Politics

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

by / on April 17, 2014

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.

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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

by / on April 17, 2014

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

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Both Sides Say They’re Happy, But Amp Foes Gain Upper Hand

Both Sides Say They’re Happy, But Amp Foes Gain Upper Hand

by / on April 17, 2014

Banning the project outright didn’t happen. So supporters dodged a bullet.

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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

by / on April 16, 2014

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.

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Effort To Reduce ‘Hall Tax’ On Investment Income Fades Away In Committee

Effort To Reduce ‘Hall Tax’ On Investment Income Fades Away In Committee

by / on April 16, 2014

Clarksville Senator Mark Green’s plan would’ve still collected the portion of the tax that goes to local governments.

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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

by / on April 15, 2014

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.

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Governor Haslam's original proposal for a school vouchers program would have capped the number of vouchers at 5,000 for the first year. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Bill Haslam’s Voucher Bill Pulled Again

by / on April 15, 2014

The bill’s failure comes in the face of heavy lobbying from national education reform groups like StudentsFirst and the American Federation for Children.

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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

by / on April 15, 2014

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.

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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

by / on April 14, 2014

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.

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Will A License Help Distinguish Hemp from Weed?

Will A License Help Distinguish Hemp from Weed?

by / on April 14, 2014

Under a proposal, growers will have to get certified seeds and a growing permit from the state’s Department of Agriculture.

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State Charter Authorizer Legislation Sent To Governor

State Charter Authorizer Legislation Sent To Governor

by / on April 14, 2014

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.

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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

by / on April 14, 2014

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.

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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

by / on April 14, 2014

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.

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"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

by / on April 11, 2014

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.

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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?

by / on April 9, 2014

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.

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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

by / on April 8, 2014

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

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Lawmakers Grant In-State Tuition To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants

Lawmakers Grant In-State Tuition To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants

by / on April 7, 2014

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.

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Doug Henry passed his last bill on Thursday, after nearly six decades in the Senate. Credit Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

Six Decades Later, Senator Doug Henry Introduces His Last Bill

by / on April 3, 2014

The 87-year-old took a moment to dwell on his last contribution to Tennessee law.

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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

by / on April 1, 2014

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.

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Haslam Cancels Plans To Raise Pay For State Workers, Teachers

Haslam Cancels Plans To Raise Pay For State Workers, Teachers

by / on March 31, 2014

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.

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