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Editorial Results (free)

1. Hooker Fights for Right to Die on His Terms -

John Jay Hooker, a household name in Middle Tennessee if nowhere else, is suffering from stage 4 metastatic cancer with weeks, not months to live.

2. Ramsey Clear in Push to Politicize Supreme Court -

Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has a penchant for igniting flames of partisanship, and the retirement of Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade is no exception.

3. Special Action on Same-Sex Nuptials a Waste of Time -

With Republican lawmakers scrambling for a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s gay-marriage ruling, Tennesseans on both sides of the issue say they are seeking "equality."

Immediately after the court’s decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville said, "Love and equality won. I’m glad the Supreme Court ruled on the right side of history."

4. Southern Heritage Defined Differently Across Tennessee -

Tennessee’s loyalty was divided in the Civil War, and 150 years later, little is changed as the debate over Confederate symbols arises in the wake of the racist-fueled South Carolina church massacre.

5. Capitol Commission to Review Which Historical Figures Should Be Honored -

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell are encouraging the Tennessee Capitol Commission to evaluate the characteristics of Tennesseans honored in the Capitol Complex.

6. Feds Charge Joe Armstrong With Fraud, Tax Evasion -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Democratic state Rep. Joe Armstrong of Knoxville has been indicted on federal fraud and tax evasion charges connected to an increase in the state's cigarette tax in 2007.

7. State Employment Policies Not Great for Recruiting -

If job security is your goal, working for the state might not be such a good idea.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration offered a voluntary buyout recently to more than 2,000 state employees, a proposal workers had known about since February.

8. Ramsey Uses ‘System’ to Reshape State’s Political Landscape -

Senate Speaker and Lieutenant Gov. Ron Ramsey laughs at the notion he’s changed since being elected to the Legislature 23 years ago, that he’s lost touch with the common man or become “arrogant” as lieutenant governor of Tennessee.

9. Haslam to Decide This Week on Tennessee Guns-in-Parks Bill -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that he will decide this week whether to sign a bill to allow people with handgun carry permits to be armed in city parks near schools.

10. Tennessee School Voucher Bill Approaching Key Committee -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A state school voucher proposal that failed in the last two Tennessee General Assembly sessions is gaining support as it approaches a key committee in the final days of this year's legislative session.

11. GOP Leader: 1-Time School Use Enough to Ban Guns in Parks -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A top Republican supporter of a bill to strip local governments of the power to bar handgun carry permit holders from being armed in parks, playgrounds and ball fields said Thursday that even if a school uses a park, playground or ball field for just one event per year, that would enable the school to ban guns there.

12. Is ‘Getting Rid of Public Schools’ Legislature’s Goal? -

Are Tennessee’s public schools headed for extinction? Not if it’s up to Memphis teachers.

A group from Shelby County recently packed a House committee meeting room at the Legislative Plaza in an effort to turn back bills they consider damaging to their profession and the future of public education.

13. Tennessee School Voucher Bill Headed for Full Senate Vote -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The House sponsor of a proposal to create a school voucher program in Tennessee says he's taking his time moving it through the legislative process after it failed in the last two legislative sessions.

14. Eliminating Hall Income Tax Raises New Problems -

Republican lawmakers are lining up legislation to reduce or phase out Tennessee’s Hall income tax on investments, even though Gov. Bill Haslam is concerned about losing revenue amid the state’s economic ups and downs.

15. Kelsey’s New Private School Voucher Plan Looks More Like Haslam’s -

Momentum is building this session for voucher legislation that would allow state dollars to follow students from struggling public schools to private and religious institutions.

But it is hardly etched in stone.

16. Haslam Wary of Gas Tax Hike -

Despite low gas prices, a backlog on road projects and prevailing winds for fuel-tax reform, Gov. Bill Haslam is pulling back from a gas-tax increase this session.

After floating the possibility of raising the tax in December, the Republican governor appears to be changing course, in part because of his loss in a Senate committee on Insure Tennessee, the Medicaid expansion alternative that failed to make debate in the full House or Senate.

17. Common Core is Working – So Kill It -

Common Core determines what Tennessee’s K-12 students should know and when they should learn it, yet like many other issues it has become a political pariah, especially for the state’s Republican leaders.

18. Insure Tennessee: Failure by Politics and Procedure -

The momentum that killed the Insure Tennessee proposal and ended the special session of the Tennessee legislature Wednesday, Feb. 4, was fueled by ideological opposition to the Affordable Care Act and President Barack Obama.

19. Both Sides Dig In for Insure Tennessee Special Session -

Battle lines have been drawn for a Feb. 2 special session of the state Legislature to determine the fate of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee proposal, which would use federal funds to catch some 280,000 working people falling through a health insurance coverage gap.

20. Both Sides Dig In For Insure Tennessee Special Session -

Battle lines have been drawn for a Feb. 2 special session of the state Legislature to determine the fate of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee proposal, which would use federal funds to catch some 200,000 working people falling through a health insurance coverage gap.

21. Drowning in Student Loan Debt -

Three-and-a-half years after graduating from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Yasameen Hoffman is still trying to land the kind of full-time job that will help her start paying off her student loan.

22. House, Senate at Odds Over Who Goes First on Medicaid Plan -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican leaders in the state House and Senate are at odds about who should go first on taking up Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to extend health coverage to more than 200,000 low-income Tennesseans.

23. New Tennessee Laws Include Insulin Training for School Staff -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A new Tennessee law will allow trained school personnel to administer insulin. It's just one of many new laws taking effect on Thursday.

Tennessee is now one of more than 20 states and the District of Columbia that have passed laws adding insulin to medications that school staff may volunteer to be trained to administer, according to the American Diabetes Association.

24. Education Commissioner Leaving for Private Sector -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Education Department Commissioner Kevin Huffman said Thursday that the scrutiny he received during his nearly four turbulent years at the helm of the state's schools didn't influence his decision to leave for the private sector.

25. Haslam Questions High Jobless Rate in Tennessee -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is questioning why Tennessee's unemployment rate remains well above the national level when other statistics indicate the state's jobs picture should be improving.

26. New Chief Justice Echoes Haslam Mantra on Review -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – First, the state Supreme Court hired Gov. Bill Haslam's top legal adviser as Tennessee's next attorney general. Now the high court's new chief justice is also adopting the Republican governor's rhetoric.

27. Coverage Gap Leaves Rural Tennessee Hospitals on Life Support -

Four rural hospitals have closed and dozens are at risk of shuttering: That’s the fallout, some say, from Gov. Bill Haslam’s decision not to join the Affordable Care Act in 2013 and tap into millions in promised federal funds for Tennessee’s financially-strapped health care institutions.

28. Haslam Signs Bill to End Book Shredding -

Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill into law to ban the shredding of Imagine Library books delivered to the incorrect addresses.

The governor’s office announced Tuesday that Haslam signed the measure sponsored by Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and fellow Democratic Sen. Lowe Finney of Jackson last week.

29. Haslam Signs Bill to End Book Shredding -

Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill into law to ban the shredding of Imagine Library books delivered to the incorrect addresses.

The governor's office announced Tuesday that Haslam signed the measure sponsored by Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and fellow Democratic Sen. Lowe Finney of Jackson last week.

30. Democrats Bemoan Lack of Medicaid Expansion -

NASHVILLE (AP) – House Democratic leaders said Tuesday that Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's decision not to expand Medicaid in Tennessee eclipses his signature plan to cover tuition at two-year colleges.

31. House Passes Haslam Free Tuition Plan -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam's signature proposal to create a program that would cover tuition at two-year colleges for any high school graduate is headed to his desk after passing the House on Tuesday.

32. Tenn. Spending Plan Headed to Full House -

Tennessee’s annual spending plan is headed to a full House vote.

The House Finance Committee approved the measure on a voice vote Tuesday night. The Senate is hoping to also take up the legislation this week.

33. Tennessee Spending Plan Headed to Full House -

Tennessee's annual spending plan is headed to a full House vote.

The House Finance Committee approved the measure on a voice vote Tuesday night. The Senate is hoping to also take up the legislation this week.

34. State Employees, Teachers Won't Get Pay Increase -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday that he won't be able to give state employees and teachers a pay increase next year mainly because of reductions due to an ongoing decline in revenue collections, which state officials are looking into.

35. ‘Champion of Working Man’ Rep. Turner Set to Retire -

State Rep. and Nashville Democrat Mike Turner is retiring from the General Assembly and considering a run for mayor.

36. Bill to Allow School Staff to Get Insulin Training -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Missy Gaw's 10-year-old daughter has to have a dose of insulin each time she eats. If no nurse is available to administer the dosage at the girl's Nashville elementary school, then Gaw or her husband drive there to do so.

37. Tennessee House Votes to Delay Common Core Standards -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A proposal to delay further implementation of the state's Common Core standards was approved in the House on Thursday, even though Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has called them key to Tennessee students' improvement.

38. School Voucher Bill Advances in Tennessee House -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A proposal to create a school voucher program in Tennessee is advancing in the House despite concerns from some lawmakers that the legislation would be detrimental to public schools.

39. Haslam Asks Feds for Medicaid Counterproposal -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday he has asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to make a counterproposal to Tennessee's efforts to carve out a special deal for Medicaid expansion.

40. Lawmakers Seek Compromise on School Voucher Bill -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Lawmakers trying to decide on a limited school voucher program in Tennessee or a broader one say they're close to reaching an agreement on legislation.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville is carrying a proposal for Republican Gov. Bill Haslam that's limited to students from low-income families attending the bottom 5 percent of failing schools. He had that measure withdrawn last year when Senate Republicans sought to expand to a larger number of children.

41. Barbic: Diversity Not a Requirement of Charter Schools -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The head of an initiative to turn around Tennessee's lowest performing schools is being criticized for stating that charter schools shouldn't be responsible for diversity.

42. Haslam to Bring Back School Voucher Bill -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday he will support a school voucher bill this legislative session that's similar to a limited measure he proposed last year, even though other GOP lawmakers say they'd like to see something a little broader.

43. Failed Education Bills to Return in New Session -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Proponents of revamping education laws in Tennessee cite a recent report that ranked the state's students tops in the nation in academic improvement as proof that recent reforms are working and more should be considered.

44. Haslam: Talks Continue on TennCare Expansion -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says his letter this week to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the terms of a possible Medicaid expansion in Tennessee means ongoing talks between his administration and Sebelius’ office will continue.

45. Tennessee Rep. Curtiss Not Seeking Re-Election -

State Rep. Charles Curtiss says he will not seek re-election.

The 66-year-old Sparta Democrat didn’t give a specific reason for his decision but said Wednesday he wanted to give candidates considering running for his District 43 seat plenty of time to plan.

46. Tennessee Rep. Curtiss Not Seeking Re-Election -

State Rep. Charles Curtiss says he will not seek re-election.

The 66-year-old Sparta Democrat didn't give a specific reason for his decision but said Wednesday he wanted to give candidates considering running for his District 43 seat plenty of time to plan.

47. Increasing Teacher Pay Next Goal for Haslam -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signaled last week that the next front in an increasingly vocal debate about education reform in the state will be over increasing teacher pay.

During a press conference Thursday, Oct. 3, in Nashville, Haslam set a goal of becoming “the fastest improving state in the U.S. when it comes to teacher pay.”

48. Shelby County to Play Key Role in 2014 State Election -

As prospective candidates weigh special election races in the next three months for a state House seat and suburban school boards, there are also signs of life in Shelby County in the statewide races on the 2014 election ballot.

49. State Lawmaker to Propose Tuition Freeze -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Republican state lawmaker says he wants to freeze tuition at Tennessee's colleges and universities despite criticism from education officials that such a proposal would eliminate funds needed to sustain essential programs and basic operation.

50. Haslam Defends Education Commissioner Under Fire -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday reiterated his support for the state's education commissioner, who has come under fire for changes to how teachers are paid.

At least two Facebook pages have been created calling for Kevin Huffman's ouster as well as an online petition that has garnered hundreds of signatures.

51. New Labor Chief Says Job Searches Should Be Easier -

The state labor chief says cutting services at state jobless service centers shouldn’t make it harder for out-of-work Tennesseans to find jobs.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/13NyR50), Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips told the legislative Fiscal Review Committee last week that coming changes should make it easier to search for jobs.

52. Fitzhugh: Legislature Fixing Things Not Broken -

As the state legislature moves toward completion, state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, offers his assessment:

53. Municipal Schools Bill Sails Through House, Senate -

After much speculation about resistance from other parts of the state to lifting the statewide ban on special school districts statewide, the bill to do that sailed through the Tennessee House and Senate Monday, April 15.

54. House Approves Changes to Injured Workers' Claims -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The House has approved Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's bill to change the way the state considers injured workers' claims after defeating several attempts by Democrats to dial back the proposal.

55. Haslam School Voucher Bill Dead This Session -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The Republican leader carrying Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to create school vouchers in Tennessee said he's decided to let it die this session because he's tired of the "gamesmanship."

56. Senate to Vote on Changes to Injured Workers Fund -

Opponents of a proposal that seeks to change the way injured workers’ claims are considered in Tennessee say it would reduce benefits and remove impartiality from the judgment process.

The measure, which is part of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s legislative package, was scheduled for a full Senate vote on Monday evening. The companion bill is set for the House Finance Committee on Tuesday.

57. House OKs Bill to Require Proof of Immunization -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The mother of a Middle Tennessee State University freshman who died after contracting meningitis says she hopes legislation headed to the governor for his likely signature will prevent the deaths of other college students.

58. Youth Concussion Policy Bill Headed to Governor -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Coaches and school athletic directors would be required to complete a concussion safety education course under legislation that's headed to the governor for his consideration.

59. Bill to Require Proof of Immunization -

NASHVILLE – Legislation that would require incoming students at public higher education institutions to show proof of immunization against meningitis is expected to be on the Senate floor Monday.

60. Tennessee Bill Would Require Proof of Immunization -

Legislation that would require incoming students at public higher education institutions to show proof of immunization against meningitis was expected to be on the Senate floor Thursday.

The measure is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Lowe Finney of Jackson and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley.

61. Concussion Policy Bill to be Heard in Senate -

NASHVILLE (AP) – As the nation continues to debate increasing safety in contact sports, Tennessee lawmakers are looking at legislation that would require schools and other organizations conducting youth athletic programs to adopt concussion policies.

62. Charting the Course -

Going into his third year as Tennessee governor, Bill Haslam has redrawn some political lines as he has worked toward an ambitious restructuring of state government and the way it works.

And they don’t necessarily follow partisan lines.

63. Haslam: No State Health Care Exchange -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told a Nashville Rotary Club audience Monday, Dec. 10, that the state will not operate its own health care insurance exchange.

Such an exchange is one option available to states under terms of the federal Affordable Care Act. A state exchange is an alternative to a requirement that every state participate in a federal exchange.

64. Democrats Hoping to Win Some Seats in Primary -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Tennessee Democrats are looking at Thursday's primary as a critical step in the rebuilding urged by an internal analysis last year.

Since 2006, Democrats have lost 19 seats in the House and three seats in the Senate, placing them firmly in the minority of the two chambers. Another nine Democratic incumbents announced earlier this year they weren't running again.

65. Bill to Overhaul TRA Passes Tenn. House 60-28 -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to overhaul the Tennessee Regulatory Authority passed the House on Tuesday despite criticism that it's unnecessary.

The measure carried by Republican Rep. Pat Marsh of Shelbyville was approved 60-28 on Tuesday. Voting for the bill were 58 Republicans, one Democrat and one independent. Twenty-five Democrats and three Republicans voted against the proposal, including Rep. Matthew Hill, son of TRA Chairman Kenneth Hill.

66. Lawmakers Send Budget to Governor -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The state’s more than $31 billion annual spending plan is headed to the governor after Republicans rejected Democratic efforts to make further changes to the compromise legislation.

67. Lawmakers Reach Agreement on Governor's Budget -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A panel of Republican and Democratic lawmakers reached an agreement late Friday that will restore funding for key projects in Gov. Bill Haslam's more than $31 billion spending plan.

68. Muni School Bill Hits Snag in House -

The bill to lift the statewide ban on creating municipal school districts will be back in the Tennessee House Education Committee next week after more last-minute developments including an amendment.

69. Municipal School District Bill Delayed a Week -

The lobbyist for the countywide school board took no position Tuesday, April 3, on state legislation that would lift the statewide moratorium on creation of municipal school districts in January.

And the House Education Committee chairman Richard Montgomery of Sevierville, Tenn., delayed action on the bill for another week after announcing there was a late amendment to the legislation.

70. Municipal School District Bill Delayed a Week -

The lobbyist for the countywide school board took no position Tuesday, April 3, on state legislation that would lift the statewide moratorium on creation of municipal school districts in January.

And the House Education Committee chairman Richard Montgomery of Sevierville, Tenn., delayed action on the bill for another week after announcing there was a late amendment to the legislation.

71. Bill Lifting Muni School Ban Advances -

A bill in the Tennessee Legislature to lift the statewide ban on creating municipal school districts is moving as the legislative session nears an end.

The House Education subcommittee approved the bill Wednesday, March 28, on a voice vote with the House Education Committee to consider the bill next week.

72. Municipal School District Bill Moves In Nashville -

A bill in the Tennessee legislature to lift the statewide ban on creating municipal school districts is moving as the legislative session nears an end.

The House education subcommittee approved the bill Wednesday, March 28, on a voice vote with the House education committee to consider the bill next week.

73. House Panel OKs 1 Voter ID Change, Balks at Others -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A House panel on Wednesday advanced one Democratic proposal to change Tennessee's new voter ID law, but rejected a second bill and delayed a third.

The House State and Local Government Subcommittee voted 4-3 in favor of a measure that would allow people without government-issued identification to vote after being photographed at the polling place.

74. Naifeh to Retire After 38 Years in House -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Rep. Jimmy Naifeh announced Thursday that he won't seek re-election after 38 years in the House of Representatives, saying it's time to "pass the torch to the next generation of leaders."

75. GOP Discuss Need for 'Don't Say Gay' Ban -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Legislation that would ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students may be stalled, as Republican lawmakers discuss whether they should proceed with the bill.

76. Tenn. GOP Puts Off 'Don't Say Gay' Ban in House -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Supporters of a measure to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students have put off consideration of the proposal after being told of fellow Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's concerns.

77. Bill to Strip Certain Tenn. Licenses for Bad Loans -

KNOXVILLE (AP) – Teachers and lobbyists would be penalized for defaulting on student loans under legislation headed to the governor for his consideration.

The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Charles Sargent of Franklin passed the House 70-24 earlier this week. The companion bill was approved in the Senate 32-1 last year.

78. Lawmakers Discuss Bills to Reduce Tenn. Sales Tax -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The Republican sponsor of a proposal to reduce the sales tax on groceries in Tennessee said Wednesday he's open to working with Democrats who have a similar measure if it would help the legislation's passage.

79. State GOP Cries Foul Over Dems' Proposals -

If Democrats have their way, the Tennessee General Assembly would meet only every second year, lawmakers’ daily expenses would be capped and bill sponsors would have to divulge if their legislation originated with national groups.

80. Haslam Announces Review of Teacher Evaluations -

Gov. Bill Haslam has commissioned an outside review to help “separate the anecdotes from flaws” in Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation system.

The Republican governor said in a news conference at the Capitol that he has asked for an education foundation launched by former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist to conduct the review and to report recommendations back to the state next summer. The organization called the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE, is led by former state Sen. Jamie Woodson, a Knoxville Republican.

81. Bill to Require Photo ID From Voters Passes House -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A proposal that would require Tennessee voters to show photo identification before they can cast ballots passed the House on Thursday despite a legal opinion from the state's attorney general that the Republican-led effort would violate the Tennessee and U.S. constitutions.

82. Tenn. House Passes Evolution Bill -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Teachers who allow students to critique scientific theories would be shielded from discipline under a proposal that passed the House 70-23 on Thursday despite some opponents who said it was unnecessary.

83. Tennessee House passes the 'Health Freedom Act' -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A proposal that would allow Tennesseans to opt out of the federal health care law is headed to the governor for his consideration after passing the Republican-controlled House 70-27 Monday on a party-line vote.

84. Schools Legislation Readies for Big Stage After Committee Approval -

If last week’s legislative committee sessions in Nashville are any indication, Democratic legislators from outside Memphis will be the most vocal critics of Monday’s floor votes on schools consolidation legislation.

85. Schools Standoff Bill Clears House Committee -

The state House education committee has approved the bill that would bar any consolidation of city and county schools until August 2013 and open the door to special school district status for Shelby County Schools.

86. Fitzhugh Elected to Lead House Democrats -

NASHVILLE (AP) – House Democrats have made a change in leadership after losing 14 seats in November's elections.

The caucus on Wednesday elected House Finance Chairman Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley as minority leader. He defeated Rep. Gary Odom of Nashville, who had served as Democratic leader the previous two legislative sessions.

87. Tenn. Democrats Prepare for Election of New Leaders -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Tennessee House Democrats, still recovering from the drubbing they got in the November election, are trying to begin rebuilding by choosing new leadership that could include the state's first African-American as minority leader.

88. Panel to Recommend Next UT President to Trustees -

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Five remaining candidates in the search for a University of Tennessee president answered questions — many about fundraising and finances — in separate interviews Wednesday ahead of at least two of them making the final cut.

89. Tenn. Lawmakers Work to Reach Budget Consensus -

NASHVILLE (AP) – State lawmakers are hoping to reach a consensus this week on a budget plan that will keep the state’s cash reserves strong and also provide assistance to Tennessee flood victims.

90. Tenn. Sales Taxes Grow for First Time in Two Years -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers working to settle on a spending plan finally have some good news: The state's monthly sales tax collections have grown for the first time in nearly two years.

91. Ripley Hitches Its Wagon To Surrounding Counties’ Growth Efforts -

RIPLEY, Tenn. – If this city in Northwest Tennessee wilted away on a vine, its demise would not be difficult to understand.

Few small cities and towns can survive the population stagnancy and jobs erosion that have beset Ripley. Fifty miles north of Memphis off U.S. 51 and the seat of Lauderdale County, Ripley has the state’s highest unemployment rate – 18.6 percent.

92. Lawmakers Criticize $70M Tenn. Biofuels Project -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Some state lawmakers say they were misled in approving $70 million for an initiative to turn switchgrass into ethanol and have delayed approval on part of the project.

93. House Budget Proposal Sent to Full Floor Vote -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Tennessee’s Republican House speaker is describing a state spending plan headed for a full floor vote as a “compassionate budget” because it doesn’t include some of the deeper cuts proposed in the Senate Republican version.

94. Tenn. May Use Web to Notify Constitution Changes -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A proposal to amend the Tennessee Constitution to allow greater restrictions on abortions could for the first time allow the state to notify citizens about a change in the document using government Web sites.

95. Bill to Protect Tenn. State Employees Progresses -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A proposal giving Gov. Phil Bredesen greater flexibility in preventing state employee layoffs is among several bills that have passed the Legislature to help an administration facing major budget cuts amid deep recession.

96. Bills Aim to Give Tenn. Bond Selling Flexibility -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A proposal that would authorize Tennessee to use bonds to fund capital projects is among several bills moving through the Legislature that would give the state flexibility in selling bonds.

97. Democrats Pick Odom As House Minority Leader -

Rep. Gary Odom of Nashville won the position of minority leader of the state House despite efforts from Gov. Phil Bredesen to replace him.

98. Legislature Passes $27B Budget, Adjourns for Year -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The state Legislature adjourned for the year after lawmakers passed a $27 billion state budget that cuts jobs and education and health care spending to fill a nearly half-billion-dollar revenue shortfall.

99. Bredesen's Budget Plan Questioned by Fellow Democrats -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen's budget cut proposal is drawing pointed questions from lawmakers in his own party.

Administration officials were asked to give more details about buyout packages for state employees and to explain an array of other cuts totaling $468 million in a joint meeting of the House and Senate finance committees on Tuesday.

100. State Workers Consider Buyout -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The prospect of lucrative buyout packages is leading some state employees to put their retirement plans on hold.

The Associated Press has found that Gov. Phil Bredesen’s plan to try to entice about 2,000 state employees to volunteer for buyout packages has caused some workers who had notified the state of their imminent retirement to reconsider.