Some ‘State of the State’ news

So much is vying for our attention, I thought this morning you might like to know something about the ‘state of the state’.

Gov. Lee Establishes Economic Recovery Group to Reboot Tennessee Economy

Thursday, April 16, 2020 | 03:30pm

Nashville, Tenn. — Today, Governor Bill Lee established the Economic Recovery Group, a joint effort between state departments, members of the legislature and leaders from the private sector to build guidance to safely reboot Tennessee’s economy.

“COVID-19 has not only created a public health crisis, it has hurt thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of hardworking Tennesseans,” said Gov. Lee. “As we work to safely open Tennessee’s economy, this group will provide guidance to industries across the state on the best ways to get Tennesseans back to work.”

The group is led by Tennessee Department of Tourism Development Commissioner Mark Ezell.

“This public-private partnership will prioritize connection, collaboration, and communication across industries, the medical community and state government” said Ezell. “We’re grateful to these leaders for serving at a critical time in our state’s history.”

Sammie Arnold will serve as the chief of staff for the Economic Recovery Group. Arnold currently serves as the Assistant Commissioner of Rural Development at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Members of the Economic Recovery Group include:

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Board of Education makes requirement changes amid pandemic

Updated Apr 10, 2020 | Posted on Apr 9, 2020

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – The Tennessee State Board of Education voted in favor of a number of measures Thursday afternoon that gives more guidance on how students move forward through COVID-19.

Graduation requirements is one that will likely grab the attention of high school Seniors and their parents. The changes allow for Seniors to only have 20 credits to be completed for graduation instead of the usual 22. It still requires 4 Maths, 4 English Language Arts, 3 Sciences, and 2 Social Studies.

If Seniors are concerned about grades, this emergency rule makes it so the student can not be given a grade lower in a class than what they already had in March 20, 2020. There will be, however, remote learning opportunities for a student to improve their grade in the course. Seniors will also no longer be required to take and pass the civics test.

Teachers can also expect a change. They won’t be given an overall effectiveness evaluation for the year if observations were not already completed. In this case, the observations wouldn’t be done until the 2020-2021 school year.

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After appeal, Tennessee Democrats reaffirm decision to kick DeBerry off the primary ballot 

Rep. John DeBerry will not be on the Democratic primary ballot in August for the first time in almost 30 years

The Tennessee Democratic Party State Executive Committee voted last week to remove DeBerry from the Aug. 6 primary ballot and on Wednesday reaffirmed that decision after an appeal proceeding in a 40-21 vote with one abstention. The decision came after years of accusations from Democrats that DeBerry did not have the best interests of the party at heart and that he was too cozy with Republicans and GOP donors.

DeBerry, who represents District 90 in Memphis – which weaves from north of Interstate 40, through Vollintine Evergreen and into South Memphis – said before the vote it should be up to the voters of his district to decide if he no longer represented their interests and the interests of the Democratic party.

Previously:Memphis lawmaker says he was ousted because he refused to be ‘brainless idiot’ for Democratic Party

“I know who I am and what I have been and the example I have been in my district,” he said. “This is why the folks in my district, who are very aware of who I am and what my beliefs are and what my record is, have elected me 13 times.”

DeBerry said he brought experience working across the aisle and that since 1995 he had been clear about many of his socially conservative values while supporting other Democratic causes ”

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Tennessee GOP Chair Allows Democratic Presidential Primary Voter to Run as a Republican

April 7, 2020 Laura Baigert

At the Saturday meeting of the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee, Chairman Scott Golden responded to the challenge of a candidate who donated to Democrats and voted as a Democrat in the last statewide primary by deciding the candidate is a bona fide Republican.

Golden’s decision disregarded the vote of the members of the State Executive Committee (SEC) who were on the meeting conference call, because the candidate was vouched for to his satisfaction.

The candidate being challenged is Cecil “Eddie” Mannis (pictured above), who is running for Tennessee House District 18. The seat is being vacated by State Representative Martin Daniel (R-Knoxville), who announced in March that he would not seek re-election to a fourth term, The Tennessee Star reported.

Mannis declared his party affiliation as Republican on his treasurer appointment form for the non-partisan 2019 City of Knoxville mayoral election. Mannis went on to lose that race to the former Knoxville Mayor’s Special Programs Manager, Indya Kincannon.

According to the Tennessee Secretary of State, as of the filing deadline of noon on Thursday, April 2, the signatures on Eddie Mannis’s petition were approved. Those signatures included that of Republican Congressman for the U.S. Second District Tim Burchett and his wife Kelly as well as former Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

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Lee names Butch Eley as new finance commissioner

Published April 15, 2020 | By Erik Schelzig

Gov. Bill Lee is naming Butch Eley as his new finance commissioner. Eley has served as Lee’s chief operating officer and was a top adviser during the 2018 governor’s race. He replaces Stuart McWhorter, who stepped down to lead the state’s “unified command” in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Department of Finance and Administration will play a crucial role in the reboot of our state’s economy and Butch brings significant expertise to the role as our state faces economic changes,” Lee. said in a release. “His knowledge of the private sector and service as our chief operating officer will ensure we keep Tennessee in a fiscally sound position by prudent management of state services.”

Here’s what The Tennessee Journal wrote about Eley when Gov.-elect Lee  named him head of his transition team in November 2018:

Eley was an aide to then-U.S. Rep. Bill Boner (D-Nashville) who drew attention by going into real estate business with his boss in the mid-1980s. He was a spokesman for Boner’s successful 1987 mayoral bid and later served as his chief of staff, budget director, and economic development chief. The Tennessean editorial page declared Eley to be Boner’s “most loyal soldier.”

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Vast Majority of Tennessee General Assembly Candidates Will Face No Opposition in 2020 Elections

April 7, 2020 Laura Baigert

In a list released last week from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office of the candidates for the Tennessee General Assembly, the vast majority will have no opponent in their party primary, the general election or both in 2020.

The list includes candidates who filed their nominating petitions as of the qualifying deadline of last Thursday, April 2 at 12 noon.

Candidates have one week, or until Thursday, April 9 at 12 noon, to withdraw.

Qualified candidates affiliated with a political party will appear on the ballot for the primary elections held on August 6, 2020. Early voting will run from Friday, July 17 to Saturday, August 1.

The primary will include candidates for the even-numbered districts of the Tennessee Senate and all 99 Tennessee House Districts.

In addition to the Tennessee General Assembly (TGA), primary elections will be held for U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Of the 115 TGA seats up for election – 16 Senate and 99 House – 40 of the incumbents have no primary opponent in August.

Another 20 TGA incumbents will have no opponent in the general election in November.

Meanwhile, 37 TGA incumbents will face neither a primary nor a general election opponent.

Only a dozen – less than 10 percent – are set to face both a primary opponent in August and a general election opponent in November.

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Legislative office complex to remain shuttered until May 4

Published April 14, 2020 | By Erik Schelzig

The Cordell Hull Building will remain closed to lawmakers, staff, media, and the public until at least May 4. The announcement by building administrators follows Gov. Bill Lee’s decision extend a statewide stay-at-home order for nonessential business until the end of April.

The legislative office complex has been vacated since March 23. The General Assembly the previous week passed an emergency budget and left for what was planned to be a 75-day hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic. The plan has been to return on June 1.

Here is the notice sent out by Connie Ridley, the director of legislative administration, on Monday:

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Blessings on your weekend

Bobbie Patray

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