Associated Press

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A 15-year-old Tennessee girl who disappeared with her teacher more than a month ago was found safe in California and the teacher was arrested, authorities said Thursday.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Tad Cummins had been taken into custody and that the girl was found in Siskiyou County in northern California. The agency said it planned a news conference for 4 p.m. EDT to release more details.

williamsoncounty-tn.gov

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) — The Williamson County School board has approved the district's decision to eliminate class rank in the face of its declining importance in college admissions.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2pQTqgJ ) that the board approved the amended policy supported by the majority of the staff Monday night.

fuelgaugereport.aaa.com

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's road and bridge funding bill is headed for a showdown in the Tennessee House on Wednesday.

The sticking point is the governor's proposal to pay for new projects in large part through the state's first gas tax hike since 1989.

Supporters argue that a package of tax cuts made in the bill outweigh the amount raised from the fuel tax increases.

Opponents are calling for the fuel tax hikes to be stripped from the bill and to instead dedicate sales tax revenues from auto sales to highway funding.

ingodwetrust.com

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The full state Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would allow Tennessee drivers to choose license plates with the phrase "In God We Trust" on them.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted 9-0 in favor of sending the bill to a floor vote on Monday after Republican Sen. Paul Bailey of Sparta rescinded a provision that would have made the phrase mandatory for all tags.

City of Memphis

 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Federal data indicates Memphis' murder rate last year was the worst in two decades, reaching a level not seen since the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1990s.

Memphis reported 228 homicides in 2016, a record number. But not all those killings count as murders under the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting rules, which focus on intentional killings.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports (memne.ws/2oewDuG) that among those that don't count are as many as 19 justifiable homicides and two deaths ruled as negligent homicides.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee is joining more than a dozen other states in urging an appeals court to reinstate President Donald Trump's revised travel ban.

State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, a Collierville Republican considering a bid for governor next year, lauded Attorney General Herbert Slatery's office for filing a brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The states argue the ban falls within the president's authority to block foreigners from the U.S. They also reject the argument that it targets Muslims.

James Mackler

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville attorney and former Army helicopter pilot James Mackler says he is running for the Democratic nomination to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.

Mackler announced Monday that he wants to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Bob Corker in next year's general election.

capitol.tn.gov

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — House Speaker Beth Harwell, whose support of efforts to strip a gas tax hike out of Gov. Bill Haslam's transportation funding proposal had cast doubt about the bill's prospects, now says she is 'leaning' toward voting in favor of the Republican governor's proposal.

Harwell had publicly taken a hands-off approach to the measure as it worked its way through the legislative process. But she caught the governor's office and her Senate counterparts by surprise when she announced she was backing a last-minute bid to change the funding mechanism.

attorneygeneral.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's attorney general has agreed that the state will drop two abortion limits similar to Texas laws struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The attorney general's office decision was contained in federal court filings Thursday. One requirement mandated that abortion providers have hospital admitting privileges. The other forced abortion clinics to meet hospital-level surgical standards.

The Supreme Court struck down similar Texas laws in June 2016. The Tennessee case has been on hold since December 2015 while awaiting the Supreme Court ruling.

va.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The launch of an online portal has revealed that Veterans Health Administration facilities across Tennessee still struggle with patient wait times.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/2p0uYgp) reports the new Access and Quality in VA Healthcare site launched April 12 lists average wait times by appointment type and satisfaction scores based on data released in February. The last time the VA released comparable data was in September 2014, after the agency's head resigned following national attention about long wait times.

capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The sponsor of a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks in Tennessee has delayed the legislation for a week to give lawmakers a chance to read the opinion of the attorney general, who has called sections "constitutionally suspect."

Republican Rep. Matthew Hill also defended the legislation on Wednesday.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks if a doctor determines the fetus is viable. Exceptions would exist for mothers who would otherwise die or be severely hurt. Criminal penalties could be included for doctors.

mtsu.edu

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Middle Tennessee has suspended defensive lineman Justin Akins and linebacker Shalom Alvarez while they're investigated for possible animal cruelty seen on a Snapchat video.

Athletic director Chris Massaro said Wednesday in a statement that the actions captured in the video were disturbing.

Coach Rick Stockstill suspended the players until the investigation is completed, and Massaro says Akin and Alvarez will perform community service for local animal welfare groups.

  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.

capitol.tn.gov

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.

capitol.tn.gov

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.

tn.gov

  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 (http://memne.ws/2o09NpX) 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.

fuelgaugereport.aaa.com

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.

capitol.tn.gov

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.

tn.gov

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.

TBI

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.

tn.gov

  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."

capitol.tn.gov

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.

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