politics and Government

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee panel has voted to recommend that the bust of a Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader be moved from the state Capitol into the state museum, following Republican Gov. Bill Lee's suggestion.

The State Capitol Commission on Thursday cast first of two votes needed to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest. The panel went further to suggest the busts of Union admirals David Farragut and Albert Gleaves be moved to the museum as well.

senate.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is again challenging a decision by President Donald Trump.

The Senator on Wednesday criticized the president’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the World Health Organization.

MTSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Middle Tennessee State University says it’s 'winding down' its relationship with the Confucius Institute.

Institutes on the campuses of the University of Tennessee and the University of Memphis have already closed.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee has announced that a state panel that has the authority to help remove the bust of a former Confederate general and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan from Tennessee's state Capitol will take up the issue next week.

 

The Republican governor said in a press release that the Capitol Commission would meet July 9, but no agenda was posted. However, Lee later told reporters that the group will address the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust.

 

nashville.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee officials say they plan to enforce a requirement that first-time voters who register by mail cast their ballots in person.

 

That's despite a judge’s ruling in early June that all eligible voters can cast absentee ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, but doesn't directly address the first-time voters restriction.

 

aarp.org

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Tennessee Congressional delegation is at odds over Thursday’s passage by the U.S. House of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

The legislation passed exactly one month after Floyd’s death in the custody of Minneapolis police. Floyd’s death has sparked protests over police use of force policies and racial discrimination across the U.S. and around the world.

The Act prohibits choke holds, reduces police immunity, and creates a national police misconduct database. The measure passed the House largely along party lines.

uncf.org

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has filled vacancies on a Tennessee panel tasked with recommending whether to move or otherwise change the Capitol's bust of Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.

 

The Republican announced Thursday he appointed Lane College President Logan Hampton to the Capitol Commission and named Finance Commissioner Butch Eley the panel's chairman.

 

nashville.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court will not block a judge's order offering a by-mail voting option to all eligible voters during the coronavirus pandemic while the state appeals the expansion.

 

The state's high court on Wednesday agreed to fast-track the appeal without a lower appellate court considering it, but a majority of justices voted against a stay of the absentee voting expansion pending appeal.

 

nashville.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee officials got a preview of what a universal vote-by-mail election might look like during Tuesday’s primary next door in Kentucky.

By court order, Tennessee will allow any registered voter who wishes to the option of voting by mail during the upcoming August 6 primary. The ruling by a Nashville judge June 4 came in response to voter concerns about contracting coronavirus while casting an in-person ballot.

Tennessee election officials have expressed concerns about being overwhelmed by a flood of absentee ballots.

notax4nash.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The group NoTax4Nash has followed through on its threat to start recall petitions for Mayor John Cooper and City Council members who voted for an dramatically increased property tax.

NoTax4Nash has placed recall petitions for Mayor Cooper and 32 council members who voted in favor of the property tax increase.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Amid nationwide unrest and a global pandemic that wrecked the state budget, Tennessee lawmakers wrapped up a legislative session early Friday by advancing an anti-abortion proposal that includes some of the strictest restrictions in the country.

The passage of the bill shocked Democratic lawmakers and reproductive rights activists who had been assured for weeks that the GOP-dominated Senate would not take up the measure.

nashville.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  There has been strong reaction to the passage Wednesday of a new Nashville city budget that includes a 34 percent increase in the property tax.

The Beacon Center, a conservative Nashville advocacy group, calls passage of the plan “cowardly” and says council members should be “utterly ashamed.” The Center writes that the city missed an opportunity to “enact much-needed systemic reforms.”

capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Lawmakers at the state and local level are struggling to balance budgets pushed deep into the red by the pandemic.

After a marathon session, the Nashville City Council early Tuesday morning approved a new Metro budget that includes a 34 percent property tax increase. The council debated four different budget proposals before settling on a plan by Councilman Bob Mendes.

capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Tennessee would become the latest state to provide health care providers, schools and businesses broad protections against coronavirus lawsuits under a proposal gaining traction inside the GOP-dominant Statehouse.

House Republicans approved such a measure Tuesday despite objections from Democrats that the bill was unnecessary.

A separate bill had already passed the Senate last week.

However, the House’s version tweaked the proposal, which means now the two chambers must negotiate on a final version.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Four competing city budget proposals face off Tuesday night in Metro Council, with the threat of a state takeover looming over the debate.

Mayor John Cooper is proposing what he’s called a “crisis budget” to address the city’s pandemic battered finances. The Mayor’s plan includes a 32 percent increase in property taxes.

A proposal by Councilman Bob Mendes includes an even larger tax increase while adding to appropriations for Metro schools.

tn.gov

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee officials are seeking a fast-tracked decision by the state Supreme Court to block a judge's order to offer absentee voting to all eligible registered voters during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The Tennessee attorney general's office filed the motion late Friday, saying it's crucial with the Aug. 6 election looming for the Supreme Court to take over the appeal and the state's request to stop the expansion before a lower appellate court considers it.

 

capitol.tn.gov

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s House is seeking to significantly increase penalties against demonstrators who violate certain state laws.

 

The legislation is backed by House Speaker Cameron Sexton, a top Republican in the GOP-dominant Statehouse.

 

Sexton promised to bring the bill after a handful of protesters announced they would gather outside the state Capitol over the weekend and claim the area as an “autonomous zone.”

 

cdc.gov

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- The City of Nashville will no longer share the names and addresses of COVID-19 patients with police, EMTs and other first responders.

 

The Metro Board of Health voted Thursday to suspend the controversial practice immediately. The Tennessean says the vote was led by board Vice Chair Tene Franklin who cited the current national debate on racial disparities as inspiration for the policy change.

 

capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- The Tennessee State Senate has approved a paired down state budget that gives Gov. Bill Lee most of what he asked for to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

 

The $39.4 billion dollar plan eliminates raises previously approved for teachers and some other public employees. It adds $50 million to fund state worker buyouts and $200 million to ease the pandemic burden on county and city governments..

 

tn.gov

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A judge has told state officials “shame on you” for not following her order on a vote-by mail-option for all Tennessee voters during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle said Thursday that she was seeking “to clean up confusion” by ordering changes to how the state decided to reword its absentee voting applications.

 

cdc.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  A new Vanderbilt poll suggests Tennesseans are reacting to coronavirus along strongly partisan and racial lines.

The survey of a thousand registered voters finds 82 percent of Democrats are concerned about contracting COVID-19, while only 37 percent of Republicans share that concern.

In addition, 76 percent of Tennesseans of color say they’re concerned about the virus, while only 55 percent of whites are equally worried.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Attorneys for voting rights groups want Tennessee officials held in contempt of court over their response to an order allowing all Tennessee voters to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state says the groups are citing outdated information.

In a Davidson County Chancery Court filing Monday night, plaintiffs attorneys wrote that the state created a new COVID-19 option on the absentee application that the judge didn't order and told local election officials Friday not to distribute applications for coronavirus-related requests yet.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee officials are seeking an appeal and an immediate pause to a court's ruling this week that makes all of the state's 4.1 million registered voters eligible to vote by mail during to the coronavirus pandemic.

Late Friday, the state attorney general's office filed a request in Davidson County Chancery Court to appeal and stay that court's decision and temporary injunction Thursday.

The state questions what will happen if a voter applies for an absentee ballot, then the expansion is later reversed on appeal.

nashville.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Metro Nashville Council will hold a public hearing next week that will include both virtual and in-person comments by city residents.

The council will take comments Tuesday evening on Mayor John Cooper’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. The mayor’s proposal includes a 32 percent property tax increase he says is needed to put Metro’s pandemic battered finances back in the black.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A Nashville judge says she expects to make a ruling next Thursday on whether to order a temporary injunction to let all voters cast ballots by mail in the August primary due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle set that goal Thursday as she reset a hearing in the case for next Wednesday.

 

The lawsuit argues universal vote by mail eliminates risk of catching COVID-19 at the polls or unknowingly spreading it.

 

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