Sunshine In
State Representative Tom DuBois (R- Columbia) is pushing a bill to allow for easier public access to candidates’ financial disclosure forms. Currently a person must go to the Election Commission office, fill out a card identifying one’s name, address, employer, phone number and driver’s license number before being allowed to view a disclosure. The information of the viewer is then mailed to the office seeker or official that was viewed. DuBois is moving to put the records on the internet for easy anonymous public access. State House Republicans voted to support the legislation in the Democrat controlled body.

Heartland Updates
The anticipated meeting in Chancery Court between Heartland Development and the Chilhowee View Home Owner’s Association was granted a continuance till May by request of counsel for Heartland.
Grading work continued this week at the contested project site.

Senate Pulls Curtain Down on Rolling Porno
Tennessee State Senator Mark Norris (R-Colliersville) sponsored senate bill 176 which passed the Senate this week unanimously. The bill, opposed by the ACLU, fines drivers of vehicles that possess an in-vehicle television system that is displaying an “obscene or patently offensive” production where it is visible outside the vehicle. The house version of the bill, carrying penalties from $2 to $50 has yet to be voted on.
“If the House will just do the right thing and pass this bill, it’ll be curtains for rolling porno movies in Tennessee,” said Senator Norris. “We really don’t care how these thoughtless people decide to hide their offensive movies that distract other drivers. They can use curtains, tinting, or just keep them turned off when other people are around.”
Extreme window tinting is already illegal in Tennessee under TCA 55-9-107.

Get Well Ray
We wish Sevier County Commissioner Ray Godfrey a quick recovery from his surgery last week. Get well soon.

If you have local or state political notes, contact Marcus @ 577-6609 or [email protected]

List of Tennessee Units
Called to Action
As of Thursday, March 20, 2003

Army National Guard
3-115th Field Artillery Battalion Memphis/Covington
Company C-46th Engineer Battalion/Paris
777th Maintenance Company Nashville/Lewisburg
267th Military Police Company/Dickson
269th Military Police Company Murfreesboro
730th Quartermaster Company Johnson City
776th Maintenance Company Elizabethton/Mountain City
Company B, 230th Engineer Battalion Lobelville
Det 1, Company C, 230th
Engineer Battalion Camden
146th Medical Company (Air Amb) Alcoa
1174th Transportation Company Dresden/Newbern
105th Personnel Services Battalion Nashville
173rd Personnel Services Detachment Nashville
568th Personnel Services Detachment Nashville
30th Finance Battalion Smyrna
1128th Finance Detachment Smyrna
1129th Finance Detachment Smyrna
1130th Finance Detachment Smyrna
1175th Transportation Company Tullahoma/Brownsville
130th Support Center (Corps RAOC) Tullahoma
268th Military Police Company Ripley/Dyersburg
212th Engineer Company Dunlap
771st Maintenance Company Columbia/Hohenwald
155th Engineer Company/Waverly/Erin
775th Engineer Detachment/Jackson
168th Military Police Battalion/Lebanon
1-181st Field Artillery Battalion Chattanooga
Co E, 107th Aviation Smyrna

Air National Guard
118th Airlift Wing Nashville
134th Air Refueling Wing Knoxville
164th Airlift Wing Memphis
241st Engineering Installation Squadron Chattanooga
119th Command & Control Squadron Knoxville

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Holding Patterns

Heartland Development’s project on Chilhowee School Road hit more snags this week. The Sevier County Planning Commission has granted concept approval, but with strict limitations suggested by James Temple, Jr., regarding any work or dumping at the site that borders Academy Drive. This occurred right after Barry Shuler had reached a working arrangement with the Chilhowee View Home Owner’s Association regarding the restraining order. This was to allow dumping fill dirt from another site on the property. It remains to be seen what if any action the Planning Commission can take if Shuler does continue dumping.
Further complicating matters arose late in the week when Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation officials said Shuler had misinterpreted the Storm Water Phase II permitting. Shuler had stated before the Planning Commission that he didn’t need a permit if he was disturbing less than an acre on the site, but TDEC asserts that the permit is required based on the size of the tract, not the area disturbed. The multi-acre property would require a permit before any dumping could take place and TDEC had not received an application by week’s end. Don’t be surprised if we see TDEC officials visiting the site soon.

And the Winner Is…

Several legislators, including State Senator Bill Clabough have started voicing the opinion that when the lottery is finally running in Tennessee, the first scholarships should not go out till 2005. Clabough’s point is that the state is making guesses at lottery income to decide how much they can spend, “the debate keeps centering on how much are we spending.” Governor Bredesen also stated his preference for this idea on Friday afternoon. The slow progress in the General Assembly due to wrestling over scholarship minimum requirements may delay the lottery implementation long enough that it will force a delay till the Class of 2005. Write and call the legislative delegation if you’re a junior who wants to get the money when you graduate in ’04.

No Crawdads Here

Several County Commissioners at the Planning Commission meeting questioned an attesting letter from Jonathan Burr of the Knoxville Environmental Assistance Center to David Taylor in the county planning office. Burr finds in his letter that from his observations that Barry Shuler’s property is a “wet weather conveyance” not a blue line stream as noted by U.S. Geological Survey maps. Commissioner Bill Oakes pointed out that Mr. Burr came to visit the site after it had been bulldozed, which would seem to complicate any evaluation.

Irish Eyes not Smiling

at County Commission
Sevier County Commissioner Gary Cole, who is also the Beer Board President, was more prone to his Irish temper than smiling Irish eyes at the Commission’s St. Patrick Day meeting. Reverend Dallas Gibson of Seymour led a large crowd who opposed altering the county’s beer regulations. Gibson’s tactic of questioning the beer board’s decision to follow legal opinions on its enforcement of the out-dated resolution that is still in effect, fired up Cole. Bowing to the standing room only crowd, the Commission voted to send the proposed resolution back to the beer board for further study and a commission workshop. Cole stated that if they wanted full enforcement and the resulting law suits, so be it, and told County Clerk Joe Keener he would be giving him a list of locations that are in violation of some of the more exotic regulations. “I hate to do this,” said Cole, “I’d rather see this county use its money wisely in a budget crunch rather than spend $75,000 a pop on resulting law suits.”

A New Deal?

The Sevier County Democratic Party will be holding a convention for reorganization on Saturday, April 12th at 1:00 p.m. in the General Sessions Courtroom of the Courthouse. All Democratic voters who are eligible are urged to attend. The Executive Committee and Officers are to be elected.
For more information contact Elmer “Butch” Helton at 428-1462 or 429-7395.

Quip of the Week

Before Rev. Dallas Gibson began his presentation to Sevier County Commission on its beer resolution, an unidentified commissioner quipped, “You going to speak or preach tonight?” Gibson looked up, replying, “I don’t know, which do you all need tonight?”

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