Sen. Becky Duncan Massey

Molly Anderson, with husband Joshua, has advocated that text-to-911 be available in every Tennessee county. (Photo: Submitted)

Bill requires local emergency centers to accept texts from 911

BY: - March 24, 2021

When Molly Anderson got into a wreck last March — crashing her car into a hearse loaded with a coffin on busy Knoxville highway — she wasn’t hurt but she needed help. The problem: Anderson cannot speak, a result of a speech disability she has had since birth. In tears and feeling helpless, Anderson relied […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Getty Images)

Stockard on the stump: Kelsey throws down challenge to Shelby County Schools

BY: - February 12, 2021

Retired Capitol Hill reporter Tom Humphrey for years wrote a column called “Humphrey on the Hill.” In his stead, I am taking up the mantle with a new report called “Stockard on the Stump,” a collection of briefs, anecdotes and quotes from the latest week in the Tennessee General Assembly.–SS Pouring gas on an argument […]

Jasmine Worles (right) discusses pregnancy concerns with her doula Miajenell Peake at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tennessee on January 24, 2021. As a doula, Miajenell will support Jasmine with many aspects of her pregnancy and after delivery. ( © Karen Pulfer Focht)

After a law for pregnant workers quietly passed in 2020, advocates turn to education

BY: - January 26, 2021

An opportunity to sit. A water bottle and snack. A limit on heavy lifting. A schedule that allows for doctor’s visits. These are among the accommodations pregnant women in Tennessee can request and receive without fearing repercussions under a new Tennessee law that went into effect in October.  Many pregnant workers are unaware of these […]

Downtown Knoxville (Photo: Deidre Woolard)

Column: Legislative Webinar becomes Shadow Government

BY: - January 25, 2021

On Saturday, Knoxville Professional Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists and the League of Women Voters of Knoxville – Knox County collaborated on a “legislative webinar,” coming at the close of the special state legislature session on education and at the opening of the regular session.  It quickly devolved into an exercise in “Shadow Government” […]

A group of legislators file into the War Memorial Building for Gov. Bill Lee's address at the start of a special session. (Photo: John Partipilo)

One senator catches COVID-19, another under quarantine in special session

BY: - January 21, 2021

State Sen. Ed Jackson confirmed Thursday he tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantining at his Nashville home while another senator is isolating during a special session of the Legislature designed to reform education amid the pandemic. Jackson, a Republican from Jackson, said he underwent testing this week as soon as he started feeling symptoms […]

Dec. 11, 2020- Andrea Bond Johnson in downtown Brownsville, Tennessee. Bond-Johnson was shocked when she lost a second time to Republican Chris Hurt in the race for State House District 82 in western Tennessee (© Karen Pulfer Focht)

Election aftermath: life after a campaign

BY: - December 17, 2020

The election is over. The volunteers shuffle around the subdued  campaign headquarters, sipping coffee and stare at the television screen, as if willing the numbers to change. But they did not and the stark numbers reveal the winners and losers. The victors – almost all Republicans – will maintain their positions and the newly elected […]

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State Senate races: Quarter three fundraising review

BY: - October 27, 2020

The presidential race and U.S. Senate races are the campaigns that traditionally earn the most analysis and coverage, but all state representatives are up for reelection in Tennessee and half of the General Assembly’s state senators. The overview of the upcoming state senate races features information on the amount of money each candidate raised in […]

University prior to start of second presidential debate on Oct. 22, 2020/ (Photo: Tennessee Lookout)

Commentary: Election Forum “No Shows” Reveal Character

BY: - October 26, 2020

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum—specifically recent online League of Women Voters forums in Knox County.  The funny thing was that the Republican candidates didn’t show up while the Democratic candidates did —with one exception within each party. The League and its partner organizations planned a trio of Zoom forums with […]

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 19: Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) stand onstage at the start of the Democratic presidential primary debate at Paris Las Vegas on February 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Six candidates qualified for the third Democratic presidential primary debate of 2020, which comes just days before the Nevada caucuses on February 22. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Commentary: Let’s Get Debates Right in Tennessee

BY: - September 14, 2020

You might be surprised to learn that I’m a veteran of the NFL and lettered at Penn State.  Lest you think I was a linebacker, let me explain the letter was for the debate team and the NFL stood for National Forensic League (established in 1925).  The name was changed in 2014 to the National […]