Politics

Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, exits the Tennessee House Chambers on a mortised scooter after being sworn in. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Byrd takes oath of office after long COVID battle, brush with death

BY: - July 30, 2021

Emerging from a fight for his life against COVID-19, state Rep. David Byrd took the oath of office Friday, urging Tennesseans to take the disease seriously and strongly consider getting vaccinated. Sworn in to represent Hardin, Lewis, Wayne and part of Lawrence counties in House District 71, the former basketball coach and principal entered and […]

COMMENTARY
Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Senator predicts Delta variant will spur vaccinations

BY: - July 30, 2021

State Sen. Ferrell Haile, a pharmacist by trade, is not on the fence when it comes to vaccines. He was writing an opinion piece on the importance of vaccinations when other senators found out and wanted to join the push. Seventeen Republican senators signed the letter and sent it out this week hoping to bolster […]

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Senate agrees to move ahead on $550B in new infrastructure spending

BY: - July 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators say they have worked through the sticking points on a major infrastructure package, and the Senate agreed on a procedural vote on Wednesday night to advance to debate on the proposal. That announcement came a week after Republicans blocked a test vote on the deal, with GOP […]

Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville, has called Gov. Bill Lee's cancellation of unemployment benefits while giving money to businesses an "immoral double standard."(Photo: John Partipilo)

Senator renews questions about failed state COVID testing contract

BY: - July 29, 2021

State Sen. Heidi Campbell is urging state auditors to complete an investigation into no-bid contracts awarded by Gov. Bill Lee’s administration since the COVID-19 pandemic started, pinpointing a botched contract with Nomi Health last year that cost the state nearly $6 million. A member of the Legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee, Campbell raised questions Wednesday about […]

(Photo: City of Chattanooga Facebook)

Analysis: Hamilton County special election favors GOP but low turnout could turn table

BY: - July 29, 2021

Parts of Hamilton County will be returning to the polls this September to elect the late Rep. Mike Carter’s successor. Carter is survived by his wife, Joan, who was appointed to hold the seat until the special election but chose not to enter the race herself. Whoever is elected by the voters of District 29 […]

Shelby County Commission

Shelby County Commission shoots down ballot-marking machines

BY: - July 28, 2021

On Monday, Shelby County Commission members voted 8-2 against a resolution to purchase Election System & Software ballot-marking devices and software, citing concerns that the voting machines were vulnerable. Since the 2020 election, the commission has been in debate with the Shelby County Election Commission on how to create confidence in election results. Shelby County […]

Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, center, and Sen. Kerry Roberts, right, chair the Joint Government Operations Committee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Griffey stance conflicts with Senate leadership

BY: - July 27, 2021

Rep. Bruce Griffey says he’s not “anti-vax,” yet he is one of a growing number of legislators leery of masks and vaccination campaigns and gaining a bigger voice in the General Assembly. In fact, the Paris Republican believes only a small group of people should take the shots, those over 60 with co-morbidities. That outlook […]

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) confers with an aide during a House Oversight And Reform Committee hearing concerning government preparedness and response to the coronavirus, in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill March 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. Since December 2019, coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected more than 109,000 people and killed more than 3,800 people in 105 countries. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Watchdog coalition files complaints against ALEC in 15 states

BY: - July 27, 2021

A coalition of watchdog organizations is filing complaints in15 states this week against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC,) a nonprofit group of conservative state legislators and private organizations that draft model legislation to share with states across the country.  Tennessee is one of the states included in the action. The Center for Media and […]

The nearly 3,000-pound bust of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest loaded onto a flat-bed truck for transport to the Tennessee State Museum. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House Speaker wants more elected “voices” on monument decisions

BY: - July 26, 2021

In the wake of the State Building Commission vote to relocate the busts of Nathan Bedford Forrest and two U.S. admirals, House Speaker Cameron Sexton is set to push for a change in state law, likely to involve more legislators in future decisions to move statues. Sexton issued a statement last week saying, “From the […]

A federal agency found the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency fired employee Amanda Woods after she brought compliance issues to agency leaders, a violation of the federal Whistleblower Protection Act. (Photo: John Partipilo)

MDHA retaliated against whistleblower, according to federal investigation

BY: - July 26, 2021

The Metro Development and Housing Agency retaliated against a whistleblower who reported poor supervision of workers participating in a federal jobs program, suspending her without pay and effectively demoting her last year. Two federal investigation reports detailed the findings that MDHA retaliated against Amanda Wood, a veteran of the agency with a track record of […]

COMMENTARY
Dr. Michelle Fiscus prepares for an interview in her Williamson County home. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Republican lawmakers split over Fiscus firing

BY: - July 23, 2021

The group of anti-vax legislators whose complaints about the Department of Health vaccine campaign led to the firing of Dr. Michelle Fiscus won’t say much about her termination. But there is a clear break between that group and others who think the state made the wrong move. The topic is so sensitive that most lawmakers […]

COMMENTARY
Odessa Kelly works on the porch of her East Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Editor’s column: The hottest ticket in town

BY: - July 23, 2021

Political tongues have been flapping all over Nashville since community organizer and activist Odessa Kelly announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 5th Congressional District in early April.  Kelly is taking on incumbent Jim Cooper, who has served in the 5th District seat since his election in 2002 (and in the 4th Congressional […]