MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander has used his new position as Chairman of the Senate Health Committee to weigh in on the debate concerning Measles vaccinations.

Health officials say there are now 121 measles cases nationwide, all but 18 are tied to an outbreak that started at the Disneyland amusement park in California.

Until recently, it was unusual to see more than 100 measles cases a year in the United States. However, many parents now avoid getting their kids vaccinated, believing the shots themselves cause devastating illnesses.




NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Gov. Bill Haslam devoted half of his State of the State speech to education and again this year promised Tennessee teachers a pay raise.

The Republican governor announced Monday evening that he’s included $100 million dollars in the upcoming budget to fund a 4 percent salary increase for teachers. Haslam also announced that he’ll be submitting legislation to make other changes teachers have been asking for.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A new poll by Middle Tennessee State University shows overwhelming support for Gov. Bill Haslam's program to make community college and technical schools free for upcoming graduates.


The poll found that 79 percent approve of the program known as Tennessee Promise. The poll showed 12 percent against it, 8 percent were unsure and the rest gave no answer.

Here’s how the governor described Tennessee Promise when he introduced the initiative last year.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — DUI arrests are on the rise here in the mid-state and across Tennessee. A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report says there were more Tennessee residents charged with driving under the influence in 2014 than 2013. The report, released Feb. 1, says law enforcement agencies arrested just over 29,500 Tennessee drivers for the offense in 2014. That's 639 more people arrested for DUI than in the previous year. With the exception of 2013, DUI arrests in Murfreesboro have risen each year since at least 2009.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) —  The state Legislature goes into special session Monday to take Gov. Bill Haslam’s Medicaid expansion proposal.

The governor was here in Murfreesboro yesterday afternoon wrapping up a statewide tour promoting the special deal he worked out with the Obama Administration. Haslam has acknowledged that getting fellow Republicans to approve any deal connected to the president’s signature Affordable Health Care Act will be an uphill battle.




NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — About 90 percent of Tennessee's 2014 high school graduates have applied for the first year of Tennessee Promise, the program that offers eligible seniors the chance to go to a community college or technical college tuition-free.


The Tennessean reports that amounts to about 58,000 students and exceeds predictions by tens of thousands.

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan says, not only will there be more students, but they’ll likely need more help to succeed.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Some State Senators are questioning the Attorney General’s legal opinion regarding Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to expand Medicare in Tennessee.

State Attorney General Herbert Slatery says the state will be able to cancel the proposed Insure Tennessee plan to provide health insurance to low-income Tennesseans if costs exceed expectations.

But yesterday in a senate Judicial Committee hearing, some Senators took issue with that legal opinion. Republican Senator Mike Bell of Riceville told the hearing he fears Tennessee could end up in a federal lawsuit.




NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — About 90 percent of Tennessee's 2014 high school graduates have applied for the first year of Tennessee Promise, the program that offers eligible seniors the chance to go to a community college or technical college tuition-free.


The Tennessean reports that amounts to about 58,000 students and exceeds predictions by tens of thousands.

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan says, not only will there be more students, but they’ll likely need more help to succeed.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)  --  Nashville International Airport is starting to see flight cancelations to the northeast as a major snow storm snarls air travel nationwide.

Almost 1,900 flights scheduled today have been canceled, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware. Nearly 1,800 additional flights have been scrapped for tomorrow.

Emily Richard is a spokesperson for Nashville International.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — MTSU Men’s basketball trailed for much of their game against Charlotte, but pulled ahead in the final seconds to win 72-69 Saturday night.

The Blue Raiders lost the lead early in the first half and didn’t get it back until Jaqawn Raymond's hit a 3-pointer with 1:49 remaining. Reggie Upshaw made two free throws to extend the lead to three with 43 seconds remaining.

Jacquez Rozier scored 13 points and Jacob Ivory tied his career high with 12 to lead Middle Tennessee. The team is now 12-8 on the season and 5-2 Conference USA.


JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam is touring the state this week to promote his Medicaid expansion plan to cover about 200,000 more low-income Tennesseans.

Haslam began the tour yesterday, at hospitals in Jackson and Memphis. The governor says he’ll make up to eight more stops around the state in advance of a special legislative session he’s called for Feb. 2 to consider his Insure Tennessee  initiative.


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's State of the Union address is drawing critical reviews from Tennessee Republicans.

Senator Lamar Alexander’s reaction was blunt, saying the ideas the president put forward were little more than “partisan proposals that don’t have any chance of becoming law.”

State Senator Bill Ketron was equally disparaging, suggesting that rather than promoting additional spending, the president should follow Tennessee’s example and balance the federal budget.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether news media are entitled to records related to a rape case against four former Vanderbilt University football players.

The Court of Appeals in September ruled that records sought by a statewide media coalition should not be made public because they’re part of a continuing police investigation. The decision reversed a lower court that found that some records given to police should be made available.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A measure that adjusts the way Tennessee evaluates its teachers has been introduced in the State Legislature.


Governor Haslam proposed the bill, temporarily lowering how much of a teacher’s evaluation depends on student test scores. Currently, 35 percent of an educator's evaluation is composed of student achievement data.

Barbara Gray, President of the state’s largest teacher’s union applauds the proposal. She says the current student assessment, the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS), is deeply flawed.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Darnell Harris scored 24 points as Middle Tennessee ran away from Florida Atlantic for an 82-58 Conference USA win Saturday night.

The Blue Raiders held an eight-point lead at the break, 42-24, but opened the second half on a 29-9 run and never looked back. Marcus Tarrance drilled a 3-pointer 16 seconds into the second half to spark the run.

Tarrance, Reggie Upshaw Jr. and Perrin Buford each added a dozen points for Middle Tennessee, which shot 45 percent from the field. The Blue Raiders outrebounded the Owls 39-19.


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is apparently preparing to take a page from Governor Bill Haslam’s education play book. 

Just ahead of his visit today in Knoxville, the president has released a youtube video in which he says he plans to propose free community college education for every high school graduate nationwide.


NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials across the country and here in Tennessee say the flu has reached epidemic levels in 43 states and could peak soon.

Dr. Kelly Moore with the Tennessee Department of Health says this year’s flu vaccine isn’t working as well as hoped, but still recommends you get that shot.

“The vaccine is still the best tool we have to prevent or reduce the severity of illness of the flu, so we’re still strongly recommending that you get it.”

Adam Rose, Special Operations Response Team

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — A Middle Tennessee teen is facing a charge of reckless endangerment after crews had to rescue him from a rain swollen stream.

The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office says that 18-year-old Clinton Cole Powers drove into rushing water covering a portion of Elam Road Sunday and his truck ended up in the Stones River.

A statement from the agency says Powers was rescued by swift water technicians from the Emergency Medical Services' Special Operations Response Team. His passenger, 21-year-old Brentan Mihm, swam to shore.


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama is scheduled to visit East Tennessee this week, his second visit to the state in a month.

The White House says the President, Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s wife, Jill, will appear at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville Friday to announce a new education initiative.

The federal initiative to be announced will, as the press statement words it, “help more Americans go to college and get the skills they need to succeed.”




NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Gov. Bill Haslam has named a top mid-state academic with extensive Common Core experience to be the next Tennessee education commissioner.

The governor has chosen Lipscomb University's Candice McQueen. She’ll replace Kevin Huffman, who announced last month that he's leaving for the private sector.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  A number of Republicans and a few Democrats are reacting angrily to President Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba, but a prominent Tennessee Republican is taking a more measure tone.

Likely Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio reacted furiously to the president’s initiative, saying in part that the move “is a victory for oppressive governments the world over.”

But Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who is likely to head the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the next Congress, was more reserved in his reaction.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — More than 80 business, health care and civic groups have formed the Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee to support Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to expand Medicaid.

Haslam's "Insure Tennessee" plan would draw down federal money under President Barack Obama's health care law to provide health care to an estimated 200,000 Tennesseans..

AARP Tennessee is one of the coalition members. Shelley Courington is the group’s Advocacy Director.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam says he’s reached a deal with federal officials to expand Medicaid in Tennessee.

The Republican governor announced the agreement this morning after months of discussions with federal authorities.

Called Insure Tennessee, the program will provide coverage for the state's uninsured without creating new taxes for Tennesseans. Under the plan, members would receive a voucher to purchase insurance in the private market.


WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — President Barack Obama's health insurance program faces another big deadline today.

Tonight at 2 a.m. Central Time is the deadline for new customers to pick a health plan that will take effect Jan. 1.

For current customers, it's the deadline to make changes that could reduce expected premium increases ahead of the New Year.




NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)/WMOT — State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says that if fellow Republican Gov. Bill Haslam succeeds in his negotiations with President Barack Obama's administration on a special Tennessee deal for Medicaid expansion, the result could be "sellable" to skeptical state lawmakers.


The biggest problem as Ramsey sees it: He doesn't think the Obama administration is interested in agreeing to Haslam's proposal. The governor is reportedly asking for co-pays and deductibles and to use the federal money to subsidize commercial insurance.