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Opinion

Sen. Norris: Key bills pass before close of 2016 session this week

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The Tennessee Senate passed the state budget as the 2016 session of the Tennessee General Assembly draws to a close. The $34.9 billion debt-free budget proposes state government spending for the next fiscal year that begins July 1, 2016, and extends to June 30, 2017. “Senate Bill 2653 is the Balanced Budget Act of 2016,” […]

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Transgender ‘bathroom bill’ removed for 2016

The sponsor of the transgender “bathroom bill,” Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mount Juliet), has pulled it from consideration until at least 2017. She said she wants to study the issue in greater depth. If passed, the law would have restricted transgender students to use only the bathroom facilities consistent with their anatomical gender at birth. This […]

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Relay for Life matters in fight against cancer

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Dear Editor, What started as one man walking around a track in Tacoma, Wash., in 1985 has turned into the world’s largest and most impactful fundraising event to end cancer. I’m talking about the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, which unites more than four million participants in 6,000 communities across the globe to celebrate […]

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Counseling bill could hurt Tennessee

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On Monday, legislation passed in Tennessee that would allow counselors to deny services and refer clients because of the provider’s “strongly held beliefs.” As of press time on Tuesday, that legislation (HB1840/SB1556) was on its way to Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk for signature. This legislation is an unnecessary government intrusion that has the potential to […]

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AG: Tenn. will lose federal funds for discriminatory ‘bathroom bill’

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization ,responded to Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III’s warning that the state could lose millions of dollars in federal funding if lawmakers move forward with legislation restricting transgender students’ access to bathroom facilities […]

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Sen. Corker meets with city and county mayors

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U.S. Sen. Bob Corker held a closed-door meeting in Bartlett on March 30 with Shelby County’s suburban mayors. The one-hour event had no formal agenda and was a “meet and greet” with an opportunity for introductions and conversations. Attendees included Corker; Nick Kistenmacher, Corker’s senior field director; and Brent Wiles, Corker’s state director; Bartlett Mayor […]

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Bill would limit access to records of officers’ shootings

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A bill that requires the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate all officer-involved shootings in the state would close records of the investigation, even after the investigation is finished, unless local law enforcement and the local district attorney agree to their release. The change would affect the state’s four major cities that traditionally have done […]

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Legislative updates for April 7, 2016

Opponents decry HB 1840 as discriminatory Members of the American Counseling Association and the Tennessee Equality Project joined other concerned Tennesseans at the state capitol Monday to lobby against Tennessee House Bill 1840 (known by opponents as Hate Bill 1840). It would permit counselors to deny services and refer clients based on the provider’s “strongly held religious […]

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Tenn. group opposes closing access to police body camera footage

[Editor’s note: After this week’s press deadline, state lawmakers killed the bill about when police body camera video can be publicly accessible.] The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, a nonpartisan organization that seeks to preserve and promote government transparency, opposes a legislative proposal that would close indefinitely public access to body camera footage related to questions […]

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Anti-transgender bathroom bill dies

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A bill viewed by transgender students as discriminatory died in committee in the Tennessee House of Representatives on March 23. The bill would have required transgender students to use bathroom’s that match their sex at birth. Instead, the bill died in a House Education Administration and Planning Committee meeting that was packed with transgender youth […]

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