politics and Government

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. (OSBORNE) -- A bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest continues to stir controversy at the state capitol.

 

During a House committee hearing Tuesday, Knoxville Democrat Rick Staples offered legislation recommending the bust be removed from the Capitol rotunda. Well over an hour of discussion and testimony followed, frustrating Nashville Democrat Bo Mitchell.

 

wilsoncountytn.gov

LEBANON, Tenn. (WMOT) -- The Wilson County Commission Monday night passed a so-called Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution.

 

WKRN-TV quotes the resolution saying the county won’t enforce laws that infringe on the right to “keep and bear arms.”

 

The resolution does not have the force of law. Constitutional experts note that it would be superseded in any event by state and federal law.

 

capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- State lawmakers Monday approved the rules Tennessee will use to implement Gov. Bill Lee’s school voucher program, but not before they heard bipartisan criticism of the plan.

 

The legislation was approved last year by a single vote. It makes school vouchers available to low-income families in Memphis and Nashville.

 

Republican Rep. Kent Calfee blasted the plan, saying he expects the law will be repealed this session.

 

teateachers.org

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Osborne) -- WMOT is exploring the legislative priorities of constituencies across the political spectrum as the State Assembly begins its third week in session.

We hear next from the state’s largest teachers union, the Tennessee Education Association.

TEA President Beth Brown notes that the state’s per-pupil school funding is the second lowest in the Southeast. She says it's time for lawmakers to spend Tennessee’s excess revenue on education.

tn.gov

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.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Tennessee’s top law enforcement officer has been named by President Donald Trump to a new commission tasked with recommending solutions for the nation’s most pressing law enforcement issues.

 

David Rausch heads the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. He’s one of 18 law enforcement and criminal justice experts nationwide named to the commission.

 

tnequalityproject.org

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- With the State Assembly’s 2020 session now underway, WMOT is talking to constituencies across the political spectrum about their legislative priorities.

 

Chris Sanders with the LGBT advocacy group Tennessee Equality Project. Sanders says the organization will fight a proposed bill targeting transgender high school athletes. Sanders notes students would be restricted to sports based on their birth gender. 

 

capitol.tn.gov

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.

capitol.tn.gov

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.

tennesseefirearms.com

NASVHILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The Tennessee’s General Assembly opens its 2020 session next week, so WMOT is exploring the legislative priorities of various mid-state constituencies.

Today we talk with John Harris of the pro-gun group Tennessee Firearms Association.

Harris says the organization’s top priority continues to be so-called open carry; the right to openly carry a firearm virtually anywhere, anytime, without regulation.

capitol.tn.gov

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- With Tennessee’s General Assembly set to begin its 2020 session next week, WMOT is exploring the legislative priorities of various mid-state constituencies.

Today we talk with State Rep. Mike Stewart. The Nashville Democrat leads the House Democratic Caucus.

Stewart says priority one will continue to be pressing the Republican majority to expand Medicaid coverage. It's a proposal legislators have twice rejected.

leecompany.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Lee has cautioned members of his own party not to fall prey to “misinformation” about refugees.

At a local GOP luncheon in Nashville on Tuesday, Lee said refugees are not "illegal immigrants" and said he feels a “biblical mandate” to protect them.

Lee last month decided to keep accepting refugees in Tennessee, declining an offer by President Donald Trump's administration that lets states and local governments stop resettling them. Lee cited his Christian faith and his own service with refugees.

leecompany.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Lee has cautioned members of his own party not to fall prey to “misinformation” about refugees.

At a local GOP luncheon in Nashville on Tuesday, Lee said refugees are not "illegal immigrants" and said he feels a “biblical mandate” to protect them.

Lee last month decided to keep accepting refugees in Tennessee, declining an offer by President Donald Trump's administration that lets states and local governments stop resettling them. Lee cited his Christian faith and his own service with refugees.

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Mayor John Cooper is offering up a $41 million fix for the city’s current out of balance budget, but Nashville’s long-term financial problems remain.

 

Cooper’s plan includes cuts to the city’s public housing fund. It also calls on Metro departments to further trim their budgets.

 

If the council approves, the fix will at least temporarily fore-stall threats by the state to take control of the city’s finances.

 

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.

RCSO

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.

tn.gov

  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.

tn.gov

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.

TN.GOV

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.

 

tn.gov

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.

capitol.tn.gov

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.

c-span.org

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.

c-span.org

  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.

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