Politics

Political news

Blake Farmer / WPLN

The growth of charter schools in Nashville has continued to divide public education advocates, but the candidates for mayor have avoided taking sides. 

WPLN asked each candidate this question: In the complex and nuanced debate about charter schools, do you find yourself more often siding with charter advocates or opponents? 

Highway construction near Memphis
Peggydavis66 via Flickr

The future for road funding in Tennessee is bleak, says a new report from the state comptroller. The report might pave the way for lawmakers to look at some interesting alternatives to the state’s 20-cent-a-gallon tax on gasoline.

The comptroller's Offices of Research and Education Accountability said Tuesday that although Tennessee still brings in more than $600 million a year from its gas tax, inflation has cut its purchasing power nearly in half since the tax was last raised in 1989.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Gov. Bill Haslam stressed his accomplishments but accused Tennesseans of complacency as he promised a vigorous agenda in his second term.

The Tennessee Republican said the state had made vast improvements in education and job creation over the past four years. But he said the state’s standards have been far too low.

“We haven’t had nearly high enough expectations of ourselves,” he said. “In many ways, we’ve settled and haven’t lived up to our full potential. So, one thing I can guarantee you that we are not going to do in the next four years is coast to the finish line.”

The All-Night Images via Flickr

Should Nashville have its own minimum wage? It's a move made recently in neighboring states and nearby cities.

Most of the states without a minimum wage higher than the federal rate of $7.25 an hour are in the South, and Tennessee is one of them. There's been little-to-no support for raising the mandated base pay at the state level, but there have been rumblings on the city level.

The All-Night Images via Flickr

Should Nashville have its own minimum wage? It's a move made recently in neighboring states and nearby cities.

Most of the states without a minimum wage higher than the federal rate of $7.25 an hour are in the South, and Tennessee is one of them. There's been little-to-no support for raising the mandated base pay at the state level, but there have been rumblings on the city level.

Gov. Bill Haslam will officially be sworn in tomorrow for a second term.

Haslam’s inauguration ceremony takes place at 11 a.m. atop War Memorial Plaza. Streets near the Capitol will be closed for the event.

The day also includes an 8:30 prayer service at Ryman Auditorium and a dinner and ball at the Omni Nashville Hotel. Tickets to those events have been sold out.

Costs of the ceremony and celebrations are being covered through private donations to the Haslam Inaugural Committee. A list of contributors will be released next month.

John Liu via Flickr

A Rutherford County lawmaker says he’s frustrated with the high price of college textbooks and has filed a bill that he hopes will help reduce those costs.

State Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, introduced a measure this week calling for the creation of a panel of lawmakers to study cheaper ways to educate students.

WhiteHouse.gov

Updated 11:24 a.m:

A Haslam spokesman says the governor will not attend the State of the Union and hadn't been invited to do so by the White House.

Original post:

When President Barack Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address Tuesday, it’s likely to feature a lot of Tennessee.

The president has been highlighting two programs in the Volunteer State as he traverses the country in the lead-up to the speech.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

After an impassioned campaign over Amendment 1, groups on both sides of Tennessee’s abortion debate are surprisingly practical about what they can accomplish in the legislature this year.

TN Photo Services

Governor Haslam’s proposal to offer health coverage to 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans is already getting a wary look from state lawmakers.

One part of his proposal is to use vouchers to help low-wage workers buy coverage from their employers.

But what if your employer doesn’t offer insurance? Or you don’t work? And you don’t qualify for Medicaid? We explain Haslam's plan here:


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