Chas Sisk | Nashville Public Radio

Chas Sisk

Senior Editor

Chas joined WPLN in 2015 and became an editor in 2018. Previously, he covered state politics for Nashville Public Radio and The Tennessean, and he’s also reported on communities, politics and business for a variety of publications in Massachusetts, New York and Washington, D.C. Chas grew up in South Carolina and attended Columbia University, where he studied economics and journalism.

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Chas Sisk / WPLN

The big debates appeared to be behind the Tennessee Legislature, which has been in a wrap-up phase for the last week or two. Then a move to "punish" Memphis and a cyberattack on standardized tests injected high drama into the final days of the session.

In this week's edition of The Tri-Star State, WPLN's Jason Moon Wilkins and statehouse reporter Chas Sisk look at why a budget decision stirred a national debate on race and how lawmakers addressed more trouble with TNReady.

House of Representatives
Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

Tennessee lawmakers have approved a measure meant to protect students, teachers and schools from being penalized for irregularities in this year's TNReady test.

Both chambers of the state legislature swiftly passed the legislation this afternoon, just days after a suspected cyberattack caused computerized tests to shut down.

TN Photo Services

Tennessee education officials got a grilling Wednesday from state lawmakers about the suspected cyberattack that shut down standardized testing earlier this week.

But officials say they're not sure who would have tried to hack the TNReady tests — or why.

Ron Cogswell / via Flickr

The city of Memphis could lose a quarter-million dollars as punishment for removing statues of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis last year.

The Tennessee House of Representatives voted Tuesday to strip the money from next year's state budget. The sum had been earmarked to go toward planning for Memphis' bicentennial celebrations next year.

Alberto G. / via Flickr

Another round of problems with the state's standardized tests has Tennessee lawmakers considering ditching computers and going back to pencils and paper.

The proposal is one of several on the table as leaders grapple with an apparent cyberattack on the TNReady testing system.

Tennessee Department of Correction

A former prison nurse accused state officials Monday of covering up the circumstances of an inmate's death in 2013, laying out the allegations in testimony before a state legislative panel.

University of Tennessee

Last week state lawmakers rejected nearly half the candidates for the University of Tennessee’s newly revamped Board of Trustees.

TN Photo Services

State senators have rejected nearly half of Bill Haslam's nominees to the University of Tennessee's Board of Trustees, dealing a surprise blow to the governor.

A Senate panel voted down three nominees who are serving on the university's current board, as well as a fourth candidate because he's a lobbyist. A fifth person also withdrew from consideration.

Bill Ketron
Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

Liquor stores in Tennessee will soon be allowed to open on Sundays, under a measure heading to Gov. Bill Haslam.

The state Senate voted narrowly Wednesday morning to approve a plan that will allow liquor stores to be open all but three days a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. The measure will also let grocery stores sell wine on Sundays, starting next January.

CoreCivic

Tennessee lawmakers are planning to reauthorize the state Department of Correction for four more years, despite lingering concerns about for-profit prisons and problems at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.

Reversing a threat made late last year, members of the House Government Operations Committee are moving toward giving the Department of Correction a full extension of its mandate. Under Tennessee law, all state agencies receive a periodic review, during which time the state comptroller conducts an audit and legislators consider whether to change its mission.

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