Local News

Key Laws Sponsored By Sen. Mae Beavers Take Effect July 1

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Several  key laws sponsored by State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) will take effect on July 1 as Tennessee’s new fiscal year begins.   The July 1 enactments include legislation to protect citizens from unwarranted surveillance by drones, a new law to curb drunk driving, a measure to combat the use of synthetic drugs and reduction of the state’s sales tax on food. 

 

“I am very pleased these bills will be enacted,” said Senator Beavers.  “They will benefit our citizens in many ways.”

 

Beavers said the drone legislation will help ensure compliance of the unmanned planes with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The new law defines “drones” and requires a search warrant to be issued by a judge before one can be used in Tennessee.

 

“There has been a massive assault on our personal and constitutional rights in recent years with much of this information finally being made public over the past several weeks,” said Senator Beavers.  “We need to take every step possible to protect citizens from unwarranted surveillance.  This legislation is a good step in the right direction.”

 

The Federal Aviation Administration predicts 10,000 commercial drones could be in the skies by 2020.  The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.  The new law does provide for exceptions to prevent imminent danger to life, including when law enforcement authorities are countering a high risk of a terrorist attack. 

 

Another key law sponsored by Beavers that is set to take effect July 1 adds to the list of synthetic cannabinoids that are currently prohibited within the state of Tennessee.  The measure clarifies the definition of a controlled substance analogue to ensure that any substance that differs by no more than two atoms qualifies. By expanding the definition, it prohibits a DUI offender from using the defense that he or she was lawfully using the illegal drug.

 

Also set to take effect as the 2013 fiscal year begins is a new law sponsored by Senator Beavers requiring the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.  The latest state highway safety statistics report 27% of all traffic fatalities in the state are alcohol-related crashes. 

 

“Ignition interlocks are critical to eliminating drunk driving, as 50% to 75% of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive on a suspended license,” said Senator Beavers.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers saves lives and is effective in reducing drunk driving recidivism by 67%.  Beavers said the average first offender has been intoxicated behind the wheel of a vehicle 80 times before their first arrest. 

 

Finally, Beavers said July 1 marks implementation of the state’s newly enacted law reducing Tennessee’s sales tax on food from 5.2% to 5.0% which she co-sponsored.  It is Beavers’ third time to sponsor or co-sponsor food tax relief legislation.

 

“We have made important progress in providing food tax relief,” said Senator Beavers.  “This is a very important matter to those on a fixed income, including our senior citizens.  I want to continue to see this tax reduced until it is phased out.”

 

Tennessee Department Of Labor Earns Award For Veterans Hiring Event

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development today joined other state agencies and a Tennessee company to mark the success of the Paychecks for Patriots hiring event held last year, which was recently honored as a top community relations project by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The project earned the Parthenon Award, the highest honor given by the PRSA to local public relations professionals.
“It’s a great honor for state agencies to be recognized for our role to help Tennessee veterans find work,” Commissioner Burns Phillips said. “The recognition for this project is rewarding, but we’re especially excited to continue the effort this year.”
“Dollar General is proud to play an integral role in this innovative public-private partnership and coordinate with Tennessee agencies to match employers dedicated to assisting veterans and their families find careers that best meet their backgrounds and aspirations,” said Bob Ravener, executive vice president and chief people officer for Dollar General.  “The Paychecks for Patriots initiative helps resolve the challenges of unemployment facing our veterans by equipping Tennessee’s military community with the resources to better understand the job opportunities available.”
Last October, Labor, along with lead corporate sponsor Dollar General, held Paychecks for Patriots that included 13 concurrent job fairs across Tennessee. The event boasted 92 hiring employers with 4,000 jobs and 2,400 veterans attending. The event was a collaboration of state agencies such as the Department of Military, Veterans Affairs, and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
“During this challenging economic time, younger veterans are coming home to unemployment while older veterans are losing their jobs and reentering the new job search climate,” Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder said.  “Most veterans possess a driven work ethic, a long list of skills and exemplary character traits.  Therefore, it is all of our jobs to help connect unemployed or underemployed veterans with high quality opportunities.”
"We are honored to be a part of this landmark program, and to be recognized by an organization as prestigious as the PRSA is very gratifying, "stated Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee's Adjutant General.  "Lots of people put in many long hours making this project successful, and the true value is measured in how many veterans we can help find employment."
Dollar General held a ceremony today to recognize partner organizations and present the Parthenon Awards to those who were unable to attend the official PRSA ceremony held in May.

Comptroller Releases Report on Drug Task Forces

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Audit today released the Review of Funds Administered by District Attorneys General and Judicial District Drug Task Forces: 1st – 31st Judicial Districts for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012.
The auditors had findings in five judicial districts. The findings and recommendations for corrective action were reviewed with the district attorneys general and representatives from the drug task forces. The details, including responses from the district attorneys general and task force representatives, are presented in the Findings, Recommendations and Financial Section of the report.
There were no findings in the 16th Judicial District in the audit.  The 16th District comprises of Cannon and Rutherford Counties

Farmer's Market Opens In Cannon County

Monday, 24 June 2013

Harold Duggin with Donald Fann Family

The weather has put us a little behind, but the Market is open and has many of your early summer favorites. The Cannon County Farmers Market specializes in bringing farm fresh, vine ripen fruits and vegetables from the farm to your dinner table.
For those looking for locally grown farm fresh vegetables, drop by the Cannon County Farmers Market this Saturday, June 29th for a great selection of vegetables and baked good including; Cabbage, squash, potatoes, beets, blue lake beans, rosemary, parsley root and green peas. Irene Hollis has a great selection of homemade baked goods.
The Cannon County Farmers Market is located at the Cannon County Arts Center every Saturday beginning at 6:00 A.M. Our producers are proud to offer locally grown farm fresh produce. Most Saturdays the market is open until noon or until the farm fresh fruits and vegetables have been sold.
For help with freezing or canning tips, contact Carla Bush at the Cannon County Extension Office. If you need more information concerning the market or would like to become a vendor, contact Bruce Steelman at the Cannon County Extension Office (563-2554), bsteelman@utk.edu or Cannoncountyfarmersmarket.com.
 

Tennessee Board Of Regents Approves Tuition Increase

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Tennessee Board of Regents Friday approved maintenance fee/tuition recommendations at its universities and community colleges. Maintenance fee increases are lower this year than in the past two years and will not affect the Tennessee Technology Centers.
It also took action on recommendations by a number of committees, including Finance and Business Operations, Personnel and Compensation, Academic Policies and Programs, and Tennessee Technology Centers.
The Board approved a recommendation made by its Committee on Finance and Business Operations earlier this month to increase maintenance fees/tuition at the system’s 19 community colleges and universities across the state. When combined with mandatory fees (unique to each campus, including fees for athletics, student activities) already approved, the proposed increases for students taking 15 credit hours will amount to:

  • $102 per year for community college students,
  • $72 per year at Tennessee State University,
  • $240 at Austin Peay State University,
  • $348 at Middle Tennessee State University,
  • $383 at Tennessee Technological University,
  • $432 at the University of Memphis, and
  • $546 at East Tennessee State University.

“While we regret any increase in cost to students, we are grateful to be able to limit the extent of the increases this year thanks to additional state funding,” said TBR Chancellor John Morgan. “Our state leaders have recognized the critical role higher education plays in our state’s economic development.”
A complete list of maintenance fee/tuition and mandatory fee increases is available at http://tbr.edu/student_information/default.aspx?id=8205
The increases in maintenance fees/tuition are needed to fund the portion of the mandated 1.5 percent salary increase for all state employees that was not funded through state appropriations and inflation cost increases in utilities and insurance. Most institutions also requested additional increases to fund efforts to support student success. 
The Board also approved an incentive compensation plan that would allow institution leaders to earn an annual payment tied to exemplary outcomes in performance, primarily related to the outcomes outlined in the state’s funding formula for public higher education. That formula identifies specific outcomes related to student success, including graduation and retention rates. The plan allows institution leaders to qualify each year for an incentive payment of up to roughly 10 percent of their base salary. Base salaries for presidents and directors were capped at 90 percent of the average market salary for comparable positions in the southeast.
In other new business, the Board approved a slate of new programs, including several in high-demand workforce fields in Tennessee. Among them are a new master of arts degree in Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University, and a bachelor of science degree in Mechatronics Engineering at Middle Tennessee State University.
Newly approved associate of applied science programs include:

  • Mechatronics Technology at Motlow State Community College,
  • Information Systems Technology at Motlow State,
  • Medical Informatics with a concentration in Healthcare IT Technician at Nashville State Community College,
  • Advanced Integrated Industrial Technology at Southwest Tennessee Community College,
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant at Walters State Community College, and
  • a collaborative Surgical Technology program through Walters State and Roane State Community Colleges.

New programs implemented at the Tennessee Technology Centers include:

  • Health Information Technology program at Paris,
  • Health Information Technology program at Whiteville - Brownsville Campus,
  • Machine Tool Technology Program at Morristown- Greenville Center,
  • Industrial Electricity Program at Morristown- Greenville Center,
  • Industrial Maintenance Program with HVAC component program at Oneida,
  • Industrial Technology Education Program for dual enrollment at Ripley,
  • Patient Care Technician Program at Knoxville-Strawberry Plains,
  • Industrial Maintenance Program at Knoxville-Strawberry Plains,
  • Automotive Program for dual enrollment at Hartsville-Tri-County Vocational Center,
  • Graphic Design and Web Development Technology at Murfreesboro, and a
  • Health Science Program at Pulaski- Spot Lowe Vocational Center at Marshall County High School.

The Board also heard a report on the planned name change for the state’s 27 Tennessee Technology Centers and satellite campuses. A bill introduced in the legislature and signed by Governor Haslam changes the name of the centers to Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology effective July 1.
“These various new programs reflect strong partnerships between our colleges and universities and the workforce needs of their surrounding communities,” Morgan said.
The Board also re-elected Governor Bill Haslam as its chairman and selected Regent Emily Reynolds to serve as vice chairman. Reynolds has a long career of public service and was appointed to the TBR in 2010 to represent the at-large seat for Middle Tennessee.
The Tennessee Board of Regents is among the nation’s largest higher education systems, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions.  The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 27 technology centers, providing programs to more than 200,000 students across the state.

TBI Releases Family Violence Study

Monday, 24 June 2013

he Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today released a report focused on domestic violence that occurs between family members entitled “Family Violence Study 2012.” The study is based on offenses reported by law enforcement agencies to the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System in 2012 where approximately 14.5 percent of all crimes reported were domestic in nature.
 
Of the 2012 domestic violence offenses, 41,708 or 50 percent were reported as having a familial victim to offender relationship. It is important to note that the parameters of the study did not include certain valid domestic violence relationships particularly boyfriend/girlfriend, which was the most commonly reported domestic violence relationship in 2012. The study also gives insight into the influence of drugs and alcohol in familial violence.
 
Family Violence Study 2012 Quick Facts
 

  • Simple assault was the most frequently reported offense accounting for 67.5 percent of family violence offenses outnumbering all other offenses by more than 4 to 1.
  • Females were nearly two times more likely to be victimized than males.
  • Offenders of familial kidnapping/abduction offenses in the state were most often parents accounting for almost 58 percent of all kidnapping/abduction offenses.
  • White offenders were documented 1.8 times more often than African-American domestic violence offenders.
  • Female parents were more likely to commit simple assault against their female children at 68 percent than male children at almost 32 percent.
  • More than 17 percent of family violence offenses involved drugs or alcohol by the offender with the majority, 83 percent, using alcohol.
  • In 2012, six juveniles were murdered by family members.

 
 
This report was created to offer insight into demographic information about offenders and victims and the prevalence of specific offenses related to familial violence.  Data compiled from this report may be used to support avocation for domestic violence prevention and counseling as well as provide insight for agencies dedicated to children’s services.

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