Chas Sisk / WPLN

Listen: The Guy Whose Job Is To Yell At Tennessee Lawmakers

In the Tennessee General Assembly, the main voices you hear are those of lawmakers, but perhaps the most unusual belongs to someone who's never been elected. Chief Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey doesn't just keep the records of what goes on. With his barking baritone, he also sets the pace.
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Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

Police in Tennessee could soon have to develop written policies banning racial profiling, a move state lawmakers believe will help prevent a Ferguson-style eruption in the state.

The state House of Representatives voted unanimously Monday night in favor of the Racial Profiling Prevention Act, sending the measure to Gov. Bill Haslam for review.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

The state of Tennessee is phasing out the bonuses state workers receive for staying on the job.

Tennessee lawmakers voted Monday night to continue giving current employees "longevity bonuses" of up to $3,000 a year. But new hires will not get the payments.

That will eventually free up money for more merit-based raises, says House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga).

"We've made a philosophical decision to pay people based on performance and not just years of service," he said.

Mike Mozart via Flickr

Tennessee lawmakers have voted to ban sales of e-cigarettes and other vaping products to anyone under 18.

The decision extends the state's ban on sales of cigarettes to minors. Rep. Joe Towns (D-Memphis) says the measure, Senate Bill 411, will keep teenagers from harming themselves.

"It's a good piece of legislation," he says. "(We) should have done it a long time ago."

The bill would go into effect July 1, if signed by Gov. Bill Haslam.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Out of all the issues discussed at the Tennessee capitol this legislative session, the one that brought the most robust, free-flowing floor debate was over a state symbol. 

WPLN capitol reporter Chas Sisk stopped by to talk about the passions that arose over whether to recognize the Bible as the state book of Tennessee. 

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

The Tennessee Valley Authority sees no need for additional nuclear power plants for at least the next 20 years.

The energy market has changed in unexpected ways since the last time TVA reviewed its energy needs in 2011. Growth in power demand has gone from 3% annually to just 1% because of things like more efficient light bulbs, and the price of natural gas has remained relatively low.

City of Tullahoma

One of the things the city of Tullahoma is proud of is its waste collection.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The Middle Tennessee town touts its recycling program, which accounts for about a third of its waste. Now it’s adding another way to get rid of trash sustainably: composting. 

Annie Clements, a longtime Tullahoma resident, already sets aside organic waste like food scraps and plant trimmings to decompose, the process known as composting.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

In the Tennessee General Assembly, the main voices you hear are those of lawmakers, but perhaps the most unusual belongs to someone who's never been elected.

Chief Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey doesn't just keep the records of what goes on. With his barking baritone, he also sets the pace. 

Kathleen Barry / United Methodist Publishing House

As long as the United Methodist Publishing House has had its headquarters in downtown Nashville, there’s been plenty of room to store dozens of rare books — some even older than the United States. But now the office is getting ready to downsize, so it’s time to assess what’s there and make some decisions.

The Methodist Publishing House dates back to the 1780s, and from the beginning, editor Brian Milford says the clergymen once known as “book stewards,” needed to have reference material on hand.

Antioch HS

Police have arrested a south Nashville student for threats at 16 schools here and out-of-state. Threats were sent by email and escalated over the course of a month, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Nashville Sounds

Right field at the Nashville Sounds’ new ballpark will feature a guitar-shaped scoreboard, a state-of-the-art field drainage system and an outdoor sports bar.

But Nashville baseball historian Skip Nipper says it won’t include one of the quirkiest parts of the old ballpark at Sulphur Dell: a quickly-rising slope in right field.

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Jorge Diaz / Wikimedia Commons

Is This Thing On?? How Public Radio Reporters Do A Mic Check

There are countless ways to make sure you've got a good level on your microphone. You know the old SNL sketch with Tom Hanks as an Aerosmith roady. "Sibilance, sibilance."
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Join us as we talk to some of Nashville's most interesting innovators — April 30th