Political news

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No one in the history of Tennessee served in its state legislature longer than Douglas Henry. The Democratic lawmaker represented West Nashville for nearly half a century. But that was just one of the ways Henry, who died Sunday night at age 90, showed his love for his native state.

The gathering was not quite as big as organizers would have liked, but a hearty crowd — wearing "Make America Great Again" hats and robed in red, white and blue — showed their support for President Trump outside the Tennessee capitol Saturday. The event coincided with similar rallies in cities across the country, including Knoxville.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

A proposal to ban abortions after the detection of a heartbeat has been on the agenda of Tennessee lawmakers.

It’s a divisive issue. But the main opponent might not be who you expect — Tennessee Right to Life.

Tyler Stubenhofer / via Flickr

In one of several signs of trouble for the idea, Tennessee's attorney general says a proposed ban on abortions once a heartbeat can be detected is "constitutionally suspect." The proposal was debated this week in the state legislature.

From the Office of the Attorney General, sent to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey:

TN Photo Services

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam could play a key role in determining what Republicans in Washington do next on health care.

Haslam is part of a team of eight governors tapped to advise the Trump administration and Congress on how they'd replace the Affordable Care Act. The group was assembled by Republican Governors Association chairman Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time on Tuesday evening. The address came a day after Trump gave an outline of his budget plan for Congress, which would increase defense spending and make cuts to domestic programs. Below is a transcript of the remarks, along with analysis and annotations from NPR journalists with expertise in politics, immigration, business, law and more.

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear delivered the Democratic Response to President Trump’s address. Beshear was chosen by Democratic Party leaders for his record, expanding affordable health care. Below is a transcript of his remarks, annotated by journalists across the NPR newsroom. 

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Democrats in the Tennessee legislature are touting a list of policies that they say will benefit Tennessee's middle class.

Their "People's Bill of Rights" consists of five core principles that they say justify actions like raising the state's minimum wage, lessening sentences for marijuana possession and opposing school vouchers.

"This is going back to the basics," says House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley. "There's not anything that you have not heard, and we have not been speaking about for years."

Chas Sisk / WPLN

For the past several weeks, Republicans have been dealing with rambunctious crowds in town halls and in legislative corridors. It’s happening across the nation and in Tennessee.

They’ve sparked a debate: Are these authentic, grassroots protests of President Donald Trump, the Republicans in Congress and those controlling the Tennessee State Capitol? Or are they “Astro-turf” activists who’ve been paid to turn out?

Political reporter Chas Sisk and Jason Moon Wilkins discuss the debate.

Chas Sisk / WPLN (File photo)

Governor Bill Haslam has been outsourcing some functions of state government almost since he took office. For many Tennesseans who don’t work in state government, it’s been out of sight. But the effects of privatization are becoming more and more apparent.