Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's top Republicans say they want to keep the current method of choosing judges and will introduce a constitutional amendment that would require voter approval.

Gov. Bill Haslam, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell announced Wednesday in Nashville that they oppose the popular election of Supreme Court justices and appellate court judges.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The father of a gay college student who died after being beaten says he's disturbed by anti-gay legislation being proposed in Tennessee.

Dennis Shepard spoke at a Nashville news conference Wednesday. Shepard's son, Matt, was 21 when he was beaten 14 years ago in Wyoming, tied to a fence and left in the cold by two men he met in a bar.

His death spurred passage of a measure that expanded an earlier federal hate crime law to include sexual orientation, among other things.

NASHVILLE,‭ ‬Tenn.‭ (‬AP‭) — ‬Two Republican state legislators are pushing a measure aimed at allowing local governments to display the Ten Commandments in county courthouses or on public grounds in Tennessee.

Sen.‭ ‬Mike Bell of Riceville and Rep.‭ ‬Matthew Hill of Jonesboro have introduced a bill authorizing counties and cities to set up displays of historical documents and monuments and writings,‭ ‬as the bill reads,‭ "‬recognized to commemorate freedom and the rich history of Tennessee and the United States.‭"

NASHVILLE,‭ ‬Tenn.‭ (‬AP‭) — ‬Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Mae Beavers has withdrawn her proposal to strip Tennessee courts of the power to overturn laws enacted by the state Legislature.

The withdrawal late yesterday came after the proposal came under heavy criticism from members of both parties,‭ ‬including Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey.

Beavers,‭ ‬a Republican from Mt.‭ ‬Juliet,‭ said last week that her bill was aimed at reeling in what she called out-of-control courts.

Democratic senators argued the proposal would threaten the independence of the courts.

NASHVILLE,‭ ‬Tenn.‭ (‬AP‭) — ‬A proposal to cut some students‭' ‬lottery scholarships in half is a hot topic this legislative session.

The plan,‭ ‬suggested by a panel of state lawmakers,‭ ‬would reduce by‭ ‬50‭ ‬percent the lottery scholarship awards for students who do not meet both standardized testing and high school grade requirements.

Right now,‭ ‬students can get a scholarship worth‭ ‬$4,000‭ ‬for each of four years if they either earn a‭ ‬3.0‭ ‬grade point average in high school or score a‭ ‬21‭ ‬on their ACT college entrance exam.

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