NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  Tennessee's largest health insurer will stop covering OxyContin prescriptions at the end of the year.


BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee says the change comes in response to the state’s opioid addiction crisis.


Mary-Linden Salters heads to the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug and Other Addiction Services. She supports efforts to restrict opioid use, but also notes that past initiatives have had unexpected results.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  A bill that would allow liquor sales on Sunday passed the Tennessee House Monday evning after passionate debate among lawmakers.

The measure would allow grocery stores to sell wine on Sundays and liquor stores to be open for business seven days. Chattanooga Republican Gerald McCormick is a bill sponsor.

“Tennessee will join 40 other states in repealing this outdated regulation, including five of the states that surround Tennessee and that we’re in a competitive situation with.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT/AP)  --  A proposal is moving ahead in the State Legislature to allow more teachers to carry guns in Tennessee schools.

Testimony during a hearing yesterday in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee largely opposed the measure. Among those panning the bill were speakers for the state Department of Education and the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association.

Concerns ranged from how well trained armed teachers might be to whether some school systems might opt to replace expensive school police officers with less costly armed teachers.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT/AP)  --  Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to address the opioid addiction epidemic received a warm reception from the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug and other Addiction Services.

The organization represents many of the state’s addiction treatment facilities and counselors.

On Monday the governor promised $25 million in additional spending for treatment. The Association’s Mary-Linden Salters said she’s happy with that increase.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  A Tennessee boy’s tearful description of being bullied at school is the latest YouTube viral video with millions of views reported.

Knoxville resident Kimberly Jones made the video this past Friday. She’d just picked her son, Keaton, up from school because he was afraid to go to lunch in the school cafeteria.

In the video Keaton says bullies call him ugly, make fun of his nose and tell him he has no friends.

“It’s not OK. People who are different do not need to be criticized about it. It’s not their fault.”


WASHINGTON, DC  (WMOT/AP)  --  The seemingly endless stream of sexual harassment claims roiling the nation are prompting a rare show of unity inside the Tennessee Congressional delegation.

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper are cosponsoring a bill that would make public the names of House members who have been the subject of sexual harassment claims.


WASHINGTON, DC (OSBORNE)  --  Conservative Tennessee Republican Congressional Rep. Diane Black rarely finds herself on the left of any issue, but that’s the uncomfortable position she finds herself in as the GOP struggles to pass a budget.

Black chairs the powerful House Budget Committee. Earlier this year she successfully pushed a budget bill out of her committee, but the measure has yet to reach the House floor for a final vote.

Freedom Caucus Republicans, many with Tea Party affiliations, are demanding changes to the budget.


WASHINGTON, DC  (AP/WMOT)  --  Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander’s effort to shore up Obamacare appears to be in trouble.


Alexander chairs the Senate Health Committee.


He voted this summer to repeal Obamacare, but when that effort failed Alexander began talking to colleagues about the need to keep the Affordable Care Act from collapsing.


Alexander has convened a series of Senate hearings to that end, but the effort has already run up against partisan bickering.


BOSTON (AP) — The co-founder of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy is set to be sentenced in a deadly meningitis outbreak that killed more than 60 people, including 16 here in Tennessee.

Barry Cadden was acquitted of second-degree murder charges under federal racketeering law, but convicted on conspiracy and fraud charges. Sentencing is scheduled for Monday in federal court in Boston.


WASHINGTON, DC  (AP/WMOT)  --  Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black is in the hot seat as the GOP struggles to pass 12 appropriations bills for the coming fiscal year.

Black chairs the influential House Budget Committee and is working to balance the competing interests of her fellow Republicans.

President Trump wants to increase defense spending by 10 percent, but some defense hawks want to spend even more.


WASHINGTON, DC (WMOT)  --  Tennessee Senator Bob Corker is preparing to announce bi-partisan legislation that will slap new sanctions on Russia.

A procedural vote on the Russia sanctions is planned for Wednesday, and the measure is expected to get strong bipartisan support. The legislation was worked out by Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, of the Banking Committee, and Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., of the Foreign Relations panel.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A new poll released by Vanderbilt University is offering insights into how Tennesseans feel about the health care debate, tuition breaks for immigrant students, and President Trump's ability to foster meaningful change in Washington.

About two out of three registered voters in the state think Tennessee students whose parents brought or kept them in the country illegally should be eligible for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities, according to a poll released by Vanderbilt University on Tuesday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  The State of Tennessee continues to collect more tax dollars than it spends.


The Associated Press reports general fund tax collections exceeded expectations by $159 million in April. Through the first nine months of the budget year, tax collections beat budgeted estimates by $579 million. 



The state's healthy surpluses were a bone of contention between state lawmakers during their just completed legislative session.



 WASHINGTON, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  Tennessee’s congressional delegation is weighing in on President Donald Trump’s budget proposal released Tuesday.


Referencing Trump’s visit Wednesday morning at the Vatican, West Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen was derisive, wondering whether “Trump asked Pope Francis for forgiveness for his budget cuts.” 


Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn was far more supportive, tweeting that she applauds the president for a “bold budget that…lays a pathway to eliminating debt.”



WASHINGTON, DC.  (AP/WMOT)  --  Tennesseans could see their federal benefits drastically reduced under a budget proposed by President Donald Trump.

Trump's plan cuts almost $3.6 trillion over ten years from an array of benefit programs including Obamacare, TennCare, student loan subsidies and food stamps.

State officials say there are currently just over 1 million Tennesseans receiving food stamps and one-and-a-half million receiving health care through TennCare -- Tennessee’s version of Medicaid.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  The Tennessee Senate on Monday voted to pass a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks if doctors determine the fetus is viable.

Republican Senator Joey Hensley, a Hohenwald physician, is the bill’s sponsor.

“If the doctor does determine that the infant is viable, then the abortion cannot be performed, except to protect the life of the mother or to prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”


WASHINGTON, DC  (AP/WMOT)  --  Tennessee Senator Bob Corker says the U.S. should not consider a nation’s human rights record when deciding if that nation can buy American made weapons.

Corker chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Associated Press says Corker supports the Trump Administration’s plans to sell advanced fighter planes to Nigeria and Bahrain. Both countries have been accused of serious human rights violations by the U.S. Department of State and independent rights groups such as Amnesty International.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  A storm front will rumble across the mid-state Monday that killed two people in Louisiana Sunday.

The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma says tornadoes and strong winds are likely from Mississippi to South Carolina.

The greatest tornado risk is well to our south in Alabama.

A tornado flipped a mobile home in Louisiana Sunday, killing a mother and her 3-year-old daughter.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards put the entire state on "high alert" and is warning residents to stay off the roads.

Nat. Weather Ser.

  CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Officials are planning to assess damage after a severe storm with high winds and quarter-size hail passed through Tennessee knocking down power lines and toppling trees.

Thousands of power outages were reported across the central and eastern parts of the state Tuesday as the storm moved through. In the Chattanooga area alone, about 60,000 outages were reported at the height of the storm, according to power provider EPB. The company said in a statement that about 7,000 outages remained Wednesday morning.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  There were reports of power outages and downed trees across the extreme Southeast corner of Tennessee monday morning, but otherwise the state seems to have been spared by the storms that killed 18 across the southeast over the weekend.


At least 14 people were killed Suday in Georgia as the fast-moving storms tore across the state, with at least one deadly tornado reported before dawn and violent storms still rumbling after nightfall.


Tennessee General Assembly

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Tennessee lawmakers have less than a month to file measures they want considered during this year's legislative session.

Bills filed after the Feb. 9 deadline must to get special committee approval.

House members are limited to filing 15 bills each. The chamber's rules also say the body won't take up legislation unless it also has a Senate sponsor.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An international drama featuring the illegal transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to China is playing out in a Tennessee courtroom. 

A Chinese-born U.S. nuclear engineer has pleaded guilty to helping a state-controlled Chinese nuclear energy company build reactors using U.S. technology.

The U.S. Department of Justice says 66-year-old "Allen" Ho has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally bypass U.S. regulations on production of nuclear materials outside the United States.

Ho faces up to 10 years in prison.


  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  Put Tennessee House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh on the growing list of those considering a run for governor in 2018.


Rep. Fitzhugh has served in the state House since 1995.


The West Tennessee Democrat says he wants to wait until after the upcoming legislative session to decide whether to join the race, but pending decisions by other potential candidates may shorten that timeline.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) —  There was a little drama at the State Capitol building Monday morning as Tennessee’s electors cast their Electoral College votes.

The Tennessean says a protester shouting from the gallery was escorted from the building. No word yet if the woman was arrested.

The vote procedure began at 9 a.m. and took less than 30 minutes. The eleven electors voted unanimously for Donald Trump.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennesseans turned out in big numbers to cast early ballots in next week’s general election.

Early voting came to a close yesterday.

The state says 1,675,679 Tennesseans used the early voting option this year, up more than 100,000 votes over the 2012 early voting turnout and nearly 100,000 more votes than were cast early in 2008.

Turnout was highest in Shelby County, where about 182,000 ballots were cast. The next highest totals included 174,000 votes in Davidson, and 83,000 in Williamson counties.