Articles by: Daniel Potter

While cougars still roam parts of the southeast, saber-toothed cats have been extinct for millennia. (Photo: WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Vandy Scientist: Cougars’ Less Picky Diet Helped Them Dodge Extinction

May 12, 2014 at 5:24 am

It might seem crazy today, but in geologic terms, it wasn’t that long ago when Tennessee was home to camels, rhinoceroses and red pandas. Nashville’s hockey team takes its mascot from a sabre-tooth cat unearthed in the area.

The Next Phase For Wine In Grocery Stores: Petitioning For Local Referendums

The Next Phase For Wine In Grocery Stores: Petitioning For Local Referendums

May 5, 2014 at 5:14 pm

The coalition of grocery stores who want to sell wine in Tennessee will spearhead a petition drive to get the matter on local ballots this fall. It’s the latest effort from Red, White And Food, which pushed for the bill that passed the state legislature this spring.

Community Colleges Have Room For An Influx Of Students, But Will Tennessee’s Budget?

Community Colleges Have Room For An Influx Of Students, But Will Tennessee’s Budget?

May 5, 2014 at 4:55 am

The man in charge of Tennessee’s community colleges and tech schools says there’s plenty of room for an expected influx of students—around 5,600 over the next few years, according to one estimate.

Stephen Lynch and his wife list this cozy room, and say more than a hundred visitors they booked online have crashed in their house over the last year. (Photo via Airbnb)

Nashville Is Fastest Growing Destination For Home-Share App Airbnb

May 1, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Nashville is the fastest growing U.S. destination for Airbnb, a San Francisco-based tech company that connects travelers to people with spare rooms or even houses they can rent for a night or two.

House Speaker Beth Harwell, who's no fan of the current design for the Amp near her West End district, is skeptical of its chances of getting state funding on top of Metro and federal dollars. (Photo: Daniel Potter/WPLN)

The Amp Isn’t Dead, But It Will Have To Come Back To The Legislature

April 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm

State lawmakers are effectively reserving the right to veto Nashville’s proposed bus rapid transit proposal, known as the Amp. The bill now on its way to the governor ensures one way or another, the legislature will revisit the issue.

Gov. Bill Haslam (center) preferred lower limits on pseudoephedrine sales, but said "we're grateful that a bill got passed, and now we'll put that into practice and we hope it makes a real difference." (Photo: Daniel Potter/WPLN)

Lawmakers Settle On Meth Bill At Twice The Governor’s Proposed Limits

April 17, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Tennesseans will face a new limit on how much cold and allergy medicine they can buy containing pseudoephedrine, which is used to cook meth.

State lawmakers have been torn over how involved to get, with some pushing to scuttle the $175M bus proposal altogether. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean had floated the idea last year of asking for some $35M from the state, on top of Metro and federal dollars. (Photo: Taber Andrew Brain/flickr)

Potential Amp Compromise—With Governor’s Input—Wouldn’t Block Bus Proposal… Yet

April 16, 2014 at 10:15 pm

With the state legislature just short of finishing a bill targeting Nashville’s high profile-bus proposal, known as the Amp, and session poised to end Thursday, a potential compromise has emerged from talks with lawmakers and the governor’s office.

Final Drafts Of Pivotal Legislation Could Be Written By Small, Select Groups Of Lawmakers

Final Drafts Of Pivotal Legislation Could Be Written By Small, Select Groups Of Lawmakers

April 15, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Methamphetamine, Nashville’s proposed bus line, and a new statewide test tied to the Common Core: All three have led to dueling proposals in the state House and Senate, and all three are being hashed out by select groups of six lawmakers, known as conference committees.

House Democratic Leader Craigh Fitzhugh (center) and Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (right) say to gain ground they have to capitalize on rifts in the GOP supermajority. (Photo courtesy Sean Braisted)

Amid GOP Rifts Over Guns And Vouchers, Democrats Claim Small Victories

April 15, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Democrats are claiming victory for a series of legislative misfires over the last two days, pointing to the demise of a pair of controversial gun bills as well as a hard-fought school vouchers plan. But the bills’ failures may have as much to do with Republican infighting.

House Shoots Down Senate Bill To Allow Open Carrying Of Guns Without A License

House Shoots Down Senate Bill To Allow Open Carrying Of Guns Without A License

April 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm

A bill to let Tennesseans carry guns in the open without a permit was voted down Monday night in committee. The House sponsor had been poised to try to circumvent the usual process of vetting bills, but now it seems that won’t be happening.

State Charter Authorizer Legislation Sent To Governor

State Charter Authorizer Legislation Sent To Governor

April 14, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Charter schools trying to open in Tennessee could soon get permission directly from the state school board, if their local school district refuses. Legislation letting the state function as a so-called “charter authorizer” is on its way to the governor.

Lawmaker Hopes To Force Decisive Vote On Openly Carrying Guns Without A Permit

Lawmaker Hopes To Force Decisive Vote On Openly Carrying Guns Without A Permit

April 14, 2014 at 6:20 am

Lawmakers could be within just a few votes of letting Tennesseans carry a gun in the open without a permit. The proposal passed the state Senate last week, and its House sponsor is taking an unusual step to try and force immediate action.

High Gravity Beer Just Needs House Approval To Be Sold In Tennessee Grocery Stores

High Gravity Beer Just Needs House Approval To Be Sold In Tennessee Grocery Stores

April 14, 2014 at 6:19 am

When lawmakers agreed this spring to let grocery stores sell wine, many thought they were done for the year legislating which stores can sell what alcohol. Maybe not, though. A bill to also let grocery stores sell high gravity beer is close to passing.

"We have the (Common Core) standards, but the implementation and the testing are still concerns," Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris told reporters Thursday. "A lot has been passed this year that deals with concerns we had about Common Core - not the standards, but curriculum, and data mining, and all those issues - and I think when the dust settles and people have a chance to look back and focus on some of these pretty voluminous bills, they'll see that we addressed a lot of the concerns that the public had about 'Common Core,' quote unquote, in general." (Photo: Daniel Potter/WPLN)

Scratch One For Common Core Skeptics: Deal May Delay Statewide Test

April 11, 2014 at 2:28 am

A push to delay the test, known as the PARCC, set to start next school year, has been a flashpoint in the state legislature this spring.

State law enforcers see limiting supplies of allergy pills containing pseudoephedrine as a way to cut the number of meth labs in Tennessee. But pharmaceutical interests are opposed, saying doing so will unfairly punish people with allergies, while doing nothing to curb demand for methamphetamine. (Photo: Nathaneal Hevelone/flickr)

Where Will Tennessee Lawmakers Draw The Line On Pseudoephedrine?

April 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm

A hard-fought compromise to restrict the allergy medicine used to make meth passed the state House Wednesday. It’s not as tough as what the Senate or the governor would like, but a more restrictive version could still ultimately get through.

State senators quickly passed the bill Tuesday to let most people openly carry guns without a permit.  (Photo: Michael Tefft/flickr)

Could Every Tennessean Carry A Gun On Their Hip? State Senate Approves

April 8, 2014 at 8:34 pm

If the House also approves the bill, carry permits would be needed only for concealed weapons.

Lawmakers Grant In-State Tuition To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants

Lawmakers Grant In-State Tuition To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants

April 7, 2014 at 9:21 pm

The bill passed the House 63 to 27, with little debate, marking a distinct shift from a few years ago, when lawmakers called such young people “anchor babies” and sought to make Tennessee a less welcoming place for undocumented immigrants.

For Prescription Painkillers, ID May Soon Be Mandatory

For Prescription Painkillers, ID May Soon Be Mandatory

April 7, 2014 at 5:11 am

Tennesseans picking up prescriptions for painkillers would have to show ID, under a proposal headed toward votes Tuesday in a House committee and on the Senate floor.

Charter schools have to be non-profit entities in order to be authorized, but the bill would let the authorizer also approve contracts with for-profit entities. (Photo: camknows/flickr)

On 8-7 Vote, For-Profit Charter School Operators Approved By House Committee

April 1, 2014 at 6:04 pm

A proposal to let for-profit companies manage Tennessee charter schools is headed for floor votes in both the state House and Senate, after the measure scraped by in a committee Tuesday on an 8 to 7 vote.

Haslam Cancels Plans To Raise Pay For State Workers, Teachers

Haslam Cancels Plans To Raise Pay For State Workers, Teachers

March 31, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Gov. Bill Haslam says Tennessee’s tax revenues have continued to sag below projections, and while he expects to avoid layoffs, the shortfall will scuttle planned pay raises for state workers, as well as teachers.