THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2012 Haslam: Internet sales taxes would help Tenn.

with 'critical programs' (Gannett)

Tennessee loses $400 million annually in sales taxes to online purchases involving out-of-state merchants w face no requirement to collect them, Gov. Bill Haslam told a congressional panel Tuesday. Haslam represented t National Governors Association in testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in favor of giving states t power to require out-of-state online vendors to collect and remit sales taxes on such items. “This discussion is about raising taxes or adding new taxes,” Haslam said. Instead, he said, it’s about “collecting taxes already owe Haslam also emphasized: “Let me be clear. I am a Republican governor that does not believe in raising taxes.” N only does Tennessee miss out on $400 million, he said, but the amount of uncollected sales taxes nationwide Internet sales approaches $20 billion. “That money could fund critical programs that taxpayers depend on,” t Republican governor said. Under questioning by the committee, Haslam said needs ranging from infrastructure higher education could be targeted and that some of the money also “would be used to cut taxes.” http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20120725/NEWS01/307250016/Haslam-Internet-sales-taxes-would-helpTennessee-critical-programs-?nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

Amazon backs Internet sales tax bill (Examiner)

Once again the topic of collecting sales tax on online sales has raised its head in the United States Congress. T last time Congress brought up this issue was two years ago with the Main Street Fairness Act and it failed to ga momentum in either the House or Senate. The main difference this time from other times that politicians ha tackled this issue is that it now has the backing of the largest e-commerce entity on the Internet. Over the last fe years Amazon has made headlines with their battles against several states on whether or not they should collecting sales tax on any e-commerce business conducted in that state. In many of these cases Amazon wou point out a 1992 ruling by the Supreme Court stating that unless they have a physical presence they aren't requir to collect taxes. Amazon did finally relent last year that if there was a federal solution they would back it and w this current piece of legislation they are keeping that pledge. http://www.examiner.com/article/amazon-backs-internet-sales-tax-bill

Haslam announces nearly $630K grant for downtown (Dickson Herald)

Renovations will continue along Main St. to East Walnut Gov. Bill Haslam announced Wednesday at Dickson C Hall that the city would receive a nearly $630,000 grant to further revitalize downtown. The grant will go towa phase II of the city’s downtown improvement project, which will continue on Main Street, from Railroad Street East Walnut Street. “W e thought this was a particularly worthy proposal, and on behalf of the state we are excit to do it,” said Haslam about the $627,782 Transportation Enhancement Grant. “The efforts to move downtow Dickson, to make it an even more vibrant and inviting place, we think is real important.” Dickson officials and Ma Street merchants rallied for the money some years ago. Phase I, a $1.5 million renovation headed up by Nashvil based architecture and engineering firm Lose & Associates, was completed in November. Commun enhancement grants established by Congress, Haslam added, were fiscally sound because the money goes to t states and states decide on local projects. http://www.tennessean.com/viewart/20120725/DICKSON01/307250157/Haslam-announces-nearly-630K-grantdowntown(SUBSCRIPTION)

Haslam Defends Ali As “Very Tennessee” (WPLN-Radio Nashville)

Governor Bill Haslam says he has not spoken with the Muslim woman whose job with the state has drawn the of several county Republican parties. But Haslam has strong praise for the state’s international director Economic and Community Development, Samar Ali. Some county Republican groups have passed resolutio

against Haslam, saying they worry Ali is an inroad for spreading Sharia law in state government. Haslam defend her at an event in Dickson. “She’s a product of not very far from here, in Waverly, Tennessee, where she was mo likely to succeed in her class, a member of the 4-H. Her dad is a colonel in the Tennessee National Guard. This somebody that’s very Tennessee, and I think maybe the important thing to recognize is this is somebody w could have a lot of great jobs in a lot of places.” Haslam says Ali could make more money working somewhe else, but she cares about her home state; he says he’s grateful to have her on the team. http://wpln.org/?p=39769

Kids Count: More kids in Tennessee poor, but insured (W PLN-Radio Nashville)

An annual report that ranks the well-being of children in each state places Tennessee 36th in the nation. Tha three notches better than last year, partly because the report used new methodology. Tennessee fared best in t area of child health, ranking 16th. That category looks at low-birth weight, child and teen deaths, teen substan abuse, and the number of kids that are insured. There’s been a steady rise since 2008 in the number of childr covered by health insurance in the state. This isn’t all good news, though. The increase is because more famil are falling into poverty, with their kids becoming eligible for Tennessee’s Medicaid program, TennCare. Tenness did show slight improvements in the number of students graduating from high school on time and the number parents who hold a high school diploma. The state also had a reduction in teen births. This is the 23rd year for t Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count report. http://wpln.org/?p=39762

State Ed. board director recommends overturning Great Hearts denial (CP/Garrison

Tennessee State Board of Education Executive Director Gary Nixon has recommended overturning the Nashv school board’s prior charter application denial of Great Hearts Academies. Nixon, however, says state statu allows the authorization of only one charter school at a time — four fewer than the five the Phoenix-based char group is hoping to open in Nashville. The recommendation, made public Wednesday, is nonetheless a major boo for Great Hearts’ appeal with the state board to open a school off unidentified property on W hite Bridge Road West Nashville. After raising concerns over Great Hearts’ student diversity plan, the Metro school board twi rejected the charter group’s proposal, prompting Great Hearts to take its fight to the state. Though Nixon h recommended approval of Great Hearts’ application, the ultimate decision is in the hands of the nine-member Go Bill Haslam-appointed state board, which is scheduled to vote on the matter Friday, July 27. Nixon recommendation to overturn Metro is contingent on three criteria: Great Hearts show a diversity plan that consistent to Metro’s diversity plan for choice schools; the school hires licensed teachers; and the state authoriz one school as opposed to five. http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/state-ed-board-directorrecommends-overturning-metro-boards-great-hearts-denial

Grade-Fixing Allegation May Complicate TSU’s Search (WPLN-Radio Nashville)

Allegations of grade-fixing at Tennessee State University could make it harder for the school to recruit a new fu time president. That’s one concern from the state senator who will lead a hearing on the matter next month. TS officials say they were following new state guidelines and trying to give fewer incomplete grades. They’re accus of changing hundreds of incompletes to ‘C’s. Jim Summerville heads the state senate’s subcommittee on high education. Summerville says the matter could hurt TSU’s credibility “And that’s the last thing Tennessee Sta needs right now. They’re trying to find a new president. It’s going to make that job harder. Nobody wants to com in the middle of a concern like this, so we’re trying to get this settled and resolved and behind us. I’d like that s you should know the truth and the truth shall set you free. That’s what we wanna do.” Right now TSU is headed Interim President Portia Shields, who is expected to appear at Summerville’s hearing next month. http://wpln.org/? p=39778

TSU President Portia Shields' legacy divides students, faculty (Tennessean/Wilson

As the search begins for a new president at Tennessee State University, students and some faculty don’t see t outgoing administration in quite the same way. Several members of the faculty have demonized the outgoi president, Portia Shields, for running a dictatorship that shuts out much of the university community from t school’s decision-making process. Talk to students, on the other hand, and a portrait emerges of a president w has made the university a better place. During Shields’ tenure, the university regained full accreditation from t Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, increased enrollment beyond previous highs, and eliminated majors and reshuffled departments in an attempt to cut what she saw as inefficient programs that few studen majored in. The latter decision, which eliminated undergraduate majors in physics and Africana studies in 201 still draws criticism from faculty and students alike. But members of the faculty have other concerns about Shield 2

leadership. Allegations emerged in June that TSU administrators changed more than 100 grades from incomplet to letter grades without faculty consent. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120726/NEWS04/307260045/TSU-President-Portia-Shields-legacy-divides students-faculty?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CNews&nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

TSU names graduate studies dean (Nashville Post)

Tennessee State University has recruited a dean for its School of Graduate Studies and Research from Alabam A&M University in Huntsville. Michael E. Orok has been associate provost for academic affairs and gradua studies at Alabama A&M, where he also was interim dean of its School of Graduate Studies. He has more than years of experience in higher education both as faculty and administrator. “Dr. Orok comes to the University with wealth of administrative experience and a dynamic vision that will move our School of Graduate Studies a Research forward,” said Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. graduate of Central State University in Ohio, Orok also has served for several years as professor and chair of t department of history and political science at Albany State University in Georgia. He is the immediate former vi president of the Council of Historically Black Graduate Schools and a 2005 graduate of the Millennium Leadersh Institute of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. http://nashvillepost.com/news/2012/7/25/tsu_names_graduate_studies_dean

Hart Lane driver services center to reopen Thursday (Tennessean/Sisk)

The state’s driver services center in East Nashville will reopen Thursday after being closed temporarily because lacked air conditioning. The Tennessee Department of Safety said its station at 624 Hart Lane closed around 3: p.m. Tuesday after a unit servicing the main reception area broke down. Personnel from the Department General Services, which manages the building, were on able to repair the unit Wednesday, a spokeswoman sa The center will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Workers at the Hart Lane station were redirected Wednesday to t Department of Safety’s driver services center at 6604 Centennial Blvd. in West Nashville. The department al operates an express center in the William R. Snodgrass Building at 312 Rosa Parks Ave. and a licen reinstatement center at 1601 Murfreesboro Road. Non-driver identification cards, which some voters may need cast ballots in the Aug. 2 primary, are available at all Davidson County locations. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120725/NEWS0201/307250140/Hart-Lane-driver-services-center-reopenThursday?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CNews%7Cs&nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probes Rhea County voting (TFP/Sher)

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is probing complaints about challenges Republican election officials ha made of some Rhea County voters seeking to cast ballots in the Aug. 2 GOP primary. But Rhea County Electi Administrator Theresa Snyder said she is "very confident" the investigation will show she and others acted lega in blocking Democratic voters. She charged there have been orchestrated efforts by some Democratic officials get Democrats to cross over and vote in the GOP primary. The ballot includes a heated state House District primary between Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, and GOP challenger Ron Travis, a Dayton businessman. Tra first raised concerns last week when one of his supporters was challenged. Cobb has said he did not encoura the challenges, noting he figures Democrats would be voting for him, too. State Election Coordinator Mark Goins Republican, said W ednesday he is unaware of any similar challenges occurring statewide. "That doesn't me there hasn't," Goins said. Election administrators in Sequatchie, Bledsoe and Roane counties said they are n aware of any challenges based on voting history. All of Sequatchie and Bledsoe counties were added to the 31 as well as part of Roane during redistricting this year. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/26/tbi-probes-rhea-voting-tennessee-bureau-of-investi/?local

TBI probes rejection of alleged 'crossover' voters in Rhea County (NS/Humphrey)

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed Wednesday that it has launched a probe into whether Rh County election officials illegally blocked voters believed to be Democrats from voting in the Republican prima election. Theresa Snyder, the county election administrator, said she and other officials did nothing wrong a were following state law. They took an active stance to block known Democrats from voting in the GOP prima because of an orchestrated campaign for crossover voting in the 31st House District primary, she said. Snyder sa some Democrats are openly supporting Ron Travis, who is challenging state Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, for t seat. The county Democratic Party chairman, Doris Roy, said there is no orchestrated campaign and that she h heard from Democrats who intend to vote for Cobb as well as some saying they prefer Travis. There is 3

Democrat seeking the office, so the election will effectively be decided in the Aug. 2 primary. Early voting in t primary began July 13 and continues through Saturday. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/jul/26/tbi-probes-rejection-of-alleged-crossover-voters/

TBI and THP now looking into blog post naming Shipley, Lundberg (Herald-Courie

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are looking into a blogger's post th criticized Tennessee lawmakers for their support of legislation banning synthetic drugs. A T.B.I. spokesperson sa State Senator Mae Beavers contacted the agency with concerns about the blog post.A T.B.I. agent met with Se Beavers, the spokesperson said. It's not clear if an official investigation is underway. The blog post also mentio State Representatives Tony Shipley and Jon Lundberg. Shipley told 11 Connects News that Speaker of the Hou Beth Harwell has directed the T.H.P. Office of Executive Protection to evaluate the threat and take steps necessa to protect him and his family. http://www2.wjhl.com/news/2012/jul/26/4/tbi-investigating-credability-threats-made-against-ar-2084238/

Blog critical of Shipley, Lundberg forwarded to TBI (Times-News)

A nearly three-month-old Internet blog posting taking Tennessee GOP state Reps. Tony Shipley and Jon Lundbe to task for passing legislation outlawing synthetic drugs and shutting down area head shops has been turned ov to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into, Shipley said Wednesday. “I got a call this morning th someone said something was out there, looking like it was a life threat, and it was forwarded to TBI, and they whatever it is they do,” Shipley said. “The information was sent to Nashville by county officials who saw it toda The blog, called ablogination.tn420.org, said of Shipley: “We’re coming for you. The businesses you sought destroy have more money than you do and far more resolve.” The blog, dated May 15, included a computer-alter image of the so-called “Blackbird Mailer” used by the Tennessee Republican Party in the 2008 campaign betwe Shipley and former state Rep. Nathan Vaughn, Northeast Tennessee’s first African-American state lawmak Shipley narrowly won that election. http://www.timesnews.net/article/9049623/blog-critical-of-shipley-lundberg-forwarded-to-tbi

Tennessee Highway Patrol has new weapon for unsafe trucks (TFP/Bunn)

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is using new technology to remove unsafe large trucks — including those w failing brakes or under- or over-inflated tires — from state highways. On Wednesday, the THP demonstrated a ne mobile command and inspection center at the Jenkins Road location of U.S. Xpress trucking service. The vehic about the size of a small bus, contains equipment that can perform roadside truck inspections, including a sca an infrared scanner and readers for license plates and state Department of Transportation numbers, which gi prior inspection data. "We're serious about safety on the highways," said Lt. John Harmon. "To our knowledge, w have the most state-of-the-art vehicle anywhere right now." There were 8,893 large truck crashes in 2008, t latest year in which total crash data is available. So far in 2012, there have been 52 large truck crashes whi resulted in fatalities, records show. The highway patrol received a grant of $1.4 million from the Federal Mo Carrier Safety Administration to purchase the vehicle. Each highway patrol district has the opportunity to use t inspection vehicle — the only one in the state — by signing up for it for at least a week at a time. THP District which covers Chattanooga, will use the mobile center this week to inspect trucks traveling in McMinn County. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/26/thp-has-new-weapon-for-unsafe-trucks-tennessee-hig/?local

Dept. of Transportation wants local input on Route 60 improvements (TFP/Leach)

State transportation officials have unveiled a pilot program intended to coordinate local and state planning for t state Route 60 corridor through Bradley County. Tennessee Department of Transportation representatives m Monday with Bradley County commissioners to discuss a proposed agreement between local government a state planning agencies regarding the future of the road. The purpose of the management agreement is to get involved bodies to talk more about property zoning and development, traffic signal placement and roadw improvements along Route 60, said Marshall Elizer of Gresham, Smith, and Partners, the firm assisting TDOT w the program launch. "If you don't do it right, it sort of collapses," said Elizer. The program will specifically addre Route 60's development from the Georgia state line to the intersection with Eureka Road in the Hopew community, Elizer said. The idea, he said, is for local and state government to develop a big picture of how t corridor should look and function, instead of approaching improvements from the perspective of two-m segments. Officials selected Route 60 planning for an elevated level of committed communication for seve 4

reasons, Elizer said. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/26/tdot-wants-local-input-on-state-route-60/?local

TN wins case involving firearm seized in Radnor Park (Associated Press)

A judge has upheld a Tennessee statute that restricts the possession of firearms in a case involving a W illiams County man who carried a pistol at a state park. Chancellor Russell T. Perkins on Monday ruled against Leona S. Embody of Brentwood, whose loaded AK-47 pistol was seized by a park ranger at Nashville’s Radnor La State Park in 2009. The ranger, Steve Ward, said Embody posed a threat to others by carrying the pistol across h chest while walking around the park. Embody earlier lost rulings in federal court on the same issue. Permit revok After the incident at Radnor Lake, the state in 2010 took away his permit to carry a firearm. Embody had claim he had a permit for the weapon, which was a legal handgun. Perkins ruled Embody’s argument that the statute overbroad was without merit. The judge also said Embody failed to show that his right to due process w infringed. Embody did not return a phone call from The Associated Press on Wednesday seeking comment. http://www.tennessean.com/viewart/20120726/NEWS03/307260059/TN-wins-case-involving-firearm-seizedRadnor-Park?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News (SUBSCRIPTION)

'Radnor Lake Rambo' sees state suit shot down in chancery court (City Paper/Nix)

The man whose penchant for challenging state gun regulations by walking around public places armed with loaded gun has lost another legal challenge. In granting a motion for summary judgment by state Attorney Gene Robert Cooper — named as a defendant in the case — Chancellor Russell T. Perkins dismissed Leonard Embody’s claims on Monday, concluding they were without merit and that Embody failed to show his rights h been infringed upon. [Click here to view Perkins’ ruling.] Embody’s suit in Davidson County Chancery Co challenged a section of the Tennessee Code Annotated that “prohibits ‘the carrying of firearms for the purpose going armed’ by persons not otherwise permitted to carry firearms by statutory exception or defense.” The m dubbed the "Radnor Lake Rambo" claimed the state statute was vague and violated his constitutional rights. Perkins’ analysis of the challenge, he cited other court decisions, including the Tennessee Supreme Court’s rulin that strongly caution against invalidating state laws on facial challenges of constitutionality. Perkins wrote, “a pa challenging at statute’s constitutionality on its face has the burden of showing that the statute is invalid in all applications.” http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/radnor-lake-rambo-sees-state-suit-shot-down-chancery-court

Property can be disposed of after 90 days (Sparta Expositor)

Governor Bill Haslam has signed a bill, effective July 1, that states any unclaimed property that is in a sherif custody can be disposed of after 90 days, which is a decrease from six months, as the law previously allowe Under the law, unclaimed property includes confiscated, abandoned, stolen, and recovered property. The she department says if a person wants to reclaim property that was used as evidence, he/she must speak with Janice Hale. The person must have a receipt or proof of ownership. If the property has been seized, there is court proceeding that must take place before the property can be returned. A person who wants to recover seiz property must contact the district attorney and request the property be returned. http://spartaexpositor.com/articles/2012/07/26/news/doc50111ccc0b44f582761119.txt

58th District race pits Rep. Pruitt against familiar challengers (Tennessean/W ilson)

Two years after longtime state Rep. Mary Pruitt held off an upstart Steven Turner by 167 votes in a prima election, both Democrats are running again for the same seat against the son of another tenured lawmaker. T primary race among Pruitt, Turner and the Rev. Harold M. Love Jr. will determine the outcome for the district. N other candidates, Republican or independent, are running to represent the majority African-American 58th Distr in the state House. For Turner, who runs a small electronics business in southeast Nashville, his near-election 2010 was a major reason he decided to run again. “It was something I owed to my constituents. To have us com so close to victory required us to go for it again,” he said. Two years later, the district all three candidates a running in has seen its share of changes. Redistricting announced in January turned a district that used to inclu downtown and parts of Germantown and Belmont into a district stretching from Bordeaux and the areas near F and Tennessee State universities around to greater parts of East Nashville and Murfreesboro Pike. 5

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120725/NEWS01/107250006/58th-District-race-pits-Rep-Pruitt-againstfamiliar-challengers?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CNews%7Cs&nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

Memphis sues state over photo ID law, use of library cards (City Paper/Greenberg)

The city of Memphis has cashed in on their promise to challenge Tennessee's newly minted voter ID law. Daph Turner-Golden, a Memphis resident, and the city of Memphis sued Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett a state Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins for disallowing library cards as an acceptable form of photo I According to the Memphis Daily News, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. and city attorneys were simply waiting a citizen to be affected by the law before they filed suit. Memphis enacted a program earlier this year to he citizens obtain library cards with photos on them to serve as acceptable forms of ID. The city of Memphis believ the cards serve as acceptable identification from an “entity of the state,” as spelled out by the new law. But Goi declared on July 10 that the cards were not valid forms of identification. “The new library photo ID card is the C of Memphis’ response to meet these regrettable efforts head-on and to make the vote accessible to all citizen Memphis city attorney Herman Morris wrote in a media release. http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/memphis-sues-state-over-photo-id-law-use-library-cards

Judge 'not convinced' library cards 'fixed problem' of voter photo IDs (CA/Locker)

A federal judge said he agrees with Memphis officials' concerns that Tennessee's photo-identification requireme makes it more difficult to vote but said he's "not convinced that the city fixed the problem" by having the pub library issue photo ID cards. U.S. District Court Judge Kevin H. Sharp on Wednesday denied the City of Memph request for a temporary order compelling the Shelby County Election Commission to accept the library's new pho ID cards as valid photo IDs required for voting under a new state law, if the holder is properly registered to vo The election commission, at State Election Coordinator Mark Goins' direction, has refused to accept the libra cards as the photo ID requirement. A full hearing on the issue is set for Aug. 2 before U.S. District Court Jud Aleta A. Trauger, also in Nashville. But Judge Sharp expressed concerns during a 50-minute hearing that peop who are attempting to vote early with the library cards are also being discouraged by precinct-level election officia from voting on provisional ballots. He told the deputy state attorneys present in his courtroom to notify loc election officials they should encourage such voters to cast provisional ballots if they are denied an immedia ballot. People who cast provisional ballots, however, must go to the election commission within two business da after the election — in this case, by Aug. 6 — to present valid photo IDs as specified in the state law or else th votes will not be counted. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/jul/24/lawsuit-asks-judge-to-rulememphis-library-photo/ (SUBSCRIPTION)

3 Nashville-area election commissioners donate to candidates (Tennessean/Cass)

Three election commissioners from the Nashville area have made campaign contributions this year to Republic legislative candidates from their counties, raising questions about their ability to deal with election disput objectively. Each of the three — including two who chair their county election commissions — gave $500 or mo to a single candidate, according to state campaign finance records. Critics said the practice makes it difficult trust that the people charged with certifying elections and regulating campaign issues will do it impartially, thou they already wear their partisan hearts on their sleeves. “It’s not illegal, but I think it really should be, frankly,” sa Dick Williams, state chairman of Common Cause. “Suppose there was a close call in some respect of that electi where a commissioner had supported somebody, financially or otherwise. I would encourage election officials abstain from that.” But all three of the election commissioners — Lynn Greer in Davidson County, Art McClellan Sumner County and Jimmy Evans in Rutherford County — said they were acting within their free speech rights citizens. All three are Republicans. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120726/NEWS02/307260056/Election-commissioners-donations-fuelcriticism?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CNews&nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

New State Program Aims to Help Keep At-Risk Mentally Ill Out of Jail (M. Pulse)

When Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett was a state senator in Nashville, he learned about New York’s Kendra Law shortly after a shooting at a Knoxville restaurant. The woman the law was named after was killed when a m suffering from untreated mental illness pushed her in front of a bus. The law provided a way for people who a trying to deal with mental illnesses to get treatment without being committed to a hospital or facility full-tim Similarly, it was determined the man involved in the Knoxville shooting suffered from mental illness. “It’s not a se issue,” Burchett says, but there was a great need to help people with mental illness rather than let them wind up 6

jail, and he got to work creating a bill patterned after Kendra’s Law. “The prisons now—we’re filling them up w drug addicts and mentally ill people,” Burchett says. “And the truth is those people need to be sent to anoth facility to be treated. They don’t need to be locked up in a prison. You don’t treat somebody [with mental illness] locking them in a jail cell with a bunch of criminals.” Burchett’s mental health bill didn’t go anywhere in t Legislature. http://www.metropulse.com/news/2012/jul/25/new-state-program-aims-help-keep--risk-mentally-il/

Dean camp financially backed 'grassroots' pro-tax hike coalition (CP/Garrison)

The pro-property tax increase group that called itself a “grassroots coalition” supporting key investments Nashville’s future received $26,000 from Mayor Karl Dean’s campaign coffers, his mid-year financial disclosu reveals. Moving Nashville Forward — which rallied support for the mayor’s 53-cent property tax hike in advance the council’s final approval on June 20 — collected donations from others as well, former Metro Councilman E Cole, who led the organization’s efforts, told The City Paper. But the mayor’s contribution was the largest. “It w the majority of it,” Cole said of Moving Nashville Forward’s financing. “There’s no doubt it was substantial.” F some, the mayor’s campaign committee contribution has raised questions whether the group was more an offsho of the mayor’s political apparatus than an organic, citizen-led organization. “It was an extension of the mayo office,” Metro Councilman Robert Duvall said of Moving Nashville Forward, an organization that announced creation two weeks after Dean proposed the city’s first tax increase in seven years. “It was nothing but a fro organization to promote the mayor’s tax-and-spend bill.” http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/dean-camp-financially-backed-grassroots-pro-tax-hike-coalition

Hamilton County Commission prayer preliminary hearing set for today (TFP/Haman

Two men plan to enter the U.S. Courthouse in Chattanooga today and ask a judge to temporarily halt Hamilt County Commission's regular prayers during meetings. Neither Brandon Jones, 25, nor Tommy Coleman, 2 imagined themselves doing so two months ago when they decided to ask commissioners to hold a moment silence instead of a prayer. "W e really didn't know what our end game was," Jones said. "We just knew this had stop." Their attorney, Robin Flores, is seeking a preliminary injunction against the county until Judge Harry "Sandy" Mattice can rule in the case. A hearing on the motion is set for this morning. Jones and Coleman ea said they believe they're carrying on the good fight for others who are afraid to stand up and challenge t commission's Christian prayers. But neither initially complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation Madison, Wis., which sent a letter in May, asking commissioners to stop praying. They say they know who did local grandmother who's quietly standing behind them -- but they declined to give her name. After reading Chattanooga Times Free Press story on May 23 about the Freedom From Religion Foundation's letter commissioners, Coleman said he thought to himself, "This is great, somebody is doing something." http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/26/prayer-preliminary-hearing-set-for-today/?local

Proposal to close Knox Sheriff's Office pension plan to be on Nov. ballot (N-S)

A proposal to close the Knox County Sheriff's Office pension plan will head to the November ballot. The Kn County Charter Review Committee in a 19-0 vote Wednesday evening signed off on the second and final readi of a proposal that could bring the end to a multimillion retirement plan voters initially passed in 2006. Under t proposal, voters will be asked whether to close the Uniformed Officers Pension Plan, or UOPP, to anyone eligib who is hired on or after Jan. 1, 2014. New hires would fall under a new plan that the pension board would crea and the Knox County Commission would have to approve. No one on the current plan would be affected. T county's law department will present the official ballot language to the committee next month. The pension plan h been one of the hottest issues since the committee started meeting in March and the new proposal has be vetted by the board's subcommittee and the pension board. The county last year contributed more than $8.2 milli to fund it, although half of that went toward paying off bond debt the county issued to fully fund the plan inception. This year, the plan will cost $9.1 million, counting the bond payments. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/jul/25/proposal-to-close-knox-sheriffs-office-pension/

Election Commission Admits Ballot Problems (Memphis Daily News)

Challenges to the conduct of the Aug. 2 election may have reached a peak Tuesday, July 24. The Shelby Coun Election Commission admitted a “limited number” of voters in some precincts got early voting ballots that includ the wrong district races. Their work on their voter database to include the new boundaries for state legislative a congressional districts approved in Nashville in February began just four days before the end of the early voti period in advance of the Aug. 2 election day. And sometime during the day Tuesday, City Attorney Herman Mor 7

filed a lawsuit in Nashville Federal Court challenging state election officials on their decision not to honor pho library cards as a legal form of photo identification required by state law to vote. The lawsuit alleges violations the U.S. Constitution including the equal protection clause. The city’s plaintiff is Daphne Turner-Golden, a Memph voter who was issued one of the new library cards and attempted to cast her early vote at Mississippi Bouleva Christian Church using the library card as identification. http://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2012/jul/26/election-commission-admits-ballot-problems/

Getting There from Here (Memphis Flyer)

Collierville mayor Stan Joyner, described in the opening paragraph of this week's cover story as an attendee w was presumably well pleased by U.S. district judge Hardy Mays' recent ruling permitting suburban referenda municipal school systems, may have experienced some off-setting dismay upon the advent of early voting Monday, July 16th. It quickly developed that some 568 households in a newly annexed portion of Collierville h not been taken into account on ballots, including the referendum issue, designated for that city's voters. A fe miles away was Bartlett, another referendum suburb, whose mayor, Keith McDonald, has, for well over a ye been the spearhead of the suburban school movement, and early voters among Bartlett residents were beginni to report that they had been assigned primary ballots with the wrong House districts. When Memphis residents blogger David Holt being one, Unified School Board member Martavius Jones being another — began to rep similar discrepancies, the plot thickened big-time. And Jones, in a communication to the Flyer on Monday of th week, made it clear that his wrong ballot issues extended to school board choices as well as legislative ones. http://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/getting-there-from-here/Content?oid=3233529

3rd District GOP candidates draw questions (Associated Press)

One 3rd District Republican congressional challenger was asked to leave a commercial mall and questions a being raised after another was a guest at a city reception. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Pres Weston Wamp campaigned during four days this month at Northgate Mall, where an early voting poll is locate Mall owner CBL & Associates Properties heard complaints and asked the Hamilton County Election Commission intervene. The commission asked Wamp to leave and he did. Later, Wamp said mall management should expe “to forego some type of property rights so the public can come and vote.” A company spokeswoman said there is corporate policy prohibiting “all politicking” at CBL’s 85 regional malls. East Ridge City Council member J Bethune said a July 13 reception at City Hall for Scottie Mayfield “just looks bad.” Bethune said he was there, b does not support Mayfield’s candidacy. City Manager Tim Gobble said it wasn’t an endorsement of Mayfield’s b to take the party nomination from incumbent U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. http://www.tennessean.com/viewart/20120726/NEWS02/307260062/3rd-District-GOP-candidates-draw-questions odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News (SUBSCRIPTION)

Scottie Mayfield attacks Chuck Fleischmann's votes (Times Free-Press/Carroll)

Three weeks after promising to abstain from "negative" campaign advertising, Scottie Mayfield this week launch an attack ad condemning U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann's voting record -- a record Mayfield praised as recently May. On July 5, after warning on Twitter "that we'll be attacked on TV soon," Mayfield spokesman Joe Hendrix to the Chattanooga Times Free Press that "Scottie committed to not going negative in any way." But Mayfield is t first 3rd Congressional District candidate to use television to target a rival, and opponents say the dairy executiv latest ad proves he broke a campaign pledge to stay positive. "This is what happens when a desperate campai sees the race starting to slip away," Fleischmann campaign spokesman Jordan Powell said. Hendrix indicated t ad was "the truth." "Mr. Fleischmann is attacking Scottie instead of addressing the facts," he said. As sinister mu plays over black-and-white video of President Barack Obama, the Mayfield ad's unseen female narrator notes th "our congressman voted one out of four times with Obama." There's more to the story. The ad's "one out of fou claim is based on a Congressional Quarterly study in CQ W eekly that examined 2011 House votes "on which t president took a clear position." According to the study, Obama took a clear position on 95 House votes in 201 The House voted 945 times that year. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/26/scottie-mayfield-attacks-chuck-fleischmann-votes/?local

America gets high, legally, thanks to 'bath salts' (Associated Press/Perrone)

People are inventing so many new ways to get high that lawmakers can’t seem to keep up. Over the past tw years, the U.S. has seen a surge in the use of synthetic drugs made of legal chemicals that mimic the dangero effects of cocaine, amphetamines and other illegal stimulants. The drugs are often sold at small, independe 8

stores in misleading packaging that suggests common household items such as bath salts, incense or plant foo But the substances inside are powerful, mind-altering drugs that have been linked to bizarre and violent behav across the country. Law enforcement officials refer to the drugs collectively as “bath salts,” though they ha nothing in common with the fragrant toiletries used to moisturize skin. President Barack Obama signed a bill in law earlier this month that bans the sale, production and possession of more than two dozen of the most comm bath salt drugs. But health professionals say lawmakers cannot keep pace with bath salt producers, who constan adjust their chemical formulations to come up with new synthetic drugs that aren’t covered by new laws. Expe who have studied the problem estimate there are more than 100 bath salt chemicals in circulation. http://www.tennessean.com/viewart/20120726/NEWS07/307260048/America-gets-high-legally-thanks-bath-salts odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News (SUBSCRIPTION)

Medicaid Expansion May Lower Death Rates, Study Says (New York Times)

Into the maelstrom of debate over whether Medicaid should cover more people comes a new study by Harva researchers who found that when states expanded their Medicaid programs and gave more poor people hea insurance, fewer people died. The study, published online Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicin comes as states are deciding whether to expand Medicaid by 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, the Obam administration’s health care law. The Supreme Court ruling on the law last month effectively gave states the opti of accepting or rejecting an expansion of Medicaid that had been expected to add 17 million people to t program’s rolls. Medicaid expansions are controversial, not just because they cost states money, but also becau some critics, primarily conservatives, contend the program does not improve the health of recipients and may ev be associated with worse health. Attempts to research that issue have encountered the vexing problem of how compare people who sign up for Medicaid with those who are eligible but remain uninsured. People who choose enroll may be sicker, or they may be healthier and simply be more motivated to see doctors. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/health/policy/medicaid-expansion-may-lower-death-rate-study-says.html? _r=1&ref=todayspaper (SUBSCRIPTION)

Meeting raises concerns, frustrations about Browns Ferry nuclear plant (TFP/Sohn

TVA officials told nuclear regulators Wednesday that they continue to try to get things right at Browns Fe Nuclear Plant in North Alabama. "We are not here to contest the violation," Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Vi President Keith Polson told the NRC about Browns Ferry operators and trainers failing a simulation exercise safe shutdown in the event of a fire. In June the NRC gave Browns Ferry a new "white" safety finding and violati noting that TVA had had five months to learn a set of new procedures. "We've made it a clear focus to reduce f risk, and we had a positive effort going," Polson said. "But we didn't execute it well." But Alabama and Tenness listeners to the two-hour meeting at NRC's Southeast region headquarters in Atlanta told the federal utility a regulator they were frustrated at hearing TVA's same reasons for performance problems and violations. Af listening to conversation about a Browns Ferry corrective action program on fire training being closed witho resolution, Don Safer, board chairman of the Tennessee Environmental Council, took both TVA and NRC to task http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/26/browns-ferry-raises-concerns-frustrations-tva/?local

Knowledge Academies brings charter school choice to Antioch (TN/Fingerroot)

With its marbled floors and soaring columns, Nashville’s newest charter school looks more like an office, but t 140 middle school students who started classes there Wednesday didn’t appear overly impressed. Knowled Academies opened its doors on the second floor of posh office space at 5380 Hickory Hollow Parkway, givi Antioch its first charter school option. The school’s plans could be considered just as elaborate as the dec Students will receive 200 days of instruction instead of the 180 usually found in traditional public schools. T school places a heavy emphasis on family participation and community involvement, and technology will play prominent role in the curriculum. Knowledge Academies is one of two new charters opening this school year Metro Nashville Public Schools. The other, Boys Prep, will open Wednesday. The two new schools bring the to number of charters within the system to 15. The premise behind charter schools is that they would be somethi akin to laboratory schools associated with universities — “places where someone who had a really good idea cou try it,” said Carol Swann, coordinator of charter schools for Metro. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120726/NEWS04/307250159/Knowledge-Academies-brings-charter-schoo choice-Antioch?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CNews&nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION) 9

Juvenile Court Open to Charter School Proposal (Memphis Daily News)

Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court officials say a charter school proposed by former Memphis Mayor Wi Herenton for juvenile offenders including those accused of the most serious crimes would provide those childr with a critical continuity they need. Juvenile Court chief administrative officer Larry Scroggs said Herenton’s W.E DuBois Academy would dovetail with the Hope Academy School that juvenile offenders in custody currently atte for a shorter period of time. Hope Academy is operated by the Memphis City Schools system. Shelby Coun Schools operate a similar alternative school. “When we lose the grip on them is when they go back into th regular school environments,” Scroggs said. “It becomes problematic for them. They obviously in most cases ha not done well in those environments. And yet we see their potential demonstrated.” Herenton has proposed a state officials have approved his plan for a charter school with a very regimented structure that would include n only academics but counseling on behavior and discipline as well as for mental health problems. State officia approved the charter school application on appeal. It and numerous other charter school applications were reject by the countywide school board on the grounds they would pose a financial hardship on both local public scho systems.http://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2012/jul/26/juvenile-court-open-to-charter-school-proposal/

Drought Hot Topic at Milan No-Till Day (WPLN-Radio Nashville)

Thousands of farmers from across the country will find their way to Milan, Tennessee, Thursday at an annual eve that began decades ago as a way to share the latest research to prevent soil erosion. It’s called “No Till” farming happens to also be an effective method to protect row crops like corn and cotton from the effects of heat a drought, like the conditions still plaguing the Midwest. Instead of plowing under last year’s crop, farmers plant t seeds right under the leftover foliage. It does require the use of more weed-killing chemicals. But Blake Brown director of UT’s research center in Milan – says it’s better for the plants. “If you look at the benefits to the soil, the crop, a dry year like we’ve had this year, nine times out of 10, the no-till is going to shine over a conventional plot just because that residue sort of works as a mulch.” Brown says convincing farmers to move away fro plowing is now just a small part of the annual “No Till Field Day” because the method has become the indus standard. Agriculture Department statistics find 74 percent of the acreage in Tennessee went unplowed this year http://wpln.org/?p=39744

Harpeth River flows freely for first time since '63 as dam torn down (TN/Walters)

On Wednesday, for the first time since 1963, the Harpeth River was flowing freely between its banks in Frankl After years of planning, advocacy and nearly $1 million in costs, demolition of the city’s 6-foot-tall metal and sto weir, or lowhead dam, marks a milestone for local and state river advocates. The structure was the sole dam the Harpeth and only the second on a main river in Tennessee to be removed, according to state records. Only dams from 8 to 160 feet tall have come down in the past 40 years. Originally built to impound water for Franklin use, the dam had become outdated. Now, the city will employ a new method to pull water from the Harpeth, o that won’t stop fish, wildlife and small boats from being able to traverse the river’s entire 125-mile length. Do Bolze, executive director of the Harpeth River W atershed Association, had pushed for the dam’s removal for yea sometimes in the face of skepticism. The breakthrough came when state Department of Environment a Conservation inspectors supported the dam’s removal and money became available from federal, state and loc sources. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120726/NEWS11/307260052/Harpeth-River-flows-freely-first-time since-63-dam-torn-down?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CNews&nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

Demolished Dam Restores Eco-Friendly River Flow (WPLN-Radio Nashville)

Helicopters circled above a mile-stretch of the Harpeth River today as excavators ripped out a 6-foot-high she metal dam that was constructed more than 50 years ago. The low head dam was created to supply Franklin w drinking water decades ago. Now the city has other options, which led to the push to return the Harpeth to a fre flowing river. Dorie Bolze, Executive Director of the Harpeth River Watershed Association, says the dam has h an ecological impact on fish habitats. Now a lower natural structure will be put in its place. “Because it’s so shallo the fish can swim right through it and over it, whereas with the 6-foot high wall – for them – it’s like the Berlin W they can’t go anywhere.” Franklin’s city administrator, Eric Stuckey, says the restoration project should complete by late fall. To keep track of the progress of the restoration efforts, the HRWA has set up a “dam ca that can be viewed on their website. http://wpln.org/?p=39771

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OPINION Editorial: Collecting sales tax on Internet sales important to Tennessee (J. Sun)

We agree with Gov. Bill Haslam that it’s time to enable states to require vendors to collect state sales tax purchases made over the Internet. It has become a matter of state fiscal responsibility as well as a matter of ret business fairness. Haslam, representing the National Governors Association, testified before a congressional pan on Tuesday in support of the Marketplace Equity Act. If passed, the act would empower states to require vendo to collect sales tax on items sold to resident over the Internet. The act would not require states to collect the ta only enable them to do so. Under current law, upheld in 1992, only vendors with a “nexus” in a state can required to collect sales tax. The law and the reasoning behind it are outdated. It’s time for state sales t collections to enter the 21st century. Haslam estimates that Tennessee fails to collect $400 million annually in sta sales tax on online purchases. That is a lot of badly needed money being left on the table that could be used help pay for important state services such as education and health care. The issue dates back many years to time when catalog sales were the issue. The 1992 court ruling also took into consideration the complexity and co of forcing companies to collect sales tax for thousands of taxing authorities across the nation. At that time, catal sales accounted for only a small portion of purchases made by Tennesseans. http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20120726/OPINION/307260004/Our-View-Collecting-sales-tax-Internet-salesimportant-Tennessee?nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

Editorial: Tax holiday gives some relief to taxpayers (Leaf Chronicle)

Residents of Tennessee who want — need — to save money on back-to-school expenses might consid postponing shopping for a week . The savings could be considerable for parents and others who buy select clothing, school supplies and computers during the state’s special sales-tax holidays in August. Tennessee w observe its holiday Aug. 3-5. The moratorium allows consumers to purchase the exempt items — within clea stated and reasonable limits — without paying sales tax. The tax holidays are welcome. Families with kids school — particularly those with youngsters who seem to outgrow clothing every other week and who go throu mountains of school supplies — can save considerable sums. That’s especially true in Tennessee, a state witho an income tax and where aggregate sales tax in some jurisdictions is nearly 10 percent. At a time when fam budgets are under economic strain from rising food and other costs, the opportunity to save can be a godsen Parents aren’t the only ones who benefit from the sales tax moratorium. The savings are not limited to those w school-age offspring. The tax exemption is available to all shoppers who purchase qualified items during the state holidays. Retailers obviously benefit, too. They’ve got to be happy that the tax holiday will bring customers throu their doors and, more likely than not, increase overall spending by consumers. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20120726/OPINION01/307260005/EDITORIAL-Tax-holiday-gives-somerelief-taxpayers?nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION) 11

Editorial: Great Hearts deserves charter (Tennessean)

The State Board of Education should vote in favor of the Great Hearts Academies’ plan for five charter schools Davidson County when it meets to review the school operator’s appeal. It is the right thing to do for families Nashville and will signal the state will uphold its law supporting expanded access to charter schools. Nashv public schools have many challenges to lift their students into an acceptable range of performance. Genera school leaders have done a good and innovative job for the lowest-performing schools and areas, but that foc leaves the families with good and better students to fend for themselves, hoping for a slot at the district’s excelle but few, magnet programs. Those programs offer arguably the best education in Middle Tennessee, but t chances of winning admission through the lottery process are slim. For example, 81 percent of those qualified attend Hume-Fogg are rejected. The Metro Board of Education was misguided, and unmindful of Tennessee la when it denied the plans for charter schools that would not specifically target low-performing children or tho receiving free- or reduced-lunch financial support. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120726/OPINION01/307260035/Great-Hearts-deserves-charter? odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7COpinion%7Cp&nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

Greg Johnson: Hughes pushes conservative credentials in race (NS)

State Sen. Doug Overbey, a Maryville lawyer, has pocketed a passel of endorsements in the 2nd Distr Republican primary. Newspapers, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Tennessee Educati Association endorsed Overbey, along with Republican heavyweights Gov. Bill Haslam and, a bit surprisingly, Gov. Ron Ramsey, a tea party favorite. Given his opponent, Overbey needs all the help he can get. Scott Hughe chief financial officer for a Knoxville church and former pro-life executive, is challenging Overbey at every turn, every way. Though Overbey maintains an enormous financial advantage, Hughes has loquaciously roughed Overbey in debates. At a June debate in Sevierville — the 2nd District includes all of Blount County and much Sevier — Hughes had Overbey back on his heels, out-arguing the lawyer with a withering, well-researched atta on Overbey's record. Hughes' verbal pugilism aims to make Overbey the moderate, a characterization sure to st with some voters. In fact, TEA's lead lobbyist, Jerry Winters, said when endorsing Overbey and a few oth Republicans, "The people we endorsed in Republican primaries are moderate Republicans who have voted p public education." TEA's political action committee donated to Overbey, though the group historically gives mo than 90 percent of its contributions to Democrats. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/jul/25/greg-johnson-hughes-pushes-conservative-in-race/

Wendi C. Thomas: County's Aug. 2 vote - what a smelly mess (C. Appeal)

A week before an election, I'd normally be haranguing registered voters to go the polls. Then I'd blather on another 600 words about how important these races are and doing your civic duty, etc., etc. Instead, I will lame the mess the Shelby County Election Commission has made of early voting. On the first day of early voting in t suburbs, some voters there found that the municipal schools referendum — easily the hottest issue on the ballot was left off some ballots. Then on Tuesday, the Election Commission admitted that analysis by blogger Steve Ro was right: 1,019 early voters got the wrong ballots. That's 1,019 people who were robbed of the right to vote for t candidate who will represent them. Their votes in the wrong races will count and they won't get to vote on corrected ballot. Incorrect votes were cast in all the races for state House, Senate and U.S. Congress, said Ros who is running as the Democratic nominee for the Shelby County Commission Dist. 1, Position 3 seat. This stin worse than a cheap cut from a camel's rear end, wrapped in barely cleaned chitlins and sautéed in the Hul armpit sweat. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/jul/26/shelby-countys-aug-2-vote---what-a-smelly mess/ (SUBSCRIPTION)

Guest columnists: TennCare expansion is worth costs (Tennessean)

Last month’s Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ruled that the propos expansion of Medicaid was optional. The option requires states to cover all people with incomes up to 138 perce of the federal poverty level — approximately $31,800 for a family of four. The federal government would cover 1 percent of the costs for the newly eligible, previously uninsured people through 2016; the subsidies would then f to 90 percent by 2020 and beyond. This left states with a difficult decision: Should they accept the fede government’s offer to expand their Medicaid programs? For Tennessee, this would mean expanding TennCa enrollment by approximately 225,000 previously ineligible and uninsured people — a 19 percent increase ov 12

current enrollment levels. What are the benefits of expanding TennCare? Expansion will enhance access needed health care and reduce both morbidity and mortality for the newly insured. Based on a University Tennessee study, expanding coverage to 225,000 people would save nine lives in the state every week for t next 10 years.http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120726/OPINION03/307260036/TennCare-expansion-worth costs?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7COpinion%7Cp&nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

Frank Cagle: 10 Years After Rejection, What Happened to Armageddon? (M. Pulse)

Since it’s the 10th anniversary, someone ought to mark the occasion when almost the entire state politi establishment, academia, and virtually all editorial writers were impatiently explaining to us Neanderthals th unless we passed a state income tax, the state was headed for financial collapse. W e were confidently told University of Tennessee economists that the state tax structure could not support state government. The year w 2002 and the capitol was surrounded by horn honkers, the sidewalks were paved with radio talk-show hosts a remote television trucks. The atmosphere inside was toxic. I was living in downtown Nashville at the time, a coup of blocks from the statehouse. Arms were being twisted. Money for projects dangled. Everywhere there was gloo and doom. Lobbyists were being enlisted by the leadership to deliver votes. The income tax bill came to the Hou floor and was defeated. Surely Armageddon would ensue. Tennessee, 10 years on, has a current budget surp of $600 million. The Legislature this past session eliminated the inheritance tax, the gift tax, and cut the rate of t sales tax on food. This year K-12 was fully funded and funds for higher education were increased. There will be effort next year to eliminate the Hall income tax for those over 65, and possibly eliminate it altogether. http://www.metropulse.com/news/2012/jul/25/ten-years-after-state-income-tax-rejection-what-ha/

Free-Press Editorial: The school board matters (Chattanooga Times Free-Press)

The Hamilton County school district spends a staggering $9,398 per student, according to the Tenness Department of Education. The district will devour more than $350 million in local, state and federal taxpaye money this year. Unfortunately, all of those dollars do not always produce well-educated kids. In 2011, at t elementary school level, black, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged and disabled student populations all failed meet minimum federal benchmarks in reading in Hamilton County public schools, according to TDOE stats. high school, only 31 percent of black students scored "proficient" or above in reading. Just 45 percent of black hi schoolers were considered "proficient" or better in math. As a whole, Hamilton County students scored below t state average in language skills. The Hamilton County School Board has a responsibility to improve the disheartening numbers. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/26/the-school-board-matters-chattanoogafree-press/?opinionfreepress

Guest columnist: Rutherford churches silent amid fight over mosque (DNJ)

The battle for and against Murfreesboro’s Islamic Center has meant different things for different people. For som it has been tiring; for others, it has been sad, even tragic; and for some others still, it has been, in the mo depressing way, exhilarating. With the permission of occupancy being granted last week to the Islamic Cent some will be so naïve as to assume that the final bell has rung and that both sides of this nauseating “war whatever-the-antagonists-think-they’re-fighting-against” can head home for a season of peaceab “reconstruction.” I can only pray that it can be so. But alas, the kind of rhetorical, legal, and vandalistic (ev arsonistic) blows that have been delivered to our Muslim neighbors has been a little too exhilarating for a fe rabble-rousing provocateurs whose contrived “doings of justice” can only be likened to that of a few self-absorb vigilantes. How can life go on for these folks without the production and perpetuation of an “other” over whom stand as superior? So while I rejoice in the permission of our Muslim friends to use their much-needed space worship, I do not believe it marks the end of strife and the beginning of peace. Because, as all sensible peop know, the vitriol was not derived from a dispute over public notice to build or some such fabricated tale of “prop procedures.” Rather, the bitterness was a symptom of forms of prejudice. And indeed, that prejudice w embodied in all kinds of oppressive measures. http://www.dnj.com/article/20120726/OPINION02/307260008/GUEST-COLUMN-Rutherford-churches-silent-amid fight-over-mosque?nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

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