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Chas Sisk / WPLN

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.

Caveman Chuck Coker via Flickr

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.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

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.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

“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.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

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.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Democrats are attempting to bring back Gov. Bill Haslam's Insure Tennessee health care proposal, but the plan to offer health coverage to more than a quarter million Tennesseans continues to face extremely long odds.

A week after a Senate panel killed Haslam's proposal to expand Medicaid on its first vote, Democrats are filing legislation meant to reopen the debate.

Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce via Flickr

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker’s name comes up a lot, sometimes in surprising contexts.

For instance, during the recent Insure Tennessee debate, when some of the senator’s own words were used to attack Gov. Bill Haslam’s health plan.

Long before Insure Tennessee, Corker had accused states of using “gimmicks” to fund Medicaid. That blunt talk came back to bite him, as critics pointed out that Insure Tennessee rested on one of those very techniques.

A tough spot, politically. But Corker shrugs it off.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Lawmakers described it as an "epiphany."

Just a few hours before members of a House panel were to open debate Wednesday on Common Core for the year, they abruptly changed course.

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