Wednesday, September 4

Survey: Gov. Bill Lee’s focus on vocational education is supported by voters across Tennessee (Tennessean) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s focus on vocational education is well regarded across the state, according to a new statewide survey. The governor entered office on an educational platform of expanding vocational opportunities to students. In his first few months in office, he earmarked $25 million for career training initiatives that would reach thousands of students.  According to the new poll by Tennesseans for Student Success, Tennesseans overwhelmingly — 89% — support the use of public funds for the focus on skilled trade and vocational education. LINK

Ramsey Solutions to Celebrate New HQ With Ribbon Cutting (Williamson Source) Ramsey Solutions will host a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the official opening of its new corporate headquarters in Franklin on Friday, September 6 …The celebration includes a 9am and 5pm ceremony. The morning event will feature remarks from CEO Dave Ramsey and Governor Bill Lee and the evening event will feature remarks by Senator Marsha Blackburn. LINK

State recognized for financial reporting (Overton Co. News) The state of Tennessee’s annual financial report once again is being recognized by the organization that sets standards for state accounting and financial reporting. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) awarded the state its “Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting” for the state’s annual financial report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018. The Division of Accounts in the Department of Finance & Administration received the recognition for the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). LINK

Grand old Robb-Hayes House gets new life with renovation by Austin Peay State University (Leaf-Chronicle) A grand old home perched atop Georgia Avenue on York Street in downtown Clarksville is getting a face-lift, courtesy of its new owner, Austin Peay State University. The home, known as the Robb-Hayes House or Cumberland Hall, was originally built in 1859 by Alfred Robb, who was mortally wounded in the nearby Battle of Fort Donelson during the Civil War. The home changed hands in the 1930s when it was purchased by the Hayes family. LINK

U of M plans to buy Audubon Baptist, 3 residences for middle school (Daily Memphian) The University of Memphis plans to buy Audubon Baptist Church, plus three residential properties, to accommodate a new middle school. With the new property, the university would have enough land to eventual include a university high school. The board of trustees will consider a plan Wednesday to buy the church, at 4060 Park, and three properties to the north. The church did not immediately respond Tuesday, Sept. 3, to a request for information. LINK

$7 tuition and ‘Mistress of Polite Literature’ degrees: What were the early years of UT like? (News Sentinel) In 1794, Knoxville was a vastly different area. It wasn’t a city yet, and Tennessee wouldn’t become a state for two more years. East Tennessee was still a territory, and what is now downtown Knoxville was mostly small-frame buildings with a post office and small shops selling essentials for living on a frontier. That year, a group of fewer than 20 students became the first class at Blount College, which would eventually become the University of Tennessee. LINK

Advocates are concerned after hearing a nurse was brutally attacked by a prisoner (WTVF-TV) Advocates are concerned after they heard a nurse was brutally attacked by a prisoner at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. It happened on Friday around 6p.m. According to a spokesperson for CoreCivic, the facility was placed on lock-down and the employee is expected to be okay. CoreCivic is a private Nashville-based company that’s been under scrutiny for years. “People should be asking, what needs to be done that something like this does not happen again?” Alex Friedmann said, “This particular facility has a really abysmal track record.” LINK

Hands-Free Tennessee Law (WKRN-TV) On July 1 the Hands-Free Tennessee Law was passed. The Tennessee Highway Patrol has given motorists time to adjust by issuing warnings and handing out educational material. The time has come that law enforcement will now be looking for drivers using their cellphones and issuing citations. The Tennessee Highway Patrol tweeted about Hands-Free Tennessee on September 3 regarding the law. LINK

State audit finds long wait times at driver services centers (WSMV-TV) A state audit revealed broken kiosks are driver services centers are contributing to long wait times News4 found recently. A News4 producer recently waited five hours to get a new driver’s license. “It’s one o’clock. Oh my God. They need to tighten up or they’re going to make me lose my job. This is crazy,” said one person waiting on Tuesday. People are this driver services center had been waiting for hours and didn’t even know what time it was. LINK

Grand Divisions Episode 66: Discussing ‘free-range legislators’ and medical marijuana with Rep. Jeremy Faison (Tennessean) Earlier this year, Rep. Jeremy Faison was on the outside looking in after then-House Speaker Glen Casada removed from his position as committee chairman. The move didn’t defeat Faison, who had experienced other setbacks including previously unsuccessfully running for House leadership.Today, he’s the newly elected House Republican caucus chairman. As Faison, who was a vocal critic of Casada’s leadership, looks to help the House enter a new era, he’s touting his defense of “rugged individualism” and embracing what he calls an ideology of “free-range legislators.” LINK

Speaker Sexton reappoints Howell to position (Cleveland Daily Banner) Howell told the Cleveland Daily Banner on Friday that it was an “honor to serve” again as committee chairman. He was first appointed to chair the committee prior to the 111th Session of the Tennessee General Assembly earlier this year. The session will reconvene in January. The 15-person committee is responsible for all laws related to infrastructure, including highways, bridges, railroads, as well as air, bus and vehicular transportation. In addition, the committee has regulatory jurisdiction over rules and regulations related to highways, railroad, air and waterway usage, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety. LINK

Nashville Mayor David Briley calls for Tennessee lawmakers to repeal bill banning sanctuary cities (Tennessean) Nashville Mayor David Briley is calling on state lawmakers to repeal an anti-sanctuary city law, with a promise to dedicate the full weight of the mayor’s office to support the effort. Briley signed an executive order Tuesday stating the city will challenge the constitutionality of HB 2315, a state law that went into effect this year, which ends local governments’ access to state economic development funds if they do not comply with a ban on “sanctuary city” policies. LINK

Dr. Manny Sethi steps aside from Healthy Tennessee as he pursues U.S. Senate seat (Times Free Press) Tennessee Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Dr. Manny Sethi is stepping down as head of Healthy Tennessee as he pursues the 2020 GOP nomination. The Vanderbilt surgeon’s wife, Maya Sethi, co-founder of the organization that provides free health fairs, educational opportunities and symposiums, will assume the duties of president and CEO. While Sethi is now the only major announced Republican candidate, former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty, who previously served as a state economic development commissioner, is widely expected to join the contest soon. LINK

Sethi steps down from nonprofit to focus on Senate race (TN Journal) Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi is stepping down as head of Healthy Tennessee while concentrating on his bid for the U.S. Senate. Sethi’s wife, Maya, will assume his former duties as president and CEO of the organization, which provides free health fairs and organizes symposiums and candidate forums. Sethi is the only major Republican in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander so far. Former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty is expected to formally enter the the race soon. LINK

Hagerty says ties to President Trump part of his U.S. Senate run conversation (WATN-TV) Bill Hagerty says his ties to President Trump are part of the conversation he’s having with Tennesseans about running for U.S. Senate. The now former ambassador to Japan who spent two years in the post before resigning this summer says, “I have been back just a short time, but I have had chance to talk to a lot of Tennesseans so far.” In an interview last week at his boyhood home in Gallatin, Hagerty was asked what he was hearing. “One, I think Tennesseans are very pleased with the job President Trump is doing,” he said first. “Wages are going up. Business confidence is high. There is a lot more investment businesses are making.” LINK

OPINION

Pam Sohn: Lawmakers must to be harder on opioids (Times Free Press) “Tennessee is among the hardest-hit states when it comes to the opioid epidemic.” That’s the first sentence of a state website dedicated to helping Tennesseans understand the enormity of the opioid epidemic here. In 2017 — two years ago — 1,268 people died from opioid overdose deaths in Tennessee. The opioid-involved overdose deaths per 100,000 persons was 19.3. And no wonder: The prescription rate per 100 persons was 94.4 — the third highest in the country and 1.5 times greater than the U.S. average. LINK

Michael Nelson: Tennessee’s sad history with impeachment (Daily Memphian) After the original 13, Tennessee was the third state added to the Union. Seventy years after admitting Tennessee in 1796, the rest of the country must have wondered if it made a mistake. Four of the first six federal officials to be impeached by the House of Representatives were Tennesseans, including the first president ever indicted for “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” Tennessee’s own Andrew Johnson. LINK

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