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The McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday night approved first reading of an ordinance to authorize expenditures not to exceed $50,000 for improvements to the basement at City Hall, where officials plan to move the Driver Testing Center.
The 5-2 vote came after lengthy and sometimes heated discussion. Aldermen Jimmy Bonner and Mike Neal voted against the ordinance.
The State Department of Safety plans to close the Driver Testing Center on Vervilla Road at the end of May.
In other business, the board approved a resolution to apply to the state for local Parks and Recreation grant funds.
The sponsor of a proposal to end a Tennessee sales tax exemption for newspapers has removed the bill from consideration for the year.
State Sen. Todd Gardenhire said he introduced the bill because of questions about whether the exemption "was justified in today's environment." The Chattanooga Republican said there are too many exemptions in state law, and that he wants to re-examine the issue next year.
According to a legislative analysis, the state forgoes about $11 million a year because periodicals aren't subject to the tax. Local governments miss out on another $3.9 million.
Gardenhire also sponsored a bill to allow legal notices to be published online instead of in printed newspapers. That measure failed to receive a motion in the State and Local Government Committee last month.
An effort to raise Tennessee's smoking age from 18 to 21 has been defeated in the state House.
The bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Ramsey of Maryville failed to receive a motion in the House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday.
Ramsey has said he introduced the bill over health concerns for Tennesseans.
Legislative analysts had projected that the measure would cost state and local governments about $10 million in lost revenue a year once fully implemented.
Tennessee's tax on each pack of cigarettes was raised from 20 cents to 62 cents in 2007.
The Warren County Pioneer baseball team began the 2016 season with a 9-6 win over Upperman Monday night at WCHS. Colby Elkins had two hits and drove in 5 runs, including a 3-run home run.
The Pioneers face Upperman again Tuesday night at Upperman at 5pm.
Gov. Bill Haslam says he supports giving cities and counties the power to levy their own gas tax to help pay for transportation needs.
Haslam told the Tennessee Municipal League on Monday that raising the gas tax could present what he called a "danger" of driving businesses to other areas, but he said he would leave that decision to local elected officials.
The Haslam administration has been making its case for increasing the state's gas tax for the first time since 1989 as a way to help cover a $6 billion backlog in transportation project funding.
While Haslam acknowledged that a gas tax hike is unlikely to be considered this legislative session, he said he wants to be ready in case enough lawmakers decide to proceed.