Sen. Kerry Roberts

Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, center, and Sen. Kerry Roberts, right, chair the Joint Government Operations Committee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Griffey stance conflicts with Senate leadership

BY: - July 27, 2021

Rep. Bruce Griffey says he’s not “anti-vax,” yet he is one of a growing number of legislators leery of masks and vaccination campaigns and gaining a bigger voice in the General Assembly. In fact, the Paris Republican believes only a small group of people should take the shots, those over 60 with co-morbidities. That outlook […]

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

Stockard on the Stump: Republican lawmakers split over Fiscus firing

BY: - July 23, 2021

The group of anti-vax legislators whose complaints about the Department of Health vaccine campaign led to the firing of Dr. Michelle Fiscus won’t say much about her termination. But there is a clear break between that group and others who think the state made the wrong move. The topic is so sensitive that most lawmakers […]

Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, center, and Sen. Kerry Roberts, right, chair the Joint Government Operations Committee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State lawmakers urge against push to vaccinate children

BY: - July 21, 2021

Two Tennessee lawmakers who chair the Joint Government Operations Committee warned schools Wednesday not to “bully,” “cajole” or “coerce” students to be vaccinated. In a rare crowded gathering for the panel, Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, co-chairman of the committee, sought to head off upheaval over the recent firing of the state’s chief immunization officer Dr. […]

Members of the House and Senate Democratic Caucus, including Sen. Jeff Yarbro, left, and Sen. Raumesh Akbari, next to him, slammed Gov. Bill Lee for the political firing of a leading health official. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Democrats slam governor over firing of immunology chief

BY: - July 14, 2021

Two days after Tennessee’s chief immunologist was fired under pressure from anti-vax lawmakers, Democratic leaders blasted the governor for failing to take responsibility for the state’s vaccination policy. “I think it’s an abdication of leadership,” state Sen. Raumesh Akbari said during an online press conference. Democrats expressed shock that the Department of Health and Lee […]

Members of the Tennessee General Assembly on the floor of the House of Representatives. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Republican lawmakers threaten to dissolve Health Department over child vaccines

BY: - June 17, 2021

GOP legislators came close Wednesday to dumping the Tennessee Department of Health after accusing it of targeting minors for mass vaccinations without parental consent. Instead, the Government Operations Committee ordered Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey to soften the state’s efforts to vaccinate children, mainly by bringing parents into the fold, and report back in July. Republican […]

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Permit-less handgun carry rolls through Senate

BY: - March 18, 2021

The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a permit-less handgun carry bill Thursday, setting the stage for law-abiding Tennesseans to go armed without a background check or basic weapon training. Senators voted 23-9 to pass the bill, sending the measure to the House of Representatives to consider, despite opposition from law enforcement across the state. The Tennessee […]

(Photo: Annie Otzen/Getty Images)

Audit of Department of Children’s Services finds caseloads are still too high, despite law imposing limits

BY: - December 14, 2020

An audit of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services found that social workers continue to juggle caseloads that are too high, two years after lawmakers passed a measure limiting caseworker to an average of no more than 20 children each. The department’s 1,800 case managers investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, find foster homes […]

Screenshot of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development homepage.

Audit critical of Tennesee’s economic incentive program after companies failed to create promised jobs

BY: - September 18, 2020

Nine companies lured to do business in Tennessee with generous economic incentive packages have been referred to the Tennessee Attorney General for possible legal action after failing to live up to their end of the bargain, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe told lawmakers this week in response to a critical audit of the […]