by Max Brantley
Headlines so far, with 20 minutes left in political filing:
* POLITICIANS: Scott Ellington has filed as a Democrat for 1st District Congress. No other candidates have appeared on the Democratic side for 2nd District Congress. It appears it will be Herb Rule v. Republican Rep. Tim Griffin in the fall. Several more legislative candidates have trickled in. There will be a big slate of contested races in the fall. PS — Jay Dickey endorsed Tom Cotton in the 4th District Republican primary. That ought to be a kiss of death, but .... Oh, and a Chattanooga lawyer, John Wolfe, paid $2,500 to file as a Democratic presidential candidate. He apparently thinks President Obama isn't liberal enough. Also, Fred Smith, who resigned from a House seat after a felony conviction, filed to run this year and submitted a form saying he'd not been convicted of a felony. ????
* LEGISLATURE: Joint Budget stripped special language from two appropriation bills. 1) Would have delayed a sales tax break for truckers to which they aren't entitled. 2) Would have cut a break to out-of-state mortgage holders and servicers on foreclosures. I don't know yet if that signifies the end of efforts to deal with those issues. Otherwise seemed to be speeding toward Friday adjournment.
UPDATES: In the afternoon House session, Republicans are streaming to the microphone with canned messages against the Revenue Stabilization Act. It passed 55-25, with 19 voting present. Sounds like a near unified Republican opposition to the balanced budget. The key message was failure to designate surplus for future Medicaid use. Rep. Linda Tyler noted the money remained in surplus available for that use. Indeed, it can't be used otherwise without a 75 percent vote of the House and Senate, which made the GOP messaging largely disingenuous.
The House passed the bills stripped of the bank bailout foreclose special language and the effort to delay an unearned tax break for truckers. Looks like truckers will take home a $4 million windfall and cities and counties will pay $1.2 million of it in a loss of road and street funding, with the Highway Department shouldering the rest.