Sen. Frank Niceley

Train cars loaded with coal sit on the tracks at a Blackjewel mining operation on August 22, 2019 in Cumberland, Kentucky. A group of coal miners blockaded the tracks and prevented the train from leaving the mine after Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy, ceased operation and payed the miners their final pay with bad checks. The shutdown left more than 300 miners in Harlan County with no jobs and owed payment for three weeks of work. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

State to retake coal mining regulation with industry at rock bottom

BY: - May 26, 2021

“Mister Peabody’s Coal train” doesn’t run much through upper East Tennessee these days. The trains John Prine sang about in his famous song, “Paradise,” are practically non-existent. Compared to the 1950s and ’60s when Claiborne, Campbell and Scott counties were considered coal-mining country, the industry has nearly vanished, according to those who monitor it. Yet […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Carter dies after bout with pancreatic cancer

BY: - May 17, 2021

Colleagues are mourning the death of state Rep. Mike Carter, a highly respected Ooltewah Republican and former judge who carried clout in the Tennessee General Assembly. Carter, 67, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer, which was detected in 2020 after he tested positive for COVID-19.  “Mike Carter lost his battle with pancreatic cancer late last night, […]

Legislators in the Tennessee Capitol during a break in the final day of session. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Lawmaker misreads Three-Fifths Compromise

BY: - May 6, 2021

Mercifully, the legislative session is over.  State Rep. Justin Lafferty challenged his House colleagues this week on their understanding of the Three-Fifths Compromise during debate on legislation designed to make teachers turn out widgets instead of students, at least as far as national discourse surrounding systemic racism. “By limiting the number of population in the […]

Slave trader, Confederate general: the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust sits atop a perch outside the Tennessee House of Representatives Chamber. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Akbari, Towns would stamp out “fake history” of slavery 

BY: - March 19, 2021

In 2022, Volunteer State voters could be deciding the fate of a constitutional amendment banning all vestiges of slavery from the state Constitution. First, though, they have to figure out whether it’s “fake history,” at least according to one Republican lawmaker. In one of the head-scratchers of the 112th General Assembly, Sen. Brian Kelsey of […]

nthony Eubanks,68, and wife Anna Eubanks, 68, were going to vote by but decided to vote in person on the first day of early voting. The couple, who have been married for 46 years, said they didn’t trust the mail so decided to risk voting In person. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Slatery, Hargett oppose federal voting rights bill

BY: - March 9, 2021

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and Secretary of State Tre Hargett have signed letters written by their Republican colleagues criticizing a Democrat-backed federal voting rights bill. One letter, obtained by the Tennessee Journal, shows Slatery is joining 19 Republican attorneys general in a letter written by the Indiana attorney general and others contending the act […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photograph: John Partipilo)

Commentary: How “Niceley” to Advocate Nonsense

BY: - March 4, 2021

Few legislators are as unintentionally funny as Tennessee’s Frank Niceley.  He’s a farmer from Strawberry Plains whose state senate district sprawls across Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson and Union counties.  The Republican Niceley was elected to the state house in 2004 and moved up to the State Senate after the 2012 election.  His career has […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: Tennessee Republicans’ words cannot be taken at face value

BY: - February 25, 2021

If there’s one thing we’ve learned during the age of Trump, it’s that Republicans cannot be taken at face value on anything.  So when GOP lawmakers in Tennessee claim they are pushing anti-transgender legislation to “protect” girls’ high school athletics, we need only to look at their political records, personal behavior and the predators in […]

A large group of people wait in line to early vote at the Howard Building before Polls opened at 8:00am.(Photo: John Partipilo)

After record turnout in the 2020 election, state Sen. Janice Bowling wants to abolish early voting

BY: - February 18, 2021

After a presidential election which saw record turnout and widespread disinformation, followed by a violent insurrection, one Tennessee state senator is proposing an end to early voting. Republican state Sen. Janice Bowling, of Tullahoma, contends early voting creates opportunities for fraud—or, as she puts it, “mischief.” She introduced a bill last week that would abolish […]

(Getty Images)

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 […]