Governor Bill Haslam’s first State of the State speech comes at a difficult time for Tennessee: unemployment is on the rise and federal stimulus money is gone. WPLN’s State Capitol Correspondent Joe White joins Jacqueline Fellows for a preview of the Governor’s speech.
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Tennessee’s persistent methamphetamine problem has spawned competing proposals in the state legislature, both from Republicans. The bills attempt to slow the sale of cold medicine for the purposes of cooking meth. But they get there in very different ways. Knoxville News Sentinel’s Capitol Hill reporter, Tom Humphrey, joins Blake Farmer to explain. The Sentinel chronicled Tennessee’s meth crisis in its five-day series called “Shake, Bake and Boom.”
This week, the Tennessee teachers union is planning a rally at the state capitol to try and stop Republican lawmakers from taking away their collective bargaining rights. WPLN’s state capitol correspondent Joe White and Jacqueline Fellows discuss how the fight in Tennessee is different from what unions may lose in Wisconsin.
The General Assembly may have wound down its session last week and adjourned for the year, but not before arguing over a bill that caused infighting between the state’s Republican legislators. They were united over protesting federal health care changes, but in the end, they couldn’t agree over how to do it. WPLN’s Jacqueline Fellows and state Capitol correspondent Joe White explain what happened, and how Republican lawmakers make up and move forward during this summer’s election season.
After weeks of partisan fighting, state lawmakers finally passed a budget last week. Instead of opting for Governor Phil Bredesen’s proposal to raise taxes, legislators made cuts and dipped into Tennessee’s rainy day fund. WPLN’s Jacqueline Fellows and Joe White explain what to expect when the state’s fiscal year starts July 1.
Last week, Senate Republicans made good on their promise to come up with an alternative to Governor Phil Bredesen’s state budget. Their big complaint centered on tax hikes. WPLN’s Jacqueline Fellows and Joe White discuss what Senate Republicans did.
Last week in a narrow senate vote, lawmakers took the first step toward allowing Tennesseans the chance to elect the state’s attorney general. Currently the Tennessee Supreme Court appoints the state’s top lawyer. WPLN’s Jacqueline Fellows talked with state capitol correspondent Joe White about the politics behind the effort to change Tennessee’s constitution to allow a statewide vote.
This week Governor Phil Bredesen is working out the details on his plan to start charging the full sales tax rate on goods over $3,200. Currently Tennessee consumers get a slight break on high-priced items. Bredesen wants to end that tax break to plug this year’s revenue shortfall that could reach $105 million and beyond. WPLN’s state capitol correspondent Joe White tells Blake Farmer who would be paying more.
Capitol Hill Conversation – Republicans React to State Attorney General’s Opinion on Healthcare Bill
Tennessee Republican lawmakers had their hopes dashed last week when state Attorney General Bob Cooper said he would not join the growing list of states suing the federal government over the healthcare overhaul. But, as WPLN’s State Capitol correspondent, Joe White, tells Jacqueline Fellows, that’s not stopping lawmakers from continuing their attempt to get out from under the new law.
The new federal healthcare bill that Congress passed and the President signed into law last week had officials in Tennessee scrambling to determine its impact. The political rhetoric that heated up in the nation’s capitol also showed up in Nashville. WPLN’s Jacqueline Fellows and State Capitol reporter Joe White discuss what changes Tennessee officials are expecting.
Tennessee’s political parties watched this week as legislators debated a bill that takes away some of their power over primary elections. The issue is complicated and sparked heated debate. WPLN’s Jacqueline Fellows and State Capitol Correspondent Joe White explain what legislators are trying to do.
Tennessee legislators are considering a fundamental change in the way child custody and visitation is divvied up between parents. The “equal time” bill would split a child’s time 50-50. WPLN’s Jacqueline Fellows and state capitol correspondent Joe White discuss the details of the bill.
A strict new law requiring first-time DUI offenders to pass a breathalyzer test to start their cars cleared a legislative hurdle last week. WPLN’s Joe White and Jacqueline Fellows discuss why there’s a push to pile another penalty on first timers.
The state legislature is considering a bill that would shut down bars at midnight. Another steps up enforcement to make sure 50 percent of a bar’s sales are food, not liquor, as required to get a license serve. WPLN’s state capitol correspondent Joe White tells Blake Farmer the legislation is really about defining what is a bar and what is a restaurant.
By law, the state has to adopt a balanced budget every year. That’s not going to be easy this time around. Tax revenues continue to come in under projections, and there’s no guarantee of more stimulus money from the federal government. Governor Phil Bredesen’s proposed budget includes cuts, but as WPLN’s State Capitol Correspondent Joe White tells Nina Cardona, it also calls for bringing more money in by drawing on the state’s reserve funds and increasing a handful of taxes and fees.
Governor Phil Bredesen delivers his annual State of the State address to lawmakers tonight. It’s a speech more about the state budget than anything else, and lawmakers are bracing for the bad news. WPLN’s state capitol correspondent Joe White tells Blake Farmer how bad.
Last week the legislature passed a sweeping change to how the state funnels money to its colleges and universities. The way the state determines how much tax money goes to each school is shifting from how many students an institution enrolls to how many they actually graduate. WPLN state capitol correspondent Joe White tells Blake Farmer why changing the law is just the start.
A special session called by Governor Phil Bredesen continues today at the state legislature. Late Friday night, lawmakers handed Governor Phil Bredesen what he said he needed to make Tennessee competitive for hundreds of millions of dollars from the “Race to the Top” education fund. The General Assembly changed how public school teachers will be evaluated for their pay, allowing a good portion of that to be based on student achievement. WPLN’s Anita Bugg talked with Capitol Hill Correspondent Joe White about what action the legislature has taken and what steps are next.