published Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Lawmaker pulls UT Sex Week bills — and more Tennessee Legislature news

NASHVILLE — A Republican lawmaker says he’s dropping a legislative fight over the student-run Sex Week at the state’s flagship public university.

Sen. Stacey Campfield, of Knoxville, and other lawmakers took issue with the use of student fees for the weeklong program about sex.

Earlier this week, the Senate passed a resolution decrying what it called the “radical agenda” of Sex Week.

Campfield proposed legislation to put new restrictions on UT student fees. But the Knoxville News Sentinel reports he’s withdrawn those measures because of steps UT officials have pledged to take voluntarily.

UT’s president says in a letter to administrators and trustees that the school will immediately begin to address concerns in the resolution.

In other action Tuesday:

Whiskey law

State lawmakers on Tuesday decided not to rewrite the legal definition of Tennessee whiskey this session, meaning the rules supported by Jack Daniel’s will govern other distillers in the state for at least another year.

The proposal that could have led to the outright repeal of the labeling law was moved to summer study panels that will convene after the legislative session ends.

Jack Daniel’s master distiller Jeff Arnett, who has heavily lobbied lawmakers to uphold the current law, welcomed the decision to put off suggested changes like removing a requirement to age whiskey in unused oak barrels.

“We stand behind last year’s law, we truly believe it’s best for Tennessee whiskey all over the world,” Arnett said. “And for the players who’ve located in the state of Tennessee, we need to uphold these quality standards.”

The debate has pitched two global liquor giants against each other. Jack Daniel’s which is owned by Louisville, Ky.-based Brown-Forman Corp., first proposed the establishment of a Tennessee whiskey law last year. George Dickel is owned British conglomerate Diageo PLC, which led this year’s attempts to dismantle that law.

Guy L. Smith IV, executive vice president of Diageo, said he hopes the study committee gives serious consideration to changing the law.

“Rather than having one company dictate for everyone, we can do this the right way and come together in an open forum to discuss how to create the best standards for Tennessee whiskey,” Smith said in a release.

Textbook bill

A proposal that makes changes to the process for selecting books for state schools is advancing in the House.

The measure was approved on a voice vote in the House Education Committee on Tuesday. The Senate approved the companion bill 29-2 earlier this month.

The 10-member textbook selection panel recommends its selections to the State Board of Education, and local school systems then choose which textbooks to adopt.

Criticism of the content of some books led to calls for a stronger public review process.

The House and Senate proposals address that but differ in the appointment process of the panel.

Daylight saving

An effort to exempt Tennessee from daylight saving time has failed by one vote in the state House.

The House State Government Committee on Tuesday voted 6-5 against the measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Curry Todd, of Collierville.

Several lawmakers from the part of the state in the eastern time zone raised concerns that the measure would have caused their region’s time to be mismatched with neighboring states like Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia during part of the year.

Todd amended the bill to exempt East Tennessee from the bill, which caused other lawmakers to raise concerns about possible confusion over only part of the state adhering to daylight saving time.

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.