110th General Assembly

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

It’s been only five months since state Representative Jeremy Durham was expelled from the Tennessee General Assembly amid allegations he’d sexually harassed nearly two dozen women.

But lawmakers are already wrestling with the issue again, following the resignation of another legislator: Memphis Representative Mark Lovell. Just weeks after being sworn in, he was accused of touching a woman inappropriately.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

A group of Republican state lawmakers is condemning a decision by their counterparts in California to ban all travel to Tennessee.

But they're stopping short of reciprocating. They say they want to end the bickering over differences in social policy before it gets out of hand.

Barbers and hair stylists in Tennessee are one step closer to cutting hair in their customers’ homes. On Tuesday, a bill to legalize in-home haircuts jumped its first legislative hurdle when it was passed by the Senate Commerce Committee.

Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, sponsored the bill. He sees the current rules, that in most cases bar home haircuts, as an inconvenience for customers.

"This bill changes that law and tries to provide a reasonable path for barbers to provide haircuts at the customer’s home," Harris says.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

A big part of Gov. Bill Haslam's State of the State address was trying to convince lawmakers not to spend Tennessee's billion-dollar surplus on roads.

Instead, he presented a laundry list of ways the money could be put to better use.

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A Tennessee lawmaker says police should have the power to inspect drivers' phones at the scene of serious accidents.

Supporters call it a "Textalyzer," like a Breathalyzer for cell phones. The idea is to see whether a driver was texting before the crash — just as police can test sobriety if they think a driver has been drinking.

TN Photo Services

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says his $278 million transportation plan will give the state the money it needs to improve roads while leaving taxpayers no worse off.

But opposition is already coming, from a conservative group with a history of sinking the governor's initiatives.

TN Photo Services

Gov. Bill Haslam is outlining a plan to increase the state's gas tax by 7 cents while also cutting Tennessee's sales and businesses taxes.

He says the legislative package will give the state the funding it needs to pay for roads without taking more money from taxpayers.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Muslims from across Tennessee were at the Capitol Friday in an effort to spark more dialogue with state lawmakers.

The event included tours of the Capitol and a Muslim prayer service, all with the message that it's time for Muslims to get more involved — not just in national politics, but with lawmakers who shape Tennessee's future.

Erin Logan / WPLN

Oak Ridge Republican Randy McNally is a man of few words.

That may be why few Tennesseans have heard about him before this week, when he was elected speaker of the state Senate.

McNally has nearly 40 years of experience, yet an earlier episode in his life still defines his career. People refer to it as the time Randy McNally wore a wire. Operation Rocky Top became one of the biggest corruption scandals in the legislature's history.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Nashville Republican Beth Harwell won a fourth term as speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, and Oak Ridge Sen. Randy McNally was elected speaker of the state Senate in a start to the 110th General Assembly that went as expected.

Harwell unanimously won re-election, as Republicans and Democrats aligned behind her. That's even though her previous term had been rocky. Harwell had opposed Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to expand Medicaid, known as Insure Tennessee, and she'd been criticized for her handling of sexual harassment complaints against Franklin Republican Jeremy Durham. Durham was eventually ousted in September.

Harwell was asked immediately afterward about her next race — including the possibility that she'll run for governor in 2018. She says she's not ready to make that decision.