J. Holly McCall

J. Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.

Deonte Williams sits in a courtroom at the Coffee County Justice Center next to one of his five children, all of whom were taken by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services after a traffic stop. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Family’s separation part of a long history of child-theft in America

By: - March 23, 2023

Journalists write and read many stories of government abuse, but few stick more than stories of how agencies tasked with protecting children habitually fail to do so. Stories of traumatized children being further traumatized by a cold state are the ones that keep me awake at night.  So after years of following the chronic dysfunction […]

Historic Metro Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Holding out for a hero

By: - March 15, 2023

The Republican supermajority legislature is slashing and burning its way through the annual session with a host of bills that will strip Nashville of self-governance.  Already signed into law is a measure to cut the Metro Council in half, from 40-20. You’d think many Nashville officials would be screaming to the high heavens about not […]

The crowd at a March rally in Nashville, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, crowds around drag performer Perplexity. (Photo: John Partipilo)

“Slay hate” rally draws hundreds in Nashville

By: and - March 10, 2023

A Nashville rally sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign drew hundreds to protest recently-passed  Tennessee laws that criminalize some drag performers and performances and prevent parents from providing their children with gender-affirming care. “Slay the Hate: Fight Back Tennessee,” featured appearances by several drag performers and remarks from LGBTQ leaders. The event was one of […]

The Big Drag Bus, a Nashville transpotainment vehicle, offers tours of Nashville and crowd singalongs. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Drag queen bill sets the goal posts on obscenity around only LGBTQ folks

By: - March 6, 2023

In 1964, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart was asked for his definition of obscenity during arguments in Jacobellis v. Ohio, the case in which a movie theater owner was charged with obscenity for showing a French film depicting the story of a woman who committed adultery. Potter famously said: “I know it when I […]

Metro Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Alice Rolli, former state economic development official enters Nashville mayor’s race

By: - March 3, 2023

Ending weeks of public speculation, Alice Rolli, a former official with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and staff member for former U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, formally announced Friday she is running for Nashville Mayor.  “I see, and I hear, that while Nashville may be a party for our visitors — it isn’t […]

Members of the class action suit filed against several federal agencies for their role in a 2018 Grainger County raid targeting Latino workers pose on the steps of the Joel L. Solomon Federal Building in Chattanooga on Feb. 27, 2023. (Photo: Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights)

Settlement finalized in 2018 Grainger County slaughterhouse raid

By: - February 28, 2023

Nearly five years after agents from multiple federal agencies illegally detained Latino workers during a Grainger County slaughterhouse raid, a judge on Monday finalized a class action settlement for the workers. First approved in September, the settlement awards more than $1 million to the 104 members of the class, with $475,000 going to the seven […]

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, campaigned for now U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles in Franklin, Tenn. in October 2022. (Photo: Holly McCall)

When Republican moderates run to the right, voters end up with extremists

By: - February 23, 2023

An old country saying states that when you lie down with pigs, you’re going to get up with mud on you.  Or, if you are a moderate Tennessee Republican who lies down with the far right wing of your party, you’re going to get up with a loss. Recently, media reports have shone a spotlight […]

Rep. David Hawk, R-Greenville, addressing the attire of Memphis Democratic Rep. Justin Pearson in the House of Representatives on Feb. 9. 2023. (Tennessee General Assembly)

Keep her name out of your mouth

By: - February 16, 2023

(Note: Rep. David Hawk has said that the late Rep. Lois DeBerry did publicly reprimand him for his attire, and not privately, as the column states.) Last week, Republican Rep. David Hawk of Greeneville, chose to invoke the name of Lois DeBerry when he chastised newly seated Democratic Rep. Justin Pearson of Memphis. At issue […]

(Illustration by Getty Images)

Bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors advances in both Tennessee House and Senate

By: - February 10, 2023

Both House and Senate versions of a bill to ban healthcare providers from treating transgender minors with gender-affirming care took steps toward becoming law, passing handily in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and the House Health Committee on Wednesday. The bill not only prohibits healthcare providers from treating transgender minors, it also sets up […]

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen speaking in Spring Hill, Tenn. at the under-construction Ultium plant on Feb. 8, 2023. Ultium produces batteries for General Motors electric vehicles. (Photo: John Partipilo)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen talks manufacturing, clean energy in Tennessee

By: - February 8, 2023

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen touted President Joe Biden’s economic recovery plan in Spring Hill, Tenn. on Wednesday at a $2.6 billion manufacturing plant for electric vehicle batteries.  Yellen’s trip came a day after Biden’s State of the Union address, and on the home turf of U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles, who was among the GOP […]

Gov. Bill Lee enters the Tennessee House of Representatives Chambers to deliver his fifth State of the State Address on Feb. 6, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Gov. Bill Lee breaks little new ground in State of the State

By: and - February 7, 2023

Gov. Bill Lee broke little new ground nor dropped any policy changes in his fifth State of the State address Monday, choosing to highlight issues he has discussed for months and in some cases, years  —  including a transportation plan that would include “toll” roads for motorists who want to bypass congestion, a boost to […]

Legislators heading upstairs in the Capitol. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Silly season

By: - February 3, 2023

As the 113th General Assembly gaveled into session in January, so did I begin the new year with all intentions of writing high-minded and substantive commentary on legislative bills that will make the biggest difference in the lives of ordinary Tennesseans, instead of getting pulled into the annual “shiny object” legislation that is endlessly debated […]