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.”

Public Education Foundation Hosts Free College Knowledge Lunch Breaks

High school parents & educators from all over the Tennessee Valley are invited to attend the Public Education Foundation's free College Knowledge Lunch Breaks.  Other adults who work with or advise students on the road to post-secondary success are invited as well.   These monthly lunch time workshops will focus on college related topics such as essay writing, ... (click for more)

Lee University To Present Homecoming Music Festival 2014

As a part of the Lee University Homecoming activities, the School of Music will present its annual Music Festival on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Conn Center. This year’s festival program will include familiar student ensembles Campus Choir, Chamber Strings, Evangelistic Singers, Jazz Band, Ladies of Lee, Lee Singers, Symphonic Band, Voices of Lee, and a group new to the ... (click for more)

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Tom Dugan Was A Good Man

Tom was my boss for most of my 36 years at Carta.  At the ceremony where I was awarded my 30-year service award, Tom said, "Don disagrees with 85% of my decisions, but I wish I had 80 more employees just like him." This kind of indicates our relationship. When I asked him to help with my plans for a reunion for the group of Veterans that I served with in Vietnam, he quickly ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)