AP/WMOT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating threats made against a state lawmaker after he announced plans to give away an AR-15 rifle.

The weapons are similar to the one used to murder 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday.

Republican state Rep. Andy Holt says his office was contacted repeatedly by an anonymous caller with a Memphis phone ID. The caller said he was armed and threatened to pay Holt’s office a visit.

RCSO

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold says he won't leave office despite facing federal corruption charges.

The Daily News Journal reports Arnold sent a text message Saturday to one of the newspaper's reporters that said he had no intention of resigning.

albertmohler.com

WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — The man Time magazine called “the reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.” says the 2016 presidential election may decide the fate of American democracy.

Dr. Albert Mohler is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In a recent edition of his daily podcast, Mohler also says that populist uprisings in both the Republican and Democratic parties are making this election cycle challenging for evangelical Christians.

Doggart campaign

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A Tennessee man is facing still more charges in connection with a plot to attack a Muslim community in New York, and an Islamic advocacy group is asking why he isn’t in jail.

Sixty-four-year-old Robert Doggart pleaded not guilty in July to one charge of solicitation to commit a civil rights violation.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that a grand jury also indicted Doggart on one count of solicitation to commit arson of a building and two counts of threat in interstate commerce charges.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill allowing staff and faculty at Tennessee's public colleges and universities to be armed on campus has become law without Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's signature.

Haslam said he disagrees with the bill for not allowing campus leaders to make their own decision about allowing guns. But the governor acknowledged that the final version of the measure had addressed some concerns raised by college administrators.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Murfreesboro officials are asking for the public’s help as they investigate a shooting at a weekend party that left five people wounded, one seriously.

Police were called to the Aspen Heights Apartment complex at around 1 a.m. Sunday morning. They were told a fight had broken out at a party being held there and shots were being fired. Police say one victim had serious injuries and was taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center.  Four others had non-life threatening injuries and were taken to St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital.

seatle.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A bill requiring students to use restrooms matching their gender at birth is advancing again in the Tennessee House after being revived in committee.

The House Education Committee voted 8-4 Wednesday to reverse an earlier decision to sideline the bill.

The measure’s supporters say the bill is needed to protect children who might otherwise be forced to share a restroom with a person of the opposite sex. Detractors say the bill would discriminate against transgender students.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The re-trial of former Vanderbilt football player Cory Batey for the alleged rape of a fellow student is underway in Nashville.

The trial began this morning in Davidson County Criminal Court. Batey is accused of five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

He was convicted of rape last year but that verdict was set aside after it was discovered that a juror had failed to divulge that he’d been the victim of a statutory rape as a teen.

capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill calling for more free speech rights at public colleges and universities in Tennessee has been withdrawn after the sponsor said it would allow Islamic State recruiters to operate on campuses.

Republican Rep. Martin Daniel of Knoxville was challenged Wednesday about the impact that his "Tennessee Student Free Speech Protection Act" would have on campuses.

Democratic Rep. John Deberry of Memphis asked whether it would go so far as to allow people to stand in the middle of campus and "recruit for ISIS."

redcross.org

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --   People in Southeast Texas are being evacuated from their flooded homes today and Tennessee volunteers with the Red Cross are on the move to provide aid.

People living along the Sabine River along the Texas – Louisiana line are facing the worst flooding the region has seen since 1884. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for much of the region.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the clear Super Tuesday presidential primary winners, including here in Tennessee.

Trump won seven of the 11 states in which Republicans voted. Clinton enjoyed sweeping victories in large states like Texas, Virginia and Georgia putting her far ahead of rival Bernie Sanders.

Donald Trump pulled down 39 percent of the vote in Tennessee’s Republican primary, topping the vote count in every county but one. Marco Rubio was the Republican favorite in Williamson County.

MILLERSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Highway Patrol says three people have died in a crash on Interstate 65.

THP spokesman Bill Miller told media that two vehicles crashed head-on about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday in Middle Tennessee after one vehicle crossed the median and struck the other.

The crash occurred in Sumner County near Millersburg. All lanes of the roadway were closed while police investigated the scene. Officials did not immediately release the identities of those killed.

Just yesterday, three people were killed in a two-car crash in Knoxville.

U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — A skeptical congressional panel led by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker will grill Secretary of State John Kerry today about the deal he struck this week with Russia for a ceasefire in Syria.

Kerry is scheduled to testify today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee amid nagging questions over enforcement of the truce and how violations of the agreement will be handled.

The cease-fire is to go into effect Saturday.

Congressional mistrust of Russia runs high on Capitol Hill and is sure to color the hearing.

SCOTUS

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  WASHINGTON (AP) —  Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz released a new campaign ad Monday focused on the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

The ad warns conservatives they they’re "just one Supreme Court justice away" from losing on key issues including “marriage, religious liberty [and] the Second Amendment."

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Officials say less than 0.2 percent of Tennesseans who have applied for welfare since July 2014 have failed a drug test mandated for some.

Citing data provided by the Department of Human Services the Tennessean reports that 65 of 39,121 people applying for Families First cash assistance benefits tested positive for drugs since the law was implemented.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt University released the results of two surveys on sexual assault yesterday that reveal the problem is far more common than previously suspected.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1VrhH6j ) reports the university asked students in spring 2015 to take one of two surveys on sexual assault. The results were released yesterday.

capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — The Tennessee lawmaker who introduced a bill seeking to bar the state from following the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling says he is undeterred by a projected loss of $8.5 billion in federal funds if the Legislature enacts the measure.

State Rep. Mark Pody said at a rally at the state Capitol Tuesday that the proposal he’s dubbed the "Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act" is worth any cost, even though the Lebanon Republican disputed the estimated loss of federal funds.

capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Embattled Tennessee Rep. Jeremy Durham has survived an effort to oust him from his leadership role among state House Republicans.

Before discussing Durham’s fate, House Republicans voted to eject the media from Tuesday’s meeting. A secret ballot to remove Durham as majority whip then failed to reach the required two-thirds vote.

Prosecutors in 2013 sought charges against Durham on allegations that he had altered the dates on medical prescriptions, but a grand jury declined to indict him in 2014.

TBR

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Chancellor John Morgan is stepping down as head of the Tennessee Board of Regents following Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's announcement that he wants to grant more autonomy to the six four-year universities in the system.

Haslam surprised Morgan and many others in the higher education community when he announced plans last month to re-focus the Board of Regents on the state's 40 community and technical colleges.

whitehouse.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP/WMOT)  --  Tennessee’s Republican leadership was quick to pan new gun control measures announced yesterday by President Barack Obama.

Speaking at the White House, Obama defended his executive actions to tighten criminal background checks, saying he’s not plotting to take away everyone’s guns.

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes responded with a press statement saying that the president’s actions “could undermine our constitutional rights.

capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers say they continue to get calls from their constituents expressing concern about the vetting process for allowing Syrian refugees in the state.

A joint legislative committee heard testimony yesterday from security officials and refugee advocates.

A highlight of the testimony came from David Shedd, former director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, who acknowledged there are some weaknesses in the federal vetting process.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Skilled trades workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga have given the United Auto Workers Union its first inroads into a foreign auto plant in the American south.

This past week the skilled workers who maintain the plant’s equipment and robots at VW's lone U.S. plant voted to have the UAW negotiate their collective bargaining agreements. The workers approved unionization by a vote of 108-44 over two days of voting that ended Friday.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Members of a panel appointed to offer a recommendation about a Middle Tennessee State University building named after Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest will hold the first of two open forums on the topic today.

MTSU President Sidney McPhee announced in June he would engage the university community about the building's name. That followed a mass shooting at a historically black church in South Carolina that sparked debate about Confederate symbols.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Thousands of Tennesseans will have to find new doctors or pay higher fees following a decision by the Vanderbilt Medical system to opt out of a BlueCross BlueShield healthcare plan.

WSMV says Vanderbilt University Medical Center and affiliated practitioners are leaving the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medicare Advantage program.

BlueCross says about 20,000 policy holders, mostly senior citizens, will be affected. A spokesperson for BlueCross tells the station Vanderbilt has simply gotten too expensive.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State Attorney General Herbert Slatery says in a legal opinion that federal law prevents Tennessee from refusing entry to Syrian refugees.

In the opinion released Monday, Slatery notes that through the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal law pre-empts any rules the state may put into place regarding refugees.

But Slatery also says the state has every right to communicate to the federal government its preferences and concerns about the refugee resettlement program.

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