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TDEC Demotion
7:36 am
Wed July 3, 2013

TDEC Official Demoted For Comments

Credit http://www.state.tn.us/environment/

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation say they’ve demoted the deputy director of the agency’s Division of Water Resources. Sherwin Smith was demoted after telling some Mount Pleasant residents that their complaints about water quality could be considered terrorism. Smith is now in his former post with the Revolving Fund Program, which helps fund state water projects with low-interest loans.

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Duncan Diversion
6:44 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Former Knox County Trustee Duncan Eligible For Diversion

John J. Duncan III
Credit http://www.knoxnews.com/photos/2012/sep/04/257568/

Former Knox County Trustee John Duncan III is eligible for diversion, despite a state law.

Duncan pleaded guilty July 2nd to a felony charge of official misconduct and resigned from office. He was sentenced to one year of probation for giving more than $20,000 in bonuses to himself and other workers that he supervised. The bonuses were given for public administration coursework that was never finished.

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Unemployment Benefits
5:55 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Tennessee Labor Department Postpones Cuts To Jobless Benefits Until December 31st

Credit http://www.businesspundit.com/obama-extends-unemployment-benefits/

The state is putting off a cut in payments for those collecting unemployment benefits until the end of the calendar year 2013.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development had planned to eliminate allowances of up to $50 a week for dependents of the unemployed after the move was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly earlier this year. 

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New Workers' Compensation Division
4:30 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

New Head For Tennessee's New Workers' Compensation Division

Abbie Hudgens / Head of Workers' Compensation Division, TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Credit http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/teamnews/sept2011/Appointments.html

The head of Tennessee’s brand new Workers' Compensation Division began her six-year term today.

Governor Bill Haslam named Abbie Hudgens to lead the new division, which was created as a part of a new law. That law also removes injured workers claims from state trial courts and creates a special panel to hear those claims and appeals. The panel is appointed by the governor.

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Haslam Family Political Donations
4:30 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Analysis Of Political Giving Puts Haslams On Top In Tennessee

Credit http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/tag/one-percent-of-one-percent/

A new analysis of political contributions nationwide in 2012 shows the Haslam family as the leading political donors in Tennessee. The Sunlight Foundation has released a list of elite political donors, what it calls the “one percent of one percent”.

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Tennessee Labor Lawsuits
7:02 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Ruling Allows Lawsuits Against Tennessee Labor Department To Proceed

Credit http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/blind-justice.gif

A judge has ruled that a discrimination lawsuit can proceed against the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Former department employee Annie Hendricks sued the state in November, claiming that her duties were given to two less-experienced black employees. It’s one of two racial discrimination lawsuits against the agency. The other was filed by Donald Ingram, former administrator of the Division of Employment Security. Both claim that during the two years that former Commissioner Karla Davis ran the agency, Davis, who is black, forced white employees out.

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New Laws- 2013
4:30 am
Mon July 1, 2013

"Guns In Trunks" Among Several Tennessee Laws Taking Effect Today

Credit capitol.tn.gov

Each July 1 in Tennessee, many of the laws approved during the previous legislative session go into effect.  Here's a quick rundown of some of the new laws:

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Science and Society
6:00 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

The Method: Bees and Batteries

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientist Jianlin Li shows a typical lithium-ion battery. Such batteries power smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices.
Credit Christine Jessel, WUOT News

This go 'round on WUOT's The Method, Christine Jessel talks to researchers who are trying to give batteries a boost. That could mean cheaper goods and more power in your electronic devices. Then, Brandon Hollingsworth sits down with University of Tennessee entomologist John Skinner to find out what could explain the mysterious disappearance of bees in North America and Europe.

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Domestic Partnership Benefits
6:56 am
Fri June 28, 2013

East Tennessee City Could Be First To Extend Employee Benefits To Domestic Partners

Credit http://townmapsusa.com/d/map-of-collegedale-tennessee-tn/collegedale_tn

The East Tennessee city of Collegedale is on the verge of being the first municipality in the state to grant health care benefits to all domestic partners.

Collegedale City Commission members passed the first reading of a plan to give the same benefits that married city workers receive to heterosexual and same-sex partners of city employees. Collegedale commissioners voted 4 to 1 in favor of including domestic partners in the city benefits plan. A second reading of the plan is expected in August.

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Rare Birds
4:30 am
Thu June 27, 2013

New Technology Helps Track Rare Birds In Smokies

New voice recognition technology could be used to locate and track rare Smoky Mountain birds like the Prairie Warbler.
Credit U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service

If you want to find out if a rare bird like the Prairie Warbler is living near you, you can stand out in a field and listen for its call.  But that could take hours.  Or days.  Or months.  And you still might miss it.

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