Wednesday, March 5, 2014



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House panel sidetracks Haslam's anti-meth proposal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A House subcommittee Tuesday sidetracked Gov. Bill Haslam's anti-meth proposal while advancing a rival measure that would place lesser restrictions on buying cold and allergy medicines used to make the illegal drug.

State Rep. Tony Shipley, the chairman of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, said there was "simply no stomach" on the panel for the governor's proposal that would limit the annual amount of medicines containing the meth precursor pseudoephedrine at the equivalent of a 2 ½-month supply of medicines like Sudafed.

The panel advanced the Kingsport Republican's own proposal, which he said would cover an eight-month supply, or 44.8 grams of pseudoephedrine per year — more than three times Haslam's proposed limit of 14.4 grams.

The move drew the ire of House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, who is responsible for shepherding Haslam's legislative agenda through the Legislature.

"We've got a good number of members that would like to see the governor's bill, and see it closer to what he wants than what Rep. Shipley wants," McCormick said.

"He made a terrible mistake moving his bill ahead of the governor's bill, and I don't think it will be successful," he said.

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German home-school family won't be deported NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An attorney for a German couple who lost their bid for U.S. asylum in order to home-school their children says deportation proceedings against the family have been deferred indefinitely.

The development comes only a day after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Uwe (OO-vuh) Romeike's (roh-MEYE-kahs) asylum appeal.

Michael Donnelly is an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association. He said the group received a call from the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday morning. A statement from Romeike says he is happy the family will be allowed to stay.

Romeike had claimed in court that the family faced persecution in Germany, where most children are required to attend state-approved schools. The family moved to Tennessee in 2008 after an escalating series of confrontations with German officials.

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Tenn. lawmakers look at in-state tuition changes NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Supporters of legislation to make students in the country illegally eligible for in-state tuition say the proposal is fair and would benefit Tennessee's economy.

The measure, called the Tuition Equality bill, was scheduled to be heard in the House Education Subcommittee on Tuesday but the panel adjourned before getting to it.

Currently, such students pay nearly three times as much for higher education — the out-of-state rate — even if they've lived in Tennessee for most of their lives.

"We can't keep punishing children for what their parents did or didn't do," said Senate sponsor Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga.

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick has also signed onto the bill.

"It not only helps them with their future, but I think it helps our economy and helps everybody in Tennessee if we have a better educated population," the Chattanooga Republican told reporters outside the meeting.

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Haslam's free tuition proposal advancing in House NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to create a community college program for all high school graduates is advancing in the House.

The "Tennessee Promise" legislation passed out of the House Education Subcommittee on a voice vote Tuesday. Lawmakers plan to try to amend the measure in the House Education Committee.

The proposal would cover a full ride at two-year schools for any high school graduate, at a cost of $34 million per year.

It would use state lottery reserves to cover the difference between tuition costs and all available aid.

The plan is a cornerstone of Haslam's "Drive to 55" campaign to improve Tennessee graduation rates from the current 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025 to help improve overall job qualifications and attract employers to the state.

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