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Editorial Results (free)

1. Legislative losers: All who disagree with legislators -

The 109th General Assembly is done – almost – for the year. Here’s a look at the winners and losers.

Winner: State budget

Buoyed by $400 million in surplus revenue from fiscal 2015 and $450 million in projected surpluses for the coming fiscal year, Gov. Bill Haslam spread the wealth in a $34.9 billion budget.

2. Durham, accused of harassment, is all alone with his M&Ms -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Amid the frenzied negotiations, flaring tempers and occasional frivolity marking the end of another Tennessee legislative session, one lawmaker stayed conspicuously alone and quiet.

3. Tennessee AG to appeal recount order on abortion amendment -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The office of Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced on Tuesday that it is going to appeal a federal judge's ruling requiring a recount of a 2014 vote that made it easier to restrict abortions in the state.

4. Tennessee lawmakers adjourn without setting veto override session -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee lawmakers adjourned the 109th General Assembly on Friday without scheduling a veto override session.

Some House members had worried that Republican Gov. Bill Haslam could reject key legislation after lawmakers have gone home for the year.

5. Tennessee passes resolution to sue feds over refugees -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A resolution that would direct Tennessee to sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program passed Tuesday in the state Legislature.

The measure was approved in the Senate after lawmakers agreed to a change that would allow a private law firm to file a lawsuit on behalf of Tennessee if the state attorney general refuses to sue. It stipulates that the use of the private firm could not cost taxpayers.

6. House passes resolution directing state to sue over refugees -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A resolution that would order Tennessee to sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program passed Monday in the state House. Senate counterparts previously approved the resolution and would only have to agree to a change that would allow a private law firm to sue on behalf of the state before the measure becomes law.

7. Business leaders sign letter opposing bathroom law -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The chief executives of Williams-Sonoma, Hilton Worldwide, T-Mobile and dozens of other major corporations have signed a letter asking Tennessee lawmakers to reject a transgender bathroom bill, saying it is discriminatory.

8. Legislators playing expensive game with LGBT issues -

The silly season is in full swing on Capitol Hill, but the “bathroom bill” and any jokes surrounding it are no laughing matter anymore. It’s getting downright expensive.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said this week the bill dealing with transgender student use of restrooms could cost the state more than $1.2 billion in federal funds for K-12 and higher education.

9. Tennessee lawmaker exiled over 'continuing risk' to women -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee lawmaker is effectively being quarantined from lawmakers, lobbyists and interns after the state's attorney general determined that he could pose a risk to "unsuspecting women" at the state Capitol complex.

10. Tennessee lawmakers lure us in with momentary sanity, and then ... -

Just when it appears the Tennessee Senate is made up of sensible people – as evidenced by the killing of de-annexation legislation – the body is changing course with a Bible-thumping measure.

11. State Rep. Durham seeks re-election despite investigation -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A state representative under investigation after allegations he sexually harassed staff members says he will run for re-election.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/1TtpoeB) Franklin Republican Jeremy Durham has filed candidacy paperwork with the Williamson County Election Commission.

12. Navy duty leads Lundberg to miss rest of legislative session -

NASHVILLE (AP) — State Rep. Jon Lundberg, a captain in the Navy Reserve, will miss the remainder of the legislative session after being called up for duty at the Pentagon.

The Bristol Republican is vacating his House seat to run for the northeastern Tennessee state Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey this fall.

13. Navy duty leads Lundberg to miss rest of legislative session -

NASHVILLE (AP) - State Rep. Jon Lundberg, a captain in the Navy Reserve, will miss the remainder of the legislative session after being called up for duty at the Pentagon.

The Bristol Republican is vacating his House seat to run for the northeastern Tennessee state Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey this fall.

14. Haslam remains opposed to making Bible official state book -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday that he remains opposed to a renewed effort to make the Holy Bible the official state book of Tennessee.

Haslam initially voiced opposition to the measure before it was derailed over constitutional concerns in the state Senate last year, and sent back to committee. The bill is now awaiting a new vote in the upper chamber of the Legislature.

15. Bill to allow de-annexation votes killed in Senate committee -

NASHVILLE (AP) - A Tennessee Senate committee has voted to kill a legislative proposal seeking to allow communities to hold elections to reverse annexation by cities.

The State and Local Government Committee voted 5-3 on Wednesday to study the measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Bo Watson of Chattanooga after the Legislature adjourns for the year.

16. Can GOP keep grasp on success Ramsey built? -

As much as Tennessee Republicans want to put a happy face on the departure of Senate Speaker and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, holding it together in the wake of his departure will be an awesome task.

Even Ramsey says it will be hard for his successor – most likely longtime Sen. Randy McNally – to maintain the same control over the Republican Caucus and keep factions from fighting over direction and control of the Upper Chamber, where it holds a 28-5 advantage against Democrats.

17. Senate to vote on making Bible official book of Tennessee -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A contentious bill seeking to declare the Holy Bible the official book of Tennessee is headed back for a vote in the full state Senate.

The measure narrowly passed the House last year, but the Senate sent it back to committee amid constitutional concerns raised by the state attorney general.

18. Effort renewed to make Bible official book of Tennessee -

NASHVILLE (AP) - The state Senate sponsor of a proposal to designate the Holy Bible the official book of Tennessee is trying to persuade colleagues to revive the effort.

Republican Sen. Steve Southerland of Morristown tells the Chattanooga Times-Free Press (http://bit.ly/1UxV4AV) that he will renew his push for the measure during Tuesday's meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

19. Randy McNally announces bid for speaker of Tennessee Senate -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Longtime state Sen. Randy McNally plans to run for Senate speaker after this year's elections.

20. Tennessee Senate passes bill to make lawsuit losers pay -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The state Senate passed a bill that would force people who sue state employees or elected officials to pay legal fees if they fail in a lawsuit.

Supporters say the bill would prevent frivolous lawsuits from being filed and save taxpayers money. Opponents argue that it would discourage people from bringing legitimate claims against officials, especially sexual harassment claims.

21. Senate poised to do real damage via de-annexation -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland makes a persuasive argument against de-annexation legislation now being considered by the state Legislature, providing a long list of figures to show it would devastate the Bluff City.

22. Tennessee Republican leaders want McNally to replace Ramsey -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Leading Senate Republicans are discussing plans to make Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge the new lieutenant governor of Tennessee.

McNally, who chairs the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee, would replace Ron Ramsey, who is both the current lieutenant governor and Senate speaker. Ramsey, a Republican from Blountville, announced last week that he would not seek re-election.

23. Resolution ordering refugee lawsuit advances in House -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Legislation that would order the state of Tennessee to sue the federal government over the refugee resettlement program is advancing over concerns by both the governor and refugee rights groups.

24. Bills to freeze tuition at colleges, universities defeated -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Bills that would have frozen tuition rates at Tennessee's public colleges and universities have been defeated.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said at the beginning of the session Wednesday that he was in favor of the idea. The University of Tennessee in particular was a vocal opponent, complaining that steep tuition hikes were the result of dramatic decreases in state funding and increasing education costs.

25. Tennessee Senate Speaker Ramsey announces he won't run again -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, a leading figure in the Republican takeover of all three branches of Tennessee state government, announced Wednesday that he won't run for re-election.

The Blountville auctioneer became the first Republican speaker of the Senate since Reconstruction in 2007. He said in an emotional speech from the well of the Senate chamber that he wants to spend more time with his family and young grandchildren.

26. ‘I’m the steak’ Norris carries Haslam’s agenda, except ... -

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris refers to himself as a “meat and potatoes” legislator. The four-term Republican senator from Collierville, a self-described policy wonk, is considering a run for governor in 2018. But if the race boils down to charisma, he says the media will have to determine if he has enough to win the top office.

27. Senate Democrat criticizes Tennessee Legislature's records policy -

NASHVILLE (AP) — While Tennessee lawmakers do not fall under the state's open records law, the General Assembly's policy is to make what officials call a good faith effort to comply with requests from the public.

28. Ramsey: Security to stop scanning IDs at Legislative Plaza -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A major bottleneck at the entrances to Tennessee's legislative office complex is being eliminated this week.

Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey told reporters on Thursday that state troopers have been instructed to stop scanning IDs and printing out temporary nametags for visitors.

29. Senate speaker wary of banning handheld phones while driving -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he opposes an effort to make it a crime to speak on handheld phones while driving in Tennessee.

30. Ramsey: Security to stop scanning IDs at Legislative Plaza -

NASHVILLE (AP) - A major bottleneck at the entrances to Tennessee's legislative office complex is being eliminated this week.

Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey told reporters on Thursday that state troopers have been instructed to stop scanning IDs and printing out temporary nametags for visitors.

31. Senate speaker wary of banning handheld phones while driving -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he opposes an effort to make it a crime to speak on handheld phones while driving in Tennessee.

32. Tennessee AG won't divulge details of Durham investigation -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee attorney general on Wednesday declined in a committee meeting to give lawmakers details about his investigation into sexual harassment allegations against state Rep. Jeremy Durham, saying any public discussion could put the probe "in peril."

33. Bill would open door for utilities to expand broadband by petition -

Legislation to expand broadband access across Tennessee is evolving – by necessity. State Rep. Kevin Brooks’ bill HB1303 to allow public utilities to provide Internet service outside their footprint is alive, he says, but it is being “argued vehemently.”

34. Trump, Clinton win presidential primaries in Tennessee -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican turnout Tuesday outstripped Democrats by more than 2-to-1 in Tennessee, a show of muscle that encouraged the state's GOP leaders even if they didn't back winner Donald Trump.

35. GOP divided over cap on liquor store ownership in Tennessee -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Efforts to restrict the number of liquor stores that can be owned in Tennessee drew vocal opposition from a Republican lawmaker Monday, who said it is contrary to GOP principles and suggested that supporters may have been "bought and paid for" by lobbying groups.

36. Haslam takes issue with lawmakers ordering refugee lawsuit -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday took issue with a move by fellow Republicans in the Legislature to order the state attorney to sue the federal government over the refugee resettlement program in Tennessee.

37. Standoff over guns at Tennessee legislative office complex -

NASHVILLE (AP) — If it's up to the Republican speakers of the state House and Senate, the more than half-million Tennesseans with permits will soon be able to carry guns inside the legislative office complex.

38. School voucher bill stalls in House amid flagging support -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal to create a school voucher program stalled in the House on Thursday despite efforts to drum up support among wary rural lawmakers by limiting the areas of Tennessee where parents could receive state money to pay for private school tuition.

39. Change would allow handguns at Tennessee legislative complex -

NASHVILLE (AP) - The leaders of the state House and Senate are moving to end a total gun ban at the legislative office complex.

Sen. Ron Ramsey of Blountville and Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville, the Republican speakers of the Senate and House, said Thursday that they want the begin allowing people with handgun carry permits to be armed within the Legislative Plaza.

40. Teachers wary of Haslam’s push for increased pay -

Pushing a budget with more than $100 million for K-12 teacher pay raises, Gov. Bill Haslam says Tennessee is taking education to new levels by raising standards, linking teacher evaluations to student performance and expanding education options.

41. Tennessee AG appointed to investigate Durham allegations -

NASHVILLE (AP) - A special House committee has voted to designate Tennessee's attorney general to investigate sexual harassment allegations against Republican state Rep. Jeremy Durham.

42. Minority leader Harris confident even on wrong side of supermajority -

Lee Harris says he ran for state Senate because he felt Memphis could do better on Capitol Hill, defeating Ophelia Ford in 2014.

In his second legislative session, the Senate Minority leader says Democrats, though small in number, are making “inroads” while he continues to focus on improving neighborhoods from downtown Memphis to Millington.

43. Only so much Durham could blame on media -

It’s little wonder state Rep. Jeremy Durham had to take a two-week break from the General Assembly. He was probably feeling faint from the evolution of his own devolution as a leader in the House Republican Caucus.

44. Haslam, lawmakers see need to clear pending records requests -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam and two top Tennessee lawmakers say they recognize the need to clear a backlog of hundreds of open records requests.

John Dunn, a spokesman for Comptroller Justin Wilson, said Wilson has requested nearly $265,000 in the budget to help with the growing number of requests for information.

45. Durham taking leave from Tennessee House calls to resign -

NASHVILLE (AP) — State Rep. Jeremy Durham is taking a leave of absence from the Tennessee General Assembly amid calls for his resignation and the Senate speaker's allegation on Thursday that he had an affair with another lawmaker.

46. Top Middle Tennessee residential transactions for December 2015 -

Top residential real estate sales, December 2015, for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

47. Cutting taxes, school choice, tort reform drive Sen. Kelsey -

State Sen. Brian Kelsey calls himself “a proud conservative who likes to get results.”

Based on his legislative record as a Republican state representative and senator from Germantown, he is doing both without exactly toeing the tea party line but bolstered by a GOP supermajority in the House and Senate.

48. Higher education changes highlight Haslam's 2016 agenda -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday released his administration's 42-bill agenda for this year's legislative session that includes an effort to restructure higher education governance that led to the early retirement of the chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents schools.

49. Still-persecuted Durham surrenders leadership post -

The boys in the newsroom had a running bet on whether the reasons for “media persecution” of Rep. Jeremy Durham had little, if anything, to do with a spate of revelations about his odd behavior over the last few years.

50. Refugees, higher education, privatization on tap for new session -

State Sen. Ken Yager isn’t quite ready for the state of Tennessee to reclaim the Refugee Resettlement Program from Catholic Charities.

“I’m not advocating that. I am advocating a little bit more accountability and closer review of the funding,” says Yager, a Kingston Republican who chaired a December joint meeting of Senate and House State and Local Government committees.

51. GOP leader discussed 'options' with Rep. Jeremy Durham -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Embattled state Rep. Jeremy Durham said Wednesday that he won't resign as House majority whip amid worries among top Republicans that his ongoing leadership role could hurt campaign fundraising efforts.

52. Corker says Visa waivers a bigger risk than refugees -

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he believes the nation needs to stop admitting Syrian refugees until security problems are solved, but the nation’s “bigger risk” in letting terrorists slip into the country lies with the nation’s Visa Waiver Program.

53. Judge praises Durham for 'moral courage' -

NASHVILLE (AP) - While many GOP leaders in the Tennessee Legislature have distanced themselves from state Rep. Jeremy Durham for writing a character reference letter on behalf of a former youth minister who pleaded guilty to child porn possession, a judge in the Franklin Republican's home county is praising what he calls the lawmaker's "moral courage."

54. No bids submitted in Haslam's parks privatization plan -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's effort to outsource hospitality operations at 11 state parks has failed to draw any interest from private vendors.

Haslam has long said park services like restaurants, golf courses, inns and marinas are prime examples of areas where private vendors could do a better and cheaper job than state government.

55. Robocalls urge resignation of Tennessee Rep. Jeremy Durham -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Voters in the home county of a top Republican in the state house are getting robocalls demanding his resignation over a prescription fraud investigation and a letter he wrote urging a lower sentence for a former youth pastor who pleaded guilty to child porn possession.

56. Tennessee lawmaker urged lower sentence in child porn case -

NASHVILLE (AP) - A top Republican in the state House wrote to a federal judge to call for a lenient sentence for a former youth pastor convicted of child porn possession.

House Majority Whip Jeremy Durham of Franklin wrote the letter in March, about three months after a grand jury declined to indict him on prescription fraud charges sought by prosecutors.

57. Ramsey: Ban immigrants from places with terrorism ties -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey called Tuesday for a moratorium on all immigration from countries with "ties to terrorism."

The comments from Ramsey - a Republican who previously called on fellow Christians to arm themselves - follow a call by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to block all Muslims from entering the United States. Trump's comments have been widely condemned by rival GOP candidates, party leaders and others.

58. If fear is the goal, terrorists have won in Tennessee -

The terrorists who struck Paris three weeks ago succeeded in more than killing and wounding hundreds of people. Their attack is pitting Americans against each other in how to respond, and Tennessee politicians are no exception.

59. New Tennessee Blue Book to be named after Howard Baker -

NASHVILLE (AP) - The next Tennessee Blue Book will be named after former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, who was known as the "The Great Conciliator" during his high profile Washington career that also included a stint as chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan.

60. Haslam asks federal government not to send Syrian refugees -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam says he is asking the federal government to suspend placement of Syrian refugees in Tennessee.

In a statement released Monday, Haslam acknowledged that the federal government has the authority to place refugees but said "they have said in the past they would be open to cooperating with receiving states."

61. State’s landlords find hidden costs of privatization -

Murfreesboro businessman Tom Hyde felt the sting of Tennessee’s privatization practices two years ago when a representative of Jones Lang Lasalle notified him he would have to pay the company a commission as part of his next lease agreement.

62. Haslam uncertain about seeking lawmakers' OK on outsourcing -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam says he's uncertain whether he would seek approval from fellow Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly about potential plans to privatize state operations.

The governor told reporters after a Veterans Day event in Nashville on Tuesday that he wants to see what the final form of the outsourcing proposal looks like before deciding whether to bring it before lawmakers. Haslam stresses that no decision has been made on whether to pursue privatization.

63. Haslam: Decide road priorities before talking funding -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is calling on state lawmakers to decide on Tennessee's priorities on future road projects before resolving the politically tricky issue of finding a way to pay for them.

64. Haslam tries to jumpstart support for road funding increases -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Armed with a new $5.3 billion wish list for statewide road projects, Gov. Bill Haslam embarked on another tour Monday seeking to jumpstart support among deeply skeptical lawmakers for boosting transportation funding in Tennessee.

65. Ramsey springs to Haslam's aid on Tennessee outsourcing talk -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey is dismissing rising concerns among fellow Republicans about Gov. Bill Haslam's efforts to privatize elements of state government as a result of complaints from "squeaky wheels" in their districts.

66. Ramsey urges 'fellow Christians' to get handgun permits -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee's lieutenant governor said in a Facebook posting on Friday that his "fellow Christians" should consider getting a handgun carry permit after a gunman killed nine people at a local community college in southern Oregon.

67. More Tennessee lawmakers come out against gas tax hike in 2016 -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Add the chairman of the state Senate transportation committee to the list of opponents of raising Tennessee's gas tax in 2016.

Republican Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, who heads the transportation panel in the upper chamber, said Tuesday that there isn't enough time to put together a comprehensive road funding proposal for the upcoming legislative session.

68. Democrats push for reconsideration of guns in parks bill -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's new guns in parks law could make it more difficult — and dangerous — for officers to do their jobs, two law enforcement representatives said Thursday at an event to urge reconsideration of the bill.

69. Raise gas tax or borrow? How to fund state's backlog of road projects -

Tennessee has an $8 billion backlog of transportation projects and not enough funds to pay for them, largely because the state gas tax, which funds those projects, hasn’t been increased in 26 years.

70. Ramsey clear in push to politicize Supreme Court -

Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has a penchant for igniting flames of partisanship, and the retirement of Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade is no exception.

In this case, Ramsey elicited criticism for injecting politics where some believe political colors shouldn’t be unfurled.

71. 10 named to panel to review Tennessee K-12 education standards -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam and the speakers of the House and Senate have appointed the 10 members of a committee established to review K-12 education standards in Tennessee.

Haslam appointed Sharen Cypress, dean of education at Freed-Hardeman University; Tracy Franklin, principal at Steekee Elementary School in Loudon; Amy Gullion, instructional coach at Smyrna Elementary School; and Doug Hungate, academic director at Cheatham County Central High School.

72. Questions, jockeying abound amid Tennessee Supreme Court vacancy -

NASHVILLE (AP) — When Gary Wade was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 2006, the self-described "mountain boy from the Smokies" planned to serve the eight-year term and retire from his distinguished judicial career.

73. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade announces retirement -

NASHVILLE (AP) - State Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade, a target of a failed ouster campaign led by Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey last year, says he plans to retire in September.

74. With no real rival, state Republicans attack their own -

Republicans are sitting in Tennessee’s political catbird seat, but that doesn’t keep them from flying off in different directions.

Elected political leaders of the same stripe found themselves at odds this year over the Bible as a state book, Common Core education standards and Insure Tennessee, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to catch 280,000 people in a medical coverage gap.

75. ‘The Fighting 26’ Democrats work to stay relevant -

Sometimes Tennessee Democrats must feel like a tree that falls in the forest: Does anyone hear them?

When Democratic legislative leaders called for a special session this summer on Insure Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam’s market-based plan to use federal dollars to catch 280,000 working people in a coverage gap, they found themselves alone.

76. Special action on same-sex nuptials a waste of time -

With Republican lawmakers scrambling for a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s gay-marriage ruling, Tennesseans on both sides of the issue say they are seeking “equality.”

Immediately after the court’s decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville says, “Love and equality won. I’m glad the Supreme Court ruled on the right side of history.”

77. Southern heritage defined differently across Tennessee -

Tennessee’s loyalty was divided in the Civil War, and 150 years later, little is changed as the debate over Confederate symbols arises in the wake of the racist-fueled South Carolina church massacre.

78. Capitol Commission to review which historical figures should be honored -

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell are encouraging the Tennessee Capitol Commission to evaluate the characteristics of Tennesseans honored in the Capitol Complex.

“From time to time, it is appropriate for the State of Tennessee to review which Tennesseans are honored and in what location and manner,” states a letter from Ramsey and Harwell, both Republicans, to the commission.

79. Capitol Commission to review which historical figures should be honored -

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell are encouraging the Tennessee Capitol Commission to evaluate the characteristics of Tennesseans honored in the Capitol Complex.

“From time to time, it is appropriate for the State of Tennessee to review which Tennesseans are honored and in what location and manner,” states a letter from Ramsey and Harwell, both Republicans, to the commission.

80. Call grows louder to remove bust of Confederate general -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The call to remove a bust of a Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader from the halls of the Tennessee Capitol got louder on Wednesday.

The state's two Republican speakers sent a letter to the Tennessee State Capitol Commission to evaluate the characteristics of those to be honored in the Capitol complex following calls to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

81. Garrett, Himes named co-legal directors of Tennessee Legislature -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee General Assembly has named two new directors of legal affairs following the retirement of attorney Joe Barnes.

82. Mandated markups on cigarettes, wine, milk in Tennessee decried as hidden tax hike -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Under a new state law, Tennessee retailers will have to charge smokers at least 15 percent more than the wholesale cost. The surcharge is theirs to keep.

That increase follows last year's law requiring wine to be sold at least 20 percent above cost and another longstanding 10 percent markup on milk. State law refers to those margins as "the cost of doing business."

83. Ramsey: No Medicaid expansion until 2017 -

The Tennessee legislative session ended in late April, giving itself a little more than two and a-half months to handle the state’s business. That’s plenty of time, according to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

84. Tennessee’s most powerful politician -

Senate Speaker and Lieutenant Gov. Ron Ramsey laughs at the notion he’s changed since being elected to the Legislature 23 years ago, that he’s lost touch with the common man or become “arrogant” as lieutenant governor of Tennessee.

85. 148 former lawmakers covered by state insurance plan -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee records show that there are more former lawmakers enrolled in the health insurance plan for state employees than current lawmakers.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1EGB2Ye) cited records from the state office of benefits administration in reporting that 148 former lawmakers are enrolled compared to 116 current lawmakers.

86. Panel approves $136M plan to move Tenn. legislative offices -

NASHVILLE (AP) - The State Building Commission has approved the first step toward making a building next to the state Capitol the new home of the Tennessee General Assembly.

The panel that includes Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville and fellow Republican House Speaker Beth of Nashville on Wednesday without debate approved expanding the scope of a $136 million Capitol complex project. That includes the overhaul of the Cordell Hull building that was until recently designated for demolition.

87. New coalition will push lawmakers to fund Tennessee roads -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Raising taxes is never popular, but a new coalition says the lack of funding for Tennessee's roads and bridges has reached a crisis point requiring action.

Tennessee has more than $8 billion in unfunded transportation needs, thanks to a gas tax that has remained unchanged from 21.4 cents per gallon since 1989, the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee noted Wednesday.

88. Vanderbilt poll: Majority support Insure Tennessee plan -

NASHVILLE (AP) - An overwhelming majority of Tennesseans support Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's failed proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income residents, according to a new Vanderbilt University poll released Wednesday.

89. Speakers disavow any 'mandate' for Tennessee security group -

NASHVILLE (AP) - A private group called the Tennessee Task Force on National and Homeland Security is marketing itself with an official-looking logo and a claimed "mandate" from state lawmakers. But legislative leaders say the group has no official endorsement from the General Assembly.

90. Will Tennessee Republicans ever be truly happy? -

Why aren’t Tennessee Republicans happier? With the GOP so dominant in the Tennessee General Assembly and losses so rare – on the Hill or in elections – the party’s lawmakers should be jubilant with this year’s session. But it’s never enough.

91. Defeat of Insure Tennessee proposal set tone in 2015 session -

NASHVILLE (AP) - The defeat of Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans set the tone for the 2015 session of the state Legislature.

Lawmakers adjourned the first session of the 109th General Assembly on Wednesday night that also featured the defeat of a proposal to offer in-state tuition to non-citizens, the passage of a bill to remove local power to ban guns in parks and the latest rejection of a perennial effort to create a school voucher program in Tennessee.

92. Defeat of Insure Tennessee proposal set tone in 2015 session -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The defeat of Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans set the tone for the 2015 session of the state Legislature.

Lawmakers adjourned the first session of the 109th General Assembly on Wednesday night that also featured the defeat of a proposal to offer in-state tuition to non-citizens, the passage of a bill to remove local power to ban guns in parks and the latest rejection of a perennial effort to create a school voucher program in Tennessee.

93. Tennessee General Assembly adjourns for the year -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee General Assembly adjourned for the year on Wednesday following an often contentious session highlighted by the passage of legislation that would allow handgun-carry permit holders to be armed in any state park, and the failed attempt to make the Bible the official state book.

94. Lessons of Bible lost in lack of health care debate -

Tennessee’s legislators spent hours this session arguing over guns and whether to pass a law making the Bible the state book of Tennessee.

In fact, the Bible bill took two days of debate in the House, where it passed, and thorough discussion in the Senate, before it died – at least until next year.

95. Guns-in-parks proposal headed to governor -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Legislation that would allow handgun-carry permit holders to be armed in all of the state's parks - including greenways, playgrounds and sports fields - was sent to the governor for his consideration Thursday.

96. Tennessee plan to make Bible 'official' book derailed -

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Bible usually unites Republicans in conservative Tennessee, but lately it is proving to be - as an epistle writer put it - more powerful and sharper than a double-edged sword.

Legislators here are deeply divided over a proposal to make the holy text an official state book, with some saying it's far too sacred to be trivialized like the state fruit (tomato), the state amphibian (Tennessee cave salamander) and several state songs ("Tennessee Waltz" and "Rocky Top").

97. Tennessee House votes to make Bible official state book -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee state House ignored serious constitutional concerns — and the wishes of Republican leaders in the Statehouse— in voting to make the holy Bible the official state book.

98. An ‘epiphany’ for legislators on in-state tuition -

Tina Sharma grew up in Tennessee, graduated from Martin Luther King High School in Nashville and enrolled at Belmont University. She calls the Volunteer State home.

But Tennessee doesn’t exactly return that love to Sharma and thousands of other students whose parents entered the United States illegally years ago when they were small children.

99. Tennessee lawmakers to restart debate on Bible as official book -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee House members are preparing for another run today at making the Bible the official book of Tennessee.

Time ran out on a sometimes raucous debate Tuesday about whether the measure would run afoul of the state and federal constitutions by endorsing a religion.

100. Effort to make the Bible Tennessee's official book bogs down -

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal from a Republican lawmaker and former pastor to declare the Bible the official book of Tennessee is running into stiff opposition from top members of his own party, while the state attorney general is calling it unconstitutional.