Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A teacher charged with kidnapping a 15-year-old student and taking her to California is back home in Tennessee, facing charges that could leave him in prison for life.

Tad Cummins appeared in a federal courtroom in Nashville on Tuesday to face an additional charge of bringing a minor across state lines for sex. The 50-year-old health science teacher was shackled with leg irons and wearing a striped jail jumpsuit when he entered the courtroom. He smiled at relatives who came to watch.

whitehouse.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Four married lesbian couples expecting children through artificial insemination are suing over a new Tennessee law that requires using the "natural and ordinary meaning" of words in state law.

The couples sued Gov. Bill Haslam, the state of Tennessee and the state Department of Health and its commissioner Monday in Davidson County Chancery Court.

The lawsuit says the couples fear the law will be used to interpret gender-specific words, including "father" and "mother," literally so one parent won't be recognized and rights can be denied.

TBI

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and a district attorney have taken the unusual step of asking a court to release a TBI report on the death of an armed African-American man shot by a white officer in Nashville.

Under Tennessee law, all TBI investigative files are confidential and can't be released to the public unless ordered by a court or subpoenaed.

mtsu.edu

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Police in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, say a suspect has been arrested in a fatal shooting at an apartment complex.

Murfreesboro police spokesman Kyle Evans says 20-year-old Lammoris Montrel Jones was arrested Saturday and charged with first-degree homicide in the death of 23-year-old Jessie Buford of Memphis. Jones' hometown wasn't disclosed.

Police say Buford was found outside the apartment complex Thursday and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

transportation.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill that would require school buses to have seatbelts in Tennessee has been withdrawn for the year.

The Times Free Press reports (http://bit.ly/2pTHc9J ) that Democratic Rep. JoAnne Favors of Chattanooga late last week pulled her bill, which was inspired by a deadly school bus crash in her city in November.

The legislation would have mandated seat belts in new school buses bought after July 2019.

dollywoodfoundation.org

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Dolly Parton's Dollywood Foundation has given $10,000 each to nearly 900 families displaced by deadly wildfires in Tennessee last year.

The singer said in a statement that the final distribution of checks was made this week to families in Sevier County to help them rebuild. The Country Music Hall of Fame singer started the My People fund after wildfires struck in November, killing 14 people in the Gatlinburg area and destroying or damaging thousands of buildings.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Deep divisions among majority Republicans in the Tennessee House on Thursday threw a monkey wrench into the state's $37 billion annual spending plan.

Republican opponents of the gas tax hike that Gov. Bill Haslam has already signed into law led the charge to amend the state budget bill with a variety of pet projects that did not make it through the committee process. They were supported by Democrats, who say the GOP reneged on a deal to fund a block grant program for schools in exchange for earlier votes on the gas tax bill.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A teenage girl who was the subject of an Amber alert in Tennessee after she failed to return home from school is now charged in the fatal shooting of a gas station attendant, police said. The man with whom the girl disappeared is also charged.

MILLERSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A mid-state man has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a 16-month-old child.

News outlets report 24-year-old Kortney Stanciel was initially arrested April 16 for aggravated child abuse.

Millersville detective Don Long says the child was taken off life support April 27 and on the same day Stanciel's charges were upgraded to homicide in the death of the infant girl. Long says Stanciel confessed to unintentionally harming the child.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill into law that will force people to face stiffer penalties for committing a violent offence against a police officer.

The measure, which passed unanimously in both the House and Senate, applies to any uniformed law enforcement officer, as well as those in the military or national guard, targeted simply because of their status as member of a police or armed service agency.

The law creates a new sentence enhancement for the targeting of officers.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee police say seven bounty hunters and bail bondsmen have been indicted on first-degree murder and other charges in the killing of an unarmed man and the wounding of another.

Authorities say 24-year-old Jalen Johnson and another man were wounded April 23 after the bounty hunters and bail bondsmen confronted Johnson and his three friends in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Clarksville. Authorities have said the bounty hunters and bail bondsmen chased the men for seven miles, putting the public at risk.

whitehouse.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two plaintiffs in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court gay marriage case want Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to veto legislation requiring use of the "natural and ordinary meaning" of undefined words in state law.

Tennessee Equality Project says Jim Obergefell and Thom Kostura will speak Wednesday at Tennessee's Capitol.

LGBT advocates fear could the legislation could spur discrimination against same-sex couples and transgender people.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Police in Tennessee say they are asking a grand jury to bring charges because investigators believe bounty hunters shot two men in a wild incident last weekend in which one of the men was fatally wounded.

Clarksville Police spokesman Jim Knoll said authorities will ask a county grand jury on Monday to bring charges after the shooting last weekend in which he says neither man shot was the person whom bounty hunters were trying to serve with a warrant

meganbarry.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has committed to a starting a light rail project in hopes of clearing some congestion in the growing city.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2q7lzRl ) that in her State of Metro speech, Barry identified Gallatin Pike for light rail trains. The stretch heads from downtown through East Nashville into the Rivergate area. Details are not finalized.

She said that area is one of five identified for high-capacity transit projects.

Barry also made a pitch to hold a 2018 proposed referendum on transit money.

fuelgaugereport.aaa.com

   NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has signed his wide-ranging proposal that increases Tennessee's gas tax to fund roadwork and cuts other taxes.

On Wednesday, the Republican governor signed the bill that includes Tennessee's first gas tax increase since 1989. The changes take effect July 1.

Both chambers passed the bill last week. In a final vote Monday, the House agreed to include disabled veterans property tax relief and sent the bill to Haslam's desk.

aslta.org/

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Legislature has passed a measure that allows students to take American Sign Language and get credit for their foreign language requirements.

Sen. Becky Massey, a Republican from Knoxville who sponsored the Senate Bill, said Tennessee passed a law allowing kids to take ASL for credit back in the early '90s. But Massey said lawmakers never made sure it got implemented. She said the new bill assures that it will.

Massey said there are approximately 500,000 Tennesseans who are deaf or hard of hearing and many use ASL to communicate.

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (AP) — Court documents show that a 15-year-old Tennessee girl who was allegedly kidnapped by her teacher had endured months of abuse by her mother.

The mother is scheduled to appear in court next month to face five counts of abuse and neglect involving several of her children. She has pleaded not guilty.

The girl's father filed for divorce Monday, citing the alleged abuse. The teen was found safe with her 50-year-old teacher last week at a cabin in Northern California.

transportation.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee House panel has voted to make the state commit to cover the whole cost before a proposed regulations to require seat belts in new school buses can take effect.

Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby attached the amendment during a Government Operations Committee meeting Tuesday.

The bill stems from a crash that killed six elementary school children in Chattanooga in November.

Faison said local school districts cannot afford the additional cost.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The man charged in the kidnapping of a Tennessee girl acknowledged in California federal court that he is the suspect and agreed to return to Tennessee to face charges there.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall Newman ordered Tad Cummins held in the meantime as both a flight risk and a danger to the public.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee attorney general's office says it would defend an amended abortion bill in court if it becomes law, despite previously calling its key requirements "constitutionally suspect."

Attorney General Herbert Slatery's spokesman says "the law to some degree is unsettled" surrounding the legislation, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks if doctors determine the fetus is viable. It wouldn't apply in medical emergencies or if the mother faced serious risks.

meganbarry.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville Mayor Megan Barry says she isn't interested in a plan by activists to create a civilian review board for the Metro Nashville Police Department.

WPLN-FM reports (http://bit.ly/2q6WsgS) there have been demands to create a civilian review board since 31-year-old Jocques Clemmons was fatally shot by a Metro Police officer on Feb. 10. A coalition of grassroots activists have proposed a 13-member volunteer board would oversee and arbitrate complaints brought against the department.

leecompany.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Franklin businessman Bill Lee says he's jumping into the Tennessee governor's race.

The Republican tells The Tennessean that his campaign will formally begin Monday when he plans to roll out a recently purchased RV that he'll use to travel the state.

The 57-year-old Lee is chairman of the Lee Co., which was founded by his grandfather. The company's services include plumbing, electrical and HVAC for residential, business and government customers.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Former Maury County teacher Tad Cummins will make his initial court appearance in California Monday to answer to federal charges that he took a minor across state lines for the purpose of having sex. 

It could be a couple of weeks before Cummins is extradited back to Middle Tennessee where he’ll face the additional charge of aggravated kidnapping.

Cummins disappeared with teen student Elizabeth Thomas in mid-March. They were discovered this past week in norther California.

Thomas was reunited with her family this past weekend.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A defense lawyer is being criticized for telling a Tennessee jury that women are "especially good" at lying "because they're the weaker sex."

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports (http://memne.ws/2p2pSzy ) attorney Steve Farese made the comments during closing arguments of the trial of Mark Giannini, a wealthy businessman accused of raping a woman who came to his house for a job interview. Farese maintains that the sex was consensual and has questioned the woman's credibility.

nhl.com/predators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Now that they've swept the Western Conference's top seed out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Nashville Predators want to continue making history by finally advancing beyond the second round.

The Predators have been around since 1998-99 but never have won a second-round playoff series. They came close last year before losing a seventh game to the San Jose Sharks.

Then again, the Predators also had never recorded a playoff sweep or had won a postseason series with the Chicago Blackhawks before this week.

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