Associated Press

  COLUMBIA, Tenn. (AP) — A prosecutor is asking pharmacy employees to be on the lookout for a 50-year-old Tennessee teacher who disappeared last month with a student.

District Attorney Brent Cooper tells news outlets Tad Cummins takes medicine to control his blood pressure and likely will need a refill.

Cummins and 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas were reported missing on March 13.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — House Speaker Beth Harwell's effort to strip any fuel tax increases from fellow Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's road funding proposal has fizzled — at least for now.

Haslam's proposal was approved by the House Finance Committee after a proposed rewrite of the bill was withdrawn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Republican bill in Tennessee that would exempt churches from having to report campaign spending on "public or private morality" has been withdrawn.

On Tuesday, Sen. Dolores Gresham of Somerville withdrew the bill from consideration for the rest of the year.

Gresham's bill says the issues would include measures related to alcohol, drugs, abortion, marriage or gambling.

Referendums are often held in Tennessee cities and counties on whether to allow supermarket wine sales, liquor-by-the-drink sales or package stores.

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee House panel has narrowly voted down a push to offer in-state tuition rates to public college students whose parents brought them to the country illegally, drawing tears from some students in the room.

The House Education Administration & Planning Committee voted 7-6 against the bill Tuesday.

Republican bill sponsor Rep. Mark White of Memphis said the students didn't choose to enter the country at a young age, many have been in Tennessee almost their whole lives, and they're victimized by federal inaction.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A report has found that Tennessee's system of providing court-appointed attorneys for the poor pales in comparison to the state's power and resources.

The Commercial Appeal ( reports a task force appointed by the state Supreme Court released its findings Monday, saying that the current programs fail to adequately protect those who cannot afford legal fees for things like representation in criminal cases and protecting children's and parents' rights in juvenile court proceedings.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say that three people have been shot outside an auto parts plant in Cookeville, Tennessee.

The Cookeville Police Department said on its Facebook page that police received a call shortly after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday reporting the incident. The statement said the shootings took place outside the Ficosa plant but did not give any details on the victims, the shooter or a motive.

The condition of the victims is also not known at this time.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An effort to strip a proposed gas tax hike from Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to boost transportation funding in Tennessee is scheduled for a vote in a key House committee on Tuesday.

The change supported by Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell would rewrite the legislation to instead draw the bulk of the funding for new road and bridge construction from sales taxes paid on new and used vehicles. It would also create new taxes on electric and hybrid vehicles, and increase registration fees.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ahead of an expected committee vote, several conservative Tennessee representatives are decrying a push by fellow Republicans to offer in-state tuition rates to public college students whose parents brought them to the country illegally.

At a news conference Monday, Republican Rep. Judd Matheny of Tullahoma led more than a dozen lawmakers in contending that state taxpayer money shouldn't be spent on tuition breaks for students here illegally or under temporary status through an order by former President Barack Obama.

CENTERVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Officials say a Tennessee prison is on lockdown after three correctional officers were stabbed multiple times during a disturbance involving more than a dozen inmates.

Tennessee Department of Correction spokeswoman Neysa Taylor told WSMV-TV the inmates attacked the officers, holding one of them hostage, Sunday afternoon at a housing unit at the Turney Center Industrial Complex. The prison is located in Hickman County, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) southwest of Nashville.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Metro Nashville Police Department has reached an agreement with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that allows the bureau to investigate deaths involving the use of force by officers.

The Tennessean reports that under the new agreement, Davidson County District Attorney General Glenn Funk will ask the bureau to investigate any death involving the use of force by an on-duty Metro police officer.

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's attorney general is questioning the constitutionality of a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks.

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III is the top law enforcement official in Tennessee, a conservative Republican state. He also is Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's former top legal adviser.

In an opinion filed last week, he called two parts of the bill sponsored by two Republican state lawmakers "constitutionally suspect."

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee bill that would outlaw and block funding for immigrant-protecting sanctuary cities is dead for the year.

On Wednesday, Republican Rep. Tilman Goins of Morristown delayed consideration of the bill until 2018.

The proposal would have punished a state or local government entity for adopting a sanctuary policy by withholding state funding until the policy is removed.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Historical Commission has come out against a plan to exhume the body of former President James K. Polk from the grounds of the state Capitol and move it 50 miles away.

Commission Executive Director Patrick McIntyre Jr. wrote a letter saying moving the graves of the 11th U.S. president and his wife, Sarah, will create a false sense of history at the site.

The state Senate has passed a resolution that would move the bodies to the James K. Polk Home and Museum in Columbia, Tennessee.

  COLUMBIA, Tenn. (AP) — The father of a Tennessee teenager says the 50-year-old teacher she vanished with last month is "nothing but a liar."

Anthony Thomas tried to deliver a message to his missing 15-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, on Wednesday by telling WKRN-TV ( ) "we all need you home." He said teacher Tad Cummins is "filtering" the news the girl sees. He urged Cummins to turn himself in.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Supporters of the Black Lives Matter and Fight for $15 movements have marched through the streets of downtown Memphis, demanding higher wages and racial equality on the 49th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.

Several hundred people, including a 220-piece marching band from Talladega College in Alabama, marched more than a mile (1.6 kilometers), from City Hall to the National Civil Rights Museum on Tuesday.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) — A Williamson County jury has convicted a man of human trafficking in what's believed to be the first trial of its kind in the county.

The Tennessean reports 26-year-old Eric Demarco Hamilton of Flint, Michigan was convicted last week on one count of trafficking for a commercial sex act and one charge of domestic assault.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Rep. Jerry Sexton is once again berating his colleagues on the House floor about what he calls rules violations and manipulations to advance Gov. Bill Haslam's transportation funding proposal that would include the state's first gas tax hike since 1989.

Sexton had lectured his GOP colleagues about how they should join him in opposition to the bill before committee votes that resulted in the measure being moved along.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Republican leader in the Tennessee House says his effort to allow lawmakers living within 50 miles of the state Capitol to be reimbursed for hotel bills is unrelated to his pending divorce.

Rep. Glen Casada tells WTVF-TV ( ) that the proposal is "absolutely not" connected to his own family status.

Casada, who lives 39 miles from the Capitol in Williamson County, says the measure would take effect after the 2018 elections, which would be after his divorce is finalized.

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A plan by a Tennessee nonprofit to house the homeless by building a village of micro homes near a church has prompted some neighbors to picket in protest.

WTVF-TV ( reports protesters picketed property owned by Glencliff United Methodist Church in Nashville on Sunday where the nonprofit Open Table Nashville plans to construct the homes.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Plumbing company executive Bill Lee says he's close to jumping into the Tennessee governor's race.

The Franklin businessman tells The Tennessean that he has been touring the state and meeting with Republican leaders. While a formal announcement may be weeks away, Lee says he wants to join the race "sooner rather than later."

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Christian music singer Amy Grant and Nashville philanthropist Martha R. Ingram will be honored with stars on the Music City Walk of Fame next month in Tennessee.

The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. made the announcement Thursday. The ceremony will be at 1 p.m. April 27 in Walk of Fame Park.

The new stars will bring the total on the Walk of Fame to 76. Inductees are recognized for significant contributions to preserving Nashville's musical heritage and for their contributions through music or other industry collaboration.


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A National Public Radio affiliate reporter has sued over her firing after she covered meetings between high schoolers and legislators who said she secretly recorded them discussing LGBT issues.

The Times Free Press reports Thursday ( ) WUTC-FM reporter Jacqui Helbert sued University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, which licenses the station.

The Hamilton County Circuit Court lawsuit claims she was fired because lawmakers threatened retaliation against UTC.

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee authorities say it is inaccurate to use the word "romance" to describe the relationship between a 15-year-old girl and a 50-year-old teacher who disappeared together two weeks ago.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said Tuesday at a news conference that teacher Tad Cummins manipulated Elizabeth Thomas and kidnapped her.

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A previously defeated proposal to amend the state constitution to say that God is the source of Tennesseans' liberties has been resurrected in the House.

The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Micah Van Huss of Jonesborough had failed on a 3-3 vote in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee earlier this month. But Republican Rep. Martin Daniel of Knoxville made a motion to reconsider the bill, so it is scheduled to be heard again on Wednesday.

  CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Police fatally shot a suspect who was a sheriff's department employee after being called to a home disturbance on Wednesday, officials said.

The Chattanooga Police Department said in a news release that officers were called to a home about 1:30 a.m. and encountered an armed suspect outside. The statement said officers were forced to shoot the suspect, who later died at a hospital.

During a press conference, Chattanooga Police Chief of Staff David Roddy said it was unclear what type of weapon the suspect had.