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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2012 Haslam wants to know why proposed changes favor home-schoolers (TFP/Sher)

Gov. Bill Haslam said he needs to understand why efforts to toughen eligibility requirements for state lotteryfunded college scholarships appear to favor home-schooled students over pupils attending traditional public and private schools. The governor told reporters he only learned of the differences from news accounts this week. I would need to understand what the reason is for the distinction, which I havent heard yet, Haslam said. Senate Republicans say tougher eligiblity requirements are necessary to save the lottery, which is spending some $17 million to $19 million annually out of its reserve fund to meeting scholarship obligations. The Senate GOP bill requires traditional students in school settings to have at least a 21 composite score on their ACT and have a 3.0 grade point average. Currently, they must have one or the other. Home-schooled students have always been subject to just the 21 on the ACT. Grade-point averages have never been a Hope Scholarship qualifying option for home-schooled students since their parents track and report their childrens grades. http://timesfreepress.com/news/2012/mar/06/gov-bill-haslam-wants-know-why-proposed-lottery-sc/? breakingnews

Haslam says 'business is good' at chamber-sponsored event (Nashville Post)

Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday morning stressed during a Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce event that business is good in Tennessee, a reference to the chambers new marketing campaign. Speaking at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel Tuesday morning for the chamber-organized Outlook Tennessee, Haslam said the states economic health is stable. He noted Tennessee saw 28,000 new jobs in 2011 and that the states unemployment rate, after many months, is lower than that of the nations average. One of our roles is to set the environment for the [states] economy to grow, the governor told the approximately 350 attendees. We dont do things in a vacuum. Haslam said the state is working diligently to attract businesses. He said two focuses are lowering the grocery tax and altering the estate tax such that it is applied only on those estates of $5 million or more. Currently, the state taxes estates of $1 million or more. http://nashvillepost.com/news/2012/3/6/haslam_says_business_is_good_at_chamber_sponsored_event

Haslam talks economy, economic development controversy (N. Biz Journal)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam expressed optimism about the economy today while pushing his legislative agenda, including a now controversial bid to rework economic development incentives. Speaking in Nashville before dozens of business, nonprofit and education leaders, the Republican governor pointed to various signs that economic conditions are improving. He also pivoted with that message toward his own agenda, which he says can help create the right business environment while things look up. "I think the economy is definitely moving in the right direction," Haslam said. The governor told the chamber crowd that Tennessee's unemployment rate of 8.7 percent is encouraging, as it falls below the national average of 8.9 percent. Later, he talked about rising sales tax revenue as another boon. http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2012/03/06/haslam-talkseconomy-eco-devo.html

Haslam: Cash Incentives Could Save State Money (WPLN-Radio Nashville)

Governor Bill Haslam says the state could save money by giving cash to companies it wants to recruit. A proposal to make that easier is in a holding pattern in the state legislature. One of the states main tools for attracting businesses is tax breaks. But Haslam argues many companies would prefer cash up front, even if its for a smaller amount, because they want to spend it right away. Haslam says that could save Tennessee money. Its not just the cash value of money. Usually, if theyre expecting something, they need its a capital question for them: do they have enough funds to make it work? So what weve found is companies put a lot more value in that dollar now than they do two dollars two years from now. Haslam also defended a proposal to let the state

see private financial data for businesses its courting, without making that data public. He argues its not to hide information thats available now, but to let the state review private company info discreetly. http://wpln.org/? p=34781

Haslam seeks to shield names of company owners asking for state $$ (CP/Woods)
Gov. Bill Haslam is in danger of suffering a rare setback in the Republican-dominated legislature with his proposal to make secret the names of the owners of companies asking for millions of dollars in tax money to build or expand in Tennessee. The governor and his Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty insist confidentiality is necessary to help Tennessee compete with other states seeking new jobs. The governor plans to expand the states Fast Track incentive program for businesses to pay not only for roads, utilities and worker training, but also to build and equip industrial plants. In its original form, the administrations bill authorized the state to require businesses applying for tax breaks or outright grants to surrender financial statements, cash-flow reports, corporate structure and ownership. But all the information is sealed from public view. Proponents say the companies wont surrender the information unless it will be kept confidential. http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/haslam-seeks-shield-names-company-owners-asking-statemoney

Haslam defends cash grants for businesses, secrecy (Commercial Appeal/Locker)

Gov. Bill Haslam offered a broad defense Tuesday of his efforts to shift the state's business-development incentives from tax credits toward direct cash grants and to keep secret the owners of companies who win taxpayer funding. Speaking to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Haslam acknowledged the two bills he has asked lawmakers to approve have set off a public debate, but said he believes giving businesses cash to move to or expand in Tennessee will cost taxpayers less and be more "transparent" and more effective over time. He also said he and lawmakers are trying to find a balance between the information the state asks of businesses to help officials make decisions about awarding incentives and the amount of that information disclosed to the public. His administration is pushing a bill that would allow the state to obtain more information from businesses applying for public assistance to build or expand, including financial information, trade secrets and owners of privately held companies, and keep it confidential even after public money is awarded. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/mar/06/tennessee-gov-haslam-defends-his-actions-businesse/

Haslam seeks compromise over guns in parking lots (Tennessean/Marsteller)

Businesses' property rights clash with 2nd Amendment rights Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that he has hopes for common ground in the debate over guns in parking lots, but he said recent words by a gun-rights groups leader could make compromise more difficult. Haslam didnt directly mention the controversial bill while addressing several local business leaders, including some who oppose the measure that would allow employees to bring guns closer to their workplaces. But he told reporters after his appearance that hes still hopeful legislators can strike a balance between what he sees as competing rights. This is one area where Republicans believe in property rights and they believe in Second Amendment rights, he said. Getting the balance right is important. A bill drafted by the National Rifle Association would allow any public or private employee in Tennessee to store guns in his or her locked vehicle parked in an employers parking lot. Business groups, including the state Chamber of Commerce, have criticized the bill as an infringement on their own property rights. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120307/BUSINESS01/303070084/Haslam-seeks-compromise-over-gunsparking-lots?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|s

TBI arrests woman on 100 counts related to prescription fraud in two counties (CP)
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested a Springfield woman Monday on 100 counts of charges related to illegally obtaining prescription drugs in Davidson and Robertson counties. Ann Margaret Choate, 30, was indicted by a Robertson County grand jury Feb. 15 on 31 counts of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud, 28 counts of forgery and 28 counts of identity theft. Choate was arrested on those charges Feb. 23. She was indicted in Davidson County last week on one count of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud, 10 counts of identity theft and one count of TennCare Fraud for allegedly using the benefits of other persons, which led to pharmacies charging the state on forged prescriptions. She was arrested in Davidson County March 5 on those charges. The TennCare Office of the Inspector General also charged Choate with one count of TennCare fraud by a recipient for using her TennCare benefits to fill prescriptions written in her name. According to the TBI, Choate worked at a Nashville doctors office between December 2010 and May 2011. W hile working there, authorities believe 2

Choate stole prescription pads from the office and wrote herself multiple prescriptions for Lortab. http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/tbi-arrests-woman-100-counts-related-prescription-fraud-twocounties

Woman arrested on 100 counts of prescription drug charges (TN/Humbles)

A Springfield woman was arrested on 100 counts of charges that relate to obtaining prescription drugs illegally in Davidson and Robertson counties, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Ann Margaret Choate, 30, of Cross Plains Road in Springfield, was indicted in Robertson County on Feb. 15, on 31 counts of obtaining 31 counts of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud, 28 counts of forgery and 28 counts of identity theft. She was arrested Feb. 23, and booked into the Robertson County Jail on $20,000 bond. Choate was also indicted in Davidson County on March 2, on one count of obtaining drugs by fraud, 10 counts identity theft, and one count of TennCare Fraud for using TennCare benefits of others causing the pharmacy that filled her prescription to bill TennCare for the forged prescriptions. She was arrested and booked into the Davidson County Jail on March 5, 2012 on a $25,000 bond. TennCare OIG also charged Choate with one count of TennCare fraud by a recipient for using her TennCare benefits to fill prescriptions written in her name. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120306/NEWS03/303060071/Springfield-woman-arrested-100-countsprescription-drug-charges?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|s

Springfield woman arrested on 100 prescription drug-related charges (L-C)

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Monday arrested a Springfield woman on 100 counts of various charges related to obtaining prescriptions drugs illegally in Davidson and Robertson counties, after she was indicted by grand juries in both jurisdictions within the last month. On Feb.15, Ann Margaret Choate, 30, of 3833 Cross Plains Road, was indicted in Robertson County on 31 counts of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud, 28 counts of forgery and 28 counts of identity theft, according to a news release on Tuesday from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. She was subsequently arrested on Feb. 23 and booked into the Robertson County Jail on $20,000 bond. Choate was also indicted in Davidson County on March 2 on one count of obtaining drugs by fraud, 10 counts identity theft, and one count of TennCare Fraud for using TennCare benefits of others causing the pharmacy that filled her prescription to bill TennCare for the forged prescriptions, the release said. She was arrested and booked into the Davidson County Jail on March 5 on a $25,000 bond. TennCare OIG also charged Choate with one count of TennCare fraud by a recipient. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20120307/NEWS01/303060064/Springfield-woman-arrested-100prescription-drug-related-charges

Outdoor burning permits available online (Knoxville News-Sentinel/Simmons)

Outdoor burning is a good way to get rid of trash or clear a field, but first, you need a permit. The burning permits are free and are required in all parts of Tennessee until May 15, when the vegetation greens up and reduces the threat of wildfires. Not having a permit when conducting outdoor burning is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $50. This year, the Tennessee Forestry Division is making permits for small-scale burning available online for the first time. The permits may be obtained by visiting http://www.burnsafetn.org . The website also is a good source of information for safe outdoor burning practices. Permits also may be obtained by calling your local Division of Forestry office, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Permits generally are good for 24 hours and can be issued for weekend burning. Escaped debris burns were the leading cause of Tennessee wildfires in 2011, accounting for 409 fires that scorched nearly 2,500 acres. (Arson was the second-leading cause last year, but accounted for the most damage by burning more than 7,500 acres.) http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/mar/07/outdoor-burning-permits-available-online/

Tennessee lottery has record sales in February (Associated Press)

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. reports record sales of $130 million in February. Lottery officials Tuesday said it was an 11.4 percent increase over the previous record of $116.7 million last March. They attributed the record to strong growth in instant games, a restructured Powerball and new games. The lottery has been selling tickets since January 2004. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/mar/06/tennessee-lottery-has-record-sales-in-february/

Bell knocks off Jameson in General Sessions judge race (City Paper/Garrison)
In an outcome few Metro observers expected, Rachel Bell handily won the Democratic primary for a Davidson 3

County General Sessions judgeship, knocking off Mike Jameson, who was appointed to the bench in the fall. Bell, a 34-year-old attorney who has practiced law for seven years, beat Jameson, a former two-term Metro councilman, in a relatively wide vote margin, 8,649 to 6,294 (54 percent to 39 percent). Jack Byrd finished a distant third, with 1,203 votes (7 percent). When contacted by The City Paper, Bell cited her favorite Biblical expression. But God, Bell said. Thats all I would like to say. If you just put that in the paper, that will be enough for me. But God means any and everything you need, you have faith in him, and you work hard, God will give you the vision, she said. With her victory, Bell is the heavy favorite to defeat independent candidate Michael Rowan in the August general election for General Sessions Division 8 judge. If she does, Bell would become the second African-American and fourth female of the 11 presiding Davidson County General Sessions judges. http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/bell-knocks-jameson-general-sessions-judge-race

Bell stuns Jameson for General Sessions post (Tennessean/Haas)

All the name recognition, political connections and support from the legal community didnt help former Metro Councilman Mike Jameson win the General Sessions judgeship he sought. Instead, attorney Rachel Bell, hoping to bring diversity and transparency to Davidson Countys legal system, won the Democratic primary spot and will go on to the general election. Bell, if elected in the August election, would be only the second black female judge in Nashville. Nashville attorney Jack Byrd came in a distant third. The Circuit Court judgeship primary proved less surprising, with Phillip Robinson sailing to a comfortable victory. General Sessions Court generally handles preliminary matters in criminal cases, minor crimes and small-claims civil cases. Jameson was widely expected to win the judgeship Tuesday night based on his political clout and the fact that he had already been appointed to that seat. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120307/NEWS02/303070108/Bell-stuns-Jameson-GeneralSessions-post?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|s

Phillip Robinson easily wins Circuit Court judge race (City Paper/Garrison)
Phillip Robinson, appointed Davidson County Circuit Court judge two weeks ago, rolled to victory in the Democratic primary for that position Tuesday, beating attorney Stan Kweller by a near 3-to-1 spread. Robinson, a longtime family law attorney, beat Kweller for the Division 3 circuit court Democratic nomination Tuesday, 11,011 votes to 3,837 votes (74 percent to 26 percent). The election is for the seat formerly held by Judge Barbara Haynes, who retired in the fall. Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Robinson to the judgeship on Feb. 23. Robinson could face an independent challenger in the general election in August, but he would be the heavy favorite to win. This particular circuit court division is likely to be designated to hear cases involving divorce, child custody and other domestic issues. Judge Carol Soloman had presided over family law matters, but she recently ceased doing so following scrutiny of her court. I dont have a learning curve, Robinson recently told The City Paper. http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/phillip-robinson-easily-wins-circuit-court-judge-race

Binkley wins 3-way vote for Circuit Court post (Tennessean/Adams)

Mike Binkley, an attorney who touted celebrity endorsements during his campaign, easily led a three-way contest for a judicial post in Williamson County. Unofficial results showed Binkley with a comfortable lead over his opponents, Judy Oxford and Derek Smith. Supporters began gathering to celebrate Binkleys presumed victory at Mickey Roos, a barbecue restaurant on Hillsboro Road in Franklin, about an hour after polls closed at 7 p.m. The crowded room was in good spirits as a band played country tunes on stage. Binkley enjoyed endorsements from former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher and racing legend Darrell Waltrip that were touted in direct mail pieces to voters. Im just ready to get started and get to work, Binkley said during a phone call while traveling to his party. Smith, a career prosecutor who was appointed to the judge seat in December by Gov. Bill Haslam, and Oxford, a private attorney, were at the Election Commission, where they hugged each other before Oxford left just before 9 p.m. The judicial race represented the only local draw Tuesday for voters in Williamson County. Two of the candidates, Binkley and Smith, spent heavily in the final weeks of the campaign. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120307/NEWS02/303070119/Binkley-wins-3-way-vote-Circuit-Court-post? odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|s

Stanton edges Sidney, will face Rout in race for General Sessions clerk (CA/Moore)
Ed Stanton Jr. moved a step closer to making his temporary job as Shelby County General Sessions Court clerk permanent, narrowly winning the Democratic primary with 37 percent of the vote over Sidney Chism, who 4

received 36 percent. Stanton will face Republican primary winner Rick Rout on Aug. 2. With all precincts reporting, 245 votes separated Stanton, with 8,422 votes ahead of Chism's 8,177 votes. "Being qualified, with experience and having the integrity and the accountability and a proven record of administering an office efficiently and effectively" resonated with voters, Stanton said. "We ran on a grassroots campaign with family and friends and associates who were sincere and pulled together an effective campaign," he said. Five Democrats, including incumbent Otis Jackson, were on Tuesday's ballot. Jackson, indicted on charges of ordering employees to contribute to his re-election campaign, trailed with 15 percent of the votes. Lakeland businesswoman Karen Woodward got 6 percent and retired educator Marion Brewer received more than 5 percent. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/mar/06/democrats-stanton-chism-general-sessions-court/ (SUB)

Judge at the center of TBI investigation loses Hawkins Co. primary (HeraldCourier)
A local race in Hawkins County Tuesday included a judge who is currently the focus of an investigation. In February, Judge James "Jay" Taylor declined to respond to four formal theft charges filed by the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary. Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations also executed a search warrant at Taylors office last month. In the Hawkins County Republican primary, Taylor finished third in the race for General Sessions Judge. The victor, Todd Ross, defeated Taylor and a third nominee, Buddy Baird. Ross garnered 49 percent of the vote. 11 Connects reporter George Jackson spoke with the two men seeking to succeed the embattled judge. http://www2.tricities.com/news/2012/mar/07/2/judge-center-tbi-investigation-loses-hawkins-co-pr-ar-1745885/

Sevier County wins appeal about open meetings (Associated Press)

A lawsuit claiming local officials in Sevier County have violated open meetings laws has been rejected by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. According to The Mountain Press (http://bit.ly/zjBR9N ), the legal effort had been filed by a group fronted by former County Commissioner Arlie "Max" Watson. It included a host of claims in an effort to force the negation of a 2008 meeting and the removal of local officials. The three appeals judges, in an opinion written by Judge Charles Susano Jr., upheld the ruling of a lower court http://www.tennessean.com/usatoday/article/38739957?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|s

TN corporate heavy hitters decry NRA gun bills (Nashville Business Journal)
Some of Tennessees largest corporate voices headlined a broad blitz against a pair of gun bills in the Tennessee General Assembly today. The companies including Nashvilles Bridgestone Americas Inc. , FedEx Corp. of Memphis and Volkswagens Chattanooga presence appeared alongside representatives of numerous industries before two legislative committees. Their message: Bills that the National Rifle Association are pushing compromise companies constitutional property rights, jeopardize employment policies and create the potential for workplace tragedy. Bill Ozier, a Nashville labor and employment attorney and chairman of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry , said such concerns mean the bills would harm the states otherwise stellar business-friendly reputation. If we start to erode that, its going to cost Tennesseans jobs in the future, he said. At issue are two bills. One would prohibit employers from denying employees the right to bring firearms to work if they keep them locked in their vehicles. A companion bill would prohibit any kind of discrimination based on gun possession. http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2012/03/06/tennessee-guns-nra-fedex-bridgestone.html

Volkswagen security chief testifies against gun bills (Times Free-Press/Sher)

Volkswagen Chattanoogas security chief told state senators Tuesday that the company is very concerned with National Rifle Association-drafted legislation that would let gun owners store guns in their locked vehicles on employers parking lots despite companies wishes. The two bills would take away our right to control our property and interfere with our ability to take necessary actions to ensure the safety of all our employees, Reid Albert, VWs general manager of security, told Senate Commerce Committee members. Albert and representatives of some of Tennessees biggest employers, including FedEx, are objecting to two bills dealing with guns on parking lots. Collectively, they said, the companies employ more than 1 million people. The issue has developed into a major confrontation between two of the Republican-controlled General Assemblys key constituencies on two basic fundamental issues: Businesses argue the bills violate their private property rights. The NRA and other advocacy groups say the issue comes down to Second Amendment gun rights and weapons stored in peoples private, locked vehicles. 5


Tennessee gun rights battle heats up in Nashville (Commercial Appeal/Locker)

An epic political battle is under way between two key Republican constituencies as Tennessee's largest business groups and gun-rights advocates square off over property rights vs. gun rights. At issue is a push by gun advocates for laws enabling gun owners to keep firearms in their locked vehicles on their employers' parking lots regardless of company policy. The two bills they're backing have few restrictions on who can carry and where they can carry. They're not restricted to handgun-carry permit holders, and public and private college and university parking lots, for example, are not exempted. One bill, SB 2992, would give gun owners the right to sue employers for requiring them to disclose whether an employee or job applicant possesses, uses or transports guns, or for banning them from keeping guns in their locked cars. The other bill, SB 3002, prohibits a business owner or public or private employer from banning the transport or storage of a gun in a locked private vehicle of a person legally allowed to own a gun when the vehicle is parked in any location it is otherwise permitted to be. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/mar/06/tennessee-gun-rights-battle-heats-nashville/ (SUB)

States Largest Employers Blast Away at Guns in Parking Lots (WPLN-Radio Nash)
A dozen representatives of the states largest employers today urged state lawmakers to turn down an attempt to let employees carry guns on company property even if the weapons are locked in car trunks. Business representatives opposed to the guns in parking lots bill talked for an hour, but Mark Hogan, security boss for FedEx, stated the general position. We should be able to say what is allowed, and not allowed, on our private property. We believe that a property owners right to provide a safe environment for others on the premises, trumps an individuals right to possess a firearm on the premises. Earlier, Governor Bill Haslam told reporters after speaking to members of the National Federation of Independent Businesses that hes had conversations with House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and favors a proposal similar to a Georgia law because the current measure is a little too broad. Republicans favor property rights and Republicans are in favor of second-amendment rights, so sometimes our job is to try to find the right balance there. The argument was put off until next week, when the Senate Commerce Committee will have look at that balancing act. http://wpln.org/?p=34807

Chamber retracts support of controversial state planning bills (CP/Garrison)

Following a groundswell of Metro-led opposition, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce has retracted its support of controversial state development bills that critics fear would undermine local planning and zoning authority. Previously lobbying for the Republican-backed legislation, the chamber is now neutral, Marc Hill, the Nashville chambers chief policy officer, told The City Paper Tuesday. Were now re-focusing our efforts to solve as many of these challenges as we can at the local level over the remainder of the year, Hill said. The legislative environment is a dynamic one, Hill said when asked to explain the new stance. Theres constant changes not only every day but every hour. The important thing is to address the problems that businesses face. You can do that in a variety of ways. At issue are three Rep. Jim Gotto-sponsored bills that the Republican lawmaker from the Hermitage area says are designed to remove the layers of bureaucracy that planning and zoning regulations place on private business. Theyre all about job creation, he said in a City Paper story that first reported the proposed bills. http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/nashville-chamber-retracts-support-controversial-state-planningbills

Rep. Frank Niceley: Time to get rid of city-county planning commission (NS/Donila)
State Rep. Frank Niceley wants to get the attention of the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission. So much, in fact, that he's introduced legislation that would abolish the office and turn all its duties, functions and responsibilities over to the Knox County Commission a plan its own chairman says he doesn't support Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, said he's upset with the planning panel and thinks it's time for a change. "We want to let them know that the Legislature created them and if they get out of hand, then the Legislature can uncreate them," he said, adding that his proposal stems from conversations he's had with local developers who were upset about the MPC's support of the Ridgetop and Hillside Protection Plan. The State & Local Government Subcommittee may talk about the House bill today, although Niceley conceded "that there's not much chance of it passing." Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, is sponsoring the state Senate version of the bill. He 6

consented at Niceley's request but said he is not focused on the proposal. "I'm deferring to him. If he can make it happen in the House, then I'll get into it," he said. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/mar/07/rep-niceley-time-to-get-rid-of-city-county/

Voter ID law a non-factor at polls (Daily News Journal)

Rutherford County election poll workers went through a thorough voter photo ID checking process in Tuesdays presidential preference primary, in some cases meeting voters at the door to abide by a new state law. By around 6:30 p.m., only one person had cast a provisional ballot because of the failure to show the proper photo ID, according to Administrator of Elections Nicole Lester. That woman apparently had just gotten out of the hospital and didnt take her drivers license with her to the polls, Lester said, adding she came to the Election Commission office later in the day to show her photo ID. Beginning Jan. 1 this year, all voters were required to start showing a state or federal photo ID containing their name, whether on election day or in early voting. One person also failed to show up with the proper ID here during early voting, Lester said. Between our office and the state election office doing press releases and everything thats been done, its really gotten the word out, Lester said. Few problems were evident Tuesday evening at area polls in regard to the new law. People were more likely to show up without their voter registration card or have the wrong name or address on their ID, election officers said. http://www.dnj.com/article/20120307/NEW S05/303070020/Voter-ID-law-non-factor-polls?odyssey=tab|topnews| text|FRONTPAGE

70s-era Marine Calls Voter Photo ID Unconstitutional, Barred from Voting (W PLN)
An East Nashville voter balked at showing a photo ID at his polling place today, then protested the law requiring one. The former Marine contends making voters produce IDs doesnt line up with what he tried to do during his military service. Tim Thompson is a tall, skinny guy in his mid-50s. He was wearing a baseball cap with the logo of the United States Marine Corps. A couple of hours after he was turned away from his polling place on McGavock Pike for failing to show a photo ID, Thompson was at Legislative Plaza to vent to lawmakers. And he was still upset. The thing that sticks in my craw is, I took the oath. I took the oath to prevent these kinds of law from being in effect, that discriminate against certain people that theyre supposed to protect. Thompson served as a military policeman in Hawaii in the early 1970s. Today he is the head chef at Belmont Retirement Center, serving people he says are targeted by the photo ID law. Because it definitely discriminates against people who are less fortunate. The students, the poor people, the 88-year-old woman that didntcouldnt vote because she cant afford, she couldnt get, a birth certificate. http://wpln.org/?p=34804

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Press/Burger)


recall group


appeal (Times


A group hoping to oust Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield has filed a notice of appeal in the state Court of Appeals in Knoxville. Jim Folkner, leader of Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, filed the notice Tuesday through the Hamilton County Circuit Court Clerk's office. The group has hopes of holding an August election to replace Littlefield, who has one year remaining in his second term. By law, he cannot run again. "With an expedited appeal, we feel like it could be done in August. W e feel like it is worth it to stop the stuff Littlefield is still doing. He's still wasting our money," Folkner said as he stood on the courthouse steps with two others who signed the appeal. The group's main criticisms of the mayor have been taxes and spending. However, the mayor is not responsible for setting city tax rates. That responsibility falls to City Council members, said Hal North, an attorney representing Littlefield. "It's disappointing that Mr. Folkner and the other interveners have seen fit to continue to needlessly waste money and resources in pursuing an attempt to recall a mayor who's legally prohibited from reelection," North said. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/mar/07/littlefield-recall-group-to-appeal/?local

Councilman Banks admits wrongdoing, plans to continue serving (TN/Gonzalez)

Metro Nashville Councilman Brady Banks acknowledged Tuesday that his attempt to solicit a prostitute last month was a strike against his credibility but vowed to continue serving on the council. I am sorry, very sorry, for the hurt that Ive caused my family, my friends, my neighbors, but most of all my wife, Banks said. Ive caused tremendous damage to the relationships that matter most in my life and Ive made a big mistake and its the worst mistake Ive ever made. An agreement reached with prosecutors will send Banks to a class for firsttime offenders that will lead to the dismissal of the patronizing prostitution charge against him, his defense attorney said. Banks gave a statement outside the Justice A.A. Birch Building, apologizing for decisions that put him inside a MetroCenter hotel room the afternoon of Feb. 16, offering $100 to an undercover female police officer in exchange for sex, according to his arrest warrant. Banks, 33, was one of three men arrested during a 7

sting at a hotel on Athens Way, which followed a police department posting of an escort advertisement on the Internet. The day after his arrest, the first-term councilman resigned from his post as outreach director of the Governors Books from Birth Foundation. A group of District 4 residents has been considering a recall effort. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120307/NEWS03/303070098/Councilman-Brady-Banks-admitswrongdoing-plans-continue-serving?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News

Sumner voters say no to wheel tax increase (Tennessean/Mitchell)

Sumner County voters made it clear Tuesday they did not want an additional $25 increase in the annual wheel tax to create more funding for schools, voting the referendum down. County commissioners voted in November to let voters decide if the wheel tax should be raised to $75. The additional $25 per car tag would go to local schools and create $3 million more in funding for the system each year. Commissioners say the measure was in response to multiple requests from school board members for more money, but added they are disappointed that school officials did not support the referendum. Im not surprised that it didnt pass there was never any support from the school board, Commissioner Jerry Stone said. This was a dedicated way for the schools to receive additional money every year. I dont want to hear that they need more money when it comes to budget time. Lori Atchley, administrator of elections, said there are a total of 86,661 active registered voters in Sumner County. Early and absentee voting in the county brought out 3,762 residents this primary. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120307/NEWS02/303070117/Sumner-voters-say-no-wheel-tax-increase? odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|s

Voters say no to metro (Columbia Daily Herald)

A proposal to combine Columbia and Maury Countys governments failed by a wide margin of votes Tuesday, ending a three-year campaign peppered with negativity. In order to pass, the measure required a majority of the vote in both the county and Columbia. Of the 13,393 votes cast, 84 percent of county and 68 percent of Columbia residents who made it to the polls said no to adopting a metropolitan form of government, according to complete but unofficial results. Im not disappointed at all, Spring Hill Mayor Michael Dinwiddie said about the final vote at the Maury County Election Commission Tuesday night. Im certainly very happy that the people of Maury county turned out and voted. Maury County election administrator Todd Baxter said that voter turnout was similar to previous presidential election primaries. The question of metro government was added to this years presidential primary ballot. I would have thought we would have had a few more people to vote this election with the metro referendum, he said. But it appears we were right on par. http://www.columbiadailyherald.com/sections/news/local/voters-say-no-metro.html

Madeline Rogero: Let's put a pension plan before voters in November (NS/Witt)
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said Tuesday she'll appoint her top two deputies to address solutions for the city's pension system, which she said is "not sustainable." The city budgeted $11 million in its current spending plan to fund a pension shortfall that's expected to grow to up to $23.4 million in 2018. And they don't have much time. A change to the pension plan requires a city charter change, and a charter change must go before voters in November or wait two more years for another statewide election. Rogero said in a City Council meeting she wants to "ultimately place a new plan on the November ballot." Councilman Finbarr Saunders and actuary Alan Pennington will help draw the plan with Rogero's deputies, Bill Lyons and Eddie Mannis. Their proposal must be submitted to the city's pension board by June 21 to begin the bureaucratic process of becoming a referendum. A previous task force to review the pension recently reported to City Council what most already knew: the Knoxville employees pension is under-funded. While the city is required to fulfill its benefit promise to current employees vested in the plan, the terms could change for future hires. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/mar/07/rogero-lets-put-a-pension-plan-before-voters-in/

Tennessee would lose 179 jobs under Air Force plan (Tennessean/Bewley)
The Air National Guard in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville would lose 160 jobs by October 2013 under a plan the Air Force released Tuesday. The Guard in Nashville would lose 30 jobs, or 27 percent of its staff. The Guard in Memphis would shed 86 jobs, or 7 percent, and McGhee-Tyson in Knoxville would cut 44 jobs, or 3 percent. Arnold Air Force Base would lose 19 jobs, including 18 civilian positions the Air Force announced it would cut last fall. The base has said it will manage those losses through attrition. They bring the states total job losses under the Air Force plan to 179. The cuts, which must be approved by Congress, are part of $487 billion in reductions approved last year when Congress agreed to increase the nations debt limit. The agreement also requires about $1 trillion in cuts over the next nine years unless Congress can come up with a plan to reduce the 8

debt by that amount. Half of those cuts about $500 billion would come from the defense budget. Nationwide, Air Force officials plan to cut about 3,900 active-duty, 5,100 Air National Guard and 900 Air Force Reserve members. Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville said Tuesday that compared with other states, Tennessee really dodged a bullet. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120307/NEWS21/303060077/Tennessee-would-lose-179-jobs-under-AirForce-plan?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News

Appeals court takes up Nashville promotions case (Associated Press)

A federal appeals court is set to hear a case brought by three white men who say the Nashville Metro Police Department discriminated against them when it came time for promotions. Two of the officers sought promotion to lieutenant and a third sought a boost to sergeant in 2006. All three were passed over and claimed that the department, under then-Chief Ronal Serpas, improperly used a method that allowed minority and female applicants who scored lower on testing to get the promotions. The city says the police chief has the discretion to select officers for promotions. The city also says that the supervisors of the complaining officers did not feel they were ready for a promotion. A federal judge in Nashville dismissed the lawsuit in 2010. http://www.tennessean.com/usatoday/article/38740035?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|s

Santorum beats Romney in Tennessee GOP primary (Associated Press/Schelzig)

Rick Santorum cruised to a victory in Tennessee's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday with a platform of social and religious issues that resonated with conservative voters. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, the former Pennsylvania senator had 37 percent to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's 28 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who won his home state of Georgia, was unable to replicate his success in neighboring Tennessee despite several visits and a barrage of television ads. He was running third with 24 percent, followed by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul's 9 percent. Santorum appeared in Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis in the days before the primary, often in religious settings. Preliminary results from an exit poll conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press show about seven in 10 Tennessee voters identified themselves as born-again Christians. About three-quarters of them said it mattered at least somewhat that a candidate shared their religious beliefs. Voter Mary Cecil, who is retired and lives in Sevierville, said the economy is a major issue, but that religion was the deciding factor that led her to support Santorum. http://www.tennessean.com/usatoday/article/38739045?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|s

Santorum wins Tennessee Super Tuesday primary over Romney (CP/Greenberg)

Sen. Rick Santorum was the choice of voters in the Tennessee Republican primary on Tuesday. The former Pennsylvania senator led Gov. Mitt Romney by roughly 10 percentage points and 39,000 votes with 75 percent of the state reporting at 9:30 p.m. Santorum was leading or won in 86 of Tennessee's 95 counties at 9:30 p.m. He had 37.3 percent of the vote, followed by Romney with 27.8 percent and Gingrich at 23.9 percent with 81 percent of the state's precincts reporting. Romney won Davidson, W illiamson and Loudon Counties by less than 5 percent, while Gingrich won Marion County in southeastern Tennessee. Five counties still hadn't reported results as of 9:30 p.m. Romney beat Santorum 11,547 to 10,798 in Davidson County. Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney congratulated Santorum less than an hour after 7 p.m. poll close. I want to congratulate Rick Santorum on his primary win and thank all of the voters who cast a ballot for one of our four Republican candidates. We have seen a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and excitement statewide for this primary. Tennesseans spoke loud and clear tonight that they are ready to make President Obama a one-term president," he said. http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/santorum-wins-tennessee-super-tuesday-primary-over-romney

Born-again Christians drive Santorum win in Tenn. (Associated Press/Loller)

An exit poll of voters in Tennessee's presidential primary revealed Rick Santorum beat Mitt Romney on Tuesday thanks to strong support among born-again Christians about three-quarters of those who went to the polls on Tuesday. Santorum also led Romney by more than 3-to-1 among those who said it mattered a "great deal" that a candidate shared their religious beliefs. Mary Cecil, a retiree voting in Sevierville, said she was concerned about the economy, but the deciding factor in casting her vote for Santorum was: "I would like to have a true Christian in the White House." With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Santorum had 37 percent of the vote to Romney's 28. Newt Gingrich received 24 percent and Ron Paul got another 9 percent. Santorum led Romney by 14 percentage points when voters were asked which candidate best understood the problems of average Americans, according to an exit poll conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press. The former 9

Pennsylvania senator had a more than 2-to-1 lead over Romney among voters who considered themselves "very conservative." He also led Romney by 14 percent points among voters who supported the tea party. Romney led among voters who considered themselves "moderate." http://www.tennessean.com/usatoday/article/38737501?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|s

Super Split (Tennessean/Cass, Sisk)

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania won Tennessees Republican presidential primary by a decisive margin Tuesday, withstanding a late charge by Mitt Romney and slowing Romneys push for their partys nomination as the South appeared to resist his appeals. Santorum, who had led polls taken during early voting by an approximately 2-to-1 margin, was winning with 37 percent of the vote to Romneys 28 percent after 97 percent of the states precincts were counted. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was third, with 24 percent, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul finished fourth, with 9 percent. Turnout appeared to be down from 2008. In a split Super Tuesday verdict, Romney registered early wins on the East Coast, in his home state of Massachusetts and Vermont and also in Virginia, where neither Santorum nor Gingrich appeared on the ballot. All three of those states were won by Barack Obama in 2008, while Santorum won in a more geographically diverse set of states that Republicans captured four years ago Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Ten states held Super Tuesday contests, with 419 delegates at stake. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120307/NEWS02/303070104/Santorum-s-strong-showing-likely-prolongGOP-contest?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News

Santorum wins in Tennessee (Chattanooga Times Free-Press/Harrison)

Rick Santorum may not have the endorsement of politicians like Gov. Bill Haslam or U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, but his conservative credentials spoke loudly to average voters in Tennessee, who gave him the win in the presidential primary Tuesday. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Santorum had 37 percent to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romneys 28 percent, despite endorsements from a number of key state leaders. In Hamilton County, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Santorum took 31 percent of the vote while Romney took 29 percent. Tennessee voters are traditional conservatives who support constitutional, limited government, fiscal conservatism and traditional social values, said Mark West, head of the Hamilton County Tea Party, who supported Santorum. We see a conservative candidate in Rick Santorum who has fought for conservative values without apology for his entire career. Local voters praised Santorum for what they called his valuesbased conservative consistency. Santorum is the best man of what we have to vote for, said Dakota Johnson, who cast her vote at the Concord precinct in the Brainerd area. I like that hes for a strong military and doesnt what to take funds away from it. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/mar/07/santorum-wins-tennessee/?local

Santorum Carries Shelby and State (Memphis Daily News)

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum carried Shelby County and the state of Tennessee in the Tuesday, March 6, Republican Presidential primary. And incumbent but suspended General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson finished a poor third in a Democratic primary battle for the clerks office that was won by interim clerk Ed Stanton in the closest contest of the night over County Commission chairman Sidney Chism. And Republican Steve Basar won a close primary race over former commissioner Marilyn Loeffel for an open seat on the county commission. Overall, 72,100 of the countys 611,000 registered voters voted early or on election day for an 11 percent voter turnout. The 48,842 Republican voters reflected the state verdict on the GOP presidential race. http://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2012/mar/7/santorum-carries-shelby-and-state---jackson-out-as-clerk/

Santorum wins in Tennessee; Gingrich musters third place (Times-News)

Rick Santorum won Tennessees Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, where his platform of social and religious issues resonated with conservative voters. With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Santorum had 37 percent to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romneys 28 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who won his home state of Georgia, was unable to replicate his success in neighboring Tennessee despite several visits and a barrage of television ads. He was running third with 24 percent, followed by U.S. Rep. Ron Pauls 9 percent. Santorum appeared in Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis in the days before the primary, often in religious settings. Preliminary results from an exit poll conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press 10

show about seven in 10 Tennessee voters identified themselves as born-again Christians, and about threequarters said it mattered at least somewhat that a candidate shared their religious beliefs. Voter Mary Cecil, who is retired and lives in Sevierville, said the economy is a major issue, but religion was the deciding factor that led her to support Santorum. http://www.timesnews.net/article/9043366/santorum-wins-in-tennessee-gingrichmusters-third-place

Santorum takes W ashington, Carter, Unicoi en route to Tennessee victory (JCP)

Just 40 minutes after the polls closed in Tennessee, former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum checked the state off his list of victories in a crusade to become the Republican presidential nominee and to hopefully square off in November with President Barack Obama. Santorums focus on religious and social issues may have been an advantage in Tennessee. Santorum is very conservative and has a lot of appeal with evangelical Christians across the state, John Rambo, Washington County Republican Party chairman, said late Tuesday. I think voters looked closely at both (former Massachusetts Gov.) Mitt Romney and Santorum. Tennessee has now added 58 delegates to Santorums tally among those who will pledge their support for a presidential nominee at the GOP convention in Tampa Bay, Fla., in August. As of about 10 p.m. Tuesday night, Santorum led all Republican candidates in Tennessee by a comfortable margin, followed by Romney and a fast-closing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Texas Congressman Ron Paul rolled in a distant fourth. http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/News/article.php?id=98796

County picks Santorum (Columbia Daily Herald)

Maury County voters have selected Rick Santorum as the top candidate for the Republican presidential primary Tuesday, followed by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Of the 13,689 residents who voted in the primary, Santorum received 4,152 votes, or 39 percent, and Mitt Romney came in second place with 2, 545 votes, or 24 percent. Newt Gingrich followed closely behind Romney with 2,429 votes, or 23 percent, according to complete but unofficial results. Election official Mike Franks said morning voting was slow but by about 1-2 p.m., voters began to show up more steadily. Weve had people waiting and we didnt the last election at all for a machine and we are running four machines strong, Franks said. Administer of the Maury County Election Commission Todd Baxter said he was happy with the showing of about 13,000 voters from Maury County. For this turnout we had roughly a 30 percent turnout, which is right in line for what we normally do for a presidential election primary, Baxter said. In 2008, we had 33 percent, still right in that 30-35 percent neighborhood. http://www.columbiadailyherald.com/sections/news/local/county-picks-santorum.html

Montgomery County voters say Santorum (Leaf Chronicle)

Santorum hailed as 'one of us' by Montgomery County voters Montgomery County voters largely sided with other Tennesseans on Super Tuesday, giving Rick Santorum a boost while other states helped Mitt Romney maintain a sturdy lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Herma Hayes, a 71-year-old retired woman, said she voted for Santorum on Tuesday because of his strong ties with middle class families. I like his values, said Hayes, who voted at Clarksville High School. Hes one of us. The final county numbers came in with Santorum winning 37.24 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney was not far behind with 29.23 percent. Newt Gingrich came in at 21.81 percent of the vote and Ron Paul at 10.18 percent. Super Tuesday sent voters from 10 states to the polls, and for a handful of Montgomery County voters interviewed earlier Tuesday, the race remained split between four high-profile candidates. Thirteen voters were interviewed after casting their ballots at Clarksville High School around lunch time. They split their support between Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Paul. All four had impassioned supporters among the voters surveyed. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20120307/NEWS01/303060073/Montgomery-County-voters-saySantorum

Santorum Wins Tennessee W ith Ease (WPLN-Radio Nashville)

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum picked up an easy win in Tennessee, the state with the third most delegates at stake for Super Tuesday. The Associated Press called the race less than an hour after polls closed. Santorums win could set the tone for other southern states like Alabama and Mississippi, which hold their primaries next week. The former Pennsylvania senator wasnt heavily organized in Tennessee, but he made multiple campaign stops around the state, telling voters it was in his wheelhouse for Super Tuesday. Bill Dunn, one of Santorums backers in the state House of Representatives, credits values voters, with whom Santorum plays particularly well. You may be for social issues or fiscal issues. He understands that theres a correlation 11

between the two that when morals go down, taxes have to go up. So if were not taking care of ourselves socially, were never going to be able to fix our problems fiscally. Evangelical Christians did help push Santorum to victory in Tennessee. Voters like Ron Falconberry of LaVergne say they like his emphasis on family values. http://wpln.org/?p=34810

Romney Official Says Campaign Can Put Up a Fight in South (WPLN-Radio Nash.)
Last nights Republican primary contest in Tennessee could set the tone for several other southern races later this month. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won the state, but officials with Mitt Romneys campaign were quick to point out he didnt go down without a fight. Romney had the backing of the governor and a slew of representatives in Congress and the state legislature, but it wasnt enough to fend off Santorum. State Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty is also a senior adviser for Romneys national campaign. He says Santorum leaped far ahead during early voting, and he credits Romney with doing what he could to close the gap and pick up delegates. Tennessee is going to stand as a beacon for the south that we will be able to reach beyond, well play very hard in the south. Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana are looking very good for Mitt Romney. http://wpln.org/?p=34816

Ron Paul Picks Up Votes, No Delegates in Tennessee (WPLN-Radio Nashville)

Texas Congressman Ron Paul didnt visit Tennessee prior to Super Tuesday, but he still received nearly 10 percent of the vote. Paul supporters turned out, despite his long-shot odds to win the Republican nomination. Nashville retiree Bob Fajardo sums up the sentiment from many Ron Paul fans. I dont think he has a snowballs chance of getting elected. I just get tired of voting for somebody I dont like that much. Paul supporters say hes the GOP candidate who best understands the countrys fiscal trouble. Viki Mammina, who is a portrait artist, says she voted for Paul during the last primary and doesnt expect him to do any better this go round. Then Ill do the same and vote for Obama. I know that sounds strange, but thats what I did four years ago and Ill probably do the same this time. While Paul did receive a healthy number of votes, he will not win any of the states 58 delegates. http://wpln.org/?p=34814

Voters Said the Economy W as Their Main Issue (New York Times)
Regardless of the financial condition of their state, voters in Tuesdays Republican primaries considered the economy the top issue influencing their choice. And even though the debate in the last few weeks has often involved other issues like contraception, or women in combat, there was very little evidence of a gender gap among the leading candidates in several of the major states in play on Tuesday, and very few voters mentioned abortion as a deciding factor. In Ohio, Mitt Romney was favored by better-educated, more affluent and older voters. Very conservative voters and those who strongly support the Tea Party backed Rick Santorum. Roman Catholics preferred Mr. Romney and evangelical Christians chose Mr. Santorum, who is Catholic, according to the exit poll. In Tennessee, Mr. Santorum secured the support of those with lower incomes, as well as very conservative voters and evangelical Christians, while those in higher income brackets favored Mr. Romney. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/07/us/politics/super-tuesday-exit-polls-show-voters-focused-on-economy.html? ref=todayspaper (SUBSCRIPTION)

Hamilton County parents protest rezoning proposal at school offices (TFP/Hardy)

A crowd of angry parents came looking for Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith to provide documents and answers -- anything that could tell them why their children may have be forced to change schools. But the 40 or so parents who marched into the Hamilton County Department of Education on Tuesday with protest signs in hand didn't make it past the front desk. After the groups asked for Smith, a receptionist rose to her feet and stayed on the phone for several minutes, though no one ever addressed the parents. "I think this displays exactly what we've been saying. It's callous behavior," said parent Ryan Ledford, who led the group. Parents and children from the east side of the county filed into the school system's central office to protest a rezoning proposal that could eventually force their children to change schools. The rezoning plan was unveiled to parents at a pair of public meetings last week. After reeling from the shock and raw emotion, some parents are now trying to slow down or at least question the rezoning process. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/mar/07/parents-protest-at-school-offices/?local


Florida: Florida Higher Education May Face Big Budget Cuts (New York Times)
With three days remaining until the end of the legislative session, Florida lawmakers are moving forward with a $70 billion budget that would create the states 12th university and cut hefty amounts of money from higher education. The House and the Senate are expected to vote this week on the budget, which also includes a $1 billion increase for prekindergarten through high school, a priority of Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican. Mr. Scotts position on the overall budget bill, with its plan for a new university, is unclear. For weeks the budget has been tangled in a disagreement between State Senator JD Alexander, the Republican chairman of the budget committee, and the University of South Florida. Mr. Alexander, who must leave the Legislature this year because of term limits, had lobbied vigorously to turn the University of South Floridas Lakeland campus, in his district, into an independent state polytechnic school. But the University of South Florida opposed the move, and then found itself fighting off a 58 percent reduction in its budget. Many saw the move as punitive. Students organized protests, and a flood of e-mails poured into the Legislature asking the House and the Senate to save the campus and pare back the cuts. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/07/education/florida-higher-education-may-face-big-budget-cuts.html? ref=todayspaper (SUBSCRIPTION)


OPINION Free-Press Editorial: Astounding storm damage, but no loss of life (TFP)
The extent of the damage from last Friday's tornadoes, hail and severe storms is still being calculated, but here are some preliminary numbers on the disaster and its toll in our region: At least six tornadoes, stretching from Marion County, Tenn., to Murphy, N.C., were confirmed. The strongest was an EF3 that hit near Harrison in Hamilton County and then entered Bradley County. There were an as-yet-undetermined number of serious injuries. Damage exceeds $19 million in the region. Seventy-seven homes in Harrison and Ooltewah were destroyed, and 40 homes were destroyed in McMinn County. Damage was also heavy in Bradley County. Hundreds more homes had significant damage, and hundreds of people are homeless. Hail damaged thousands of cars. Thousands of homes lost power, though it has mostly been restored. But there is one more statistic that should not go unmentioned -- a statistic for which we all should give thanks: At least as of this writing, not one death in our area had been linked to Friday's severe weather. It has been said so often that it is a bit of a clich, but it is still true: Things can be replaced, but people can't. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/mar/07/astounding-storm-damage/?opinionfreepress

Free-Press Editorial: W hirlpool's welcome expansion in Bradley County (TFP)

It says something about Whirlpool Corp.'s faith in the workforce of Bradley County that the company has invested $200 million in a 1 million-square-foot factory to replace its existing appliance-manufacturing facilities in the county. The new facility is Whirlpool's biggest plant project ever. It covers an area equal to 28 football fields. Whirlpool will add 130 workers to the 1,500 it now has in the county. Work is also under way or planned for a 400,000-square-foot distribution center and a 41,000-square-foot research and development center. That's good news for Bradley County -- and the rest of our region. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/mar/07/whirlpools-welcome-expansion/?opinionfreepress 13

J.R. Lind: Playing our song (City Paper)

State tourism slogans have a way of infiltrating the zeitgeist, turning into collective earworms so effectively even the most cloying pop chanteuse would be jealous. Try to think about Massachusetts tourism and now spend the rest of the day trying not to sing The Spirit of Massachusetts. Until last week, Tennessees slogan was The Stage Is Set for You, and had been thus since 2004. For some reason and whoever figures out which slogans work and which dont will be taking their vacations in a far more appealing locale than Bucksnort that particular slogan didnt quite have the sticking power of Tennessee: Sounds Good to Me or Follow Me to Tennessee (theres another jingle thatll get stuck in the collective brain for a few hours). So the state is reverting to another old favorite: Were Playing Your Song, which was the slogan between 1987 and 1995, though it certainly seems like it lasted longer. The tourism department insists this wasnt a reactionary choice; in fact, they say, The Stage Is Set for You did well, but sometimes its just time for a change. And in this case, they hearken back. A quick review of the tourism campaigns reveals one thing: The state is perfectly happy with music being the go-to image for the Volunteer State. http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/weekly-obsessionplaying-our-song

Editorial: Protect property owners' right to restrict guns (Tennessean)

We support our right to own a gun. But when did the rights of gun-carrying citizens outweigh the rights of others? What aspect of the decision by a property owner forbidding the possession of a firearm on their property denies the right to own a gun? What aspect of the decision by a business owner to ask a prospective employee if they carry or keep a firearm in their vehicle denies the right to own a gun? In fact, by pushing legislation that authorizes punitive damages against businesses and property owners that knowingly and willfully deny someone from having a gun on their property, the gun lobby is saying that my rights as a gun owner trump your rights as a property owner. No, they do not. HB 3559 and HB 3560 are bills that push well beyond the constitutional right to bear arms. These bills take rights from property owners, and take away the quite practical need that businesses could have to know whether their employees carry firearms they make even asking a question about gun ownership illegal. Business owners and property owners should not be prevented from restricting the possession of firearms on their property. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120307/OPINION01/303070085/Protect-property-owners-right-restrictguns?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Opinion|p

Guest columnist: Guns are only property Constitution protects (Tennessean)

Employee Safe Commute laws exist in about 17 states. They require balancing of rights. Opponents claim that it impairs property rights. That is a shallow objection. The real issue is how to balance apparently competing rights. Historically, there was no right to absolute ownership of real property. Real property rights were absolute only in the government. It is a modern secular belief that citizens have rights to individual ownership and control of real property. Even now, there is no constitutional provision declaring that citizens rights in real property shall not be infringed. Juxtapose rights in real property to the instinctive, fundamental right of self-defense, which exists in all sentient beings. Our Founders viewed the right of arms in two respects. First, as incidental to selfdefense. We are not taught to recognize and flee from danger; we know it instinctively and respond without premeditation. The second and primary context within which the Founders established rights in arms was related to the political right of the citizens to change and displace the institutions of government itself as they had just done with England. Arms are the only item of personal property expressly protected under the Constitution. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120307/OPINION03/303070091/Guns-only-property-Constitution-protects? odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Opinion|p

Times Editorial: Mountaintop removal looms (Chattanooga Times Free-Press)

When coal companies go to blast the tops off Tennessee's mountains and high-line ridges to extract coal once gotten by underground miners, they generally use the coal industry's whitewash euphemisms. They talk of "mountain top removal" and clearing a mountain's "overburden," as if a mountain's higher elevations and ecosystems can be surgically excised without destroying its life. What they actually do in Appalachian states, including Tennessee, with the mountain's "overburden" is this: They clear-cut the forest and then use tons of dynamite to blast off the top of the mountain and all its remaining meadows, wildlife, boulders and earth, which typically slide down into the streams and valleys below, poisoning downstream waters, habitat and extended 14

ecosystems. Or, as a Republican bill now due for a vote tomorrow in Tennessee's Legislature would provide, they push the raw earth into a corner of the flattened mountain's barren and lifeless stump, and after extracting the coal, push this rubble back across the stump into a shape intended to suggest the "approximate original contour" of the mountain that has been utterly destroyed. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/mar/07/mountaintop-removal-looms/?opiniontimes

Editorial: Legislation is a half-turn too far (Commercial Appeal)

Giving teachers a liability shield is good, but mandating that a principal fully support the teacher goes too far. A bill moving through the Tennessee legislature that would lessen the liability for teachers and other school personnel if they have to forcefully deal with unruly students is a step in the right direction. But it goes a half-turn too far by requiring principals to fully support teachers in taking action when it is done according to policy. The bill (SB3116/HB3241) requires local school boards to adopt policies authorizing teachers and others to temporarily relocate a student with "reasonable or justifiable force," if required, or for the students to remain in place until law enforcement or resource officers arrive. The Senate has approved the bill unanimously and the House's Education Committee is scheduled to review the proposed legislation March 13. As student proficiency requirements stiffen, and as teachers and principals strive to meet new teacher-evaluation standards, these dedicated public servants don't need to be distracted by the possibility of liability when they are dealing with disruptive students. While classroom violence and disruptive classroom behavior are sometimes exaggerated, they are genuine issues. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/mar/07/editorial-legislation-is-a-half-turn-too-far/ (SUBSCRIPTION)

Gail Kerr: TN results underscore GOP divide (Tennessean)

Tennessees Republican party is a divided mess. There was a chance for the Super Tuesday primary to push voters to recover the heart and soul of the party, but it didnt happen. Gov. Bill Haslam endorsed Mitt Romney, as did heavy hitters in the states GOP elite, such as House Speaker Beth Harwell. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said he voted for Romney, but stopped short of labeling it an endorsement faint praise, that. But instead of firmly yanking the party back to its traditional roots, which attracts cross-over and independent voters, the winner by a hefty margin was far-right conservative Rick Santorum. Haslam and company were barely able to narrow the gap on Super Tuesday a teeny bit from the rout predicted in polls a week ago. It underscores the gap between working-class, blue-collar conservatives and establishment, monied conservatives, said Mike Kopp, a political analyst and owner of MMA Creative. The monied conservatives were all lined up behind Romney. But Santorum had more of a message that resonated with voters. The monied, establishment Republicans dont know how to deal with that. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120307/COLUMNIST0101/303070103/Gail-Kerr-TN-resultsunderscore-GOP-divide?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News

Frank Munger: Changes in warhead rehab could impact Y-12 (News-Sentinel)

The 10-Year Site Plan for the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge makes a number of assumptions in projecting the plant's workload over the next decade. The first assumption on the list is: "Life Extension Program production will be at or above the current level." That's of interest because it appears there are changes in the works for the LEP for the W76 (Trident warhead), which is a major mission at the Oak Ridge plant. For the past several years, Y-12 was either in preparation or production mode for the program that refurbishes warhead components for the W76, a mainstay of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The W76 along with the W78 warhead and the B61 bomb was projected to be in production for at least 10 more years. The Obama administration is reportedly planning to slow the production rate on the W76 warheads. Todd Jacobson of Washington-based Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor has been doing a lot of reporting in this area, and he recently noted that the administration's FY 2013 request for W 76 refurbishment is $174.9 million. That's about $80 million less than what was being projected a year ago, he said. Jacobson quoted Don Cook, the defense program chief for the National Nuclear Security Administration, as saying the shifting of priorities (and funding) would create more flexibility within the life extension work on nuclear weapons systems. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/mar/07/frank-munger-changes-in-warhead-rehab-could-y-12/

Editorial: Do Electronic Medical Records Save Money? (New York Times)

Experts have long argued that computerized patient records will save the health system money by helping doctors reduce the number of redundant or inappropriate tests they order. A new study published in Health Affairs, disputes that, suggesting that office-based physicians who have access to electronic records of patient 15

care are actually more likely to order additional imaging tests and laboratory tests than doctors who rely on paper records. There are many other studies that support the value of computerization. But this one raises an important cautionary note for the federal government, which is spending billions of dollars to encourage the adoption of digital medical records. It is another reminder that there are no easy fixes for rising health care costs and that the structure for delivering care may have to be changed to reward doctors for prescribing only the appropriate tests. The study was based on a 2008 federal survey that collected data from 28,000 patient visits to 1,100 doctors. It found that doctors who could call up electronic images of a patients previous imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans ordered new imaging tests in 18 percent of the visits; physicians without such access ordered imaging on only 12.9 percent of the visits. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/07/opinion/do-electronic-medicalrecords-save-money.html?ref=todayspaper (SUBSCRIPTION)