Will Burton, a Weakley County farmer, said the overbearing smell of rotting chicken carcasses is affecting his family: "Just death and rotting carcasses."(Photo: John Partipilo)

‘Composting’ birds: Avian flu hits West Tennessee farm and 267,000 birds are destroyed

BY: - January 30, 2023

The first sign of something awry was the road closure on the two-lane country road that goes right past Will Burton’s Weakley County farm, his fields, barns and the one-story house he shares with his fiancee and three kids.  White trucks — emblazoned with the seal of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and “fire and […]

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, discusses her bill to set a minimum national teacher salary, on Jan 25, 2023. Adam Goldstein/States Newsroom

Teachers would get $60K minimum salary under bill in Congress making grants to states

BY: - January 27, 2023

WASHINGTON – A panel of policymakers and educators, including author Dave Eggers and former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, gathered at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to promote the American Teacher Act.  The bill, if passed, would authorize the federal government to create four-year grants for states to enact and enforce minimum school teacher […]

TIJUANA, MEXICO - JULY 22: A person stands next to the U.S.-Mexico border barrier painted with a mural depicting people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children and were deported as adults on July 22, 2021 in Tijuana, Mexico. The mural was created by artist Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana. While the Biden administration has haltingly restarted the asylum system along the southwest border, only a small number of asylum seekers whose situations are considered the most urgent have been allowed to cross the border with Title 42 exceptions. Thousands of asylum seekers remain stuck in Tijuana in precarious conditions. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Democrats in Congress condemn Biden administration expansion of Title 42

BY: - January 27, 2023

WASHINGTON — Nearly 80 Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to the White House expressing their “great concern” that the Biden administration is walking back on its promise to restore migrants’ access to asylum. In the letter, they also condemned the administration’s expansion of a controversial policy that immediately turns away migrants at the […]

Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger sets the state’s election calendar and he’s shown little interest in accommodating the new primary calendar Democrats are proposing. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder (File Oct. 2022)

National Dems give New Hampshire, Georgia more time to change 2024 primary dates

BY: - January 26, 2023

WASHINGTON — New Hampshire and Georgia will have a bit longer to implement key changes to when and how they hold Democratic presidential primaries, under an extension a Democratic National Committee panel approved Wednesday.  Election officials will have until June 3 to move New Hampshire’s 2024 Democratic presidential primary to Feb. 13 and Georgia’s to […]

Haitian father carries his children across the Rio Grande into Del Rio, Texas In 2021. Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is challenging a Biden Administration program that provides a legal pathway to citizenship to asylum seekers from Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tennessee attorney general challenges Biden program allowing asylum seekers path to U.S.

BY: - January 26, 2023

Tennessee on Tuesday joined 19 other GOP-led states in challenging a new Biden Administration program that provides some asylum seekers from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela a legal path to entering the U.S. The parole program, announced last month, would give up to 30,000 people per month a chance to legally enter the U.S. if […]

Justice A.A. Birch Building in Nashville, in which a Community Corrections program has operated. (Photo: Brad Freeman, Metropolitan Nashville General Sessions Court)

GOP senators sent message to interim correction commissioner on Community Corrections

BY: - January 26, 2023

Republican senators upset about the phasing out of Tennessee’s Community Corrections program met last fall with the state’s interim correction prisoner and other officials to make a last-ditch effort at salvaging the intensive effort to keep felons out of prison. The handful of senators didn’t raise the roof but sent a strong message. They were […]

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)

Juvenile justice recommendations from legislature lean heavily on institutions

BY: - January 26, 2023

A legislative committee charged with reviewing the state’s troubled juvenile justice system made more than a dozen recommendations on Wednesday that are expected to serve as a blueprint for General Assembly action this year.  Among the recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee on Juvenile Justice: constructing a new secure lockup for youth, adding mental health […]

Gov. Bill Lee swears in Dr. Ralph Alvarado, pictured with his wife and Lee, as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health on Jan. 17. (Photo:

Health commissioner declines to answer reporters’ questions on HIV funds

BY: - January 25, 2023

Health Commissioner Ralph Alvarado got a hall pass in his first appearance before the Senate health committee, then dodged reporters Wednesday inquiring about the state’s new policy to end federal funding to nonprofits for HIV services. Alvarado, who came to Tennessee in December after serving in the Kentucky legislature and running for lieutenant governor there, […]

Assault weapons at a gun show.(Photo by Alex Wong, Getty Images)

Wave of mass shootings prompts Biden to call yet again for assault weapons ban

BY: - January 25, 2023

WASHINGTON — Following a mass shooting on the eve of Lunar New Year in which 11 people in a predominantly Asian neighborhood in California were killed, President Joe Biden again urged Congress to pass legislation banning assault weapons. Communities across America “have been struck by tragedy after tragedy, including mass shootings from Colorado Springs to […]

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton discussed his priorities for the legislative session at a Jan. 24 meeting in Nashville. (Photo: Alexander Willis)

Tennessee House Speaker lays out legislative priorities in Nashville speech

BY: - January 25, 2023

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton outlined his top legislative priorities for 2023 during a speech in Nashville Tuesday, among which were further reducing taxes on businesses, implementing toll lanes to mitigate the state’s traffic congestion issues, and integrating charter schools into the state’s education system. A guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Economic Club of Nashville, […]

A Nurse performs a rapid test for AIDS, syphilis and hepatitis. The Tennessee Department of Health will no longer take federal funds for the prevention and treatment of HIV. (Photo: Getty Images)

Lawmakers look for motive in HIV funding shift

BY: - January 25, 2023

Two Memphis lawmakers are raising concerns about the state’s decision to cut federal HIV funding from nonprofit agencies and direct it through metro health departments, saying such a move could endanger lives. State Rep. Antonio Parkinson is asking the Tennessee Department of Health why it is cutting HIV funds received through multi-million dollar grants from […]

Grassland at the Bridgestone Firestone Centennial Wilderness Area. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Austin Peay State University lands grant for study of grassland development

BY: - January 25, 2023

The Southern Grasslands Institute at Austin Peay State University has received a $495,000 grant to study the establishment of grasslands across millions of acres on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama. The grant will be used to “prioritize the habitat needs for at least 185 species of conservation concern that need or […]