Political news

Tennessee gay marriage celebration
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN (file)

Tennessee's governor has signed a bill that is seen as a way to chip away at gay marriage rights in the state. The legislation orders courts to use the "natural and ordinary" definitions of legal terms like husband, wife, father and mother. Governor Bill Haslam says he didn't see a problem with the bill because, he argued, it doesn't do much.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

Update 5/5/17 at 3pm: 

Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives have set aside their differences and approved the state's $37 billion budget.

That comes just a day after bickering over the budget exposed a wide gulf between House Republican leaders and their rank-and-file colleagues. They joined with Democrats to cause more than $300 million in changes to the budget, as a show of force.

But House Majority Leader Glen Casada, R-Franklin, said they were convinced overnight to change their mind.

President Trump's Tweets, Annotated

May 4, 2017
Chelsea Beck / NPR

President Trump tweets a lot. With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news. But 140 characters rarely give the full context. Here, NPR fact checkers attempt to do just that for key tweets.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

The 20-week abortion measure is on its way to Gov. Bill Haslam's desk, as weeks of back and forth in the Tennessee legislature came to a head Wednesday on the floor of the state House of Representatives with a final round of heated debate.

The measure requires women to undergo additional testing if their doctors believe a fetus is past 20 weeks. If it's determined to be viable, an abortion could be performed only to protect the mother's life.

Bill Dunn
Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

The Tennessee House has approved a measure that would make it easier — and possibly lucrative — for groups like the National Rifle Association to sue local governments over gun bans.

Supporters hope the proposal will have the effect of toppling some of the few remaining gun-free zones, such as transit stations.

Nashville MTA bus photo
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

A measure that could effectively allow guns on city buses and inside stations is close to passing the Tennessee legislature.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the proposal on Tuesday, sending it to the floor for a final vote within the next few days. The state House of Representatives is scheduled to take the measure up on Wednesday.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Tennessee lawmakers are close to approving one of the toughest abortion laws in the nation — a measure that could open doctors to criminal prosecution if they perform abortions after 20 weeks.

That's even though both sides agree abortions that late in pregnancy almost never happen in Tennessee.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Not every bill that becomes Tennessee law requires a fight. After the legislative session's lengthy debate over the gas tax and ongoing disputes over abortion and gun laws, it's easy to forget there are some meaningful bipartisan bills that breeze through.

WPLN’s Jason Moon Wilkins and Chas Sisk talk about some issues where state lawmakers seem to be singing from the same songbook.

Chas Sisk / WPLN (File photo)

Black lawmakers in the Tennessee legislature are seething over a resolution honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest.

The measure was slipped through the state House of Representatives two weeks ago. Now legislators are saying they're trying to figure out a way to take it back.

The dispute has rekindled a debate over Forrest, a Confederate general and slave trader. One that Republicans and Democrats had thought they'd avoided this year.

Tennessee gay marriage
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN (File photo)

Mother. Father. Husband. Wife.

What do words like that mean in the context of same-sex marriage?

Tennessee lawmakers say they should mean what they have in the past, and that has LGBT rights groups worried.