Associated Press

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam is lauding lawmakers for advancing his plan to begin tackling Tennessee's more than $10 billion backlog in road and bridge projects, but the Republican wants to see his bill returned to its original form that includes boosting funding through fuel tax increases.

Haslam told The Associated Press on Thursday that he doesn't want Tennessee to become the only state in the country to subsidize its road program through revenues raised for the general fund.

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's state attorney general says bills in the General Assembly that would outlaw abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected by ultrasound may not be able to stand up in court. However, the opinion written by Attorney General Herbert Slatery said a provision that would force women to get an ultrasound before getting an abortion is constitutionally defensible. The opinion said the heartbeat provision is constitutionally suspect because similar laws have been blocked by federal courts.

Franklin Police Dept.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The National Weather Service says at least three tornadoes have been confirmed to have hit central Tennessee during severe thunderstorms.

Justyn Jackson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Nashville, said one confirmed tornado Wednesday was in Wilson County, just north of Watertown. Jackson said there was structural damage to homes, outbuildings, barns and trees. He said it appeared to be an EF-1 tornado —  one of the weakest kinds— but meteorologists would have to get a better look Thursday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's sweeping transportation funding proposal has survived a key vote in the state House but without a provision to hike the state's gas and diesel taxes.

The proposal advanced on a 5-4 vote in the House Transportation Subcommittee on Wednesday with House Speaker Pro Tem Curtis Johnson of Clarksville joining the panel to cast the tiebreaking vote.

The change to the governor's bill would dedicate a small portion of sales tax collections to transportation projects.

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

The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Micah Van Huss of Jonesborough received a 3-3 vote in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on Wednesday. Measures need a majority vote to advance.

The proposed addition to the Tennessee Constitution would have read: "We recognize that our liberties do not come from governments, but from almighty God."