In the military, fertility policies and family building collide

BY: - May 29, 2023

If you’re a service member with a family, the military’s got your back. If you’re trying to start one, it can be another story. Active duty service members unable to conceive children naturally can face significant hurdles as the military health plan doesn’t cover reproductive assistance, such as in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, a surrogate […]

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, left, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell outside the White House following a meeting on the debt limit with President Joe Biden and Democratic congressional leaders on May 9, 2023. Ashley Murray/States Newsroom

Biden, McCarthy say they have brokered a debt limit deal to avert U.S. default

BY: and - May 27, 2023

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced a deal in principle Saturday night that would stave off a first-ever default on the nation’s debt as long as it can clear both chambers of Congress before June 5. The agreement would address the nation’s debt limit and include a “historic” reduction in spending, McCarthy said, though […]

Cade Cothren, former chief of staff to ex-House Speaker Glen Casada, leaving the federal courthouse in Nashville following his arraignment on conspiracy charges. (John Partipilo)

Cade Cothren claims he helped Cameron Sexton win TN speaker’s race before indictment

BY: - May 26, 2023

A former House speaker’s chief of staff — under federal indictment on bribery and kickback charges — claims he helped Cameron Sexton win the speakership in 2019 before being paid tens of thousands of dollars through a shadowy campaign vendor. Cade Cothren, who left his post early that year amid a racist and sexist texting […]

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, left, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell outside the White House following a meeting on the debt limit with President Joe Biden and Democratic congressional leaders on May 9, 2023. Ashley Murray/States Newsroom

With debt default as soon as a week away, U.S. House jets off for holiday break

BY: - May 26, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. House members walked down the steps of the Capitol building Thursday morning to head back to their districts for a Memorial Day recess that began exactly one week before the country could default on the debt. House Democrats took to the floor after the final vote of the week to give a […]

(Anne-Marie Miller/Getty Images)

Lawsuit: Tennessee employee health insurance plan discriminates against transgender enrollees

BY: - May 26, 2023

Two transgender women have filed suit against the state after being denied gender affirming care under Tennessee’s public employee health benefits program. Gerda Zinner, an academic advisor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Story VanNess, a former Knox County special education teacher, each say they were unlawfully discriminated against by being denied coverage […]

Tennessee committee extends and increases Pearson testing contract by $40 million

BY: - May 25, 2023

Amid uproar over third-grade reading scores and the prospect of thousands of failing students, Tennessee lawmakers extended the testing vendor’s contract and bumped up the total payout by nearly $40 million. The Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Review Committee voted Wednesday to tack on another year for British-based NCS Pearson to administer TNReady and increase the total […]

A rural county’s choice: use opioid funds to pay off debt, or pay them forward to curb crisis

BY: - May 25, 2023

Over the past two years, rural Greene County in northeastern Tennessee has collected more than $2.7 million from regional and national settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors. But instead of helping people harmed by addiction, county officials are finding other ways to spend it. They have put $2.4 million toward paying off the county’s debt […]

Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, photographed by John Partipilo.

Nashville sues to block law lowering the votes needed to approve new NASCAR track

BY: - May 24, 2023

Metro Nashville’s legal department filed a lawsuit to block a new state law making it easier for the Metro Council to approve a new racetrack at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. The measure — passed by Tennessee lawmakers earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee on May 5 — overturned a Metro Nashville […]

Warner Elementary School in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee’s 3rd-grade reading test scores rise and fall in a pattern

BY: - May 24, 2023

During any given year over the last decade, at least half of Tennessee third graders were deemed not proficient in reading, according to data from the  Department of Education. Starting in 2011, Tennessee lawmakers tried to address this problem by passing legislation to allow local districts to hold back students who didn’t pass the third-grade […]

Alive Hospice in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Murfreesboro nonprofit to pull funds from Alive Hospice if board sells to for-profit company

BY: - May 24, 2023

A Murfreesboro charitable foundation that gave more than $3 million to help Alive Hospice build a facility in Rutherford County has told Alive it wants its money back if the nonprofit is sold to a for-profit company. The Christy-Houston Foundation also made its concerns known to the Tennessee Attorney General in a letter and attachments […]

Main gates at Tennessee State University in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State committee approves extra housing for TSU and UT-Knoxville

BY: - May 23, 2023

State lawmakers blasted Tennessee State University for last-minute moves to house student overflow during the past year, but the University of Tennessee-Knoxville also put students in hotel rooms and needed approval Monday for a bigger apartment lease. The State Building Commission’s Executive Committee approved a $6.78 million lease deal for more than 500 apartments at […]