleading patients about the safety of metal-on-metal hips. State attorneys general claim Johnson & Johnson’s orthopedic division, DePuy, deceived patients with  claims about how long the all-metal hips would last. The company held that less than 1 percent had problems after three years, when outside data from Europe showed it was more like 7 percent. Tennessee will get nearly $2.4 million, which can be used to fund more consumer protection lawsuits. LINK

University of Tennessee experts: Government shutdown will have lasting economic and social impact (News Sentinel) Impacts from the federal government shutdown, which entered its 34th day on Thursday, are likely to extend far beyond the hundreds of thousands of federal workers struggling to make ends meet without paychecks, according to professors of economics and social work at the University of Tennessee. The ongoing shutdown is affecting approximately 800,000 federal workers, close to half of whom are working without pay, while the rest remain on unpaid furlough. The situation has prompted some employees to turn to yard sales and pawn shops. LINK

SCS didn’t report sex allegation against a teacher to the state. Another school hired her. (Commercial Appeal) For nearly a year, Shelby County Schools did not notify the state about allegations of sexual abuse by a teacher, which appears to have allowed her to be hired at another school without raising any red flags.  Jasmine Edmond was indicted in December on two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure for an alleged sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student at Trezevant High. SCS placed Edmond on leave in March 2018 after the alleged relationship was reported, according to the Tennessee State Board of Education. Another school hired her in August after finding nothing wrong in her background check or in a review of her teaching license. LINK

Thousands of Old Tires to be Made into State Park Trail (Memphis Flyer) More than 10,000 waste tires were collected by volunteers and officials in T.O Fuller State Park Monday and those tires will soon be shredded and used for park trails. Nearly 500 volunteers, joined by officials from the city, county, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), as well as leaders from various partner organizations, including Clean Memphis, and Friends of T.O. Fuller State Park gathered at the park on Monday for the cleanup. Led by Tennessee State Parks Conservancy, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day event aimed to collect waste tires that will be recycled to form a new, nearly three-mile pedestrian and bike trail at the park. LINK

TN State Parks offering discounts for winter getaways (WBIR-TV) All 56 Tennessee State Parks are open and serving visitors, with numerous events and activities scheduled across the state in the coming days and weeks. “We have lots of ways to accommodate visitors,” said Brock Hill, deputy commissioner of Parks and Conservation. “Whether it’s through overnight stays, hikes for all tastes or events designed for specific parks, this is a great time of year to enjoy our state parks.” Tennessee State Parks feature 372 cabins, 36 campgrounds, 1,100 miles of trails and more than 80 waterfalls. The state parks are offering discounts of 25 percent off cabin and room rental rates through Feb. 28. LINK

TN agency now working overtime to process influx of federal unemployment claims (WBIR-TV) The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Thursday its employees are working extra hours now to process unemployment insurance claims for federal employees affected by the government shutdown. The TDLWD Unemployment Security Division’s federal unit said it has received nearly 1,000 unemployment claims from federal employees so far — which was an increase of approximately 100 claims from the previous week alone. LINK

Lee County School Board takes on state over guns (Kingsport Times-News) The Lee County School Board could not be more physically removed from the halls of state government in Richmond, nor any more politically relevant. But in its effort to protect school children, the board is making waves nationally and not just for its David vs. Goliath legal squabble. Rebuffed by the state over Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s ruling that Lee County may not arm teachers in its schools, the county has filed suit. That doesn’t happen often, and the case has national interest as other states face the same issue. But there’s another side to this matter that could impact the state’s highest office. Leading Lee County’s fight against the state is former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who was the Republican nominee for governor of Virginia five years ago. LINK

Cranking Up: State lawmakers dust off the Nashville rule machine with new bills (Memphis Flyer) So far, fans of sports betting, transparent government, and vape-free zoos have reasons to cheer as the Tennessee General Assembly cranked back up week before last, but fans of raw milk may have a reason to jeer. State lawmakers converged on Nashville and gaveled in the 111th General Assembly on Tuesday, January 9th. Lawmakers have filed bills to make it easier to bet on sports but harder to vape in public places and to legally get raw milk. Other bills expected this session might include cutting exemptions to the state’s Open Records Act and, perhaps, a medical marijuana bill named for President Donald Trump. LINK

Bill would expand career and technical education (Nashville Post) A new bill filed by freshman Senate Democrat Katrina Robinson of Memphis would expand career and technical education to Tennessee middle schools. Though new Republican Gov. Bill Lee repeatedly stressed the need for more career and technical education while on the campaign trail and since, a spokesperson said he is still reviewing legislation and did not comment on Robinson’s bill. “Even the best company can’t find and fill the skilled trade jobs openings we have because of our lack of skilled workforce as the result of the lack of focus on vocational, technical and agricultural education in our public school system for decades,” Lee said during the campaign. LINK

Voting rights could be restored for convicted felons in Tennessee (WSMV-TV) Convicted felons released from prison may soon have a voice about who gets elected. It wouldn’t matter what crime they committed. Hundreds of thousands of people who have felonies on their records in Tennessee could be impacted by the proposal. Democratic State Sen. Brenda Gilmore said if you served your time in prison, you should be allowed to vote. When you’re convicted of a felony in Tennessee, you lose your right to vote. Robert Sherrill knows what that’s like. He served five years in prison for drug charges and escaping from a Department of Children’s Services home. LINK

Tennessee is appealing a federal ruling on license reinstatements. Will the legislature act? (Tennessean) Amid appeals by the state to a federal judge’s ruling that driver’s licenses cannot be suspended due to a person’s inability to pay court costs or traffic ticket fines, the Tennessee General Assembly is expected to take up the issue this session. So far, two Memphis Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation related to the reinstatement of driver’s licenses, one to require courts to allow defendants to prove their inability to pay and another to add a second reinstatement center in Shelby County. An alternative bill related to license reinstatement is expected to be introduced by Republicans, though it remains to be seen what it will propose. LINK

Tennessee lawmakers propose no tampon tax, more diaper-changing tables, pregnant worker protections (Tennessean) Access to feminine care products, accommodations for pregnant workers and more diaper changing tables in public buildings are among the women’s issues a few Tennessee lawmakers are trying to tackle this session. Two female Democratic lawmakers have filed bills seeking to make pads and tampons more readily available to women, specifically the poor and incarcerated. Sen. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, is attempting to eliminate the sales tax on feminine hygiene products, while Sen. Katrina Robinson, D-Memphis, wants to require the state to make them freely available to female inmates. LINK

Tennessee lawmaker reintroduces bill criminalizing abortions after fetal heartbeat detected (Tennessean) A Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill that would make it a crime to perform or obtain an abortion in Tennessee after a fetal heartbeat is detected. A similar bill failed in 2017 a week after an opinion by the state’s attorney general called the measure “constitutionally suspect.” Tennessee Right to Life, a group that advocates against abortions, opposes the measure — as it did two years ago. The group is focused on advocating for abortion restrictions it believes can survive legal challenges, president Brian Harris said. LINK

New York and Tennessee go opposite directions on abortion law (WATE-TV) Abortion rules in New York and Tennessee are heading in opposite directions. New York’s Productive Health Act defines abortion as a fundamental right and allows late-term abortions after 24 weeks if the mother’s life or health is at risk or the fetus will not survive. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it into law Tuesday. In Tennessee, rules have been going the other way. The time limit on abortions in the Volunteer State is at 20 weeks. This, is in addition to the amendment that states nothing in Tennessee’s constitution gives a right to abortion or abortion funding. LINK

Paul Rose to face Eric Coleman for Tennessee Senate seat (AP) Republican Paul Rose and Democrat Eric Coleman are set to face off in the race for a west Tennessee Senate seat left open when Mark Norris became a federal judge. Unofficial results show Rose defeated three other candidates in the GOP portion of Thursday’s primary election in Senate District 32. Coleman ran unopposed and advances to face Rose in the general election on March 12. The solidly Republican district includes rural Tipton County and the suburbs of east Shelby County. A Collierville Republican, Norris served as state senator from 2001 to last year. President Donald Trump nominated Norris for a judgeship in Tennessee’s western district. Norris was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and his swearing-in was in November. LINK

Rep. Larry Miller’s bill would require top election officials to vacate office (Daily Memphian) Trying to circumvent the perception of impropriety in elections, state Rep. Larry Miller is sponsoring legislation that would force Tennessee’s top two election officials out of office if they run for election to another seat. Miller, a Memphis Democrat, said he had situations such as Georgia’s 2018 hotly-contested gubernatorial race in mind when he filed House Bill 29 this year. The Senate version is being carried by Sen. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville. The legislation isn’t a pot shot at Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a constitutional officer elected by the Legislature, or Tennessee Administrator of Elections Mark Goins, he said. Miller hopes to meet with Hargett soon to discuss the matter. LINK

Social media rips Williamson County Republican Party for sharing racist meme of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Tennessean) Social media was not kind to the Williamson County Republican Party after they shared a racist meme featuring U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D- N.Y. The image, included at the bottom of a newsletter sent by Debbie Deaver, chair of the Williamson County Republican Party, shows a woman interviewing Ocasio-Cortez and her opinion on the 1973 Supreme Court decisions Roe v. Wade, which affired a women’s right to have an abortion. The lawmaker is shown responding, “Thats (sic) the only two ways Mexicans can cross the river.” LINK

White House planning new energy push (Politico) Matthew Bruenig, founder of progressive think tank People’s Policy Project, authored a new paper Wednesday laying out the basis for a “Green” Tennessee Valley Authority. The paper proposes four amendments necessary for the public power company to decarbonize its electricity generation, including amending the TVA Act to permit “a new class of green power bonds to finance the capital expenditures required by its green energy buildout.” LINK

Alexander votes for both Republican and Democrat proposals to end shutdown (WJHL-TV) Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) voted twice to end the partial federal government shutdown by supporting both Republican and Democratic proposals on Thursday. The Senate considered plans from both sides of the aisle. The Republican plan to reopen the government would have given President Trump the $5.7 billion he wants to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. The Democrats plan didn’t include any money for the wall. Alexander voted for both, but ultimately the rival proposals failed to get the necessary 60 votes. “I voted twice today to open the government because it should never have been shut down,” Alexander said in a statement . LINK

How Sens. Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn voted on two key government shutdown bills (Tennessean) U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn cast different votes on Thursday on a plan from Democrats to end the ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government. The upper chamber took up two separate measures Thursday afternoon aimed at ending the shutdown, which has lasted 34 days. On the first vote, the chamber considered President Donald Trump’s plan to reopen the government. The president’s proposal, among other things, would have provided $5.7 billion toward his effort to build a wall along the southern border of the United States. But Democrats opposed the measure due to the fact that it provided only temporary protections for some immigrants and because it would have made it more difficult for those seeking asylum in the United States. LINK

‘We know that walls work’: Sen. Marsha Blackburn stands firm on border wall (Leaf-Chronicle) Sen. Marsha Blackburn isn’t new to Washington, but she is new to her job as a senator for Tennessee. “My role has changed a little bit because I’m representing the entire state, not just my Congressional district,” said Blackburn in a sit-down interview with The Leaf-Chronicle on Tuesday. But with her new assignments on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Blackburn said she’s still focused on the needs of Fort Campbell, and of the district she represented until recently. LINK

Federal workers group blasts Blackburn over shutdown vote (Times Free Press) Tennessee federal workers, labor groups and allies are blasting freshman U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn over the Brentwood Republican’s refusal to support a Democratic plan to end the ongoing partial federal government shutdown. The group also charges members haven’t been able to reach Blackburn by phone, that she doesn’t have an office email address to contact her office, that she’s ignoring their letters and hasn’t bothered to open an office in Nashville, Tennessee’s second largest city. LINK

What the Shutdown Is Costing State and Local Governments (Governing) As more than 1 million federal and contract employees struggle to make ends meet after missing a month of pay, the longest government shutdown in U.S. history is also starting to take a bite out of states and cities’ revenue. The Washington, D.C., region is by far the most affected. Around 400,000 federal and contract workers there are impacted by the impasse, which has entered its fifth week. All told, the region has so far missed out on nearly $200 million in tax revenue. This week, Washington, D.C.’s finance chief said the city has lost more than $47 million in income and sales tax revenue. That number could balloon to more than $142 million if the shutdown lasts eight weeks. LINK

7 candidates qualify for 22nd District state Senate primary in race to replace Mark Green (Leaf-Chronicle) Four Republicans, one Democrat, and two independent candidates met Thursday’s noon candidate qualifying deadline in Montgomery, Houston and Stewart counties for the 22nd District state Senate special election this spring. The Republican candidates are Betty M. Burchett, Jeff Burkhart, Jason D. Knight and Bill Powers. Juanita Charles is the lone Democrat on the ballot, and the independents are Doyle Clark and David L. Cutting. The Senate seat was officially vacated Jan. 3 by now-7th District U.S. Rep. Mark Green. Earlier this month, the Montgomery County Commission selected Rosalind Kurita, who had previously been the state senator for 12 years, to return to the seat on an interim basis until the special election is held. LINK

GM to Invest $22 Million in Tennessee Plant (Reuters) General Motors Co said on Thursday it will invest $22 million at its Tennessee plant to build fuel-efficient engines. The U.S. automaker also said it would add more than 200 jobs at the Spring Hill plant for production of new Cadillac XT6. The plant, which also makes the popular GMC Acadia mid-size SUV, employs about 3,800 people. LINK

Meek Mill, Jay-Z, and other high-profile supporters launch initiative for criminal justice reform (CBS News) Musician Meek Mill’s voice is a familiar sound in the hip-hop world, but now he wants to use it for another purpose: to change the criminal justice system. Flanked by a group of very high-profile supporters, including Jay-Z and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, Mill announced the launch of the Reform Alliance. “I’ve been on probation since the age of 18. I’m 31 years old,” Mill said. In 2017, Mill was sentenced to serve two to four years in state prison for a minor probation violation after a decade-old gun and drug possession conviction. After public protests and legal appeals, he was released after serving five months. LINK

GEORGIA: Is expanding school choice a wise choice for Georgia? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) In touring a private academy Wednesday in his first official school visit as Georgia’s new lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan outdid Betsy DeVos. In her early weeks in office, the controversial U.S. education secretary went to a public school before visiting a private school to spotlight the benefits of school choice. With Duncan’s high-profile visit to a religious school in Atlanta where students receive tuition subsidies from the state, education advocates fear a signaling of a renewed push for school choice. LINK

MONTANA: Rally at Montana Capitol supports public funding for private schools (Sun Times) “Every student learns differently” was a statement echoed by many during Thursday’s National School Choice Week rally at the Montana Capitol. The rally, hosted by Americans for Prosperity and the Montana Family Foundation, was attended by about 70 people, including Elsie Arntzen, Montana’s superintendent of public instruction. Signs carried by some of those brave enough to face the cold at the Capitol read “Greater education comes from greater choice” and “Education opportunity for all!” LINK

NEBRASKA: School choice supporters tout tax credit bill (KETV) Students from private schools danced and waved scarves in Warner Chamber of the State Capitol Thursday to celebrate National School Choice Week. Parents such as April Garcia emotionally expressed how the only way she could afford to send her first-grader to Christ Lincoln School was because of a private scholarship. “It’s unfortunate that more families don’t have the opportunity to place their child in a school of their choosing purely due to financial burdens,” Garcia said. That’s why Gov. Pete Ricketts and other lawmakers support Elkhorn state Sen. Lou Ann Linehan’s LB 670. It would allow private school donors to receive tax credits, up to $10 million the first year. That amount could grow over a million dollars a year, depending upon its success. LINK


Bill Frist: Why Tennessee should join 35 other states in adopting a historic tax credit (Tennessean) Earlier this week, Gov. Bill Lee made the commendable decision to direct all state agencies to find ways to improve how they serve rural Tennessee regions. “My administration will place a high emphasis on the development and success of our rural areas,” Governor Lee said in announcing his first executive order. I strongly support our Governor’s committed focus, and have given thought to opportunities to move our rural towns, main streets, and downtowns forward. What are some of the ways we can stimulate wage growth for some of our most vulnerable, improve the well-being of all our citizens, and pass along a better Tennessee to future generations?  One proven way lies with harnessing our heritage. LINK

Column: Four ways to clean up your cyber image (News Sentinel) In my last column I wrote about positive first impressions. My pointers were all about face-to-face interactions, or, in hipper terms, IRL (in real life). But what about virtual interactions? Can one make a good or bad first impression in the digital world? Absolutely! And in many ways, this precarious platform could pose even more risk. “Digital is a lasting footprint,” said DeRoyal Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Harmon. “A picture says a thousand words. It is so easy to put digital content out there with a press of a button and so many people do it without thinking twice. Many people may see your digital platform before ever meeting you in person, and it may or may not reflect who you really are, but people will assume that is who you are and it does leave lasting impressions.” LINK

Guest Column: I walked across America’s public lands. Now I want to protect them. (Tennessean) The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). was established in 1964 by bipartisan lawmakers who wanted to protect our country’s natural resources for future generations – including veterans like me. It is funded by royalties paid by private oil companies drilling offshore, so it costs the taxpayers nothing but protects and provides public spaces for communities across the nation. Here in Tennessee alone, the LWCF has invested over $201 million in preserving the state’s historic battlefields, scenic trails, and breathtaking mountain ranges. Unfortunately, in September Congress allowed the LWCF to expire and has since failed to reauthorize and fully fund the program. LINK


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