Friday, February 07, 2020

NFIB, Beacon Center, Americans for Prosperity, others to rally for "no taxation on my occupation."

NFIB press release, NASHVILLE (Feb. 7, 2020) – NFIB, the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, will partner with other business groups at the State Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 11, and urge lawmakers to repeal Tennessee’s onerous professional privilege tax. Other groups taking part in the “No Taxation on My Occupation” lobby day include the Beacon Center of Tennessee, Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee, Americans for Tax Reform, the Tennessee Medical Association, Tennessee Bar Association, and NAIFA Tennessee.

The coalition’s lobby day will begin with a rally in the state Senate chamber at 8 a.m. Invited speakers include Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton. Following the rally, coalition members will meet with their legislators and urge them to vote “yes” on Governor Lee’s administration legislation, Senate Bill 2201/House Bill 2268.

Professionals from across Tennessee also will engage senators in Senate Hearing Room II at 11 a.m. Last year, the General Assembly eliminated the privilege tax on 15 professions but kept it in place for financial planners, doctors, and lawyers. The legislation would reduce the remaining $400 privilege tax to $200.

“Governor Lee’s proposed legislation is an excellent step in the right direction to full repeal of this unfair, arbitrary tax,” said Jim Brown, the National Federation of Independent Business' state director for Tennessee. “No professional should be taxed simply to go to work.”

To learn more about the “No Taxation on My Occupation” coalition, visit To learn more about NFIB in Tennessee, visit and follow @NFIB_TN on Twitter.

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More on Lamar Alexander Got it Right.

The House managers had proved their case to his satisfaction even without new witnesses, Mr. Alexander added, but “they do not meet the Constitution’s ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’ standard for an impeachable offense.” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse told reporters “let me be clear: Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us.”

This isn’t an abdication. It’s a wise judgment based on what Mr. Trump did and the rushed, partisan nature of the House impeachment. Mr. Trump was wrong to ask Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, and wrong to use U.S. aid as leverage. His call with Ukraine’s President was far from “perfect.” It was reckless and self-destructive, as Mr. Trump often is.

In his statement, Alexander expressed the correct view on the underlying matter — one we have been urging Republicans to publicly adopt since impeachment first got off the ground.

The Tennessee Republican said that it has been amply established that Donald Trump used a hold on defense aid to pressure the Ukrainians to undertake the investigations that he wanted, and that this was, as he mildly put it, inappropriate. But this misconduct, he argued, doesn’t rise to the level of the high crimes and misdemeanors required to remove a president from office. If the Senate were to do so anyway, it would further envenom the nation’s partisan divide. Besides, there is a national election looming where the public itself can decide whether Trump should stay in office or not.

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander’s words reminded me of the struggle my father, John Doar, had as he considered whether the conduct of President Richard Nixon was so serious that it should lead the House to impeach him and the Senate to remove him from office. Dad was in charge of the House Judiciary Committee staff, which took seven months (between December 1973 and July 1974) to examine the evidence and consider the question. What he concluded, and what the House Judiciary Committee by bipartisan majorities also found, was that Nixon deserved impeachment and removal for a pattern of conduct over a multi-year period that both obstructed justice and abused power.

President Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine, though inappropriate, differs significantly from Nixon’s in one crucial respect. Where Nixon’s impeachable abuse of power occurred over a period of several years, the conduct challenged by the House’s impeachment of Trump was not nearly as prolonged. From July to September of last year, Trump attempted to cajole a foreign government to open an investigation into his political opponent. That conduct was wrong. But it’s not the same as what Nixon did over multiple years.

Alexander now finds himself being excoriated by both sides. The Trump supporters will never forget his failure to fall in line and salute. The anti-Trumpers are expressing their disappointment.

I’ve never been a Lamar fan. But I would like to make the case that he did exactly the right thing and he expressed the position of the majority of his Republican colleagues. He, and anyone who has been paying attention, says Trump did what he was accused of and what he did was wrong – inappropriate. But it did not rise to the level of removing him from office. There was no point in listening to additional witnesses and dragging things out. Everyone knew he was guilty. But if Trump is to be removed from office, let the voters do it.

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Nashville Mayor John Cooper Announces Filing of Metro Lawsuit Against State Of Tennessee Over School Voucher Law

Metro Press Release - Mayor John Cooper and Metro Law Director Bob Cooper have announced that the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, including the Metro Nashville Board of Public Education, today filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the State of Tennessee’s controversial 2019 voucher law.

The 44-page suit, filed in Davidson County Chancery Court, names the Tennessee Department of Education, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, and Governor Bill Lee as defendants, and outlines multiple ways in which the voucher law, known as the Tennessee Education Savings Account Pilot Program, violates the state constitution. Shelby County also joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff.

Mayor John Cooper described litigation as a “last-resort response” to state policies that strain the budget of Metro Nashville Public Schools and shift unfunded mandates to local taxpayers.

“We must do all we can to protect Metro’s resources, especially when it concerns our public-school students and educators,” Mayor Cooper said. “Ensuring a bright future for Nashville requires more, not less, investment in our public schools. It is both my job and the responsibility of this administration not only to protect Metro’s limited resources for public school funding but to seek more public education investment from the state.”

“The bottom line is, Tennessee’s voucher law was intentionally designed to impact just two counties based on politics, not policy,” said Bob Cooper, Director of the Metro Department of Law.

“We believe a complete vetting in chancery court will demonstrate that the law violates our state constitution and undermines our local government’s ability to deliver adequately funded public education.”

With 86,000 students, MNPS is the 42nd-largest school system in the U.S. and the second largest in Tennessee. In 2017, the Nashville school board voted to join Shelby County Schools in suing the state over inadequate funding of the Basic Education Program – and the board has, over several years, expressed fiscal and policy concerns about vouchers.

“As advocates for our city’s public-school students and stewards of finite taxpayer resources, we are resolved to stand up against vouchers,” said Anna Shepherd, chair of the nine-member school board. “When the Governor and state lawmakers ignore our concerns, the only remaining option is the judicial branch. We’re grateful for Mayor Cooper and the Metro Department of Law’s leadership in this litigation.”

“Vouchers have been a failed experiment wherever they are tried and seek to only undermine public schools,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, interim director of schools. “Instead of seeking ways to disinvest from our classrooms and teachers, I would welcome a collaborative relationship with state leaders on how we can work together to invest in proven strategies that result in the best outcomes for our students.”

According to Metro’s lawsuit, the voucher law — which targets only MNPS and Shelby County Schools — runs afoul of the state constitution in at least three areas. First, the law violates the constitution’s “home rule” provision limiting the Tennessee General Assembly’s ability to narrowly draw legislation to affect local communities without local consent. Second, the law violates the constitution’s equal protection clauses by diluting public school funding in Davidson and Shelby counties without doing the same in other counties. Third, the law violates the constitution’s mandate that the legislature “provide for the maintenance, support, and eligibility standards of a system of free public schools.”

As a remedy, the lawsuit is seeking a court order declaring the voucher law to be “unconstitutional, unlawful, and unenforceable” and injunctions preventing state officials from implementing the law. Mayor Cooper pledged to keep taxpayers updated as the litigation winds through the court system in the coming months.

Rod's Comment: I am disappointed that Mayor Cooper and our school board are opposing innovation, opportunity, and parental choice instead of embracing it.

Tennessee’s Education Savings Account (ESA) program is planned to launch this school year in Davidson County, Shelby County, and the Achievement School District. Under the ESA program, eligible students can use state and local Basic Education Program (BEP) funds toward expenses, such as tuition or fees, at participating private schools. When a student leaves the district public school, it is true that the local school system loses the state funds they would have received for educating that student, but they also no longer have that student to educate.  This is no different than if a family moves from Davidson County to Wilson County; Davidson County loses that BEP funding but they no longer are educating that student.

In his first State of the State address last March, Governor Lee said, “Low income students deserve the same opportunity as every other kid in this state, and we will need a bold plan that will help level the playing field. We need to challenge the status quo, increase competition, and not slow down until every student in Tennessee has access to a great education. We’re not going to get big results from our struggling schools by nibbling around the edges. That is why we need education savings accounts in Tennessee this year.”

I agree with Governor Lee. 

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Mayor's Night Out

Metro Press release- Mayor's Night Out, 2/13/2020, 6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Mayor John Cooper is excited for the next Mayor’s Night Out event where Nashville residents are invited to voice their opinions, questions, and concerns in one-on-one conversations with the Mayor and Metro department leaders. At this event will be:

  • Mayor John Cooper 
  • Jill Speering (MNPS Board Member) 
  • Council Member Jennifer Gamble (District 3) 
  • Council Member Sean Parker (District 5) 
  • Council Member Emily Benedict (District 7) 
  • Council Member Nancy VanReece (District 8) 
  • Council Member Tonya Hancock (District 9) 
  • Council Member Zach Young (District 10) 
  • Metro department employees 
Note: There will be no availability for interviews or questions and answers at this event.

Location:  Madison Middle School, 300 Old Hickory Blvd. W.,  Madison, TN 37115

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Thursday, February 06, 2020

Metro Nashville Budget Information Meetings

The following is from the email newsletter of Councilman Jeff Syracuse:

As part of the upcoming Metro budget season, CM Bob Mendes and CM Kyzonte Toombs (Chair and Vice Chair respectively of the Budget & Finance Committee) will host meetings across the county to get feedback about the challenges we face and options ahead of us. Thanks to CM Erin Evans for putting this graphic together. Here are all the meetings.

I suspect these meetings will focus on the need for new revenue and be short on calls for cutting waste and increasing efficiencies. At-large Councilmember Bob Mendes unsuccessfully sought to raise property taxes for each of the last two years.  In making committee assignments, Vice mayor Shulman passed over Budget and Finance Vice Chair Kevin Rhoten and instead gave the leadership position to Mendes. Rhoten had voted against the property tax increase proposals.  With Mendes in the driver's seat the chance to pass a tax hike is enhanced.

Despite anticipating that these meetings will be skewed to build a case for a tax hike, I encourage engaged citizens to attend in order to understand the budgetary issues facing our city and the arguments advocates of a tax increase will make.

There is a lot of information about the city budget on line and you can find it at this link.

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1st Tuesday guest speaker for Feb 11th is John Ryder

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY Members, Friends and Guests !

The classic proverb... ''MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES'' ...certainly applies NOW!

The Super Bowl in Miami is already a distant memory. The Senate has concluded ''the (Bull-Schiff) show''. And who can believe the DEM primaries ??? And then at the State of The Union address, Trump sparkled while Nancy fumed. 

Many expect the fall out to start raining down soon. But what will it look like ?
AND NO DOUBT .... the REAL Super Bowl of 2020 has kicked off and is beginning to speed towards Election Day !

Sooooo ... WHO  ... you ask can not only put ALL these happening into perspective, has mega-contacts and knew what was going on behind the scenes in Washington DC, is in the loop on the Party's internal polling AND can truly discuss what is likely coming next ???? 

Given his political experience and vast legal background as the prior Chief Legal Counsel for The Republican National Committee, JOHN RYDER is just 1 of the few people who can bring context to the myriad of Legal, Political and Constitutional ramifications into focus.  Especially with years of access to the key elected players and access to the best polling from the RNC and at State levels across the country, the information John has to share will mesmerize you !

Join us on Tuesday, FEB 11th, when our ''political GURU of TN '' returns to 1ST TUESDAY for a day to remember!  

As usual, our Events for 2020 Members are $20 and $25 for Guests. Doors at Waller Law open at 11:00 with lunch at starting at 11:25. Program starts at Noon. Expect an AMAZING Q&A Session to conclude at 1:00 sharp !

Secure seating for you and those you wish to ''mesmerize'' via our 1ST TUESDAY website at Home | Firsttuesdaynash 
Pass the word and plan to join us for what will be a day to remember!

I look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday, FEB 11th at 1ST TUESDAY !

Tim Skow

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Nashville, Shelby County sue state over education savings accounts, call voucher law unconstitutional

The Tennessean - In an effort led by Mayor John Cooper, the Nashville school board is suing the state alleging Gov. Bill Lee's Education Savings Account program is unconstitutional.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Davidson County chancery court, attorneys for Nashville, the school board and Shelby County argued the law creating the savings accounts put an unfair burden on two counties.

The lawsuit argues that because the law mandates policy in only two counties it violates the "home rule" in the state constitution. That rule says any law that affects isolated counties must also require local approval.

"The General Assembly cannot impose its will on only two counties without their approval," the lawsuit argues. (continue reading)

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Tuesday, February 04, 2020

What's on the Council Agenda for Feb. 4, 2020: More attacks on Short-term-rentals, banning contracting for detention services, restricting landloards ability to raise rent, ..

by Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, February 4th at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. Here is a link to the Council agenda and the Council staff analysisLife has interfered with blogging this week and I am late posting about the Council agenda and writing a blog post. This is an abbreviated version of my usual report.  For some of the below, I am copying and pasting directly from the staff analysis. Below are the legislative items of interest. 

Bills on Public Hearing:

BILL NO. BL2019-78 (SLEDGE) – This ordinance requires a minimum distance for a new Short Term Rental Property - Not Owner-Occupied from churches, schools, daycares, and parks. No new STRP permit could be located less than 100 feet from a religious institution, a school or its playground, a park, or a licensed day care center or its playground, unless, after a public hearing, a resolution receiving 21 affirmative votes is adopted by the Council.  In my view this is uncalled for. I oppose this bill. It is on public hearing which is also second reading.
BILL NO. BL2019-111 (PARKER, TOOMBS, & SLEDGE) – This ordinance creates new “NS” (No STRP) districts for all zoning districts, except single and two family residential (R and RS), downtown code (DTC), and industrial districts (IWD, IR, and IG). These new NS zoning districts would be identical to all existing standards and all existing uses, except that owner occupied and not owner occupied uses would be prohibited in NS districts. The exhibit attached to the ordinance inserts references to NS districts as necessary throughout Title 17. Other minor changes, such as typographical mistakes and outdated references, would be made. This includes changing some references from the former CC district to the current DTC district.  This is another unnecessary attack on short term rentals.  It is on public hearing. 
Resolutions:  All of the resolutions are routine mundane stuff.

Second Reading:
BILL NO. BL2020-115 (GLOVER) require a security plan prior to obtaining a building permit for a parking structure constructed near a stadium, arena, or racetrack. Under this ordinance, no parking structure, as defined by the zoning administrator, could be constructed within 100 feet of a stadium, arena, or racetrack that accommodates or will accommodate 1,000 people or more unless a security plan prepared by a professional sports/entertainment facility security consultant is approved by the fire marshal and the department of codes administration. The security plan must, at a minimum, include mitigation mechanisms to protect spectators from attacks associated with explosives contained inside motor vehicles located on or within the parking structure.  It is my understanding that this would be another obstacle in the way of the proposed MLS Fairground stadium.  Also for security purposes, it does sound reasonable.  I support this bill.
BILL NO. BL2020-148 (BENEDICT, WELSCH, & OTHERS) – This ordinance would amend Section 4.12.240 of the Metro Code pertaining to future contracts with private operators of detention facilities. Ordinance No. BL2017-542 established Section 4.12.240 to require future contracts for correctional facility management services to be approved by the Metro Council, and to require reports to be submitted by the contractor to the Council regarding contractor performance for future contracts. This ordinance would delete those requirements from the 2017 ordinance and substitute with new provisions that would prohibit Metro from entering into a new contract, or renewing an existing contract, with a private contractor to manage a Metro detention facility after June 30, 2022. The ordinance would also prohibit Metro from entering into or renewing a contract with the state for the detention of incarcerated persons if the contract permits a private contractor to manage the facility.  "Profit" has become a dirty word for some people in recent years.  For profit prisons and schools have especially come under attack by progressives.  I thing government contracting for services is often, not always-but often,  more cost-effective than government providing services directly, whether garbage collection, janitorial services, road construction or owning and managing prisons.  I oppose this bill.  Contracting for detention services should not be banned as an option.
BILL NO. BL2020-149 would require landlords to provide at least 90 days’ written notice to tenants before increasing the tenant’s rent. This is likely to reduce the availability of affordable housing and raise rent prices.  This type interference in the market hardly ever achieves  the desired result.  There is already the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) which requires a 30-day notice.  Nashville should not have a more restrictive rule than other places in Tennessee.  This needs to be defeated.  If it does pass, I hope the State invalidates it. 
This is a draft of a work in progress. Please check back. 

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Monday, February 03, 2020

Nashville Transportation Public Listening Sessionj

Nashville Transportation

Public Listening Sessions

From the Mayor's Office: "The Mayor's Office of Transportation is setting a new course to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the growth in Nashville and the region. Together, we will create a transportation plan that helps make Nashville a city that works for everyone. ...

"The Mayor's Office of Transportation will hold 11 public listening sessions in January and February of 2020. The listening sessions are your opportunity to voice ideas, priorities and concerns regarding transit and transportation in Nashville."

This is an important opportunity to have our voices heard on an issue vital to Nashville's future.  Find the listening session schedule HERE and take the Mayor's Transportation Survey HERE!

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Save the Date, Reagan Day Dinner, March 56, 2020

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