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News - Friday, January 3, 2020

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Health care, education & the usual hot buttons
Business as usual for GOP-led Legislature, plus how to spend an extra $700M?

After a raucous, partisan 2019 session that delivered historic health and education measures, Tennessee lawmakers return to Nashville on Jan. 14 for the second half of the 111th General Assembly.

Health and education will continue to occupy lawmakers. Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s administration has applied to the federal government to receive TennCare funding through a block grant.

Look for fewer bills as legislators eye early adjournment, re-election

So far, fewer than 100 bills have been filed for consideration in this year’s session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly, but they include laws on hot-button issues such as school vouchers, vaping, immigration, guns and gender.

The earliest-filed bill, by Rep. Rick Staples, D-Knoxville, would create a new state legal holiday, Emancipation Day, to fall on Aug. 8 each year. Staples also filed the first House bill last year, which eventually was passed and will bring online sports gaming to Tennessee.

Legislators seek to balance punishment, preparing non-violent offenders for success

It’s all about balance in criminal justice reform, and this year lawmakers are likely to be searching for that sweet spot between punishment and preparation for reentry into society for Tennessee’s more than 21,000 inmates.

Fewer than 2,300 were serving sentences of either life imprisonment or life without parole as of May, data from the Tennessee Department of Corrections show. That means the vast majority of offenders will return to the community after serving time.

Democrats seek quick reversal of Education Savings Account bill

Rep. Bo Mitchell, a Nashville Democratic, was joined by 19 fellow House Democrats in filing a one-sentence bill Aug. 21 that aims to delete from the books a law passed in May that allows state money – about $7,400 per student per year – to go to parents in Memphis and Nashville to send their children to private school instead of public school.

Legislators have plenty of ideas for $700M in unused funds

If you ask a Tennessee lawmaker an open-ended question about priorities for 2020, the subject might immediately go to what to do with the TANF funds.

Some might say the lawmaker has 700 million reasons to be concerned since the state could draw on more than $700 million in unspent federal matching funds to support programs for needy families.

Proctor’s inside-out path to Husch Blackwell

Attorney Wendy Proctor worked for 20 years as in-house real estate counsel for national retail companies and developers. She would have laughed during that time if someone had suggested she’d someday be a partner at a law firm.

But five years after Proctor moved to Chattanooga and joined Husch Blackwell, the firm has made her a partner.

TBA selects local attorneys for leadership law class

Four Chattanooga attorneys will participate in the Tennessee Bar Association’s 2020 Leadership Law program: Stephen Adams of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel; Matt Brock of Best Hayduk Brock; Michael Dumitru of Miller & Martin; and Samantha Lunn of Husch Blackwell.

Anderson finds right fit after career at Amazon

Heather Anderson’s job as an area manager for Amazon had placed great demands on her as she supervised associates and juggled tasks, so she was no stranger to hard work when she became a Realtor in 2018.

But Anderson was as green as spring grass when it came to real estate, so instead of winging it on her own she joined Realtor Kelly Jooma’s team, which at the time was housed at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices J Douglas Properties. (Jooma has since moved her team to Keller Williams Greater Downtown Realty.)

Preparing to buy a home in 2020

The news is out! Chattanooga is the city to watch for impressive growth in the coming years, so now is a great time to purchase a new home in the Tennessee Valley. Not only will you enjoy the pride of homeownership, real estate investments appreciate in value and offer great tax incentives.

Rogers column: We’re not the Volunteer State, at least not yet

A multiple-choice quiz. Tennessee’s official state nickname is:

A. The Hog and Hominy State

B. The Volunteer State

C. The Mother of Southwestern Statesmen

D. The Birthplace of Miley Cyrus.

OK, I made up that last nickname, though it is true. The others are all real. But the correct answer, believe it or not, is: E. None of the Above.

Minor criticisms aside, ‘Bombshell’ delivers timely story with all-star cast

“Bombshell” opens with a disclaimer that states every character is portrayed by an actor except where archival footage is used.

Although this might seem like an odd way to begin a film about the 2016 ousting of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes in the wake of sexual harassment claims against him, I appreciated the heads-up.

Protect yourself against long-term care costs

If you’re fortunate, you’ll live independently and in good health throughout your retirement years. However, if you ever needed some type of long-term care, such as a stay in a nursing home, would you be financially prepared?

To answer this question, you may want to evaluate two variables: your likelihood of needing long-term care and the cost of such care. Consider the following:

TDOT awards contract for improvement project on SR-317/Apison Pike

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has awarded the contract for a major improvement project on SR-317/Apison Pike in Collegedale to Wright Brothers Construction for $93,100,903.71.

The 3.4-mile project will widen and improve the Apison Pike corridor from SR-321/Ooltewah-Ringgold Road to east of Layton Lane near the Collegedale Municipal Airport.

Pennrose breaks ground for Cromwell Hills and Emerald Villages

Developer and property manager Pennrose and the Chattanooga Housing Authority have begun redevelopment of Cromwell Hills and Emerald Villages in Chattanooga.

The comprehensive initiative will repair and upgrade 200 units at the Cromwell Hills apartment complex and redevelop 111 scattered-site units into the new Emerald Villages.

Live Christmas tree collection

The Chattanooga Department of Public Works is offering to collect live Christmas trees at any of its five recycle centers. City residents can drop off their live Christmas trees through Friday, Jan. 31. Locations and hours for the recycle centers can be found at chattanooga.gov/public-works/city-wide-services/pw-recycling.

Hunter Museum to present photo exhibit about American South

Hunter Museum will present “Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South” beginning Jan. 31. The exhibit will feature more than 200 images by 56 photographers and represent the largest exhibition of photographs of the American South in the 21st century.