Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee panel is pausing consideration of a push to remove or add context to a Confederate bust in the state Capitol until a vacancy on the board is filled.

Finance Commissioner Stuart McWhorter is the chairman of the Capitol Commission considering options for the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

He said after a meeting Thursday that it's unclear when the recently vacated slot on the commission will be filled.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Five Republican-led states are seeking to block an effort by three Democratic-led states to see the Equal Rights Amendment adopted into the U.S. Constitution.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said the five GOP-led states rescinded their approvals of the ERA amendment before a congressionally mandated ratification deadline more than 40 years ago.

The Democratic-led state attorneys general argue that the 1982 deadline set by Congress was non-binding.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former national security adviser John Bolton says the House's impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump were “grossly partisan” and said his testimony would not have changed Trump's acquittal in the Senate.

At a Vanderbilt University speaking engagement Wednesday, Bolton also continued to stay quiet on the details of a yet-to-be-released book, as he did during a Monday event.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A lawsuit has been settled between a Tennessee school district and a former student who was kidnapped by a teacher when she was 15.

Tad Cummins sparked a weeks-long nationwide manhunt when he fled the state with the former Culleoka Unit School student in 2017. They were later found in a remote area of northern California.

The girl and her father sued the Maury County School district in 2018, accusing teachers and the school's principal of ignoring several red flags regarding Cummins.

Tenn. Dept. of Education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee is defending the rollout of his much-debated school voucher program and downplayed recent anger from lawmakers upset with how the state has prepared to give parents tax dollars to pay for private tuition.

Lee told reporters Thursday that he cared more about kids than “detractors” trying to hamper the voucher implementation.

The program would allow a family to use up to $7,400 in public tax dollars from an education savings account on private school tuition and other approved expenses.

Facebook - Justice for Kyle Yorlets

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee attorneys say two teenagers accused of fatally shooting a musician during an attempted robbery will be charged as adults.

Attorneys confirmed Thursday that 17-year-old Decorrius Wright and 16-year-old Diamond Lewis will have their felony charges transferred to adult court.

The two teens and three young girls were charged with criminal homicide in the February 2019 death of 24-year-old Kyle Yorlets.

Court documents say several factors were considered in the move including prior records and the aggressive nature of the offense.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Spirit Airlines and Tennessee officials say the low-cost carrier is moving its operations control center from Florida to the Nashville area.

Officials said Thursday that the project to move the operations center from Miramar, Florida, to Williamson County, Tennessee, represents an investment of $11.3 million and will bring 345 jobs to Tennessee over the next five years.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State lawmakers have approved a resolution officially designating Tennessee as “The Volunteer State.”  

The resolution received unanimous approval from the GOP-controlled House on Monday after receiving the same approval in the GOP-controlled Senate the week before.

Tennessee first became known as “The Volunteer State” during the War of 1812 due to its prominent role of sending 1,500 volunteer soldiers.

However, despite the popularity of  the nickname, the resolution's sponsors say it was never officially adopted into Tennessee's statutes.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)  --  The Tennessee Department of Health says 10 children have died from the flu this season.

Officials confirmed Wednesday that the deaths have been spread out across the entire state.

The agency added that more than 41,000 people have tested positive for the flu in Tennessee this season. Additionally, 45 out of the state's 95 counties have had at least one confirmed influenza case this season.

Local health departments are offering free flu vaccines.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Almost three dozen big companies and more than 100 small businesses in Tennessee are predicting economic backlash from a newly enacted adoption state law and other proposals that target LGBT people.

A letter from the likes of Amazon, Nike and Nissan to state officials offers the most wide-spanning rebuke to date of the law signed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee.

Representatives from Dell, Warner Music Nashville, Postmates, Nashville Soccer Club spoke at a Nashville news conference announcing the letter.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Christina Gilbert) -- A bill is up for consideration in the Tennessee legislature that would allow students to carry guns on college campuses.

Republican Senator Janice Bowling and State Rep. Rush Bricken are sponsoring a bill that would allow college students to carry concealed guns on campus as long as they hold a concealed carry permit.


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee inmate accused of killing a corrections administrator and escaping prison on a tractor has been indicted on charges including premeditated murder and rape.

The indictment obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday charges Curtis Ray Watson on 15 counts in the killing of Tennessee Department of Corrections Administrator Debra Johnson.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Associated Press)  --  Disgraced former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada has confirmed he will run for reelection this year.

Casada made the announcement Tuesday on a social media post.

The 60-year-old Casada, a Republican from Franklin, has been a state lawmaker since 2003. He won nearly 70% of the vote against his Democratic opponent in 2018.

Casada resigned from the top leadership post in August after revelations he exchanged sexually explicit text messages about women with his former chief of staff years ago.

  FRANKLIN, Tenn. (Associated Press) -- An audio-visual company has sued the organizers of Franklin's annual Pilgrimmage music festival over allegations that the festival hasn't paid the company.


The Tennessean reports Big Thrill Productions is seeking $110,000 for the bill and attorney and legal fees from Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival.


The company says its bill wasn't paid within 10 days of when it was due. The founder of the festival says organizers have paid their bills.


United States Senate

WASHINGTON, DC (Associated Press) -- Democrats hopes of prolonging the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and hearing from witnesses dimmed after a late decision from Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

He says he will oppose calling more witnesses in the impeachment trial.

The Senate likely will vote soon to acquit Trump. 

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she would support a vote for witnesses, but that now appears to be too little for the Democratic accusers.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Associated Press)  --  Major League Soccer and its new Nashville team say Mayor John Cooper refused to commit to moving ahead with a stadium plan approved under the previous mayor.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber and team officials met with Cooper at the league's office in New York City to discuss the team's stadium project.

MLS and Nashville SC say in a statement the team has worked over the past four months to improve the stadium deal to address concerns of the new mayor.

Bill Lee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Associated Press)  --  Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee sought to downplay potential consequences amid multiple businesses reaching out to his administration warning that the state's reputation would suffer should the Republican enact an anti-LGBT adoption measure.

Emails obtained through a public records request by The Associated Press show representatives from IKEA, Mars Inc., Nestle USA and Danone North America all reached out to Lee's office raising concerns about the proposal's effect on recruiting and retaining employees.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee says he wants to enact some of the strictest abortion laws in the nation.

Lee hopes to ban women from undergoing the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The Republican governor made the announcement Thursday surrounded by dozens of GOP state lawmakers, many of whom are up for reelection later this year.

The bill would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Typically, that's about six weeks into pregnancy and before many women know they’re pregnant.


  Nashville, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee inmate facing an execution date next month has opted to die by the electric chair.

The choice makes inmate Nicholas Sutton the fifth Tennessee inmate in a little over a year to choose electrocution over the state's preferred method of lethal injection.

Virginia is the only other state to use the chair this decade and hasn't done so since 2013. 

Tennessee inmates have unsuccessfully argued in court that the way the state carries out lethal injection results in a prolonged and agonizing death.

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee will introduce legislation this year to amend a law requiring Tennessee to honor Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Lee's office confirmed Friday that the Republican was working on the bill. The office did not provide further details about the proposal.

Forrest was a Confederate cavalry general who amassed a fortune as a plantation owner and slave trader in Memphis before the Civil War.

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)  --  Tennessee Titans fans can gather in Nashville for a free viewing party to watch the team play in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Kansas City.

The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. said the party will include live music, giveaways and other activities starting at 11 a.m. Sunday on Lower Broadway. The game is at 2:05 p.m. 

Two large screens will be set up to show the game feed. Fans can bring blankets and collapsible chairs.


  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has scheduled dates to execute two more death row inmates but still hasn't ruled on the attorney general's requests to set seven other executions.

An order Wednesday says Oscar Franklin Smith is scheduled to be put to death on June 4 and Harold Wayne Nichols is to be executed on Aug. 4.

The country as a whole has been moving away from putting inmates to death, but Tennessee was second only to Texas in the number of executions it carried out in 2019.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Tennessee lawmakers begin the 2020 legislative session Tuesday, kicking off a busy couple of months expected to focus on criminal justice reform, abortion and other hot-button issues.

GOP Gov. Bill Lee has said he's focused on criminal justice reform for his second legislative session in office. He is expected to unveil his specific initiative wish list soon.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's administration has invoked executive privilege multiple times to withhold documents from public records requests, even though such privilege is not defined in the state's law, nor mentioned in its constitution. 

Officials in Lee's office say they are using it interchangeably with a separate protection when documents are deemed part of the executive office's decision-making process.


Nearly 1.3 million people visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum last year, breaking an annual attendance record.


The museum has seen increased attendance since expanding its downtown Nashville location in 2014. The museum has welcomed more than one million people each year for five consecutive years.


The museum houses two theaters, the Taylor Swift Education Center and Hatch Show Print.