Naifeh To Retire

Richard Locker writes today in the Commercial Appeal that a legend in Tennessee politics will be making an announcement today. LINK

State Rep. Jimmy Naifeh of Covington, who served as House speaker for 18 years and longer than anyone in Tennessee history, is expected to announce today he won’t run for re-election this year after 38 years in the General Assembly.


A bill to cut lottery-financed scholarships took an unusual turn yesterday before it advanced. LINK

The state legislature is moving ahead to make it harder to qualify for a lottery-financed scholarship. But the proposal got a rare self-destruct mechanism written into it today.

Under a bill from Senator Dolores Gresham, students must score both a 21 on the ACT and have a 3.0 grade point average to earn the full $4,000 a year HOPE scholarship.

Hit only one of those benchmarks, and the scholarship would drop by half.

Those against the change argue lottery income is up, ten million dollars for this year alone. So Gresham added an amendment that says if the lottery income stays high, her new law would automatically go away, in legislative language, “sunset,” prior to ever even taking effect in 2015.


The New Yorker covers Mitt Romney’s campaign and the mood on Super Tuesday from the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville. LINK
The air of inevitability that hangs around Mitt Romney’s Nashville campaign can only be compared to the Yankees clubhouse in October. It is calm, professional, well-funded, and the players are very clean-shaven. Last night, Romney lost Tennessee to Santorum, as well as Oklahoma; more damning, he barely eked out a victory in Ohio. But, at a results-watching party for Romney volunteers at the Renaissance Hotel, the mood was casual, if not jovial: a man with a “Romney for President” sticker played a guitar and sang mellow country songs; the televisions were muted, even as Romney delivered his remarks; and sun-kissed guests, sporting well-pressed suits, tortoise-shell glasses, and silk ties, gushed about the spring-like weather. The results in Tennessee weren’t particularly devastating-or even surprising-to the Romney camp, but his performance didn’t do anything to help the candidate, either, especially with more Southern primaries (Kansas, Alabama, and Mississippi) less than a week away. The Romney volunteers I spoke with were undeterred, dismissing any notion that Romney’s performance was worrisome. “I’m very optimistic,” John Shorter, a volunteer coördinator, said. “I’m disappointed in the state of Tennessee, but I believe overall that Governor Romney will be the nominee.”
A bill to block the Living Wage was protested yesterday in Nashville. LINK

Workers from across the state are speaking out against legislation that would prevent Tennessee cities and counties from establishing a living wage.

About 100 workers gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to protest the measure that would ban higher wage requirements set by local governments and repeal any standard that has already been set, which in this case would be in Memphis.

An effort to inform voters is coming from the faith based community in Chattanooga where clergy members are working together fighting for Voters’ Rights. LINK
The reforms, which went into effect in January, require voters possess a valid government-issued photo ID, and in some cases, proof of citizenship. The early voting period was also reduced in length. “The ministers are leading this fight, because there’s been a lack of information,” says the Rev. Kenneth Love. “And many times the only way that we can get this information to the people is through the clergy.” The voting law changes are an effort to disenfranchise the poor, elderly, students and minority groups, according to the faith community. 

Quick Hits

  • Tim Thompson, the East Nashville Marine who protested photo voter IDs is on video discussing why he did it. The video was highlighted on the Rachel Maddow show’s website in a post called ‘Trying to Vote.’ LINK
  • Jackson Baker takes a critical look at the GOP presidential candidates prior to Super Tuesday and how they handled the primary in Tennessee. LINK
  • Political advisor Paul Begala appeared in Jackson last night at Union University. LINK
  • A letter to the editor at the Tennessean says that lobbying and special interest groups don’t always do what is best for the people when it comes to politics. LINK 


Trace Sharp

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