News Roundup for Jan. 7, 2015

The new veterans’ license plates for Tennessee shared the stage with dignitaries at their unveiling. From left are Col. (retired) Kent Crossley, U.S. Army and Executive Director of Centerstone Military Services; Tenn. Senator Mark Green, and Jodi McCullah, director of SAFE, TN. (Click to enlarge photo.)
The new veterans’ license plates for Tennessee shared the stage with dignitaries at their unveiling. From left are Col. (retired) Kent Crossley, U.S. Army and Executive Director of Centerstone Military Services; Tenn. Senator Mark Green, and Jodi McCullah, director of SAFE, TN. (Click to enlarge photo.)

Specialty license plate available to honor veterans

NASHVILLE — Paying tribute to Tennessee’s veterans, state Senator and physician Mark Green recently kicked off the specialty automobile plate sales program to assist with funding mental health services for military veterans.

“Our men and women make an incredible sacrifice to serve our nation. The specialty tag program allows Tennesseans to salute their service each day, not just on Veterans Day, while assisting in funding mental health services for those suffering from the hidden wounds of war,” commented Green.

He is himself a U.S. Army veteran whose district is home to Fort Campbell, which houses the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles.

Leaders from Centerstone Military Services and SAFE (Soldiers and Families Embraced) joined Green at Centerstone’s Nashville office to unveil the program that will feature four vanity plates containing the emblems of the Combat Infantry, Combat Medic and Combat Action Badges, as well as a plate with the logos of these two administrating charities.

“As a recipient of the Combat InfantryBadge, I appreciate the work Senator Green continues to provide so those veterans awarded these badges can display their unique service in combat,” said Col. (retired) US Army and Executive Director of Centerstone Military Services Kent Crossley. “The wounds of many who were in direct combat, however, are too frequently unseen and go untreated.”

Enabling legislation, SB 0049, sponsored by Senator Green was included in Tennessee’s transportation omnibus bill to create this program to generate funding directed toward counseling and intervention services for service members, veterans and their families.

“Soldiers And Families Embraced is grateful to Senator Green for the chance to raise awareness of the increasing need for mental health services for military families after a decade and a half of continuous war,” stated Jodi McCullah, director of SAFE. “Initiatives like this will assist in offering the services our military families need to find hope and healing.”

Tennessee veterans awarded one of the badges may purchase the tag for their award; however, all Tennesseans may purchase the charity logo specialty plate. The price for both is $35, with renewal each year, ordered online at the Centerstone website,

For more information about the mental health services provided at Centerstone, visit For more information on SAFE, visit

Comptroller’s hotline helps protect taxpayers

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline is marking a record achievement in its effort to help uncover the misuse of government funds and property.

Confidential tips to the hotline helped to identify a record $1,112,500 in confirmed thefts, shortages and questioned costs for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

These tips were reported through telephone calls and online submissions to the hotline.

This past year’s notifications concerned a wide range of entities including municipalities, counties, state agencies, federal agencies, and non-profit recipients of government funds.

Substantive notifications are reviewed and investigated by Comptroller staff or referred to the appropriate agency or program for further action.

Since October 1983, the Comptroller of the Treasury has provided a toll-free hotline for any citizen to report government fraud, waste and abuse. Additionally, all state agencies, as well as agencies receiving community grant funds, are required to call attention to the hotline by posting a sign in a prominent place.

“The hotline plays an important role in holding government accountable to its citizens,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “While I’m pleased to see the hotline is serving its purpose, the ultimate goal is to eliminate fraud, waste and abuse in government.”

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at (800) 232-5454, or file a report online at

New corporation type adds focus on citizenship

NASHVILLE — Tennes-see businesses can now form for-profit benefit corporations with the Division of Business Services. This new entity type is part of the For-Profit Benefit Corporation Act that went into effect Jan. 1.

The classification comes from the social entrepreneurship movement that combines running a profitable business with improving society. A for-profit benefit corporation is similar to a standard for-profit corporation, but is managed in a way that considers the public benefit purpose(s) listed in its charter as well as the financial interests of its owners.

Popular examples include outdoor clothing company Patagonia and project funding site Kickstarter.

“The new law provides entrepreneurs one more option when considering the formation of their company here in Tennessee,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “This feature allows an organization to create value for its owners while also formally committing the corporation to its societal cause(s).”

Both for-profit corporations and for-profit benefit corporations are required to file an annual report with the division each year, but for-profit benefit corporations must also prepare annual benefit reports to share with shareholders and the public.

Anyone who has questions or needs additional information should contact the Division of Business Services by phone at (615) 741-2286, by email at, or by going online at

The mission of the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office is to exceed the expectations of its customers, the taxpayers, by operating at the highest levels of accuracy, cost-effectiveness, and accountability in a customer-centered environment.