politics and Government

City of Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville's mayor has released an emergency cold weather plan for sheltering the city's homeless community, weeks after reversing a decision to close the winter overflow facilities.

In a plan obtained by news outlets Thursday, Mayor John Cooper announced the overflow shelter will be located in a vacant Davidson County Sheriff's dormitory that accommodates 150 people. The plan will be initiated when the National Weather Service records temperatures below 29 degrees and when other shelters hit capacity.


RUTHERFORD, Tenn. (AP) — A former political campaign treasurer and Tennessee Republican Party committeewoman is accused of stealing more than $65,000 from her father's campaign and pocketing insurance money from policyholders who used her family's insurance company.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Associated Press released a correction to this story Nov. 7. at 8:58 a.m. The amount Kelsey Ketron is accused of stealing from her father's campaign fund is $65,500, not the $133,000 originally reported.


  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's new restrictions for registering voters aren't scheduled to face trial until February 2021, likely keeping the penalties blocked through the 2020 elections.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger scheduled the trial for two challenges of the law that fines groups with paid workers for submitting too many incomplete registration forms , considered a first among states.

It also criminalizes intentional infractions of other new rules with misdemeanor charges.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Gov. Bill Lee is asking the Tennessee Department of Human Services to cut its budget, even as revelations surface that the state is holding more than a billion dollars in unspent welfare funding.

Commissioner Danielle Whitworth Barnes on Monday proposed a reduction of $2.4 million in the DHS budget for the coming fiscal year. Her presentation came during Gov. Lee's annual departmental budget review.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Tennessee Department of Corrections officials say the state’s probation officers are quitting at an alarming rate.


Governor Bill Lee is holding budget hearings on Capitol Hill this week. During TDOC’s presentation Monday, officials noted that one corrections worker in four leaves state employment each year.


Even more concerning, TDOC HR Director Brian Hughes told the governor the rate of attrition for probation officers is accelerating.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee says his administration is gearing up to use a portion of its $732 million in reserves from a federal welfare program for families with children.

The large surplus has come under scrutiny after first being flagged last month in a report by the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a conservative think tank.

According to the report, the state receives $190.9 million annually through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program but last year spent just $71.1 million of that money.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- State lawmakers say they’re getting an earful from Tennesseans fed up with long wait times at state driver’s license stations.

Tempers grew short Thursday as state Department of Safety officials testified before a joint Fiscal Review Committee about the problem.

Sparta Senator Paul Bailey bristled when officials claimed the average wait time at Tennessee Driver Services Centers is 15 minutes.


WASHINGTON, DC (OSBORNE) -- Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg this week faced a withering barrage of questions from Tennessee congressional reps on both sides of the political aisle. 


Muilenburg testified before the House and Senate about system failures that led to the downing of two Boeing 737 Max jets in 2018 and 2019. The crashes claimed 346 lives.


Republican Marsha Blackburn questioned Muilenburg's leadership at Boeing during a Senate hearing on Tuesday. 


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Nashville’s Community Oversight Board and Metro Police remain at an impasse nearly one year after voters strongly approved community oversight.

An email exchange this past week between Chief Steve Anderson and Board Director Will Weeden makes clear the two organizations have made no progress on a memorandum outlining how they will interact.


  WASHINGTON, DC (OSBORNE) -- Senator Marsha Blackburn is one of President Donald Trump's most ardent supporters, but the relationship has been strained this month by the presiden't abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria.

Tennessee's junior Republican Senator is pushing back hard against Trump’s decision to abandon the Syrian Kurds allied with the U.S. in Syria against the terroist group ISIS.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has amassed more than $732 million in grant money intended to help poor working families with no plan for how to spend it.

According to conservative think tank the Beacon Center of Tennessee, the state receives $190.9 million annually through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Last year, Tennessee spent just $71.1 million of that money.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Metro Water Services will present proposed water and sewer rate increases to the City Council at the council's meeting Nov. 5.


Look for your water bill to go up effective Jan. 1.


Metro Water Services notes that it hasn’t seen a rate increase since 2011. the department says it has now has a backlog of $1.4 billion worth of maintenance and upgrades in need of funding.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Vice Mayor Jim Shulman is asking for input from Nashville residents on some of the city’s most pressing problems.


Shulman will late in October announce the formation of eight committees to explore issues ranging from improving voter engagement to higher pay for city employees.


Shulman said the committees will include as members both sitting city council members and ordinary citizens. 



WASHINGTON, DC (OSBORNE) -- Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander has again sided with Democrats to rebuke of President Donald Trump for diverting military funds to border wall construction.

Alexander and ten other Senate Republicans Wednesday joined 43 Democrats to pass a bill terminating President Trump’s emergency declaration authorizing diversion of the funding. Alexander voted in favor of the same legislation back in the spring, saying the congressional power of the purse must be protected.

Andy Heidt / MTSU

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell has a new job. Harwell on Tuesday accepted a Distinguished Visiting Professor appointment at Middle Tennessee State University.

University President Sidney A. McPhee noted Harwell will guest lecture, participate in panels and organize academic events for students.

Harwell was Tennessee’s first female House Speaker. She told WMOT during Tuesday's event she’s especially interested in supporting the university’s aspiring women.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- If your travels take you through downtown Nashville this weekend, expect major traffic delays.

Construction on the overpass at I-440 and I-65 will close both highways from Friday night through Monday morning. A portion of Franklin Road will also be closed between Berry Road and Woodmont Boulevard.

It’s part of the Tennessee Department of Transportation's $153 million dollar I-440 reconstruction. TDOT Project Manager Clayton Markham says expect long delays.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked Tennessee's new restrictions for registering voters from taking effect on Oct. 1, saying Thursday that any benefit of the law won't likely outweigh its potential harm.

The ruling, for now, sets aside a law that goes beyond other states by fining groups that pay workers when too many incomplete registration forms are submitted. The law would also criminalize intentional infractions of a new set of rules, exposing voting advocates to misdemeanor charges.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton is warning Nashville officials that he might attempt to withhold state funding due to the city's recent executive order discouraging local cooperation with immigration officials.

Sexton, a Republican, first made the comments while talking to a local radio show Tuesday morning. A House GOP spokesman later confirmed Sexton's comments to The Associated Press.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Republican Tennessee lawmaker says he was clearly joking when he called in a radio broadcast for the abolishment of higher education in order to cut off the "liberal breeding ground.

However, Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield said in a statement Tuesday that he stands behind his critique of liberal arts education in America "one hundred percent."


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration says paid attendance at last weekend’s contest was up slightly, but a photo by the local Times-Gazette shows large open sections in the event’s 30,000 seat arena.


The Big Lick, held in Shelbyville every year since 1939, was once one of Tennessee’s largest tourism draws pumping millions of dollars annually into the mid-state economy.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Emotions ran high Friday as House minority Democrats tried to introduce new measures during a special called session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee called the session to elect a new House speaker, following the resignation earlier this month of embattled Williamson County Rep. Glen Casada. Crossville Republican Cameron Sexton won the speaker's seat with near unanimous support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Jackson County Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- State lawmakers heard Thursday from rural county mayors struggling to pay for Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Many rural Tennessee counties no longer have hospitals. EMS first responders are frequently the only emergency medical care available.

Jackson County Mayor Randy Heady gave lawmakers on the House TennCare Subcommittee just one example of what that can cost. Heady described a chronically ill county resident that has to be transported to Nashville for emergency care about once a month.

Scooters to remain on Nashville streets...for now

Aug 22, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The rental scooters offered by companies Bird and Lime will be allowed to remain on Nashville streets.

A measure by Councilman Steve Glover to ban scooters failed during Tuesday night’s council session. Glover’s bill cited data from Vanderbilt and St. Thomas indicating their ER doctors are treating two to three scooter related injuries a day and an average of one traumatic brain injury a month.

In spite of those grim statistics, District 26 Rep. Jeremy Elrod urged the council to give scooters more time.


MURFREESBORO. Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The CEO’s leading three of Tennessee largest employers are questioning the role of big corporations in American life.

The Business Roundtable claims some of the nation’s top brands as members. The Roundtable this week released a letter signed by nearly 200 member CEOs.

The letter expresses concern that American workers continue to struggle even as corporations thrive. The letter says in part “Too often hard work is not rewarded.”

Groups seek to block Tennessee voter signup penalties law

Aug 20, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Several voter registration organizations are asking a judge to stop Tennessee's new restrictions for signing up voters from taking effect in October, saying the law has already curtailed their ability to enroll voters in communities of color and other historically disenfranchised groups.