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1. Lawmakers finalize budget, include $500M for Titans stadium -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers on Thursday finalized the state's $52.8 billion spending plan for the upcoming year, squeaking through $500 million in bonds to help pay for a Tennessee Titans stadium, as well as more money for education and law enforcement.

2. Canadian judge orders an end to blockade at border bridge -

WINDSOR, Ontario (AP) — A judge on Friday ordered protesters at the Ambassador Bridge over the U.S.-Canadian border to end the 5-day-old blockade that has disrupted the flow of goods between the two countries and forced the auto industry on both sides to roll back production.

3. Tennessee lawmakers OK $900M Ford incentive package -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers on Wednesday committed to spending nearly $900 million on state incentives, infrastructure upgrades and more as part of a sweeping plan with Ford Motor Co. to build an electric vehicle and battery plant near Memphis.

4. Tennessee House Democrats elect leadership team -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's House Democratic members on Monday unanimously voted to reelect Rep. Karen Camper as minority leader.

5. Tennessee Democratic leader tests positive for COVID-19 -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's top Democratic House leader has tested positive for COVID-19, the lawmaker's office said on Thursday.

Minority Leader Karen Camper began feeling ill upon arriving in Nashville on Aug. 10 for the first day of the legislative special session. The Memphis Democrat attended that evening's House floor session, but did not attend the remainder of the three-day session.

6. Former Democratic Tennessee Sen. Tate dies at 65 -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Former Democratic Tennessee state Sen. Reggie Tate has died. He was 65.

Democratic state House Minority Leader Karen Camper says she spoke with Tate's family about his death Monday, saying the two families have known each other for decades. The news drew an outpouring of sympathy and remembrance from both Republicans and Democrats.

7. Lee taps 38 to serve on census panel -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has appointed 38 people to a panel that will work with the U.S. Census Bureau on the 2020 Census.

Lee's office announced a wide variety of appointees to the Tennessee Complete Count Committee on Wednesday.

8. Lee taps 38 to serve on census panel -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has appointed 38 people to a panel that will work with the U.S. Census Bureau on the 2020 Census.

Lee's office announced a wide variety of appointees to the Tennessee Complete Count Committee on Wednesday.

9. Tennessee House creates new ethics attorney role -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee House is creating a new ethics attorney role.

In a news release Friday, House Republican Majority Leader William Lamberth and Democratic Minority Leader Karen Camper praised the appointment of Doug Himes as House ethics counsel. Himes is currently the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance's assistant director.

10. Tennessee speaker calls lewd texts 'locker room talk' -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's House speaker on Tuesday said he was wrong to participate in lewd conversations about women with his former chief of staff and described the language as "locker room talk" between adult men.

11. Casada calls lewd texts 'locker room talk' -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's House speaker on Tuesday said he was wrong to participate in lewd conversations about women with his former chief of staff and described the language as "locker room talk" between adult men.

12. House advances bill seeking to overhaul Medicaid -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee would dramatically overhaul how it provides health care to its lower-income and disabled residents under a proposal the House advanced Thursday.

The bill cleared the GOP-dominated chamber on party lines, with 68 Republicans in favor and 21 Democrats against.

13. Tennessee spikes bill banning shackling pregnant inmates -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers have spiked a proposal that would ban shackling pregnant women in detention, particularly during childbirth.

Lawmakers on a House Corrections subcommittee failed to advance the bill on a tie vote Tuesday. According to the legislation, solitary confinement would have been banned for pregnant women before and after giving birth.

14. Tennessee gov to push $25M education savings account plan -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Monday unveiled his long awaited school-choice agenda, announcing a sweeping proposal that would boost the number of parents who can use education savings accounts to pay tuition at private elementary and secondary schools.

15. Tennessee resolution praises King, denounces racism -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee House lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously adopted a resolution praising Martin Luther King Jr.'s life while also promising to fight racism.

16. Democrats map plan to stay relevent in new session -

With new leadership in both the House and Senate, Tennessee Democrats are trying to stay relevant in the face of supermajorities in both houses of the General Assembly.

Karen Camper has been elected as the first African-American leader of the House Democrats, taking over from Craig Fitzhugh, who became minority leader in 2011 and left for an unsuccessful bid for governor. The Senate has elected Jeff Yarbro as the minority leader. Yarbro takes over for Lee Harris, who is now mayor of Shelby County.

17. Public pressure pushes health care to top priority -

Bill Lee waltzes into the governorship later this month with more goodwill on his side than most politicians have the right to expect.

The Republican, who takes the reigns Jan. 19, is inheriting a state with an unemployment rate under 4 percent, an improving education system, companies such as Amazon bringing in thousands of jobs and an approval rating of 57 percent, a Vanderbilt poll taken in December shows.

18. Tennessee House elects 1st African-American minority leader -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee House Democrats have elected the chamber's first African-American minority leader.

Democrats chose Rep. Karen Camper of Memphis during leadership elections Sunday. She replaces former Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley, who left the Legislature in an unsuccessful bid for governor.

19. Haslam has more in common with Dean than Lee -

When it comes to bipartisanship, Tennessee politicians talk a good game. But in the ballot-box battle, they’re all about party.

Take, for instance, two-term Republican Gov. Bill Haslam. He has more in common with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean than just about any Republican in the state, much more than with Republican candidate Bill Lee.

20. Legislators work all the angles for leadership posts -

With apologies to Robert Zimmerman, “the times they are a-changing.” Unlike Bob Dylan’s 1964 song of rebellion, Capitol Hill isn’t turning into a hotbed of liberals, although someday the first could be last. In fact, it could turn more conservative this fall before things take a different direction.

21. GoFundMe campaign aims to replace $250K for Memphis -

A GoFundMe page has been started on Facebook to raise funds to make up a $250,000 budget cut the Tennessee Legislature levied against the city of Memphis for removing Confederate monuments from two city parks late last year.

22. House spanks Memphis for statue removal, pulls $250K for celebration -

Amid contentious debate Tuesday, the House of Representatives pulled $250,000 for Memphis’ bicentennial celebration from the state’s $37.5 billion budget plan as retribution for the removal of Confederate monuments from city parks.

23. Consensus on gun legislation? Not on your life -

That burning smell emanating from the General Assembly isn’t coming from the flame of bipartisanship. More likely it’s the result of scorched-earth politics.

Even though a weapons measure called the “carry-like-a-cop” bill died recently in a House committee, the gap between Republicans and Democrats on gun legislation is, for the most part, about as wide as the range of a Barrett .50-caliber rifle, more than 2.5 miles.

24. Opioid crisis and juvenile justice -

With the state’s budget projected to be tight and lawmakers lining up to run for re-election in 2018, the coming legislative session isn’t expected to yield many surprises.

But the 110th General Assembly still has a long row to hoe as the session starts Jan. 9 with new legislative offices and committee rooms in the renovated Cordell Hull Building in downtown Nashville.

25. Camper to head national black female legislator association -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee state Rep. Karen Camper has been elected president of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women.

26. Harwell, Norris lead review of juvenile justice in state -

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris is set to oversee a comprehensive review of Tennessee’s juvenile justice system in an effort to reshape the lives of offenders.

Norris, a Collierville Republican, will join House Speaker Beth Harwell in co-chairing the blue-ribbon task force, a 19-member panel charged with recommending policy based on state data to form legislation as the 2018 session of the General Assembly nears. The group will focus on protecting the public, holding offenders accountable and containing costs while improving the outcomes of juveniles, according to release.

27. Bill requiring one hour of PE for TN students fails after dropped ball -

Legislation requiring one hour of physical education per week for elementary students stumbled and fell Monday when it hit a procedural hurdle.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Roger Kane went down in the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee after a recount of sorts, one in which a member didn’t vote and then was allowed to cast a “no” vote killing the bill.

28. IMPROVE Act fight an insight into testy election ahead -

In case anyone’s keeping stats, Senate leadership soundly defeated House leadership this session in the gas tax/tax cut battle.

Whether this is a forerunner to a Republican gubernatorial primary remains to be seen as Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and House Speaker Beth Harwell weigh decisions. It’s not as if they’d be facing off against each other, though, since businessman Bill Lee and former Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd are definitely in the race and not hurting for money.

29. Tennessee Senate OKs cellphones, selfies while voting -

Legislation stemming from the infamous voting-booth selfie by pop star Justin Timberlake sailed through the Senate Thursday.

Unknowingly, Timberlake might have violated state law when he took a selfie in a Germantown voting booth in 2016 where, as a periodic resident, he is registered to vote, according to reports.

30. Norris turns to safety to rally GOP support for IMPROVE Act -

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris gets revved up when he talks about the IMPROVE Act as a tax-cutting and bridge-safety measure. It’s a message he’s been sending for weeks, yet other lawmakers aren’t catching on.

31. Democrat state representative learns to work with majority -

Bipartisanship forms the backbone of state Rep. Karen Camper’s legislative philosophy. The Memphis Democrat from Whitehaven recently received the honor as one of the 2016 Elected Women of Excellence, an award established by the National Foundation for Women Legislators to recognize hard work and legislative efforts.

32. Tennessee lawmakers win National Black Caucus elections -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Several Democratic state lawmakers from Tennessee have been elected to leadership roles within the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Rep. Raumesh Akbari was elected treasurer of the national organization at its 40th annual legislative conference in New Orleans last week. Fellow Memphis Rep. Larry Miller was name regional vice chair.

33. Tennessee Black Caucus: Don't cut civil rights milestones -

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators on Friday called for a public response to help keep civil rights milestones in Tennessee history from being removed from the social studies standards for public schools.

34. Haves, have-nots get varied levels of tax relief from legislators -

Amid the rancor of bathroom and counseling bills, two major pieces of legislation slipped through the General Assembly this session with hardly a peep – elimination of the Hall tax and a partial revitalization of property tax relief for seniors and disabled veterans.

35. Speaker Harwell's health care task force holds first meeting -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Members of a health care task force assigned with proposing alternatives to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's Insure Tennessee plan on Tuesday stressed their desire to include "circuit breakers" to prevent out-of-control costs.

36. Speaker Harwell's health care task force has first meeting -

NASHVILLE (AP) - A task force appointed by Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell to come up with a plan to expand access to health care in Tennessee has met for the first time.

37. Bill passes that would help felons get jobs -

NASHVILLE (AP) - It took five weeks, dozens of applications and one rejection after another for convicted felon Jennifer Cunningham to find a low-paying job in a restaurant. The Spencer, Tenn., woman is hoping that a bill that was just passed in the legislature might give her the opportunity for a better job in the future.

38. Longtime Tennessee lawmaker Lois DeBerry remembered -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Rep. Lois DeBerry, one of the longest serving female lawmakers in the nation and a powerful influence in state politics, died Sunday after a nearly five-year bout with pancreatic cancer. She was 68.

39. Rep. Lois DeBerry undergoing cancer treatment -

NASHVILLE (AP) — State Rep. Lois DeBerry is undergoing treatment for a recurrence of pancreatic cancer.

The Memphis Democrat was first elected in 1972 and is the longest-serving current member of the House of Representatives and second-longest in the entire Legislature. The 67-year-old is also the first female speaker pro tempore in the House.

40. Armstrong named president of NBCSL -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Democratic Rep. Joe Armstrong of Knoxville has been selected to be the president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators for the next two years.

41. Tenn. Black Caucus raises redistricting concerns -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Members of the Legislative Black Caucus on Tuesday raised concerns about what they called a lack of input in redistricting discussions in the Republican-controlled General Assembly and said they are preparing for legal action if that doesn't change.