Legislature

With Haslam signature, legal Sunday booze sales can begin this weekend

Gov. Bill  Haslam today signed into law legislation that authorizes Sunday sales of liquor and wine, according to his communications department. The bill (HB1540) says that, insofar as liquor stores go, it takes effect “upon becoming law” – meaning when governor signs it.

Thus, Tennessee liquor stores could legally be open on this Sunday if the operators wish – or have time to prepare. But the bill also declares the effective date for grocery stores and supermarkets that sell wine only is Jan. 1, 2019. The first Sunday after that date is Jan. 6, 2019.

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Ohio law — similar to TN ‘defunding Planned Parenthood’ bill — voided by appeals court

A federal appeals court has ruled Ohio’s efforts to cut off Planned Parenthood from receiving funds for preventive health programs violate the organization’s First Amendment rights, according to the Washington Post. And the News Sentinel’s Jamie Satterfield observes the Ohio law is similar to one recently approved by the Tennessee legislature.

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Bill requiring some to work for TennCare coverage gets final legislative approval

The Republican-led Tennessee Legislature on Thursday passed a controversial bill aimed at imposing work requirements on people receiving Medicaid benefits through the TennCare system, reports the Associated Press. Gov. Bill Haslam has backed the measure.

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Illinois proposal denounces TN House for spurning anti-white nationalist resolution

A resolution filed in the Illinois House of Representatives declares that the Tennessee House has “been cowed by the growing influence of white nationalists and neo-Nazis” and the Democrat sponsor tells The Tennessean he expects it to pass with Republican support. It’s suggested other states may do the same.

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Angry legislators ditch 2018 TNReady test scores in swift, bipartisan votes

Moving swiftly Thursday amid reports of more problems with TNReady testing across the state, both the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved sweeping legislation to block use of this year’s test scores from accountability systems for students, teachers, schools, and districts, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

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Bill to ban motorist smoking with child passengers aboard fails by one vote in Senate

A bill allowing police to cite adult motorists who are smoking in vehicles with children present fell one vote short of passage in the state Senate Wednesday. The Times Free Press reports the measure touched off a fierce debate about health versus personal freedom.

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House’s $250K Memphis money cut becomes GOP debate topic, inspires fundraising drive

In a debate Wednesday, three Republican candidates for governor said they disagreed with a House vote to cut $250,000 in funding for Memphis because of the city’s removal of Confederate monuments from former city parks. But Diane Black, Randy Boyd and Bill Lee also said they opposed the city’s action, reports the Memphis Daily News. House Speaker Beth Harwell, who missed the debate while presiding over the House in Nashville, voted for the Memphis funding cut.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been started on Facebook to raise funds to make up the money lost through the House vote, according to a separate News report. As of Thursday morning, $44,765 had been raised toward the $250,000 goal.

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TBI asked to investigate whether TNReady was hacked

State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen asked Wednesday that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the state Office of Homeland Security investigate whether the computer system used in TNReady testing statewide was hacked this week. The commissioner told legislators she was “devastated” by the latest round of troubles for the system but will not heed Democrats’ call for her to resign.

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House votes to penalize Memphis $250K for removing Confederate monuments

In approving a state budget on Tuesday, the House voted 56-31 for an amendment that strips $250,000 in state money earmarked for helping finance the City of Memphis bicentennial celebrations next year – effectively penalizing the city’s removal of Confederate monuments from former city parks late last year.

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More TNReady testing turmoil — in classrooms and at the legislature

Testing of high school students under the state’s TNReady program was suspended in many school districts Tuesday after troubles that officials say may have been a “deliberate attack” via computers.

Reaction in the legislature: Democrats called for the resignation of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen because of repeated TNReady trouble. And the full House slapped amendments onto pending legislation that would require the tests to be administered on paper rather than on computers and limit the use of TNReady scores in teacher and student assessments.

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