- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Latest on Gov. Bill Haslam’s annual State of the State address (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Several hundred demonstrators have crammed in and around the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville to protest against a series of issues ranging from President Donald Trump’s policies to state Republican lawmakers’ priorities.

The protesters crammed in just about every inch of the rotunda outside the House chamber during the State of the State and afterward. A heavy contingent of state troopers kept guard.

Some of the chants included: “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all;” and “Haslam can you hear us?” and “Black lives matter.”

House Republican leader Glen Casada said thinks the protesters are mad that Democrats lost the presidential election but said he supported their right to demonstrate at the Capitol.

Afterward, several Democratic lawmakers joined the protesters and chanted, “We work for you.”


6:20 p.m.

Gov. Bill Haslam wants to extend his free community college tuition program to Tennessee adults.

The Republican governor said in his State of the State address to lawmakers on Monday that his Tennessee Reconnect Program would be the first such program in the country.

Haslam said the program is key toward his goal of increasing the percentage of people with higher education degrees to 55 percent by the year 2025. The current rate is about 39 percent.

Haslam’s plan would be open to any adult who has lived in Tennessee for at least a year and does not have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

About 900,000 adults in Tennessee have attended some college, but have no degree.


6 p.m.

Gov. Bill Haslam is proposing a $37 billion annual state budget for Tennessee.

The Republican presented his spending plan to a joint convention of the General Assembly at the state Capitol on Monday.

Lawmakers attending the event were met by hundreds of people protesting President Donald Trump’s policies.

Haslam is proposing the state’s first gas tax hike since 1989 to help boost transportation funding in a state with a more than $10 billion backlog of road and bridge projects.

The governor wants to offset the about $280 million his roads plan would generate with tax cuts in other areas.

Haslam also wants to dedicate $45 million in grants and tax credits to encourage commercial providers to offer broadband internet in rural areas.


5:25 p.m.

Gov. Bill Haslam is proposing $77 million in pay raises and rate adjustments for Tennessee state workers in the upcoming budget year.

The governor informed public employees about his salary proposal in an email before his annual State of the State address at the state Capitol on Monday.

Haslam says the new money for state workers will be distributed based on performance and in the form of market rate adjustments aimed at high-turnover positions in state government.

The governor says his administration has increased state workers’ salaries by 15 percent since he took office in 2011, and added more than $100 million for salary market adjustments.


3 p.m.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is making the case to lawmakers that increasing the state’s fuel taxes is “the right thing to do” for Tennessee’s transportation needs.

Haslam told reporters before his annual State of the State address on Monday that the state can’t count on occasional surplus money to tackle a more than $10 billion backlog of road and bridge projects around the state.

The state’s 21.4-cent tax on every gallon of gasoline hasn’t been increased since 1989. Haslam is proposing a 7-cent increase on the tax on gas and 12 cents on diesel.

The governor’s transportation proposal would raise about $280 million per year in new transportation funding, while cutting about the same amount in taxes on groceries, income from stocks and bonds and corporate taxes.

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