Federal funds make up an average of 11% of school district funds. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lawmakers say stopping federal education funds favors private and charter schools over public

BY: - September 27, 2023

Critics of a plan to consider rejecting upwards of $1.9 billion in federal education funds say the idea would undermine public schools in favor of private and charter school operators. One lawmaker, Sen. Heidi Campbell, went as far as to call it “a grift.” “The controlling party has made it pretty damn clear that they’re […]

Former Sen. Brian Kelsey prepares to enter Nashville's federal courthouse on Aug. 11., 2023.for sentencing in a federal campaign finance scheme. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Judge allows Kelsey to remain free while appealing sentence

BY: - September 26, 2023

A U.S. District Court judge granted convicted felon Brian Kelsey’s request to stay out of prison on bail while he appeals a 21-month sentence for directing a scheme to violate federal campaign finance laws. The former Germantown Republican senator was to report to prison in mid-October, but Judge Waverly Crenshaw of the Middle District in […]

Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton announced Monday the formation of a legislative committee to consider rejecting billions of dollars in federal funds for public schools. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Top Tennessee lawmakers start push to reject billions of dollars in federal education funds

BY: - September 25, 2023

Tennessee could be on the verge of rejecting nearly $1.9 billion in federal education funding with House and Senate leaders creating a group to study the potential impact. The idea is drawing opposition already, though, from key Democrats, including Sen. Raumesh Akbari of Memphis, who said the money is “essential to ensure educational equity and […]

Metro Councilwoman-elect Olivia Hill, photographed on Sept. 21, 2023, outside Nashville's Hermitage Hotel. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Olivia Hill, Tennesssee’s first transgender elected official: “My main goal is to just do my job.”

BY: - September 25, 2023

Olivia Hill had no ambition to run for public office when she walked up to the microphone at a Washington D.C. gala last year to thank the keynote speaker for an inspirational talk about the power of voting. And she didn’t anticipate that Danica Roem – the first openly transgender woman elected to state office […]

Former state Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, leaves the U.S. Federal Building in Nashville, Tenn. on July 27, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Kelsey bail argument tries to lay groundwork for conviction appeal

BY: - September 22, 2023

It’s growing ever clearer that former Sen. Brian Kelsey’s case is clear as mud. At least that’s what the defense wants the judge to think. Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys turned down U.S. District Court Judge Waverly Crenshaw’s offer Thursday for an evidentiary hearing to decide whether Kelsey should be allowed to remain free on […]

Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State revenue falls amid tax holidays, business break

BY: - September 21, 2023

After two years of tax windfalls, Tennessee’s revenue leveled off in August amid sales tax breaks and a one-time business tax cut, all of which are forerunners to permanent business tax reductions that could affect the state budget. Finance and Administration Commissioner Jim Bryson reported revenues came in at $1.5 billion for August, $39.4 million […]

Ten of the 12 candidates for Nashville mayor at the May 10 Arts and Entertainment Forum. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Election map: 2023 Nashville mayor race looks like 2020 Presidential election

BY: - September 19, 2023

Nashville’s mayoral runoff election turned into a classic Democrat versus Republican race despite being classified nonpartisan. The August general election effectively served as a 12-person party primary, producing a known Republican in Alice Rolli and a more liberal candidate in Metro Council member Freddie O’Connell. O’Connell then fully embraced his Democratic Party ties in the […]

Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute. (Photo: tn.gov)

State Building Commission backs new Moccasin Bend mental hospital despite Chattanooga opposition

BY: - September 19, 2023

The State Building Commission is plowing ahead with construction of a new Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in Chattanooga in spite of concerns about a potential clash with Native Americans and a national park plan. The commission recently authorized work to start on a $260 million replacement facility for the state’s psychiatric hospital there after […]

House Minority Leader Karen Camper of Memphis, photographed on Aug. 21, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House minority leader blasts Republican rep’s letter supporting Tuberville delays

BY: - September 18, 2023

House Minority Leader Karen Camper is criticizing state Rep. John Ragan’s letter backing delays in key military appointments until the Pentagon relents on abortion policy. Camper, a Memphis Democrat and mayoral candidate, issued a statement Monday saying she is “shocked by the level of vitriol and carelessness for the men and women in uniform expressed” […]

Mayor-elect Freddie O'Connell addressing supporters on Aug. 3 2023, upon learning he would head to a mayoral runoff election. (Photo: John Partipilo)

A bloody clipboard and biodiesel car: The story behind Freddie O’Connell’s rise to Nashville mayor

BY: - September 18, 2023

It didn’t take long for Nashville mayor-elect Freddie O’Connell to learn that even the best-laid plans can go astray.  O’Connell, a former chair of Metro Nashville Transit Authority, scored his first electoral victory to the Metro Nashville Council in 2015, thinking he was joining at the perfect time. Nashville had just elected Megan Barry as […]

Sign at the entrance to the John S. Wilder Youth Development Center. Reports have chronicled instances of verbal, physical and sexual assault of juveniles housed at the facility. (Photo: Google Earth)

Department of Children’s Services spending $400M on intake, juvenile detention projects

BY: - September 15, 2023

The Department of Children’s Services is embarking on more than $400 million worth of construction projects to handle children entering state custody and improve problematic detention centers. Six months after removing the last children from state offices because they had nowhere else to go, the department received approval to start work on an assessment center […]

Immigrant, Black voters play key role in Metro Nashville elections

BY: - September 14, 2023

Immigrant and Black voters played a critical role in Metro Nashville’s municipal elections. Of the 26 candidates endorsed by TIRRC Votes, the political arm of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, 21 won their races — including Mayor-elect Freddie O’Connell. Other winners include Delishia Porterfield, Olivia Hill and Quin Evans Segall, who claimed seats […]