Associated Press

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.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A state attorney general opinion says legislation requiring use of the "natural and ordinary meaning" of undefined words in Tennessee code could, in some cases, conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling and state law about interpreting gender-specific words as inclusive.

However, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery's opinion says a judge wouldn't necessarily use literal meanings of gender-specific words, including "husband," ''wife," ''father" and "mother."

 

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.

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