Ian Round

Ian Round

Ian Round is a freelance reporter in Nashville. He came to Tennessee from Maryland, where he worked for Baltimore Brew. He's also written for Maryland Matters, a sister publication to the Tennessee Lookout. Ian has a Master of Journalism degree from the University of Maryland.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper, front, and advisor Fabian Bedne, speak to a group of people at Hadley Park Community Center about participatory budgeting. (Photo: Ian Round)

North Nashville residents will get to decide how to spend $2 million through participatory budgeting

By: - July 8, 2021

Residents of North Nashville and Bordeaux will be able to direct some public money to community gardens, potholes, reparations or whatever else they choose over the next year, through a process called “participatory budgeting.” Metro named a group of local leaders to a committee on Thursday night, in a dance studio at the Hadley Park […]

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Lee signs bill sponsored by Casada that would make certain info confidential before a conviction

By: - June 4, 2021

Late last month, Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill sponsored by Rep. Glen Casada into law which has raised concerns among transparency advocates. The bill makes cell phone numbers, most addresses and some other information confidential between an arrest and a conviction. While it’s not as restrictive as an original version, some say it could […]

Rep. Todd Warner, R-Chapel Hill, is also a subject of an FBI probe. (Photo: John Partipilo)

What did Tennessee lawmakers under FBI investigation do this session? More than you might think

By: - June 3, 2021

If you’re under investigation by the FBI—or even facing federal charges—you can still be a productive lawmaker in Tennessee. Even after FBI agents raided their homes and offices in January—just before this year’s legislative session started—three Republican state lawmakers avoided total pariah status in the Tennessee House of Representatives. The same was true for one […]

Political hat with money. (Getty Images)

Analysis: Personal Privacy Protection Act protects donors to charities—and to lobbying groups

By: - April 6, 2021

The Personal Privacy Protection Act could have been limited to charities, granting greater privacy rights to people who donate to places such as the Humane Society. But it was not. The Act, sponsored by Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, applies to all 501(c) nonprofits. That includes those that spend money to influence politics. Bailey said he […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Analysis: How to follow the Tennessee General Assembly

By: - March 9, 2021

Democracy can’t exist without an informed public. Free and independent information makes citizens informed, allowing them to hold governments accountable. You probably don’t have unlimited time to watch General Assembly hearings and press conferences, or to pore over campaign finance reports and ethics filings. That’s why you read the news.  But the news isn’t perfect. […]

Voters turn out early and stand in line on the first day of early voting, Oct. 14, 2020 in Memphis, Tennessee. (© Photo by Karen Pulfer Focht)

Two bills would make a dent in Tennessee’s voter ID laws by letting students use their college IDs

By: - March 2, 2021

Two bills before the Tennessee General Assembly would chip away, ever so slightly, at the state’s voter ID laws, making it easier for students to vote. Those bills wouldn’t get rid of the photo ID requirement, but they would allow voters to prove their eligibility with their student IDs. Democrats from Nashville and Memphis are […]

A large group of people wait in line to early vote at the Howard Building before Polls opened at 8:00am.(Photo: John Partipilo)

After record turnout in the 2020 election, state Sen. Janice Bowling wants to abolish early voting

By: - February 18, 2021

After a presidential election which saw record turnout and widespread disinformation, followed by a violent insurrection, one Tennessee state senator is proposing an end to early voting. Republican state Sen. Janice Bowling, of Tullahoma, contends early voting creates opportunities for fraud—or, as she puts it, “mischief.” She introduced a bill last week that would abolish […]

Screen grab of Gov. Bill Lee at Wednesday's press briefing.

A rundown of all of Bill Lee’s Covid-era executive orders

By: - October 16, 2020

During Gov. Bill Lee’s first 14 months in office, he issued 13 executive orders. Since March 1, he’s issued an additional 51, most of them related to COVID-19.  But the large number of orders he’s issued over the last seven months have prompted an inquiry by the legislature, which created the 17-member Ad Hoc Committee […]

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How do you win over Glen Casada voters? “Remind them of his record.”

By: - September 29, 2020

It’s safe to say there’s no path to winning an election in Williamson County that doesn’t include Republican voters. Conservatives have dominated local politics for two decades in Tennessee’s wealthiest county, home to some of the state’s most powerful politicians, including Gov. Bill Lee and U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn. The political makeup of the 63rd […]

U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

The Blue Dog vs. the underdog: facing an activist challenger, Cooper makes appeal to “gettable” conservatives

By: - July 23, 2020

Jim Cooper has regularly faced Republican opponents in November in the decades he’s been in Congress. He’s beaten them every time (except for an unsuccessful 1994 Senate run), he said, by appealing to moderate conservatives who would otherwise vote red. That’s how Democrats flipped the House of Representatives in 2018, he told The Lookout last […]

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How to track campaign cash

By: - July 6, 2020

Our elected representatives (and wannabe representatives) strive to build and exercise power, of course, and a primary way they do so is through campaign fundraising and spending. That has conferred power on big campaign contributors, who enjoy special access to elected officials and win lucrative contracts from governments at all levels. You can see that […]