Tuesday, June 30

Vacuum maker adds 500 jobs in Cookeville (Times Free Press) The maker of Hoover, Dirt Devil and Oreck vacuum cleaners is expanding its Cookeville, Tennessee plant and adding 500 more jobs over the next five years. TTI Floor Care North America said it will invest $20 million to increase manufacturing at its facility in Putnam County to add several new production lines, products and shifts at the facility … “Now more than ever, we know Tennesseans need access to job opportunities,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said in an announcement of the expansion last week. “As we work to restart our economy, major investments like this from TTI Floor Care will help our economic rebound considerably.” LINK

Gov. Bill Lee announces $2.3M grant for 8 new developments (WVLT-TV Knoxville) Governor Bill Lee announced and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe eight new Site Development Grants that totaled more than $2.3 million. The grants will be used to help communities achieve Select Tennessee site certification and prepare industrial sites for economic development projects. “These funds will continue to help Tennessee communities attract jobs and enhance the quality of life for their residents,” Governor Lee said. “I congratulate the recipients and thank them for their efforts in building and growing businesses here in Tennessee.” LINK

Hamilton County, city governments to see $10.06 million under state-approved grant program (Times Free Press) Hamilton County, the city of Chattanooga and the county’s nine other municipalities can expect to see a combined $10.06 million in one-time funds courtesy of a Local Government Support Grants program created by Gov. Bill Lee and state legislators in an effort to address losses from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The money is part of a $210.43 million pot getting divvied up among the state’s 95 counties and 345 municipalities as the result of a decision by Lee and lawmakers to double a previously approved $100 million infrastructure grant fund for local governments. LINK

Gov. Lee extends Tennessee’s state of emergency through August 29 (WTVF-TV Nashville) Gov. Bill Lee is extending Tennessee’s state of emergency through August 29 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, the governor signed three executive orders which will extend certain provisions and allow for the continued suspension of various laws and regulations in order to contain the spread of the virus. LINK

Gov. Lee Extends COVID-19 State Of Emergency For Two More Months (WPLN Radio Nashville) Gov. Bill Lee has extended Tennessee’s state of emergency for two more months. The original order was set to expire tomorrow. Lee’s office said on Monday the governor signed three executive orders that continue the suspension of certain regulations and requirements, specially on the medical field, until Aug. 29. Executive Order 50 extends previous provisions to access to telemedicine, and allows the take-out and delivery of alcohol sales by restaurants. LINK

As new coronavirus cases mount in Tennessee, Gov. Lee extends emergency order (Tennessean) As cases of coronavirus continue to soar in Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee extended his state of emergency declaration on Monday, along with a host of other provisions that were set to expire this week. Tennessee will remain in a state of emergency until at least Aug. 29, according to Lee’s latest order. The governor’s declaration continues the suspension of a multitude of laws and regulations as the state continues to grapple with the spread of coronavirus. LINK

Governor extends State of Emergency until at least August 29 (WSMV-TV Nashville) The governor has extended the State of Emergency for Tennessee in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order #50, which means that order will extend until at least Aug. 29. Lee’s office said the order allows the government to “facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19 through regulatory flexibility, promoting social distancing and avoidance of large gatherings, and protecting vulnerable populations.” LINK

High School Football in limbo with Governor’s decision (WKRN-TV Nashville) With Governor Bill Lee extending Tennessee’s state of emergency through August 29th the high school football season could be on hold. The order calls to shut down all contact sports, with the exception of college and professional sports like the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Titans. Tennessee’s two week dead period for high school sports is underway, so no one is allowed to conduct any kind of organized workouts until July 6th. That gives the state and the TSSAA two weeks to figure out if football practice can start or not on the prep level. LINK

Governor Lee extends State of Emergency as coronavirus cases top 42,000 in Tennessee (WZTV-TV Nashville) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has extended the State of Emergency in Tennessee through August 29. The governor signed Executive Order No. 50 to extend the State of Emergency as COVID-19 cases reached 42,297 in Tennessee. The order allows the suspension of a number of regulations and other measures in efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. LINK

Governor extends state of emergency (Nashville Post) Gov. Bill Lee on Monday signed three executive orders, including one that extends his declared state of emergency set to expire later this week through Aug. 29. Regulations related to telemedicine, to-go alcohol and local government meetings by teleconference are among the long list of loosened restrictions extended through Aug. 29. LINK

Lee extends state of emergency until Aug. 29 (TN Journal) Gov. Bill Lee is extending Tennessee’s state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic until Aug. 29. Here’s the full release from the governor’s office: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee today signed Executive Order No. 50 to extend the State of Emergency related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to August 29, 2020. The order allows the continued suspension of various laws and regulations and other measures in these orders to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19 through regulatory flexibility, promoting social distancing and avoidance of large gatherings, and protecting vulnerable populations. LINK

Gov. Lee extends State of Emergency, giving him continued discretion to respond to virus crisis (WBIR-TV Knoxville) Gov. Bill Lee extended Tennessee’s State of Emergency on Monday to Aug. 29, giving Tennessee continued flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. By signing Executive No. 50, Lee is allows orders to continue in place that address everything from how employers should respond to the crisis to requiring those with the virus to stay home to limiting nursing home visitations in the state. LINK

Tennessee again extends COVID-19 state of emergency (AP) Gov. Bill Lee on Monday extended the state of emergency for another two months as Tennessee continues to see large jumps in people testing positive for COVID-19. Lee, a Republican, initially imposed the state of emergency on March 12 in order to free up funding and relax rules regarding the treatment and containment of COVID-19. It was set to expire June 30 after he first extended the declaration in May. LINK

Gov. Lee extends State of Emergency to Aug. 29, 2020 (WATE-TV Knoxville) Gov. Bill Lee signed three new executive orders Monday aimed at combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the state of Tennessee. This, as the Tennessee Department of Health, reported 2,125 new and probable COVID-19 cases on Monday from two days’ worth of data: As of Monday, the total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 42,297; including 592 deaths, 2,599 hospitalizations and 26,962 recovered. LINK

TN Gov. Lee extends state of emergency over COVID-19 (WRCB-TV Chattanooga) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has extended the state of emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic through August 29. Executive Order 50 allows the continued suspension of various regulations “in order to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19.” The order urges people to continue limiting activity and stay home when possible. It also urges people to wear a face covering when close to others and avoid gatherings of 50 or more. LINK

Governors State of Emergency extension cuts into high school football season (WJHL-TV Johnson City) The start of the high school football season, just took a serious hit today when Gov. Bill Lee extended Tennessee’s state of emergency through August 29th, that would be the day after week 2 football games. The governor said limit contact sports with a requirement or substantial likelihood of routine close contact. Right now schools are in the dead period which means coaches and players have 2 weeks off, but when they return practices will be different if you have to limit contact. There has been talking football could be pushed back or played in the spring, but right now that just talks. I spoke to a couple of high school head coaches and asked them if they thought high school football would start on time. LINK

New executive order extends state of emergency, previous provisions (WBBJ-TV Jackson) Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order Monday to extended the State of Emergency related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Lee’s latest executive order has extended a State of Emergency through August. This comes after a record breaking spike in Coronavirus cases Friday with 1,410 cases, making last week the worst week of the pandemic. LINK

Governor extends state of emergency through August (Daily Memphian) Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order No. 50 Monday, June 29, to extend the State of Emergency related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to Aug. 29. The order allows the continued suspension of various laws and regulations and other measures to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19 through regulatory flexibility, promoting social distancing and avoidance of large gatherings, and protecting vulnerable populations. LINK

Statewide grant available to help keep child care programs running during coronavirus pandemic (WATE-TV Knoxville) Childcare Tennessee announced a statewide grants program that will help to keep child care programs up and running for families and their children as the state continues to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership is between Childcare Tennessee, Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and the Tennessee Department of Human Service. The COVID-19 Loss of Income Grant will allow child care providers licensed with the TDHS to apply for lost income if their agency closed because of the pandemic. LINK

State revises triage guidance after discrimination complaint (Nashville Post) Disability rights advocate says new recommendations could be model for every state. The State of Tennessee has amended its emergency medical triage guidance after a group of disability rights advocacy groups filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services alleging the state’s recommendations violated federal anti-discrimination laws. The guidance, published in 2016 in a joint effort between Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration and the Tennessee Hospital Association, advised hospitals not to allocate necessary care to individuals with certain medical conditions or disabilities when not enough resources are present to distribute to every patient. LINK

Deadline to renew TN hemp license is Tuesday (WBIR-TV Knoxville) The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s deadline for hemp growers to renew their license is Tuesday, June 30. Federal and State laws require growers to be licensed and you can obtain those licenses all year-round. You can find the application to apply here. For additional information about Tennessee’s hemp program you can email industrial.hemp@tn.gov or call 615-837-5137. LINK

Coronavirus updates: Tennessee reports 2,125 new coronavirus cases (Tennessean) The Tennessee Department of Health announced 2,125 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the state’s total to 42,297 cases. The number released Monday includes Sunday’s new case count, which wasn’t released due to an “unplanned shutdown” of the system that houses statewide data. The state reported eight new deaths, bringing the death toll to 592. At least 2,599 people have been hospitalized in Tennessee, and 26,962 have recovered. Over the last two days, 803 people have recovered. LINK

Long lines reported at coronavirus testing sites across mid-state ahead of holiday weekend (Tennessean) The lines to receive a coronavirus test were unusually long Monday across the mid-state. At the Nissan Stadium testing site, hundreds of cars wove through the parking lot Monday as their drivers awaited coronavirus testing. A police officer directed traffic as many of the cars held multiple people inside awaiting tests.  Lorie Liebig, who lives in East Nashville, went to Nissan Stadium on Monday to get a coronavirus test but quickly left when she saw how long the line of cars stretched. LINK

Tennessee, 7 other states, could be added to New York quarantine order (Tennessean) Travelers from eight additional states — including Tennessee — could soon be added to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut’s mandatory quarantine order, which would push the total to 16 states representing nearly half the country’s population. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office intends to analyze each state’s COVID-19 data Monday night and Tuesday morning to determine which states will join the original eight subject to the travel order, which requires travelers from places with high infection rates to isolate for 14 days upon arrival in New York or the two neighboring states. LINK

COVID-19 cases spike at Tennessee Department of Children’s Services facilities (Times Free Press) At least 164 children living in facilities operated or licensed by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services have tested positive for COVID-19, the biggest known outbreak in the nation linked to a single child welfare agency. The children, both boys and girls, tested positive inside county juvenile detention centers licensed by DCS, in 49 residential facilities privately operated by DCS contractors for kids age 10 and up and at Wilder Youth Development Center in Fayette County, a secure facility for teens found delinquent that is managed directly by DCS. LINK

Country singer Chase Rice facing criticism after playing Tennessee concert (WTVF-TV Nashville) Country singer Chase Rice is catching criticism for playing a concert in Tennessee as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. Rice posted video on Instagram of his packed show at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, which is a music venue about three hours east of Nashville in Petros. People on social media pointed out the lack of masks and social distancing. Kelsea Ballerini was among those calling Rice out, tweeting in part: “Imagine being selfish enough to put thousands of people’s health at risk, not to mention the potential ripple effect, and play a NORMAL country concert right now.” LINK

If I was worried about it, I wouldn’t have went,’ Chase Rice fans say after singer gets backlash for hosting concert amid COVID-19 (WATE-TV Knoxville) Chase Rice fans who went to his concert Saturday night said they had a great time and don’t regret their decision to go during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Kristin Armstrong, 29, said the concert was the first concert she ever attended, and she said it wasn’t that crowded. On top of fewer people, the venue, Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, was outdoors. LINK

Country singer Chase Rice criticized for Brushy Mountain concert this weekend (WBIR-TV Knoxville) As COVID-19 cases surge in Tennessee, a fellow country singer is calling out performer Chase Rice for his concert at Brushy Mountain this weekend. The singer played to a crowd on the lawn of the former state prison in Morgan County on Saturday night. Rice has since deleted his social media posts showing what looks like a crowd of people gathered in front of the stage with no visible masks, but other users screen recorded them before they were deleted. LINK

Contact tracers overwhelmed by increasing COVID-19 cases in Tennessee (WKRN-TV Nashville) Tennessee reopens and people shop, eat out, and enjoy summer activities protecting against possible COVID-19 exposure is not so obvious said infectious disease doctor, William Schaffner. “There are people who have no symptoms what so ever who are capable of transmitting this virus,” explained Dr. Schaffner, “So contact tracing is very very important.” Yet as cases spike in our state, contact tracers have an overwhelming task at hand. LINK

Nashville’s mask mandate seen as key to keeping city open (Tennessean) Nashville health leaders see a face mask mandate as a bulwark that can keep the city from moving backward in its reopening plan — something they’ve expressed they have little desire to do. Face masks are required in Nashville starting Monday, with several exemptions. With COVID-19 cases surging in recent weeks, officials hope that with public buy-in, masks could curb the spread of the virus. LINK

MNPD will issue citizen advisory notices to individuals not complying with face mask order (WZTV-TV Nashville) The Metro Nashville Police Department will issue citizen advisory notices to individuals not complying with new mandatory requirements to wear face coverings in public. The department said in a press release that it is providing printed advisories to be given to individuals who are spotted in public not wearing face coverings. Officers have been instructed to educate and warn citizens concerning the requirement until further notice. Masks and face coverings must be worn when in indoor and outdoor public spaces as part of Public Health Order 8, which took effect on Monday, June 29 at 12:01 a.m. LINK

Knoxville mayor: Masks are required inside city buildings, mandate goes into effect Wednesday (News Sentinel) Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon has mandated that masks must be worn inside city-owned buildings effective July 1, the city announced Monday afternoon. “Wearing a mask is one thing we know will help mitigate the spread of this virus,” she said in a statement. “Everyone should be wearing a mask inside all public buildings and in places where physical distancing is difficult. It is just common courtesy. LINK

Hamilton County considers mask mandate as Tennessee renews COVID-19 emergency order (Times Free Press) As Tennessee prepares for several more weeks in a state of emergency, Hamilton County is “seriously considering” mandating masks be worn in public places to stop the spread of the virus. Gov. Bill Lee extended two emergency executive orders Monday that were set to expire Wednesday, stretching Tennessee’s April state of emergency declaration an additional eight weeks through Aug. 29. LINK

Love your neighbor… wear a mask’: Sullivan Co. leaders urge mask-wearing as COVID-19 cases rise (WJHL-TV Johnson City) Leaders in Sullivan County are urging people to voluntarily comply with safety measures as COVID-19 case numbers rise in Northeast Tennessee. The message comes as states and cities, including Nashville, are implementing mandatory public mask-wearing. “Love your neighbor, protect your neighbor, wear a mask,” said Dr. Stephen May with the Sullivan County Health Department. LINK

Did the top juvenile court judge in Memphis wear a ‘Thin Blue Line’ face mask in court? (Commercial Appeal) The top judge in Memphis and Shelby County Juvenile Court, Dan Michael, appeared early this month for a court session conducted by video conference. He was wearing something that drew attention. It was a black face mask with a blue line down the middle, according to a photo snapped by someone on the video call that day. It looked like a “Thin Blue Line” symbol, which represents support of police officers. LINK

Austin Peay shuts down athletics after positive tests for COVID-19 (Leaf-Chronicle) Austin Peay shut down all athletic activity and closed its facilities Saturday after a group of athletes tested positive for COVID-19, according to the athletics department Monday. “While these positive tests are regrettable, I am encouraged that the procedures we put in place prior to the return of our student-athletes worked as we expected,” Austin Peay athletics director Gerald Harrison said in a statement. “Once we were notified of an individual displaying COVID-19 symptoms within our family we began implementing our plans, which ultimately led to the closure of our facilities for workouts. The health and safety of our Governors family is paramount.” LINK

APSU pauses student-athlete voluntary workouts following COVID-19 cluster (WTVF-TV Nashville) The Austin Peay State University Athletic Department announced Monday it would be suspending voluntary workouts due to what the university is calling a small cluster of positive COVID-19 tests among its student-athletes. Eleven APSU student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19. The athletics department placed individuals in single-occupancy rooms once they were notified of the first positive test and individuals determined to be at risk through contact tracing were placed in self-quarantine. LINK

Seeing things that aren’t there: one woman battle with COVID-19 hallucinations (WZTV-TV Nashville) A Franklin woman is sharing her story about dealing with hallucinations while in the hospital battling COVID-19. From feeling like she was on fire, to feeling frozen like an ice sculpture, and seeing things that weren’t there, Kim Victory said her battle in the hospital was a wild one. Victory said she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March. She spent three and a half weeks there. LINK

Sevier County tackles spike in COVID-19 cases (WVLT-TV Knoxville) Sevier County businesses were asked to attend a meeting in Pigeon Forge Monday to talk about the COVID-19 situation and the nearly 300% rise in cases in the county. There’s been a big spike since tourism reopened. Monday’s meeting was a reminder of the Tennessee Pledge. Inside The LeConte Center, a closed meeting to the media brought business owners together with county leaders. Business owners who attended say health leaders encouraged them to use the CDC’s protocols to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. LINK

43 protesters arrested after rally at Legislative Plaza in Nashville (Tennessean) The Tennessee Highway Patrol confirmed that more than 40 protesters were arrested Sunday night and Monday morning after a rally at the state Capitol in downtown Nashville. The protesters arrested Sunday, including two juveniles, were transported to the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office after being detained at Legislative Plaza, said THP spokesperson Lt. Bill Miller. The majority of the 43 arrests occurred Sunday night, but four adults and one juvenile were arrested Monday morning, Miller said, on charges of camping on state property. LINK

Tennessee counties told to use new mail voting info, per court order (AP) Tennessee election officials on Monday distributed guidance required by a judge for counties to update their absentee voting information to reflect a court-ordered voting-by-mail option for all eligible voters during the coronavirus pandemic. State Elections Coordinator Mark Goins sent the instructions after plaintiffs attorneys last week named 20 counties with absentee request forms or other website information that didn’t correctly reference COVID-19 as a reason to vote absentee. The 20 counties now appear to have edited their websites with the COVID-19 information. LINK

S.A.V.E. asks high court to hear election machine case (Daily Memphian) A Shelby County group seeking election security reforms is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case after being turned down at two lower court levels. Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections and a group of former and current Memphis officials who sued Secretary of State Tre Hargett in a quest to change the county’s voting procedures have filed a petition seeking a hearing before the high court. The plaintiffs want the Supreme Court to decide they have standing to sue and to send the case to a federal district court for a preliminary injunction hearing “to protect voters” in time for the fall elections. LINK

Pair of Tennessee abortion laws to remain unenforced after Supreme Court ruling (Tennessean) Two Tennessee laws will remain unenforced after a narrow Supreme Court decision Monday. The high court struck down state restrictions on abortion clinics for the second time in four years, signaling that its conservative shift under President Donald Trump has not eliminated a deep split over abortion rights. LINK

Attorney General advises Election Finance Registry to vote again on Towns settlement (Daily Memphian) On the advice of the Attorney General, the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance is set to confirm its April email vote to reduce civil penalties against state Rep. Joe Towns over two years of late campaign reports, “secret” action that led to an open meetings lawsuit. The meeting is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, at the Embassy Suites in Franklin. Bill Young, executive director of the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, said the vote is being taken “at the advice of the Attorney General’s Office just to reaffirm what we did before.” LINK

After Another Legal Setback, A Tennessee Anti-Abortion Group Wants To Re-Evaluate Their Strategy (WPLN Radio Nashville) A U.S. Supreme Court decision is being described as a “small victory” for abortion rights supporters in Tennessee, and it’s causing a leading anti-abortion group to call for a reset on opponents’ strategy. The court ruled Monday that doctors do not have admitting privileges at a local hospital, striking down a Louisiana law. Tennessee has had a similar measure on the books since 2012, but it hasn’t been enforced for the past four years, when the Supreme Court struck down the same law in Texas. LINK

Program that helps thousands of Tennesseans with disabilities could be cut (WTVF-TV Nashville) A program that helps thousands of Tennesseans with disabilities could be eliminated due to state budget cuts. The Family Support Program under the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) started in 1992 and helped around 4,671 families across the state in 2019. The program assists people of all ages, with various physical and intellectual disabilities, and there is no income requirement. Families apply each year, and most receive $1,300 a year to help cover costs of respite care, reimbursement for mileage to and from doctor’s appointments, and medical supplies that aren’t covered by insurance. LINK

Requests for mail-in ballots on the rise (Johnson City Press) Washington County election officials said Monday they have received more than 900 requests to vote by mail in the Aug. 6 election. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is July 30. Early voting in the election, which includes state and federal primaries, as well as a a county general election, begins July 17. “We are seeing an increase in our requests for mail-in ballots,” said Maybell Stewart, Washington County’s administrator of elections. Stewart said the March 3 county primary saw 427 absentee ballots returned in Washington County. LINK

Absentee ballot requests increasing across Northeast Tennessee due to COVID-19 concerns (WJHL-TV Johnson City) Northeast Tennessee counties have seen an increase in absentee ballot requests, due to concerns of spreading or contracting COVID-19. Pheben Kassahun explains how these early numbers will effect the upcoming elections in August and in November. Unicoi County Administrator for Elections Sarah Fain told Kassahun the county has seen a 75% increase in absentee ballots for the August primary. The office plans to make adjustments like extending work hours to tend to the anticipated influx ballots. LINK

Caucus chairman responds to Gov. Lee’s extension of emergency order (WKRN-TV Nashville) On Monday, Governor Bill Lee extended his state of emergency declaration which encourages Tennesseans to practice social distancing and wear face coverings until at least late August. Lee signed a total of three new executive orders to extend provisions that will help the state fight the virus’ spread, to include practices such as telehealth, electronic meetings for lawmakers, alcohol delivery, and encouraging Tennesseans to wear face masks. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart shared his thoughts. LINK

FedEx Ground to hire 320 employees in Nashville (WKRN-TV Nashville) After experiencing a surge in package volume during the COVID-19 Pandemic, FedEx says they are looking to hire 320 new team members. FedEx Ground is looking for interested candidates that are at least 18-years-old. Position benefits include: Competitive wages dependent on shift; currently offering additional pay for weekend work; Wide range of benefits after a minimum threshold of service, including medical, dental and vision coverage, paid time off, holiday pay and tuition reimbursement. LINK

Amazon to build massive shipping hub in Nashville (WSMV-TV Nashville) The Nashville Yards towers aren’t even complete, but Amazon is continuing to show its investment in Nashville. Amazon has plans to build a massive shipping hub in the 100 Oaks area. The main goal of this facility will be to get out same-day deliveries and Prime Now online orders. Last year, Amazon paid nearly $23 million for the old Harry’s frozen food warehouse on Armory Drive. They kept quiet for a while about what the plans were for the site, but new files to the Metro Board of Zoning show that a central shipping hub is in the works. LINK

Kerney, Campbell vie for 3rd House District seat (Kingsport Times-News) Neal Kerney just wants in. Scotty Campbell wants back in. The two are vying in the August Republican primary for Tennessee’s 3rd House District seat being vacated by Rep. Timothy Hill, who’s seeking the 1st Congressional District seat. No Democrat is seeking the office, so the primary winner will be unopposed in the November general election. The district includes parts of Sullivan and Carter counties and all of Johnson County. LINK


Chris Herrington: If masks are answer, apathy may be bigger problem than defiance (Daily Memphian) Three linked thoughts on rising COVID cases and the mask ordinance: The Ballad of Jason and “Karen”: Social media is adept at forging heroes and villains. As COVID case numbers and positivity rates rise around much of the country, the past weekend gave us the cell-phone-captured spectacle of a couple of women freaking out in stores when asked to wear facial coverings and also this righteous to some (myself included) Facebook salvo from close to home, from Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton, who signed a mask mandate on Friday: LINK

Jackson Baker: Gov. Lee Extends Emergency Order on Coronavirus (Memphis Flyer) Evidently spurred on by rising numbers of coronavirus cases in Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee has extended his state-of-emergency order (or “Executive Order Number 50,” as the Governor’s office refers to it) until August 29th. The governor also signed Executive Order Nos. 51 and 52, which extend provisions that allow for electronic government meetings subject to transparency safeguards and remote notarization and witnessing of documents, respectively, to August 29, 2020. LINK

Robert J. Booker: Protests just the beginning of fight against police brutality, injustice (News Sentinel) I am so proud of and encouraged by the crowds of peaceful demonstrators who have moved from place to place in Knoxville as they protest the slaying of George Floyd. It was important to see Mayor Indya Kincannon and Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie take part in the initial protest. They were there to show their feelings against police brutality and injustice. They were there to mourn the slaying of Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. They were there to represent the heart of Knoxville’s leadership. LINK

Sam Venable: Coronavirus is an equal opportunity public health crisis (News Sentinel) A message for the legions of people — in Knoxville, across Tennessee, and all around the United States — who think the coronavirus pandemic is over: We ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Yet for some nutty reason, the concept of “phased” reopening has been interpreted by many as “We won! Party on!” Not surprisingly, cases of COVID-19 have surged. You’d think a public health demon of this magnitude, and the science being applied to conquer it, would never become a partisan issue. And you would be wrong. LINK

Frank Cagle: Gina Oster, Eddie Mannis battle for GOP nod (KnoxTNToday.com) We are coming up on the first major election of the pandemic era, though little attention is being paid with all the coverage of the virus and protests over the police killing of George Floyd. Take, for instance, the District 18 race to replace state Rep. Martin Daniel, who is retiring. It has had some drama already and normally it might have attracted a lot more attention. Coming off his race for Knoxville mayor, Eddie Mannis has name recognition. That’s important given that campaigning is hampered by self-quarantining, avoidance of crowds and social distancing imposed on the populace. That would seem to give Mannis an advantage. LINK






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