Gov. Bill Lee at a plant dedication Humboldt, Tennessee in March, pictured with plant workers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee lawmakers react to Biden slap at Lee

BY: - August 19, 2021

President Joe Biden and his administration are challenging Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Lee’s order allowing parents to opt out of school mask mandates and questioning its legality. In a tweet, Biden said, “We will not sit by as Governors try to block or intimidate educators protecting kids against COVID-19.” “This isn’t about politics. This is about […]

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: U.S. President Joe Biden arrives to give a primetime address to the nation from the East Room of the White House March 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden gave the address to mark the one-year anniversary of the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Biden mandates vaccines in nursing homes, admonishes GOP governors on school masks

BY: - August 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Nursing homes will be required to ensure their staffers are vaccinated against COVID-19, or risk losing federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars, the Biden administration announced Wednesday in a major move on vaccinations as the delta variant sweeps many states. President Joe Biden at a press conference also criticized Republican governors who have prohibited […]

Tory Watson of Memphis Police Department gets his vaccine. 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 Commission takes steps to combat pediatric COVID crisis

BY: - August 18, 2021

Shelby County has reached limited availability in ICUs across the county due to a surge of positive COVID-19 cases, prompting the Shelby County Commission to take measures designed to combat high levels of pediatric COVID cases.  On Wednesday, commissioners voted to increase the operating budget of Shelby County’s Health Services Division to combat nurse shortages, […]

Valero Memphis Refinery billowing smoke. Valero was one of two companies proposing the Byhalia Pipeline, a 40-mile oil conduit that would have gone through historic Black neighborhoods in Memphis. (Photo by Karen Pulfer Focht)

Memphis City Council debates resolutions to protect aquifer

BY: - August 18, 2021

Stopping the development of the Byhalia pipeline in Memphis was a first step towards protection of the Memphis Sand Aquifer but environmental activists say the real battle now lies in politics, where the government still needs to create permanent protections for Shelby County residents.  On Tuesday, the Memphis City Council once again delayed a final […]

Lockeland Elementary School in Nashville. Metro Nashville Public Schools will get Title 1 funds for low-income students slashed, but got boosts from other funding sources. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lieutenant governor warns school districts to follow new mask opt-out order

BY: - August 17, 2021

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally threatened Tuesday to take “remedial options” against school systems that refuse to follow the governor’s order allowing parents to opt students out of mask requirements. “I am extremely appalled and alarmed at the response to Gov. Lee’s executive order from Metro Nashville Public Schools and Shelby County Schools. This order was […]

See nothing, hear nothing, say nothing: children will bear the brunt of the state's mishandling of the COVID crisis. (Photo illustration: John Partipilo)

School officials, lawmakers react to Lee order on masks in schools

BY: - August 16, 2021

Shortly after Gov. Bill Lee concluded a Monday press conference at which he announced parents across the state will have the option to decide if their children wear masks in school or not, responses began to pour in from elected officials and school districts.  Lee issued an executive order mandating school systems must allow parents […]

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

Fiscus disputes report she had muzzle sent to her office before firing

BY: - August 16, 2021

Fired state medical director or immunizations Dr. Michelle “Shelley” Fiscus shot back at a Department of Safety report showing she had a muzzle sent to her office days before she was terminated by the Department of Health. “They obviously set up a false account, a fake account with her name and her address,” Brad Fiscus, […]

Gov. Bill Lee at a July press conference. (Photo: John Partipilo))

Governor issues school mask opt-out edict

BY: - August 16, 2021

Rather than call a special session to let the Legislature deal with school board actions, Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Monday requiring school systems to let parents opt out of mask mandates. If a school system were to challenge the order, Lee said such a move would be against the law. He noted […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

State lawmakers look to levy punishments on those aiding undocumented immigrants

BY: - August 13, 2021

Lawmakers speculated Thursday on how the state can further regulate companies providing services to undocumented immigrants under federal contracts and if the state can levy stricter punishments on those aiding undocumented immigrants.  The questions came during a meeting of the Joint Study Committee on Refugee Issues, which was formed after a group of migrant children […]

Gov. Bill Lee ending his third State of the State address. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Governor defends no-bid contracts during state of emergency

BY: - August 13, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee is standing behind his administration’s decision to sign hundreds of sole-source contracts over the last year and a half even though many of them didn’t have anything to do with the COVID-19 state of emergency. The governor’s Unified Command Group, made up of the Department of Health, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and […]

House Republican Caucus leadership, from left: House Majority Leader William Lamberth, Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison, Assistant Majority Leader Ron Gant, and Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House Speaker requests special session on COVID-19 mandates, calling them “misdirected”

BY: - August 12, 2021

House Speaker Cameron Sexton sent the governor a letter Wednesday seeking a special session to deal with “misdirected and mandated responses” to the COVID-19 pandemic by local entities and officials. “It is of the utmost urgency to move quickly due to the potential of significant harm to Tennesseans,” the letter says. The letter doesn’t call […]

Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton at Gov. Bill Lee's 2021 State of the State. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Sexton crusade for special session clashes with physician requests

BY: - August 10, 2021

House Speaker Cameron Sexton is asking the governor to call a special session to clamp down on school systems with mask mandates, even as Middle Tennessee physicians seek school district mask requirements. Sexton, a Crossville Republican, was working with House members Tuesday on a letter draft to Gov. Bill Lee requesting a special session. Members […]