Nashville Mayor's Order Recognizes LGBT-Owned Businesses

Nashville Mayor David Briley on Monday signed an executive order that recognizes LGBT-owned businesses as a category for Metro procurement and contracting, The Nashville Business Journal reports. Briley’s order aligns with recent changes announced by the Nashville Metro Council, which intends to address complaints that minority-owned businesses are not equally benefitting from the city’s economic growth. “It’s my job as mayor to make sure that everyone in our city, regardless of who they are or where they come from, has equal access to economic opportunities,” said Briley. “Today, we’ve taken an important step towards better equity for LGBT-owned businesses in Nashville.” Nashville will be the first city in the South to instill such a policy.
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U.S. Supreme Court Considers Case Involving Tennessee Liquor Laws

The U.S. Supreme Court last week heard oral arguments in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair, considering whether states can pass laws with resident restrictions regarding the issuance of liquor licenses, Forbes reports. The dispute involves a family that owns a mom-and-pop liquor store, who moved to Tennessee from Utah and attempted to bring their business with them. Current Tennessee law requires license applicants to live in the state for at least two years. Additionally, the license expires in one year, and renewal requires residency of 10 consecutive years, effectively barring new Tennesseans from opening these types of businesses, which detractors claim stifles new business in favor of existing competitors. The Tennessee Alcohol and Beverage Commission recommended approving the license and declined to enforce the rule, leading the association to sue. The Supreme Court is expected to reach a decision sometime this spring.

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Local Government Section to Host Reception at Tennessee State Museum

The TBA Local Government Section will host a reception at the newly opened Tennessee State Museum following its annual forum on March 28. Attendees of the reception will meet with museum curators and receive a staff-guided tour of the brand-new facility. This event is open to all Local Government Section members and TBA House of Delegates members; forum attendance is not required. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn Tennessee history while engaging with TBA leadership. You can RSVP for this event here.
When: Thursday, March 28, 5 p.m., CST
Where: Tennessee State Museum, 1000 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville
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General Assembly Re-elects Comptroller Wilson, Treasurer Lillard Jr.

The Tennessee General Assembly on Wednesday re-elected Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Justin Wilson, and Tennessee State Treasurer David Lillard Jr., who will continue to serve in those positions for at least two more years, The Commercial Appeal reports. The legislature will resume today to elect members of the fiscal review committee, then the House will recess until Jan. 23, and the Senate until Jan. 28.

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UT Studies How Municipalities Address Changing Street Names that Honor Controversial Figures

Two University of Tennessee researchers are studying how local governments treat requests involving name changes for streets termed after controversial historical figures, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Geography professor Derek Alderman and geography Ph.D. candidate Jordan Brasher, using Tulsa, Okla., as a study model, found that cities "don't want to inconvenience or disrupt business," which could delay the renaming process, and contend that "cities tend to put economic development and convenience and practicality over really repairing the wounds and really trying to do justice." Alderman said he feels that more public participation when selecting street names could help alleviate some of these issues. 

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Unicoi County Man Threatens to Sue Municipality Over Ambulance Contract

A Unicoi County resident said that he will take legal action to halt the county’s contract proposal with MedicOne Medical Response regarding its bid for ambulance services in the county, the Johnson City Press reports. Johnny Day contends that although the county’s solicitation through a newspaper ad technically meets the legal requirement for bids of this nature, the advertisement was limited to just one day of publication and that several other companies were not given a fair shake in consideration. Unicoi County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely told Day, along with other concerned residents, that they can present their concerns to the county’s Ambulance Committee at its next meeting, which is Thursday at 4 p.m., EST in the Unicoi County Mayor's Conference Room — Unicoi County Courthouse.

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Services for Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley on Saturday

Services for Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley, who passed away last week from cancer, are set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16 at the First Baptist Church Sevierville, with a visitation on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Atchley’s Funeral Home, WBIR reports. Atchley, who had served as mayor since 1995, was instrumental in the growth of Sevierville, building a new City Hall and police station, Smokies Stadium, convention center, expanding the greenway system, even bringing a double-A minor league baseball team to the city. “Mayor Atchley was Sevierville to the core,” said Sevierville City Administrator Russell Treadway. “From coaching youth baseball to being Mayor, and everything in between, he exemplified public service and proved there are hundreds of ways to serve one’s community.” Vice Mayor Robbie Fox will serve as Mayor until the next election in May 2019.

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Governor Haslam, Governor-elect Lee Oppose Closed Primaries

Governor Bill Haslam and Governor-elect Bill Lee both have voiced opposition to a closed primary resolution put forth by the GOP's state executive committee earlier this month, the Tennessean reports. The resolution asks the General Assembly to "address the issue of 'cross-over' voting in Tennessee’s primary elections," to prevent concerns of an opposing party influencing the other’s election. Gov. Haslam when speaking to the crowd at a Nashville Rotary meeting said “I am strongly opposed to that … If you're a Republican, I think it's a silly proposal." Lee made similar comments, saying “I would be willing to look at whatever the legislature says, but on the surface, I don’t see a reason to make a change.” Closed primaries have been a contentious issue in the state for decades and a similar resolution was voted down by the executive committee in 2015.

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Woman Files Lawsuit Against Rutherford County Regarding Guilty Plea in Child Abuse Case

A woman who pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse in 2007 is suing the Murfreesboro Police Department and Rutherford County, claiming the plea was made under duress, The Daily News Journal reports. Catherin Funk-Vaughn filed the pro se lawsuit in federal court on Nov. 28, asking for $9.9 million, alleging she thought that she was pleading to a diversion charge — not a guilty plea — and that her attorney told her the only way she would see her children again was if she pleaded guilty. She also says her name was misspelled as “Catherine” on court documents, making them void and claims violations against several of her constitutional rights. Funk-Vaughn has also filed a separate suit against the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

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Local Government Forum 2019

The TBA Local Government Section will host its annual forum on Thursday, March 28 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. This seminal seminar has become the must-see, must-do event for municipal leaders across the state, offering guidance and insight on timely topics affecting Tennessee’s communities. This year’s forum will feature presentations on ABC laws, government employment laws, legal ethics in a government setting and more. Attendees and section members will be invited to a social event following the program (more details to come). Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from and engage with community leaders and attorneys of a similar focus. Here are the key details:
When: Thursday, March 28, 2019 – Registration begins at 8 a.m., CST
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville
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