Haslam And 2 Former Governors Headline Public Forum On Civility And Effective Governance

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam will be joined by former Governors Phil Bredesen and Don Sundquist to headline a public forum on civility and effective governance on Feb. 21, in Knoxville.

The event, sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association, the University of Tennessee Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the University of Tennessee College of Law and the First Amendment Center, will take place in the Toyota Auditorium of the Baker Center from 5:30-7 p.m. It is the final of three forums looking at issues of civility and free expression across the state. Previous forums were held in Nashville and Memphis. The program is made possible by a grant from the American Bar Association Division for Public Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Like previous events, the Knoxville event will include an introductory discussion about why civility matters and what to do when the values of civility and free expression clash. It then will focus on how these issues play out in the political and public policy arena, including on the campaign trail, during candidate debates and within legislative bodies. The panelists will use the life of former U.S. Senator and Ambassador Howard H. Baker Jr. to demonstrate how civility enhances effectiveness in the political sphere.

Memphis lawyer Bill Haltom with Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell PLLC will moderate the discussion. He currently is writing a book on civility and politics using former Senator Baker as the exemplar. Baker, who was Tennessee's first popularly elected Republican senator, became known as the "Great Conciliator" for his ability to bring lawmakers from different political parties together to resolve pressing issues.

In announcing the Knoxville forum, TBA President Jacqueline B. Dixon said, "The TBA is pleased to be a part of such an important project. We cannot preserve our democracy without finding the right balance between free speech and civility."

Supreme Court Reinstates Jury Verdict For Railroad

The Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated a jury verdict denying recovery for a railroad employee who claimed he was injured as the result of a faulty railroad switch. Andrew Spencer sued Norfolk Southern Railway after injuring his back on May 16, 2010, when he threw a switch in an effort to move a section of track.  In order to recover damages, Mr. Spencer was required to ... (click for more)

Scam Phone Calls Continue; IRS Identifies Five Easy Ways To Spot Suspicious Calls

The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert today providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.   These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They ... (click for more)

Plan Revived For 5-Story Boutique Hotel Next To The Walnut Street Bridge

Plans have been revived for a five-story boutique hotel next to the Walnut Street Bridge. Vision Hospitality Group said the yet-to-be named hotel will provide 90 rooms featuring high-end amenities and exemplary service in the city's art district. Plans for a similar hotel were announced in 2012, but the proposal was later withdrawn. The hotel is slated for 102 Walnut ... (click for more)

Grand Jury Says County Needs To Start "Immediately" On Funding A New County Jail

Members of the Hamilton County Grand Jury said in a final report that the county needs to start "immediately" on funding a replacement for the Hamilton County Jail. The report, read by Foreman Robert Smith, says, "The Jail is near and/or over capacity and understaffed!  Hard-working corrections officers are in constant danger.  Being responsible for 80-100 inmates per ... (click for more)

Better Plan For Walnut Street Hotel

Mitch Patel and his Vision Hospitality Group have unveiled a revised plan for a hotel on Walnut Street. It is much better than the one proposed two years ago. By having no curb cuts on Walnut Street, it makes that special block near the bridge more inviting and safer for pedestrians. Deliveries would be off Riverfront Parkway and hotel access (valet parking) would be off Aquarium ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)