Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, at right, is under federal indictment. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Editor’s column: GOP legislative leadership should police their own

BY: - January 21, 2022

The Tennessee General Assembly has come a ways since the days of Tommy Burnett.  Burnett was a Democratic state representative of legendary proportions. An epic schmoozer and confidant to the late Gov. Ned Ray McWherter, Burnett was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1970, rising to become majority leader, and remained popular with […]

Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Brentwood: Bill to deter referee assault not spurred by pantsing. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: As the whistle blows, felonies could follow

BY: - January 21, 2022

To the untrained eye, it might appear that Rep. Brandon Ogles is sponsoring legislation making it a felony to assault a referee in reaction to the “pantsing” of an East Tennessee ref by enraged Rep. Jeremy Faison. You would be wrong, according to Ogles. Ogles, a Franklin Republican, claims he planned to sponsor the bill […]

Masks on, masks off: At a recent redistricting hearing, legislators demonstrate the dichotomy on masks. Republican Reps. Curtis Johnson and Pat Marsh remain maskless, while Democratic Rep. Antonio Parkinson dons a Tennessee Tri-star mask. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Legislatures across country back off pandemic protocols

BY: and - January 20, 2022

As Dr. Jennifer Bacani McKenney walked the halls of the Kansas Statehouse on opening day of the legislative session this month, she was taken aback by what she saw. In the hallways, where “people are chatting and hugging and all that stuff, there were probably less than half of the people wearing masks … You […]

Sen. Katrina Robinson, D-Memphis in Wednesday's Senate Ethics Committee hearing. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Senate Ethics Committee speeds Robinson ouster move to chamber hearing

BY: - January 20, 2022

Less than a week after notifying Sen. Katrina Robinson she would face an Ethics Committee hearing, the panel expedited a move Thursday to expel her from the Senate. In two 4-1 votes, with the only opposition coming from fellow Memphis Democrat, Sen. Raumesh Akbari, the committee found Robinson violated the Senate’s ethics rules, then recommended […]

Sen. Katrina Robinson. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Black Caucus, Shelby Democrats urge Senate Ethics Committee not to unseat Robinson

BY: - January 20, 2022

Concerned that the Senate Ethics Committee could recommend ousting Sen. Katrina Robinson for felony convictions, the Black Caucus and Shelby County Democratic Legislative Caucus are urging the panel to wait until her legal case is finished. Both groups sent the committee letters Wednesday requesting it decide against removing Robinson, a Memphis Democrat, from the Senate […]

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 29 - First responders Memphis and Shelby County police officers, firefighters and EMTs get COVID-19 vaccines Tuesday Dec. 29, 2020. The Shelby County Health Department is administering the shots in a process that will go on for several weeks. (© Karen Pulfer Focht)

Shelby County approves $1.5 million for COVID testing kits

BY: - January 20, 2022

During a special session Wednesday, Shelby County commissioners approved $1.5 million for the purchase of at-home COVID testing kits as cases continue to spread throughout the county.  Shelby County’s weekly test positivity rate has decreased since last week, but residents are still testing at a positive rate of 35.9%, continuing the county’s streak of the […]

(Mint Images/Getty Images)

Shelby County accepts opioid settlement

BY: - January 19, 2022

The Shelby County Commission voted to accept $20 million as a partial settlement as part of a statewide effort to crack down on the opioid epidemic.  In March 2021, Memphis city officials filed a federal lawsuit against a group of opioid manufacturers and distributors for their role in fueling the opioid influx that has significantly […]

Rep. Glen Casada, R- Franklin, photographed by John Partipilo on Jan. 12, 2021.

Registry embarks on long road to obtain testimony on Faith Family Freedom Fund PAC

BY: - January 19, 2022

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance could consider civil penalties dealing with fraud against Cade Cothren, ex-chief of staff to former House Speaker Glen Casada, as they dig into a shady political action committee he may have run secretly. Registry board members don’t expect him to be forthcoming, and they aren’t certain what types of […]

The State of Tennessee spent $11 million on messaging before firing Dr. Michelle Fiscus for spreading the message approved by Gov. Lee's office. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Judge rules fired Tennessee vaccine official Dr. Michelle Fiscus cannot pursue monetary damages

BY: - January 19, 2022

A federal judge has ruled that former Tennessee vaccination chief Dr. Michelle Fiscus cannot pursue claims for monetary damages against the state’s top two Department of Health officials after her controversial firing last summer — but the remainder of her lawsuit seeking a ‘name-clearing hearing’ and a finding that the state violated her constitutional rights […]

Jimmie Garland of the NAACP Tennessee testifying. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Republican district maps move ahead amid claims of minority vote dilution

BY: - January 19, 2022

Republican-controlled panels approved legislative and congressional district maps Tuesday despite criticism they would dilute African-American and Latino votes. In spite of evidence that Black voters would lose their influence in elections, the Senate Judiciary and House State Government committees approved three redistricting plans for new state House, state Senate and congressional maps. New maps are […]

On Wednesday, the legislative redistricting committee unveiled new congressional maps. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: Republican maps are undermining democracy

BY: - January 18, 2022

The proposed electoral maps recently unveiled by Republicans represent not only a brazen partisan power move, but a party  disconnected from and disinterested in the voices of the people. Despite both the House and Senate Redistricting Committees holding public hearings in the last few months of 2021 and accepting submissions from both private citizens and […]

Odessa Kelly, Democratic candidate for Congress in District 5, speaks Monday at a protest of new congressional district maps. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Crowd protests GOP-drawn congressional maps on MLK Day

BY: and - January 18, 2022

Concerns over COVID-19 and lingering snow from a weekend storm halted several Middle Tennessee events traditionally held on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to honor the late civil rights leader, but more than 100 people turned out in Nashville to protest new GOP-drawn congressional and legislative district maps. The Nashville Justice League, which is comprised […]