NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced the departure of Department of Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield to take a job with a publicly-traded corporation that builds and runs prisons.

Haslam praised and thanked Schofield, who has led the department since 2011 and has been criticized frequently for his handling of staffing and safety issues. The 55-year-old Schofield will join GEO Group in Florida as an executive vice president for continuum of care.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WMOT)  --  In spite of his opposition to federal health care reforms, Governor Haslam appears to be moving forward with preparations to implement the Affordable Care Act.

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak says she’s preparing to conduct a series of health care public comment sessions state-wide. McPeak will take input from residents on what essential health benefits should be made mandatory for health policies sold in Tennessee.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Gov. Bill Haslam began a review of the state's college and university systems at his residence on Tuesday.

The review comes after the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and the Tennessee Board of Regents voted last month for tuition and fee increases of as much as 8 percent for the fall.

Vanderbilt University’s Dr. Bruce Oppenheimer specializes in the politics of higher education.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Reaction in Tennessee to Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act has been strong if somewhat predictable.

Within hours of the decision’s announcement, Governor Haslam had recorded and uploaded his reaction to YouTube.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Tennesseans are sticking to a surprisingly center-of-the-road public policy line in spite of  this election season’s heated political rhetoric.

WMOT will be looking at the results of the latest Middle Tennessee University Survey Group poll over the next few days. The twice-yearly phone survey was released Wednesday.

The poll shows that Tennesseans are generally approving of first term Republican Governor Bill Haslam and the newly Republican dominated legislature. But voters are not happy with all the majority party’s policy initiatives.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  Presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he’s undaunted that most Tennessee Republican leaders have chosen not to endorse him for the nomination. 

The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania told reporters after a speech at the Temple Baptist Church in Powell Wednesday that as the "insurgent candidate," he doesn't expect to draw the support of GOP establishment.

But Santorum expressed confidence he will carry Tennessee and other states holding their primaries on Super Tuesday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam says he hopes Tennessee's waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind education law boosts teacher morale.

President Barack Obama announced yesterday that Tennessee is among 10 states to receive the waiver.

No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014, which critics say is unrealistic.

Phil Waldrop, the Associate Dean at Middle Tennessee State’s College of Education says it’s one less thing for teachers to worry about.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) —Gov. Bill Haslam delivered his annual State of the State address to the Tennessee General Assembly last night.

Haslam spent much of the 40 minute speech laying out his budget plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The governor's more than $31 billion proposal relies on rebounding revenues to avoid more drastic cuts the state would have faced otherwise.

Among other proposals, the governor is calling for raises for state employees, more spending on construction on college campuses and tax cuts on food and inheritance.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's death rate from drug overdoses has nearly tripled since 1999, a trend that state officials are hurrying to tackle with expanded regulations.

The proposals include one from Gov. Bill Haslam that would require doctors and pharmacists to consult a controlled substance database before writing or dispensing such prescriptions. State Sen. Ken Yager of Harriman tells The Tennessean he believes new state regulations will help reduce drug overdose deaths.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers are proposing legislation that could affect Occupy Nashville protesters.

The measure says a person can’t live on publicly owned property that isn't designated or permitted as residential.

Protesters have occupied the plaza across the street from the state Capitol since early October. State troopers raided the encampment in late October and made 55 arrests, but the state has had to back down.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Governor Bill Haslam says he opposes efforts to water down Tennessee's open meetings law that bans city or county officials from deliberating over official business in private.

The Tennessee County Commissioners Association is promoting changes to the law that would allow closed-door talks among officials as long as a quorum isn’t present.

David Connor is the TCCA’s Director. He says the way the law is currently written, commissioners are afraid to communicate with each other on any subject, outside official meetings.

Governor Haslam Unapologetic For Protester Arrests

Nov 2, 2011

        Governor Haslam is not backing down after a federal judge temporarily blocked his efforts to clear protesters off of Legislative Plaza.

          Protesters were granted a restraining order Monday, barring the state from making further arrests after more than 50 of their number were taken into custody on the Plaza over the weekend by State Troopers.

          In a news conference yesterday, Governor Haslam did not admit defeat or to any mistake, saying that deteriorating safety and sanitary conditions on the plaza required a response.

Occupy Nashville Wins "Temporary" Victory

Nov 2, 2011

          The state of Tennessee has agreed, at least temporarily, to stop enforcing a new curfew used to dislodge Occupy Nashville protesters from the grounds around the Tennessee Capitol.

          The protesters went to federal court yesterday seeking a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bill Haslam saying the curfew and arrests of dozens of supporters violated their rights to free speech and freedom of assembly.

          Protesters were represented in court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.

Occupy Protesters Arrested, Then Released

Oct 28, 2011

(AP) Quite a morning for Occupy Nashville. 

Twenty-nine protesters were arrested on Legislative Plaza before dawn, then released just a few hours later.

According to WKRN-TV, Metro's night court commissioner, Thomas Nelson, released the protesters wihtout charges. Nelson said the state hadn't given the protesters enough time to react to new protest regulations. 

Governor Haslam’s Administration announced just yesterday that it was imposing a 10  to six curfew on the Capital grounds where the protesters have been camped out since October 6th.