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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Jihadists? Radical Islamists? Violent extremists?

A raucous debate in Washington over how to refer to Middle Eastern terrorist organizations has particular resonance in Middle Tennessee.

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Tennessee legislators will spend at least a little time in the coming weeks considering whether the state could use an official book, vaping regulations and paychecks for college athletes.

While lawmakers didn't get much done last week because of the ice and snow, the deadline for filing bills has come and gone.

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Updated June 1, 2015, to add former state Sen. John Ford

Nearly a decade after they were punished for bribery, two former Tennessee lawmakers continue to receive health benefits from the state, placing them among the dozens of ex-lawmakers with coverage.

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Supporters of medical marijuana are planning another push this year in the Tennessee legislature, and they hope to find a few more allies this time around.

A year after a medical marijuana bill got no farther than a committee hearing, Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) is pursuing legislation once again. Her measure, House Bill 561, would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for a range of conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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What happens when one half of the Tennessee legislature wants to take a snow day? It has to ask the other half’s permission.

That’s exactly what happened Thursday morning, when the Senate was asked to approve a resolution cancelling a House session planned for the day. The idea of dragging House members back to the Capitol clearly appealed to senators who’d made the slog into work.

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The state lawmaker behind an effort to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee doesn’t think the proposal is unconstitutional.

But first-term Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) believes Tennesseans should recognize the Bible’s unique place in the state’s history.

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A Democratic state lawmaker is trying to lessen the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Rep. Harold Love (D-Nashville) has filed a measure, House Bill 873, that would make it a low-level misdemeanor to have as much as an ounce of marijuana.

Love says lower penalties would be more fair and would lead to fewer young people in prison. He makes the comparison to a traffic violation.

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“Can I get an amen on this side?”

On a July night two summers ago, more than 1,400 Republicans turned out at Nashville’s new convention center for a speech by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

Many were still reeling from the GOP’s drubbing in the previous election – a loss largely attributed to the party’s ossifying base.

Scott represented a fresh start. Charismatic, young, African-American. His gospel-inflected message was meant to fire them up.  But only a few muted voices answered his "Amen" call.

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  The ice storm might have been good for grocery stores, plumbers and heating repairmen.

But many other businesses across Middle Tennessee have been closed, dealing a short-term blow to the region’s economy.

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Armed with complaints from constituents, many Tennessee lawmakers showed up to the capitol for this legislative session ready to debate Common Core Education standards.

But then, something changed. Lawmakers put the brakes on House Bill 3, which would have given them more say over what happens with the controversial standards.

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