State of Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's Republican governor says he has signed a bill that allows private mental health counselors to refuse to treat patients based on the therapist's religious or personal beliefs as long as an "appropriate referral" can be made to another counselor.

Supporters say the bill protects the rights of therapists and allows them to refer patients to more appropriate counselors.

Haslam says, "Lawyers can do that. Doctors can do that. Why would we take this one class of professionals and say you can't do that?"

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Middle Tennessee State University has named a new support center for military veterans who are students there in honor of country music singer Charlie Daniels and his wife, Hazel.

MTSU President Sidney McPhee announced the honor during a dinner on campus at which the musician donated $70,000 for the center from the Journey Home Project, the charity he founded with his manager and three other people. That brought the total donated by the project to $120,000 for the center on the Murfreesboro campus.

Tennessee General Assembly

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A mid-state political analyst is bemoaning the time Tennessee lawmakers spent on what he refers to as “God, guns and gays” during the legislative session just concluded.

Kent Syler teaches political science at Middle Tennessee State University. Syler says he considers Gov. Bill Haslam’s education initiatives to be the best legislation to come out of the two sessions of the 109th Tennessee General Assembly. He says Haslam’s TNPromise program providing a free two year college education to high school grads is proving successful.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Volkswagen is appealing a federal ruling that allowed a union vote ultimately won by the United Auto Workers at the German automaker's lone U.S. assembly plant in Chattanooga.

The National Labor Relations Board earlier this month declined to take up Volkswagen's challenge to the vote. The election approved the  unionization of a group of about 160 workers specializing in the repair and maintenance of machinery and robots.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The president of a North Carolina-based testing company says he can't guarantee that all students in Tennessee will receive the state's new assessment in time to take the test.

Measurement Inc. president and CEO Hank Scherich says that his company is working furiously to get the new TNReady materials to students.