The temporary homeless shelter at the Nashville Fairgrounds Expo Center. (Photo: Colby Sledge)

As cold weather and homelessness converge, advocates criticize lack of safe housing measures

BY: - December 4, 2020

At the convergence point of a deadly pandemic and the coldest weather of the year, a plan in Nashville for an overflow shelter for people without homes is drawing criticisms from community advocates who have been frustrated by the city’s response to homelessness throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Nashville’s cold weather shelter opened this week to […]

Maria Hernandez at Davidson County General Sessions Court in November, waiting to see if she can work out a deal with her landlord to stay in her apartment. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Immigrants face unique challenges in staving off evictions

BY: - December 2, 2020

For Maria Hernandez, 36, this has been a stressful year. Her husband was deported in February due to domestic abuse and although it was for the best, she hasn’t recovered financially. After months of trying to find work in a pandemic, Hernandez and her six children were about to be evicted, despite a national moratorium […]

State Chief Medical Examiner: ‘I have looked at every single (COVID) death certificate’

BY: - December 1, 2020

Dr. Adele Lewis has spent her career documenting death. As Tennessee’s Chief Medical Examiner — and a former deputy chief medical examiner in Nashville — Lewis works out of a downtown Nashville state office building and sometimes at home during the pandemic, overseeing a staff responsible for collecting information on how Tennesseans die and transmitting […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Rural Tennessee mayors feeling the squeeze as Gov. Bill Lee delegates mask rules to them

BY: - November 24, 2020

Two more Tennessee county mayors enacted first-time mask mandates on Friday afternoon ahead of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, citing rising COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations. Grainger and Claiborne County mayors are getting considerable community blowback after instituting mask mandates. “Mayor Mike Byrd take your so called mandate and stick it. Free people live free you […]

(Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Bill would allow parents religious exemptions in getting children COVID vaccine

BY: - November 19, 2020

A Tennessee lawmaker has filed a bill that would give parents a greater right to refuse vaccines for their children during a pandemic based on religious objections or “by right of conscience.” Current Tennessee law gives parents the legal right to refuse vaccinations for their children in order to enroll them in school in most […]

Metro Nashville Health Department and Lentz Clinic (Photo: Metro Health, Facebook)

Nashville health director under Human Resources investigation

BY: and - November 18, 2020

Metro Department of Public Health Director Dr. Michael Caldwell is the subject of multiple human resources complaints, which are currently under investigation. Complaints to the Metro Human Resources Department are not a public record until an investigation is completed. Multiple sources told the Tennessee Lookout the complaints are serious in nature.  Caldwell could not immediately […]

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

East Tennessee doctors to Lee: “Get up there and lead.”

BY: - November 18, 2020

Two East Tennessee doctors said Wednesday most Tennesseans won’t be able to access a COVID-19 vaccine for a year and decried what they call a lack of leadership by Gov. Bill Lee.  Dr. Deaver Shattuck, an internal medicine specialist in Blount County and Dr. Kevin James, a geriatrician who also practices in Blount County, talked […]

Trio of U.S. Senators call for more COVID transparency in psychiatric facilities, homes for people with disabilities

BY: - November 13, 2020

Three U.S. senators are asking federal officials to require psychiatric institutions, group homes for people with disabilities and other treatment facilities for children and adults to report COVID-19 data and make it available to the public. Nursing homes have been asked since the onset of the pandemic to report coronavirus cases, testing and deaths to […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

TennCare adds more than 83,000 as pandemic drives more Tennesseans into poverty

BY: - November 13, 2020

More than 83,000 Tennesseans have been added to the TennCare rolls since March in one sign of a marked slide into poverty experienced by many individuals, especially children, as a result of the economic fallout of the pandemic. Children’s enrollment increased the fastest, with upwards of 34,000 added to the state’s health insurance program for […]

SCOTUS hears oral arguments Tuesday in pivotal Obamacare challenge

BY: - November 9, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in a closely-watched challenge to the Affordable Care Act brought by the Trump Administration and Attorneys General from 20 states, including Tennessee. Should the challenge prevail — and in the absence of any Congressional or executive action to replace Obamacare before the court is expected to […]

Demonstrators protest changes to the Affordable Care Act on June 22, 2017 (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Commentary: Why protecting the ACA is crucial for women of color

BY: - November 3, 2020

In my work — lawyering for reproductive justice by analyzing public policy affecting the underserved populations of Memphis for SisterReach — I know firsthand that Black women and other women of color are far less likely to receive the same quality of healthcare as white women.  They’re also more likely to have limited access to […]

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Rural jail populations surge again posing new risks as coronavirus cases spike

BY: - November 2, 2020

After an initial reduction in jail populations at the start of the epidemic, thousands of men and women have been newly incarcerated in local lockups across Tennessee — creating overcrowded conditions in rural counties even as the state experiences record levels of death and infection as COVID-19 continues its spread outside urban areas. Data from […]