Political news

Gov. Bill Haslam says he supports removing the bust of Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state Capitol.

The Republican governor told reporters on Tuesday that if he's picking which Tennesseans to honor, "that would not be one of the Tennesseans I would honor."

Haslam says he also supports removing the Confederate flag from license plates and specialty plates in Tennessee.


SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam is striking a defiant tone toward critics of raising Tennessee's gas tax for the first time in 25 years.

Haslam is gearing up for a statewide tour to discuss the state's transportation needs, but a group that helped sink the Republican governor's Medicaid expansion proposal during the legislative session has announced a rival tour to oppose it.

Asked about his feelings about efforts to torpedo the gas tax increase before it can get out of the gate, Haslam told The Associated Press his opponents can "have at it."


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The mid-state chapter of Planned Parenthood says its deep into planning for new state restrictions on abortions that go into effect the end of the month.

Planned Parenthood’s Steven Emmerit says the Nashville facility has been a licensed surgical center for years, so new requirements for advanced medical capabilities won’t be a problem.


John Jay Hooker pleads for physician-assisted suicide

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Longtime civil rights activist John Jay Hooker pleaded before a state Senate committee for a bill to allow physician-assisted suicide.

The 84-year-old former Democratic nominee for governor has terminal cancer. He showed up yesterday at a meeting of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee in a wheelchair. At times Hooker struggled to catch his breath, but with a Bible in hand he spoke passionately about the issue.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam is appealing to officials from Tennessee cities and towns to help influence what he describes as a "changing Legislature."

The Republican governor said in a speech to the Tennessee Municipal League in Nashville on Tuesday that local officials need to get directly involved in engaging with state lawmakers on important issues.

Haslam told reporters after the speech that once powerful institutions like lobbyists, the media, chambers of commerce and hospitals no longer carry as much sway with the General Assembly.