It’s Subcommittee Time in Tennessee!

There is a push for additional money for tech schools so additional equipment can be purchased for training. LINK

House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh wants the state to spend an extra $15 million on new training equipment for its 27 tech centers. He says he’s heard from factories struggling to find enough welders and machinists.

“Really good jobs at various manufacturing places – and there’s just not enough equipment to train as many welders as we need. And tool-and-die-type operations for automotives are coming back, so that type of thing – because some of the equipment in the tech centers is pretty old.”

Fitzhugh is pushing to fund the upgrades as a one-time cost, in order to avoid opening a recurring hole in future budgets.


In Tom Humphrey’s political notebook that focuses on several bills, domestic violence offenders are looking at a stiffer punishment. LINK

 A bill to increase penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders, part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s anti-crime package, has won unanimous approval of a House subcommittee a week after Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey voiced concern that it could be an “unfunded mandate” on county governments.

The questioned bill (HB2389) would set a mandatory 45-day minimum jail term for domestic violence on second offense. On third and subsequent offenses, the minimum penalty would be 120 days in jail.

Legislative staff has calculated that statewide the bill would mean $8.6 million in increased costs for county jails for housing the offenders longer.

Rep. Fitzhugh is also not pleased that there are only two bills on jobs and only one that will benefit rural west Tennessee. LINK
Right now, there are nearly 270,000 Tennesseans who wake up every morning looking for work. Thousands more are underemployed, working at multiple jobs or jobs that just barely pay the rent. 40 counties in our state still have double digit unemployment rates, including Dyer, Crockett and Lauderdale counties. Yet out of all 55 bills in the Governor’s legislative package, only two have anything to do with jobs and the economy. Of those two bills, rural west Tennessee will only have the potential to benefit from one–this simply isn’t enough.
Gail Kerr at the Tennessean writes that new legislation on loosening lobbying regulations is a step back. LINK

Tennessee has endured three major scandals in modern history, each of which was followed by a flurry of elected officials trying to get ethical.

But after a few years go by, slippage commences. There’s a move like that afoot right now.

Rep. Philip Johnson, R-Pegram, has filed a bill that would make it easier for lobbyists to target lawmakers whose vote they need with invitations to fancy parties soaked with fine liquor and piled high with shrimp. The current law allows lobbyists to host receptions, providing all 132 state lawmakers are invited. The proposed change would allow lobbyists to host parties for individuals on important legislative committees, targeting their votes one on one.

Names are currently flying all over the place on who might run in Senate District 20. Jeff Woods has the story at the City Paper LINK

Barely 72 hours after longtime Democratic state Sen. Joe Haynes announced he wouldn’t run for re-election, a gaggle of local politicos from both sides of the aisle confirmed Monday they are considering running for his open District 20 seat.

Among Democrats pondering runs are At-large Councilmen Tim Garrett, Ronnie Steine, rookie District 4 Councilman Brady Banks and former At-large Councilman David Briley, a Nashville attorney who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Nashville in 2007.

“I’m thinking about it, and talking to my family about it,” Briley said.

Attorney Kevin Doherty is also exploring a Democratic run, according to multiple sources. The City Paper was unable to reach Doherty for comment.



Quick Hits


  • Sen. Lowe Finney has fought for years to freeze legislators per diem. This year lawmakers are looking at a slight pay raise in Gov. Bill Haslam’s budget. WSMV’s Cara Kumari asks in a post should they take it?LINK
  • A bill to change pension plans for publicemployees has come to a halt. LINK
  • Andy Sher writes House Republican Leader Gerald McCormick’s plan to let employees of cities and counties use local government-issued ID to satisfy Tennessee’s new photo-ID requirement for voters isn’t sitting well with a fellow top GOP leader who sponsored the law.” The story at the Times Free Press. LINK

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