Legislation To Prohibit Schools From Using Public Property To Support Or Oppose A Referendum Advances In State Senate

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Legislation that would ban use of public school property owned by any government entity in Tennessee to promote the adoption or rejection of any referendum on the ballot is headed to the Senate floor for final consideration. Senate Bill 547, sponsored by Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville), prohibits public schools from displaying signs or messages in support of or opposition to a referendum or use of a school’s video, audio, telephone or electronic equipment for such purposes.
 
The move comes after controversy erupted last summer regarding the use of public school telephones and marquee signs advocating the adoption of a wheel tax in Bradley County.  Current law provides that it is unlawful to use public buildings or facilities for meetings or preparation of campaign activity in support of any particular candidate, party or measure unless reasonable equal opportunity is provided to all sides.    However, that law does not apply to referendums.  Bell’s legislation bans the use of public school property for both sides when a referendum issue is involved.
 
“I was contacted by many constituents who complained that taxpayer-funded school property was being used to promote a tax measure on the ballot,” said Senator Bell.  “We don’t need to let our school yard become a political battleground.  My legislation will make it clear that school property cannot be used to advertise for or against any referendum measure on the ballot.”
 
“This is a matter of fairness to those on both sides of a referendum issue,” said Senator Bell. “There are many other ways that those who are for or against a measure can get out their message.  Advocating for a ballot measure using school property is not a good practice and this legislation will clear it up once and for all.”

Brenda Hughes Begins "Journey To Success" At Cleveland State

It was just a few months ago when Brenda Hughes heard her name called amongst the many award recipients at Cleveland State’s Community First Gala. Although she knew ahead of time she would be receiving the award for Non-Profit Leadership, the Community First Person of the Year Award was a huge surprise for Hughes. “There were so many true leaders up on that stage,” stated ... (click for more)

CSCC’s LaBine Receives Volunteer Of The Year Award

Dr. Nancy LaBine, director of Nursing at Cleveland State Community College, was awarded the Tennessee Head Start 2015-2016 Community Volunteer of the Year Award by the Family Resource Agency, Inc. Tennessee Early Head Start/Head Start Policy Council. “We don’t expect to receive an award for doing the right thing, but when it happens it really is surprising and humbling,” said ... (click for more)

Spiegel Says Walker County Could Make Payments On $8,705,000 Hutcheson Debt; James Says Letter is Heavy-Handed

Erlanger Health System CEO Kevin Spiegel has written Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell to say that Erlanger would consider taking payments on the $8,705,000 Hutcheson debt. Stuart James, special counsel for Walker County, called the overture "heavy-handed." Walker County earlier offered a $1.3 million "global settlement" that was rejected by Erlanger. Catoosa County ... (click for more)

Customer At East Ridge Gas Station Shoots And Kills Robber; He Had Been Trying To Take Female Clerk With Him

East Ridge Police said a customer at an East Ridge gas station early Thursday morning shot a robber, who was then found by police lying outside the station and was arrested.  The robber has died.  His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin. At 1:47 a.m., East Ridge Police responded to 4011 Ringgold Road, the Marathon Service Station, on ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (6)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This July

I can never remember a day in July when my garden, my lawn, my dogwood tree, and my ferns are all wilting for lack of rain. Right now we are more than eight inches under our average rainfall for the first six months and, on this wonderful weekend, those who love firecrackers are urged to keep a pail of water in case a spark could cause a fire. On the other hand, every July 4 th ... (click for more)