Trump, Clinton Win Tennessee Super Tuesday Primary

Mar 2, 2016
Creative Commons/Matt Johnson

Republican turnout in Tennessee outpaced Democrats by more than a 2-to-1 margin, a show of muscle that encouraged the state's GOP leaders even if they didn't back winner Donald Trump.

Trump took nearly 39 percent of the Tennessee primary vote. Ted Cruz was second, with 24. 7 percent, and Marco Rubio finished third, with 21.2 percent.

Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who was in third place behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

The governor said he was "encouraged" by the voting totals, but he hasn't yet said whether he would support Trump if he ends up the GOP nominee.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won in a landslide. She took 66 percent of primary vote, with Bernie Sanders a distant second, with 32 percent.

A debate over how to teach religion to public school students in Tennessee is rocking school districts around the state. Activists and concerned parents worry middle school students are being “indoctrinated” with a sanitized version of Islam.

The issue has made its way to the state legislature. One proposal would restrict discussion of religion until the end of high school. Chas Sisk of Here & Now contributor WPLN has the story.

Tens of thousands of Tennessee students steadied their clammy, test-day hands over a keyboard several days ago. And, for many, nothing happened.

It was the state's first time giving standardized exams on computers, but the rollout couldn't have gone much worse.

In lots of places, the testing platform slowed to a crawl or appeared to shut down entirely. Within hours, Tennessee scrapped online testing for the year.

The move comes after schools spent millions of dollars to buy additional PCs and to improve their wi-fi networks.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, via Facebook

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is adding confirmed cougar sightings to a new online map. The Cougar Action Team, or CAT, is a new agency working to organize evidence submitted by the public and developing a policy for dealing with this subspecies of cougar, which is not native to Tennessee. 

The first confirmed sighting in more than 100 years was in Obion County last September

Tennessee Wildlife Biologist Joy Sweaney says cougars are secretive animals and aren't typically a threat to humans. If you do encounter one, she recommends acting like 'the hardest prey to kill' and they will leave you alone.

DNA samples from hair found in the Carroll County location identified the animal as a western cougar subspecies similar to those found in South Dakota. She says there is possibly more than one cougar in Tennessee, expanding out from their home range. Western cougars have a range of 150 square miles and while it's rare to spot one, they are more commonly found in the Midwestern states.

Teachers, parents and politicians have long wrestled with the question:

How important is preschool?

A new answer comes in the form of a study — out of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. — that is as clear as it is controversial.


A business research magazine has released its annual list of the Best and Worst states as favored by business executives, ranking Tennessee at number 4.  

“Chief Executive” surveyed over 500 leading CEOs across the country making measuring in three categories: tax and regulation, workforce quality, and living environment. That last category includes education, cost of living, affordable housing and crime rates. 

Texas took the top spot, followed by Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee, which was in the number 3 spot last year. 

CEOs say they picked the Volunteer state for its low taxes and Right-to-Work status calling it a hotbed for automotive manufacturers. 

Kentucky ranked in at 28 with CEOs noting a high-value living environment, but concern about tax and strong regulatory policies. 

Illinois maintained its rank amongst the worst states at number 48.  

See a full-listing of Chief Executive rankings here

Flickr/Creative Commons/Lee Royal

Tennesseans will soon be able to have alcoholic beverages delivered straight to their doors.

A law signed by Governor Bill Haslam that goes into effect July 1 allows third-party restaurant delivery services to buy alcohol from retailers and deliver it to consumers. The Tennessean reports that the owner of a Nashville-area food delivery service predicts his sales will increase 50-to-100 percent once he’s able to deliver alcohol to consumers.

Companies will be allowed to deliver up to a gallon of alcohol per customer, per delivery.

Consumers must show a valid form of ID, and all delivery drivers must be at least 21 years of age and pass a criminal background check. Any business delivering alcohol must get at least half of its gross sales from food delivery.

Schools don't like to use the V-word anymore — "vocational," as in "vocational education." Administrators say the word is outdated, along with the idea of offering job-training courses only to students who are going straight into the workforce.

Nashville, Tenn., is trying a new approach. The public school system there is encouraging every high school student, regardless of college plans, to take three career-training classes before they graduate.

Haslam Convenes Special Session on ACA

Feb 3, 2015

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam says his proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans is needed to improve lives.

Haslam told lawmakers Monday night it's also needed to fix what Haslam calls a "broken health care system."

Haslam's plan calls on state hospitals to pay the $74 million state share to draw down $2.8 billion dollars in federal Medicaid money to offer coverage to more uninsured Tennesseans.

Haslam Now Country's Richest Elected Official

Jan 22, 2015

Forbes Magazine says Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is now the country's richest elected official, citing a rush to the pumps at the family-owned Pilot Flying J truck stop chain due to tumbling fuel prices.

According to Forbes, Haslam's net worth has more than doubled since August from $980 million to $2 billion.

Haslam has steadfastly refused to publicly disclose his earnings from Pilot, arguing that it would divulge the income of family members who aren't in public office. But the wealth of the Haslam family was illustrated when the governor's brother, Jimmy, bought the NFL's Cleveland Browns for $1 billion in 2012.

Gov. Haslam said Wednesday that he has no idea where Forbes gets its information. He said he has made a practice of not commenting on personal financial information.

Gov. Haslam Reaches Medicaid Deal in Tennessee

Dec 15, 2014

Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday that he has reached a deal with federal officials to expand Medicaid in Tennessee after months of discussions.

The Republican's administration is touting it as an alternative deal with federal officials. The program, dubbed Insure Tennessee, would provide coverage for the state's uninsured without creating new taxes for Tennesseans.

Haslam announced at a news conference at the state Capitol that the state would offer a voucher to purchase insurance in the private market, according to statement from the governor's office and a news conference.

Health care advocates had heavily criticized the Republican governor for refusing last year to agree to $1.4 billion in federal funds to cover about 180,000 uninsured Tennesseans under the terms the money was offered.

Tennessee is one of 13 states around the nation that’s receiving a federal grant to expand preschool services. 

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced Wednesday that Tennessee will get $17 ½ million and will help serve as a model for expanding access to pre-school to low and moderate income families.  

Five other states are also receiving grants for pre-school development. The grants total $226 million.

A recent report from the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth says the state needs to invest more in early childhood education.

The study released this week recommends expanding the state's voluntary pre-K program to all at-risk Tennessee children.

The program has not been expanded since 2008. Established in 1999, the program has 935 classrooms serving about 18,500 children.

The commission says research shows pre-K programs help children develop the cognitive, social and emotional skills they need to learn.

Hargett Not Running for Tennessee Governor in '18

Nov 24, 2014
State of Tennessee

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett does not plan to run for governor in 2018.

Hargett was among several Republicans included in early speculation after the Nov. 4 election about potential candidates to succeed Gov. Bill Haslam, who can't run for a third consecutive term.

Hargett recently issued a statement saying he's focusing on his current job as secretary of state.

The former House Republican leader from Bartlett raised some eyebrows before the general election when his office issued new "I Voted" stickers emblazoned with Hargett's name and looking a lot like campaign bumper stickers.

Seventy-eight Tennessee municipalities have passed a referendum for wine to be sold in supermarkets.

They collected enough signatures to place the referendum on the Tennessee ballot Tuesday. Final voting results show all the communities passed the measure.

Currently, wine can be sold only in liquor stores. Because of a state law passed earlier this year, wine can be sold by grocery and convenience stores starting in July 2016 in the communities where citizens vote for the change.

Supermarkets and convenience stores can sell beer containing up to 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anything stronger can be sold only in package stores, which, as of July 1, are able to sell items other than booze, such as beer, mixers, glasses, corkscrews, food and cigarettes.