NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee state House ignored serious constitutional concerns – and the wishes of Republican leaders in Statehouse – in voting to make the holy Bible the official state book.
25. Tennessee House Bogs Down Over Making Bible Official Book - Wednesday, April 15, 2015
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A small-town Republican's proposal to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee ran into opposition from top members of his own party as the House delayed a scheduled vote on the measure Tuesday.26. Shafer Seeking County Property Tax Rate Reduction - Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The chairwoman of the Shelby County Commission’s budget committee is hoping to reduce the county’s property tax rate by the time the commission approves a budget for its new fiscal year that begins July 1.27. Commission Approves Millington Farms TIF - Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Shelby County Commissioners approved a $3.3 million tax increment financing zone Monday, April 13 for the $20-million Shops of Millington Farms development on the east side of Highway 51 between Veterans Parkway and Glencoe Road.28. Bill Would Make Bible Official State Book of Tennessee - Friday, April 10, 2015
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Despite concerns that giving the holy Bible the same status as a salamander is a little tawdry and could be unconstitutional, Tennessee lawmakers are forging ahead with plans to make it the official state book – something at least two other states have failed to do.29. House Votes to Take Tennessee Capitol Complex Off Guns Bill - Wednesday, April 08, 2015
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The House voted Monday to remove the Tennessee Capitol from a bill to expand the areas where people with handgun carry permits can be armed, a move supported by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.30. Understanding Obamacare - Saturday, March 28, 2015
Talk to almost any business owner, whether theirs is a boutique retail operation or sprawling corporate office, and a two-pronged refrain quickly begins to repeat itself: Health care costs are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, slices of our budget.31. Legislators Find Reasons to Deny In-State Tuition - Saturday, March 28, 2015
La Vergne High School graduate Cesar Bautista, who has lived in Tennessee since he was 8 years old, is among a group of students who’ve been here most of their lives but are still forced to pay out-of-state college tuition because they don’t have legal status.32. Battle of the Band(width) - Saturday, March 14, 2015
Joyce Coltrin’s business is wandering in Bradley County’s technological wilderness. And it’s likely to remain there – because of legal threats – until the General Assembly changes state law.33. Done Unto - Friday, February 13, 2015
BELL. BOWLING. CROWE. GARDENHIRE. KELSEY. NICELY. ROBERTS. AND NORRIS. Since last week’s debacle in the state Legislature – the abandonment of common sense and decency and hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans by their elected representatives – the ether and printed pages here and elsewhere have been full of various explanations and finger pointing. Let’s keep it simple. Let’s simply point that finger at those who raised their hands.34. Insure Tennessee: Failure by Politics and Procedure - Friday, February 06, 2015
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.35. Haslam's Insure Tennessee Health Plan Fails in Legislature - Thursday, February 05, 2015
Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans has failed during a special legislative session.
The Senate Health Committee defeated the Republican governor's Insure Tennessee plan Wednesday on a 7-4 vote.36. Both Sides Dig In for Insure Tennessee Special Session - Monday, February 02, 2015
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.37. Both Sides Dig In For Insure Tennessee Special Session - Saturday, January 31, 2015
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.38. Helicopter Crew Family Members Receiving Award Thursday - Wednesday, January 21, 2015
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Family members of three crew members killed when a medical helicopter crashed in West Tennessee in 2013 will receive awards in their honor this week.
They are being given Tennessee's Three Stars Award during a ceremony Thursday morning.39. Fellow Republicans Reluctant About Haslam's Health Proposal - Thursday, January 15, 2015
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to offer health coverage to more than 200,000 low-income Tennesseans is getting a tepid response from fellow Republicans in the Legislature – so much so, that he has yet to find a Senate sponsor for his proposal.40. Pitts-Murdock Leading Library’s Teen Services - Wednesday, December 24, 2014
R. Janae Pitts-Murdock has been named coordinator of teen services for the Memphis Public Library and Information Center, a role in which she’s responsible for coordinating teen programs, partnerships and special initiatives across 18 locations.41. Panel Hears Testimony on EPA Regulations - Wednesday, December 17, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Tennessee Republican senator has joined lawmakers in other states who have filed legislation that seeks to curtail federal regulation.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville discussed the resolution on Tuesday during a special joint committee meeting on the effect of Environmental Protection Agency regulations in Tennessee.42. Harwell Defeats Tea-Party Challenge for Speaker - Thursday, December 11, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – House Speaker Beth Harwell decisively defeated a tea-party challenge from Rep. Rick Womick on Wednesday to win the Republican nomination for another term in charge of the lower chamber of the Tennessee General Assembly.43. Sharp & Robbins Names Popwell Partner - Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Chris Popwell has been named the newest partner at Sharp & Robbins Construction, which will now operate as Sharp, Robbins & Popwell LLC. Popwell joined Sharp & Robbins’ Memphis office in 2008 as an estimator/project manager and most recently served as general operations manager of the Nashville office since 2012.44. McGuire Joins Insight Risk Management - Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Myles McGuire has joined Insight Risk Management LLC as a corporate consultant. In his new role, he will consult with commercial clients and place them with the appropriate coverages to protect their business from risk and liability issues.45. Wharton, Norris Speak at Rape Kit Summit - Saturday, October 25, 2014
Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. spoke at a summit in Cleveland, Ohio, to discuss the handling of rape kit backlogs.46. Wharton, Norris to Speak at Rape Kit Summit - Saturday, October 18, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. have been invited to speak at a summit in Cleveland, Ohio, next week to discuss the handling of rape kit backlogs.47. Wharton, Norris Speak At Rape Kit Summit - Monday, October 20, 2014
Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. have been invited to speak at a summit in Cleveland, Ohio, to discuss the handling of rape kit backlogs.48. No On One - Friday, October 10, 2014
NO. IT’S HER DECISION, NOT YOURS. The Tennessee General Assembly is 83 percent male – and those big, strong men in the majority are convinced they know what’s best for the little ladies in the minority, in fact, what’s best for all the women of Tennessee.49. Gov. Haslam's Medicaid Talk Draws GOP Criticism - Monday, September 01, 2014
NASHVILLE (AP) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's suggestion this week that he may soon submit a proposal for Medicaid expansion in Tennessee received some blowback from a fellow Republican leader in the Legislature on Friday.50. Few Clues to Tennessee Attorney General Applicants - Friday, August 29, 2014
NASHVILLE (AP) – The deadline to apply to become Tennessee's next attorney general is Friday, but anyone still on the fence about whether to join the fray won't have the benefit of sizing up the competition first.51. Plough Grant Requires All Rape Kits Be Tested - Monday, June 02, 2014
Before they agreed to put up $750,000 toward funding the disposition of the city’s untested rape kit backlog, leaders of the Plough Foundation wanted assurances that the city would process every rape kit.52. Entrepreneurial Eagles - Monday, May 19, 2014
It was a gathering of eagles. You know, the people who like to soar, and, more importantly, they like to push eaglets out of the nest so that they can also learn to soar.
And, like eagles, they have both vision and focus. I recently attended the CSG Entrepreneurship Days, sponsored by the Council of State Governments’ State Pathways to Prosperity Initiative and State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who is the 2014 CSG National Chair.53. Norris Defends Rape Kit Backlog Approach - Wednesday, May 07, 2014
State Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville says the Tennessee Legislature wants to know the size of the statewide problem of untested rape kits, an explanation of why it happened and a credible plan for eliminating it before coming up with funding to deal with the problem.54. Entrepreneur Day Spotlights Power of Innovation - Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Already in recent weeks, Moziah “Mo” Bridges, the 12-year-old founder of the Memphis-based Mo’s Bows bow tie business, has appeared on the hit ABC show “Shark Tank.”
If the exposure alone wasn’t enough, Bridges also impressed fashion mogul and “Shark Tank” panelist Daymond John into offering to mentor him.55. Parkinson, White Compare Notes Across Aisle - Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Two state representatives from Memphis say the 19-member Shelby County delegation in the Tennessee General Assembly isn’t as united as it should be.
“I have to be brutally honest. I have yet to see us come together and move as a block for Shelby County,” Democratic state Rep. Antonio Parkinson said on the WKNO-TV program “Behind the Headlines.” “There appears to be an alignment with some members of our delegation that align with other parts of Tennessee before they align with Shelby County. I’m optimistic that will shift.”56. Events - Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Tennessee Shakespeare Company will present “The Taming of the Shrew” Wednesday, April 23, through May 4 at Dixon Gallery and Gardens, 4339 Park Ave. Buy tickets at tnshakespeare.org.57. Tenn. Lawmakers Discuss Common Core Compromise - Tuesday, April 15, 2014
State lawmakers are considering compromise legislation that would delay the testing component for Tennessee's Common Core education standards for one year.
Last month, a broad coalition of Republican and Democratic House members passed a bill seeking to delay further implementation of the new standards for two years. It also seeks to delay the testing component for the standards for the same amount of time.58. Wharton Takes Budget to City Council - Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. takes a budget proposal to the Memphis City Council Tuesday, April 15, that is supposed to be a departure for an administration that, since 2010, has come to the council with options instead of a total budget plan.59. Haslam Free Tuition Plan Garners Praise, Concern - Monday, April 07, 2014
NASHVILLE (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam's signature proposal this year, a program that would cover a full ride at two-year colleges for any high school graduate, appears on track to pass as lawmakers enter the waning days of the legislative session. The details, however – including how to pay for this perk in the years to come – remain scattered.60. Senate Passes Medicaid Legislative Approval Bill - Friday, March 07, 2014
NASHVILLE (AP) – A proposal that requires Gov. Bill Haslam to secure legislative approval for any potential deal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee has passed the Senate even though the Republican governor has already said he would consult with lawmakers.61. Norris Finds Legislative Leadership Has its Price - Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Many people who like problem solving usually tackle a tough crossword, or maybe Sudoku.
Collierville’s Mark Norris opted for politics.62. Norris to Chair Council Of State Governments - Monday, March 03, 2014
Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris is among two southerners leading the Council of State Governments.63. Strickland: Shorten Pension Ramp-Up - Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The Memphis City Council chairman thinks the city shouldn’t take five or six years to ramp up to an annual pension fund contribution of $100 million but instead do it in two fiscal years.
“I think everyone is in uniform support of fully funding our annual contribution,” council chairman Jim Strickland said on the WKNO-TV program “Behind the Headlines.” “In fact, I don’t think we ought to take six years. I think we ought to take two years. Get it fully funded, whether its $60 million or $100 million.”64. Lawmakers Seek Compromise on School Voucher Bill - Thursday, February 20, 2014
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.65. Police, Fire Directors Discuss Budget With Council - Thursday, February 06, 2014
Memphis City Council members got deeper Tuesday, Feb. 4, into the specifics of Memphis Police and Fire Department budget decisions.
But they didn’t get a clearer picture of what the direction forward will be as they and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. prepare to make some hard decisions about public safety in dealing with the city’s unfunded pension liability.66. Council Hears More on Police and Fire Budget Decisions - Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Memphis City Council member got deeper Tuesday, Feb. 4, into the specifics of Memphis Police and Fire Department budget decisions.
But they didn’t get a clearer picture of what the direction forward will be as they and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. prepare to make some hard decisions about public safety in dealing with the city’s unfunded pension liability.67. Mae Be, Mae Be Not - Friday, January 31, 2014
MAE BE ONTO SOMETHING. State Sen. Mae Beavers – really, that’s her name – has offered legislation that makes it against the law in Tennessee to obey the law in the United States – really, I couldn’t possibly make that up.68. Counseling Group Opens for Backlog Rape Victims - Thursday, January 16, 2014
The Shelby County Rape Crisis Center is starting a weekly support group for rape victims whose rape kits were among the 12,000 left untested by Memphis Police Department over a 30-year period.
The announcement of the support group came Tuesday, the same day the Tennessee Legislature convened for the year, with several proposals connected to the scandal expected to at least be debated, if not acted on, during the short election-year session.69. Lawmakers Reconvene For 108th General Assembly - Wednesday, January 15, 2014
State lawmakers on Tuesday reconvened the 108th Tennessee General Assembly in a legislative session that is expected to feature debates over creating a school voucher program and whether to allow supermarkets to sell wine.70. Debt and Liability - Saturday, January 04, 2014
There is rarely a good answer to the question “How much?” in politics.
With issues including the unfunded pension liability, overall debt, and revenue estimates and their validity, City Hall’s overall money problem begins but hardly ends with the question. It won’t be that simple.71. Failed Education Bills to Return in New Session - Friday, December 27, 2013
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.72. Norris Expects Maintenance of Effort for Pensions - Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Tennessee Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville says whatever fix Memphis leaders come up with for the city’s unfunded pension liability, the Tennessee General Assembly will probably still pass legislation dealing with the problem on a scale broader than Memphis.73. Suburban Voters Decide School Board Races - Friday, November 08, 2013
Voters in Shelby County’s six suburban towns and cities elected their respective municipal schools boards Thursday, Nov. 7 with low voter turnouts that reflected that most of the school board positions on the ballots were one-candidate uncontested races.74. Inman Joins Next Day Access as Franchise Manager - Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Greg Inman has joined accessibilities solutions provider Next Day Access as franchise manager for the Memphis office, where he will supervise sales, marketing, service management and hiring. Next Day Access offers wheelchair ramps, stair lifts, bathroom safety products and other accessibility products for people with disabilities or accessibility challenges.75. Attorney General: Haslam Can Appoint Judges Without Finalists - Friday, October 11, 2013
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam can fill vacancies in state trial and appellate court positions without getting a list of finalists from the Judicial Nominating Commission, which went out of existence at the end of June.76. Norris Elected Chairman of National Council - Saturday, September 28, 2013
Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris has been elected chairman of the national Council of State Governments based in Lexington, Ky.77. Early Voting Expands in District 91 Primary - Friday, September 27, 2013
Early voting in the Democratic primary special election for State House District 91 expands Friday, Sept. 27, from the Shelby County Election Commission’s Downtown offices, 157 Poplar Ave., to three satellite locations.78. Norris Elected Chairman of National Council - Thursday, September 26, 2013
Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris has been elected chairman of the national Council of State Governments based in Lexington, Ky.79. Filing Deadline Nears for School Board Races - Thursday, September 26, 2013
It looks as if the prospective candidates in many of the suburban school board races on the Nov. 7 ballot had already decided the winners a day away from the noon, Thursday, Sept. 26, filing deadline for the six sets of races.80. Economist Outlines US Freight Network at Intermodal Conference - Thursday, September 26, 2013
The Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute at the University of Memphis welcomed a distinguished list of guest speakers to its seventh annual Intermodal Freight Conference at the FedEx Institute of Technology Tuesday, Sept. 24.81. Job Training Spurs Unilever Growth - Monday, September 23, 2013
The Unilever USA plant in Covington should be the largest ice cream manufacturing plant in the world by 2016, following an $108.7 million expansion announced last week in Covington.
But when the global company began making ice cream in Covington in 2011 at what used to be a SlimFast plant, it was not a promising beginning.82. Covington Unilever Expansion To Add 428 New Jobs - Friday, September 20, 2013
Executives of Unilever USA announced Thursday, Sept. 19, their Covington plant will expand to add 428 new jobs at what is already the largest employer in Tipton County.
The $108.7 million expansion will add the jobs over a four year period bringing the plant that makes ice cream products to 1,000 employees.83. Intermodal Conference to Tackle Freight Issues - Friday, September 20, 2013
The Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute at the University of Memphis will host its seventh annual Intermodal Freight Conference at the FedEx Institute of Technology on the University of Memphis campus Tuesday, Sept. 24.84. Gathering Targets Region’s Workforce Development - Wednesday, September 04, 2013
When state officials gather at The University of Memphis University Center Wednesday, Sept. 4, to talk about workforce training, it won’t be with a check in hand to lead the effort.
State Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville, who organized the 8:30 a.m. to noon session, wants state labor commissioner Burns Phillips and others from Nashville to listen to details of the training programs local business and higher education leaders have cobbled together over the last three years.85. LEAP of Faith - Friday, August 30, 2013
A STEP IN SYNC. I have in my possession a rare document, evidence of a shared spark of hope, a light at the end of all the tunnel vision, a warm fire in that cold cave in Nashville.
I have a letter signed by two gentlemen of color – one black and blue, one white and red – pledging cooperation in a state program that could genuinely and uniquely benefit Memphis rather than target and isolate it. Think of it as Auburn and Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, Pelosi and Boehner, wet ribs and dry ribs, humans and Klingons – all together to save the universe. I have a letter jointly from and signed by state Sen. Reginald Tate, chair of the Shelby County Legislative Delegation, and state Sen. Mark Norris, Senate majority leader.86. Conference to Bridge Gap Between Employers, Training Programs - Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Out of the near-crisis in hiring workers after the city’s set of economic development plums in the last three years came a workforce training formula that has worked.
But many of the city’s companies aren’t aware of that formula or the existing programs that grew out of what amounted to an emergency response by local leaders. That’s according to a recent survey of manufacturing company leaders by the Greater Memphis Chamber.87. Advisory Board to Examine Community Health Needs - Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Dr. David Stern, executive dean of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine, has launched a unique effort to address community health needs in Memphis.
“It’s my belief that a medical school has a very unique opportunity to interact with the community,” Stern said. “I consider our community to be a very important laboratory – it is an underserved, minority community that is in ill health. The biggest contribution we can make is to move the needle on overall community health and to develop new methods that we can apply to other communities like Memphis.”88. Advisory Board Formed For UTHSC College of Medicine - Monday, July 15, 2013
City leaders gathered earlier last week at the Hamilton Eye Institute boardroom at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine over concerns about health care and higher education in Memphis.
The 18 meeting attendees, including Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, and local CEOs and civic leaders, formed an ongoing advisory board for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine. The advisory group will provide evidence and value-based approaches to delivering health care to physicians-in-training as well as finding new ways to reach out to the community.89. Federation of Independent Business Honors Norris - Saturday, June 22, 2013
The National Federation of Independent Business has recognized Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, with its Guardian of Small Business award for his leadership on a variety of legislative reform efforts.90. City Budget Woes Affect 400 Employees - Thursday, June 20, 2013
The numbers at play so far in the Memphis City Council’s long budget season are big.
Council members tallied $24.4 million in city operating budget cuts Tuesday, June 18, in a marathon seven-hour session before an overflow crowd of angry city employees.91. National Federation of Independent Business Honors Norris - Monday, June 17, 2013
The National Federation of Independent Business has recognized Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, with its Guardian of Small Business award for his leadership on a variety of legislative reform efforts.92. Haslam Urges Better GOP Campaign Skills Nationally - Tuesday, May 21, 2013
There were no campaign stickers or push cards at the Shelby County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner, but still plenty of hand-to-hand campaigning Friday, May 17, among the crowd of 350 at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn.93. Failed Education Bills on Radar for Next Session - Tuesday, April 23, 2013
NASHVILLE (AP) – In the last few years, Tennessee hasn't shied away from contentious education initiatives as it seeks to remain at the forefront of education reform in the nation.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has even characterized the state's efforts as "courageous leadership."94. 108th General Assembly Adjourns for Year - Tuesday, April 23, 2013
NASHVILLE (AP) – The 108th Tennessee General Assembly adjourned on Friday, the first time in 45 years that lawmakers have finished as early as April in the first year of a session.
Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey had set an adjournment goal of April 18, but he didn't seem upset finishing a day later.95. Municipal Schools Bill Sails Through House, Senate - Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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 15.96. Push Education Bills in Final Days of Session - Tuesday, April 16, 2013
NASHVILLE (AP) – As the 108th Tennessee General Assembly draws to a close, state lawmakers are hoping to push through education proposals that include creating a state panel to authorize charter schools for five counties and a measure that would clear the way for cities to begin forming municipal school systems.97. Animal Abuse Reporting Bill Hits Senate Snag - Tuesday, April 16, 2013
An effort to require whistleblowers to quickly submit damning evidence of animal abuse to law enforcement has hit a snag in the state Senate over questions about the true intentions of the bill.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Dolores Gresham of Somerville and fellow Republican Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden would require anyone recording images of animal abuse submit unedited footage or photos to law enforcement within 48 hours.98. Welfare Penalty for Parents Dead This Session - Friday, April 12, 2013
NASHVILLE (AP) – The sponsor of a proposal to dock the welfare payments of parents whose children fail school refused to listen to a little girl opposing the measure Thursday, saying she was being used as a prop.99. Charter Panel Bill Slowed in Senate - Thursday, April 11, 2013
NASHVILLE (AP) – Lawmakers questioned a proposal to create a special panel to authorize charter schools in several Tennessee counties during debate at the state Legislature Tuesday, while a nonprofit group criticized the governor's decision to withdraw his school voucher program.100. Georgia Senator Opposed to Border Resolution Cheered - Thursday, April 11, 2013
NASHVILLE (AP) – Tennessee lawmakers gave rousing applause to welcome a Georgia senator who opposed a resolution calling for redrawing the border between the two states.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville introduced Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, Ga., during a floor session on Wednesday.