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Editorial Results (free)

1. Lawmakers Working to Boost Local Logistics, Transportation Sectors -

Lawmakers representing the Memphis area on both the state and federal levels are taking steps to help the area’s transportation and logistics sectors in 2017 – from a second swipe at a federal grant to redevelop Lamar Avenue to the resubmission of a state bill that would incentivize companies for reducing wait times for truck drivers.

2. The Press Box: Grizzlies Without Conley a Cut Below -

The numbers tell a dispiriting story. When the Grizzlies play basketball without the services of starting point guard Mike Conley, they lose more often than they win.

3. Last Word: The Return of Stubby Clapp, Poplar & Ridgeway for Pedestrians and Mice -

The death toll in the Sevier County-Gatlinburg wildfires is at seven. Authorities believe a fire at The Chimney Tops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was what started the disaster and had consumed 15,563 acres as of Wednesday evening. At that point, the fire was 10 percent contained.

4. Refugee Lawsuit Proceeds in Spite of Obstacles -

Tennessee is going “full speed ahead” in a challenge of the federal Refugee Resettlement Program despite threats by President-elect Donald Trump to dismantle it or, at the least, stop the flow of refugees from terrorist-linked countries.

5. This Week in Memphis History: Nov. 25-Dec. 1 -

2015: Republican presidential contender John Kasich is in Memphis for a fundraiser at the home of Brad Martin. It is one of two fundraisers that evening – the other is for state Senate Republican leader Mark Norris who is considering a bid for Tennessee governor in 2018.

6. Harwell Learning How to Dodge Challengers -

Beth Harwell has been called a lot of things over the last few years, “trailblazer” chief among them as Tennessee’s first female House speaker. 

Now she’s a “survivor” after eking out a Republican Caucus victory as speaker nominee to continue leading the lower chamber in the 110th General Assembly.

7. State Awards $4 Million For Medical Device Institute -

The state of Tennessee has announced a $4 million grant for TCAT Memphis for the creation of a satellite campus supporting the launch of a new medical device institute.

The grant is part of the state's Drive to 55 program. Gov. Bill Haslam launched the program in 2013 to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025.

8. State Awards $4 Million To TCAT Memphis -

The state of Tennessee has announced a $4 million grant for TCAT Memphis for the creation of a satellite campus supporting the launch of a new medical device institute.

The grant is part of the state’s Drive to 55 program. Gov. Bill Haslam launched the program in 2013 to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025.

9. Memphis-Area Leaders Unveil Five-Year Crime-Fighting Plan -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is anticipating a “net increase” in the size of the Memphis Police Department a year from now, as officers complete training and the city can begin to address a department he says is “hundreds of officers short.”

10. Norris, Others Take Next Step After Election -

State Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville ran for re-election this year the way just about any incumbent prefers to run – unopposed.

11. Kustoff, Cohen Win Seats in Congress And the Rest of Shelby County's Ballot -

Shelby County voters re-elected all but six incumbents seeking re-election on the Nov. 8 election ballot.

And the biggest upset on the local ballot gave Democrats a gain of one seat in the state House delegation from Shelby County.

12. County Has Lowest Voter Turnout in 12 Years -

Voter turnout in Shelby County for the 2016 presidential general election was 59.7 percent, according to unofficial returns posted by the Shelby County Election Commission early Wednesday, Nov. 9. That marks the lowest showing since the 2004 presidential general election, when turnout was 57 percent.

13. Shelby County Vote Count Stalls For Third Presidential Contest -

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump won Tennessee’s 11 electoral votes Tuesday, Nov. 8, in unofficial statewide election returns while Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton carried Shelby County in the popular vote.

14. Election Day Ends Contentious Presidential Contest -

In a contentious national campaign for president that has tested the boundaries of what is considered proper political discourse and what should be public, local Democratic and Republican partisans have mostly been spectators as the 2016 presidential campaign comes to an end Tuesday, Nov. 8.

15. Tenn. Legislative Candidates Pull in More Than $16M -

More than $16 million in political contributions has flowed to candidates running for seats in the Tennessee General Assembly this year.

That total includes $1.5 million given to candidates in the final reporting period before next week’s general election.

16. Last Word: The Curses, Early Voting's Last Day and Midtown Kroger's First Day -

The goat, the curse, whatever you choose to call it – it’s over for the Cubs who are baseball’s world champions. And even in this basketball town, there is something about the tradition of baseball that commands attention. But alas October belongs to the political surprise in Presidential races exclusively as once again the World Series is decided in November.

17. More Than $16M Flows To Tenn. Legislative Candidates -

More than $16 million in political contributions has flowed to candidates running for seats in the Tennessee General Assembly this year.

That total includes $1.5 million given to candidates in the final reporting period before next week’s general election.

18. More Than $16M Flows to Tennessee Legislative Candidates -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – More than $16 million in political contributions has flowed to candidates running for seats in the Tennessee General Assembly this year.

That total includes $1.5 million given to candidates in the final reporting period before next week's general election.

19. Local Politicos Shift Focus to 2018 Given Expected Presidential Results -

Former Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism threw a masquerade party two nights before Halloween on an excursion boat.

20. BCBS Bombshell Leaves Insurance Seekers in Bind -

Nashville resident Jennifer Murray is caught in the snare of uncertainty looming over Tennessee health insurance coverage.

Self-employed as a health care consultant, the single 48-year-old bought individual coverage through BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee’s marketplace plans each year since the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014. The company offered the widest range of physicians, and its insurance was accepted in most places.

21. Last Word: Z Bo and the Second Unit, Gannettized and the Electoral College -

Zach Randolph will not be starting for the Grizz this season as the post-Grit & Grind era enters the “Second Unit” chapter.

It will be interesting to see fan reaction Thursday at the Forum when the Grizz play Atlanta in another pre-season game. Randolph did not start Monday night’s pre-season opener against Orlando either.

22. GOP Leaders Alarmed About Removal of Tennessee History -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican leaders in the state Legislature are expressing alarm at the number of Tennessee historical events that would be removed from teaching requirements under a proposed overhaul of social studies standards.

23. BlueCross Dropping ACA Coverage in Memphis Area -

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is dropping its Affordable Care Act marketplace plan coverage in three major regions of the state, including Memphis, pointing to losses of nearly $500 million on such plans by the end of 2016.

24. Suburban Challengers Emerge at Filing Deadline For November Ballot -

Thirteen incumbents in the four suburban municipal elections on the Nov. 8 ballot were effectively re-elected to new terms at the Thursday, Aug. 18, filing deadline for the set of 30 races.

And Chris Denson claimed a seat on the Millington School Board with no opposition for the position incumbent Donald Holsinger is giving up to run for alderman in Millington.

25. Suburban Challengers Emerge at Filing Deadline For November Ballot -

Thirteen incumbents in the four sets of suburban municipal elections on the Nov. 8 ballot were effectively re-elected to new terms at the Thursday, Aug. 18, filing deadline for the set of 30 races.

26. Collierville, Millington Mayoral Races Top Suburban Ballots in November -

The mayors of Collierville and Millington are running for re-election on the November ballot and as the noon Thursday, Aug. 18, filing deadline approaches for the Bartlett, Germantown, Collierville and Millington municipal ballots the two mayors have challengers.

27. What Would It Take for Trump to Lose Tennessee Voters? -

Murfreesboro Realtor Larry Sims almost closes his ears when Donald Trump speaks.

“He gets out of bounds. Of course, the press, they love it because they get to exploit his sayings and doings,” says Sims, who traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, as a Trump delegate for the Republican National Convention. 

28. Somerville Leaders Raise $1.1 Million for UT Martin Center -

SOMERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Leaders in Fayette County have raised $1.1 million for the development of an educational outreach center in Somerville that will be operated by the University of Tennessee at Martin.

29. Methodist Exec: 'Can’t Afford to Not Discuss Expanding Medicaid' -

A task force of state lawmakers appointed by Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell has rolled out its plan for an expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee that’s more limited than the one envisioned by Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee plan.

30. Chamber Names Simmons Director of Public Policy -

Haley Simmons has joined the Greater Memphis Chamber as the director of public policy, a new position in the chamber’s community development department. In this role, Simmons will be focused on enhancing the chamber’s advocacy efforts to inform and engage its members on important policy issues, and he’ll also be responsible for growing the chamber’s role in education initiatives.

31. Last Word: Brexit, Grizz Picks in the NBA Draft and the Race for the 8th -

Brexit – British Exit – it is. The end of the European Union in the United Kingdom in Thursday’s referendum there began to make its presence known in financial markets even before the very close vote count was well established.

32. Lamar Avenue Grant Gets State’s Sole Focus -

The Lamar Avenue improvement project waiting for years to get started could be about to emerge from the planning stage to construction.

And if the state gets a $180 million federal grant in August, it could compress the timeline from a decade-long project to four or five years of construction. The state is currently acquiring rights of way.

33. State Applies for $180 Million Lamar Avenue Federal Grant -

The Lamar Avenue road project waiting for years to get started could be about to emerge from the planning stage to construction.

And if the state gets a $180 million federal grant in August, it could compress the timeline from a decade-long project to four or five years of construction. The state is currently acquiring rights of way.

34. Local, State Leaders to Make Lamar Avenue Announcement Tuesday -

The Lamar Avenue road project waiting for years to get started could be about to emerge from the planning stage to construction with a federal grant.

State and local leaders will gather in the heart of the busy freight corridor Tuesday, June 21, for a “major announcement.”

35. University of Memphis Moves Toward Own Board in a Year -

For decades, University of Memphis alumni and supporters have run hot and lukewarm on two topics – an on-campus arena and a board for the university independent of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

36. Insure Tennessee Advocates on the Road -

The state House’s task force on Insure Tennessee is nearing a June report to federal health regulators on its work. And a Tennessee Hospital Association advocacy group is ramping up its appeal for legislative passage of either the Medicaid expansion alternative or some similar program that might come out of the task force.

37. Norris Unhappy With Haslam Over Refugee Measure -

The sponsor of a resolution to require the state to sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program is unhappy with Republican Gov. Bill Haslam for refusing the sign the measure.

Haslam last week allowed the resolution to go into effect without his signature, saying he had concerns about one branch of government telling another what to do. The governor also asked the state attorney general for a legal opinion on whether the Legislature has the power to hire its own attorney to sue over the matter.

38. Legislators Sweating the Small Stuff -

My late father kept a paper weight on his desk at home that read: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Well, we’re sweating the small stuff – from the federal government down to the states – with this harangue over transgender bathrooms.

39. Wilson Urges Family Philanthropic Efforts at Dunavant Awards -

When most people think of the Kemmons Wilson family, there is an image that comes to mind. It’s a black and white photo from the 1950s of the five children – three boys and two girls – of the Holiday Inn founder cutting the ribbon on the very first Holiday Inn at 4925 Summer Ave.

40. Haves, Have-Nots Get Varied Tax Relief -

Amid the rancor of bathroom and counseling bills, two major pieces of legislation slipped through the General Assembly this session with hardly a peep – elimination of the Hall tax and a partial revitalization of property tax relief for seniors and disabled veterans.

41. Wilson Urges Family Philanthropy at Dunavant Awards -

Families can have an impact on public service, the chairman of Kemmons Wilson Inc. said Wednesday, May 11, at the 13th annual Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Awards.

42. Trustee’s Conference Meets in Memphis -

County trustees from across Tennessee will meet in Memphis for their annual conference on Tuesday through Thursday, May 10-12, at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown.

43. The Week Ahead: May 9-15 -

Alright, Memphis, grab your calendars! Whether you want to book it over to the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival or just baste in the scent of barbecue, there’s plenty to do this week. Here’s our roundup...

44. Geater Claims Dunavant Honor for Job Without a Description -

Lisa Geater likens the job of the Memphis City Council’s staff to being wallpaper. After 27 years working in the council office at City Hall, including 20 as the administrator running the office, Geater said her advice for new staff members was simple.

45. Last Word: Council Return on Overton, No Frayser Truck Stop and Historian-apolooza -

June 30 is fast approaching. It’s coming up so fast that the City Council is moving to seal in any agreement that might come from the Overton Park Greensward mediation process before the ink dries.

46. Norris Recounts Path to Majority Status, Dunavant Award -

Good government isn’t a bowl of cherries. There will be controversy even with the best of intentions and with everything done by the numbers. And that applies to those who win awards like state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville.

47. Norris, Geater Named Dunavant Award Recipients -

Tennessee State Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville and Lisa Geater, chief of staff to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, are the recipients of the annual Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Awards to be presented in May by the Rotary Club of Memphis East.

48. Did ‘People Back Home’ Really Sway No Votes on Bible? -

I thought about skipping church Sunday and playing golf. After listening to the House of Representatives’ debate on the Bible bill, I could probably skip church for a month and still be in good standing.

49. Legislature Votes to Reduce, Eventually Eliminate Hall Tax -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Legislature on Friday passed a measure that would reduce and eventually eliminate the Hall tax on investment income.

The Hall tax imposes a general levy of 6 percent on investment income, with some exceptions. Lawmakers agreed to reduce it down to 5 percent before eliminating it completely. They intend to pass future legislation reducing it by 1% each year before eliminating it completely by 2022.

50. Robots Are Taking Tennessee’s Jobs -

MTSU student Nathan Simpkins found the perfect major when the university started its mechatronics engineering program in 2013, a pursuit practically guaranteeing him a high-paying job in an increasingly automated manufacturing industry.

51. Tennessee Passes Resolution to Sue Feds Over Refugees -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A resolution that would direct Tennessee to sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program passed Tuesday in the state Legislature.

The measure was approved in the Senate after lawmakers agreed to a change that would allow a private law firm to file a lawsuit on behalf of Tennessee if the state attorney general refuses to sue. It stipulates that the use of the private firm could not cost taxpayers.

52. City Council Approves Parkside Development -

The Memphis City Council has approved the concept of Parkside at Shelby Farms Park, a $200 million mixed-use development on the northern border of Shelby Farms Park.

53. Parkside Development Gets Green Light -

Parkside at Shelby Farms Park, a $200 million mixed-use development on the northern border of Shelby Farms featuring three six-story apartment buildings, won the approval Tuesday, April 19, of the Memphis City Council.

54. Veto Override Sought on Bible as Official Tennessee Book -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republicans in the Legislature have their first opportunity to override one of Gov. Bill Haslam's vetoes this week when they seek to re-pass a bill to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee.

55. August Primaries Feature Intra-Party Challenges -

Two years after a disastrous slate of races for countywide offices, there is a move among younger Democratic partisans in Memphis to shake up the Democrats who represent the city in the Tennessee Legislature.

56. 8th Congressional District Primaries Draw 22 Contenders, 13 Republican -

The Republican primary race to fill the 8th District Congressional seat Republican incumbent Stephen Fincher is giving up drew a field of 13 contenders – seven from Shelby County and four from Jackson, Tennessee – at the Thursday, April 7, noon filing deadline for the Aug. 4 ballot.

57. Lawmakers Lure Us In With Momentary Sanity, And Then... -

Just when it appears the Tennessee Senate is made up of sensible people – as evidenced by the killing of de-annexation legislation – the body is changing course with a Bible-thumping measure.

58. Bill to Make Bible Tennessee's State Book Heads to Governor -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Derided by critics as everything from unconstitutional to sacrilegious, Tennessee lawmakers nevertheless plowed ahead with designating the Holy Bible as the state's official book.

59. Conrad Call for De-Annexation Talks Draws Favorable Reviews -

Memphis City Council Chairman Kemp Conrad wants to open talks with county commissioners on possible voluntary de-annexations.

And County Commission Chairman Terry Roland said he is open to the idea.

60. Amended Senate De-annexation Bill Faces More Debate -

The de-annexation bill whose defeat became City Hall’s top priority in March is off the political frontburner.

But Memphis Democrats in the Tennessee Legislature who opposed the de-annexation by referendum measure expect that this isn’t the end of the concept or the move to make it law.

61. Memphis Presence Helps Turn Tide on Controversial Legislation -

The Tennessee Legislature’s de-annexation debate is over for now. But the bill’s effect on the Memphis-Capitol Hill relationship has left a larger political imprint than the proposal.

That’s saying a lot considering the proposal dealt with the possibility of territory and citizens rearranging the city’s boundaries to put them and the taxes they pay outside the city limits.

62. Memphis Leaders Pleased With 'Reprieve' on De-Annexation Bill -

The de-annexation by referendum legislation pending in the Tennessee Legislature was sent to a summer study committee Wednesday, March 30, in the state Senate, effectively killing the proposal for the legislative session.

63. De-annexation Bill Dead for State Legislative Session -

The de-annexation by referendum legislation pending in the Tennessee Legislature was sent to a summer study committee Wednesday, March 30, in the state Senate, effectively killing the proposal for the legislative session.

64. Can GOP Keep Grasp On Success Ramsey Built? -

As much as Tennessee Republicans want to put a happy face on the departure of Senate Speaker and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, holding it together in the wake of his departure will be an awesome task.

65. Basar Out in 8th District Race, Luttrell Pulls Petition, Cohen Could Have Easy Ride -

Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar has called off his plan to run in the crowded Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District, but Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has pulled his petition to join the same crowded field.

66. Amended De-Annexation Bill Up for Key State Senate Committee Vote -

A de-annexation bill that takes in the whole state has a key state Senate committee vote set for Wednesday, March 30, after senators made some significant changes to the proposal Tuesday in committee.

67. De-Annexation Bill Still Alive, Now In Two Versions -

At week’s end in Nashville, a bill to allow de-annexation by referendum was still on the tracks to passage. But there were significant differences in the Senate and House versions as the Tennessee Legislature heads for adjournment for the year in early April.

68. De-Annexation Bill Amended But Still on Path to Passage -

A state Senate committee considering amendments to the de-annexation bill pending in the Tennessee Legislature has amended it to allow for de-annexation by referendum anywhere in the state.

The committee got through two of 13 proposed amendments Wednesday, March 23, and will resume work on the amendments next week.

69. TSU President Concerned About Higher-Ed Changes -

I believe it is important to communicate and clarify TSU’s position on the FOCUS (Focus on College and University Success) Act, and dispel any misconceptions regarding our position.

As President of TSU, I am a proud supporter of Governor Bill Haslam’s initiatives, including Drive to 55 and Tennessee Promise. We are not opposed to the FOCUS Act. That is simply not true. However, we have raised some legitimate concerns regarding certain provisions in the FOCUS Act, and the unintended effects on TSU, including faculty, students, and community members. Republican Senator Mark Norris, who is carrying the legislation for the Governor, referred to us as pitiful for raising concerns. We disagree with his misguided statement. There is nothing pitiful about analyzing legislation from all angles to determine its effect on our university. It is pitiful that he would make such an inflammatory comment.

70. Opposers Fight De-Annexation Another Day -

When the state Senate’s State and Local Government Committee convenes at noon Wednesday, March 21, in Nashville, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and his administration will have been working Capital Hill for about a day and a half.

71. Last Word: A Trip to Committee, Minority Business Moves and the Issue With Reissues -

So those who support the general concept of de-annexation in the Tennessee state Senate were the most vocal Monday in sending the proposal back to committee for a more intense examination.

There were plenty of Memphians in the Senate chambers Monday despite the rumors that this was on its way back to committee.
Staying put until the deal is done has been a lesson won through bitter experience for some Memphis leaders.
Despite hearing from legislators in other parts of the state who are uneasy about this, the opposition remains a Memphis thing in Nashville.
But the Senate sponsor, Bo Watson, stumped his toe badly on this when he shut down an amendment Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville wanted to allow the voluntarily de-annexation of an area Millington recently took into its city limits.
So when the state and local government committee meets at noon Wednesday, it will be round – frankly, I forget which round it is. Just ring the bell and let’s see what happens.

72. De-Annexation Bill Sent Back to Legislative Committee -

The de-annexation bill pending in the Tennessee Legislature was sent back to a Senate committee in Nashville Monday, March 21, after those favoring the bill raised numerous questions about amendments to it.

73. Republican Leaders Want McNally to Replace Ramsey -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Leading Senate Republicans are discussing plans to make Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge the new lieutenant governor.

74. Last Word: Putt and 1969, Fred Smith on Amazon and Ramsey's Departure -

George Howard Putt died in prison sometime last year state prison officials disclosed Wednesday -- far from the brief time he spent in Memphis but never far from the carnage he left behind in the Memphis of 1969.
The bodies of the first two of the five people killed by Putt between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11, 1969 were discovered just days after the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles by the Manson family dominated national news coverage. Less than a year earlier the Boston Strangler movie was in theaters, creating a sensation about the murders committed by serial killer Albert DeSalvo in Boston just a few years earlier.
Bernalyn and Roy Dumas were strangled by Putt in their home in Cooper-Young and Putt mutilated her body in a way that police homicide detectives still wouldn’t talk about decades later. The bodies were found in separate rooms.
Even with no details other than the names of the victims, the city was quickly spooked by the double murder. So when the body of Leila Jackson was found short of two weeks later, the city’s reaction was a palpable fear in which anyone unknown was to be avoided. Memphians didn’t tarry after work. They went home and bolted the doors.
It got worse as more victims turned up with little in common other than four of the five were women. They were of varying ages. Some were strangled and some were stabbed.
Just about any magazine rack of the day include true crime magazines that by the late 1960s were beginning to look very dated in their lurid noir-like covers teasing the most sensational crime narratives of the day.
They were an intentional contrast to the cover images of youth in bright colors in natural settings in other magazines heralding a new future and youth culture.
The murders in a Southern city, whose 1969 conservatism is hard to describe nearly 50 years later, quickly grabbed the covers of the true crime magazines. And the images they offered spoke to the scenic reality where Putt roamed even as the murders continued.
Apartment buildings and boarding houses were the settings for some of the murders but not all.
Glenda Sue Harden
was last seen walking to her car parked on the Cobblestones from the insurance office she worked at nearby. Her body was found in Martin Luther King/Riverside Park hidden under a piece of plywood.
At one of the murder scenes, police found an ice pick stuck in the side of the building with a stocking tied around it.
Putt’s last victim, in an apartment building on Bellevue, screamed as she was stabbed repeatedly and others in the building gave chase with police close behind, arresting Putt near the new and unopened section of the interstate that runs west of Bellevue.
Putt tried to force his way into another apartment nearby but the women inside kept him on the other side of the door.
The killer that panicked an entire city was a skinny utterly forgettable guy in his 20s with sideburns and glasses who appeared to have rarely roamed beyond a community of neighborhood bars, boarding houses and old apartment buildings in the Midtown and Medical Center areas.
It turns out he came to Memphis after walking away from a prison farm in Mississippi and into a Memphis that was slowly but surely changing. And the world that Putt encountered would soon vanish in large part.
Overton Square’s incarnation was about a year away. A new bridge was about to be built across the Mississippi River as part of Interstate 40 which was to go through Overton Park just south of the north-south leg of the interstate where Putt was captured.
Originally sentenced to death, Putt’s sentence was commuted when the U.S. Supreme Court banned the death penalty in the early 1970s.
He was serving a 497-year sentence when he died at the Turney Center Wednesday in Only, Tennessee.
Putt never sought parole and never gave any explanation for why he killed five people in less than a month and his apparently random selection of victims.

75. Bipartisan Skeptics Doubt Haslam’s Outsourcing Plan -

Poor timing and questionable numbers: That’s how legislators are viewing a business justification plan for outsourcing facilities management across Tennessee.

The Office of Customer Focused Government tells state senators, if all departments opt in, the state could save $35.8 million by the second year of a contract under study for building operations and services – without laying off state workers or cutting pay and benefits.

76. ‘I’m the Steak’ Norris Carries Haslam’s Agenda, Except... -

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris refers to himself as a “meat and potatoes” legislator. The four-term Republican senator from Collierville, a self-described policy wonk, is considering a run for governor in 2018. But if the race boils down to charisma, he says the media will have to determine if he has enough to win the top office.

77. Stephenson Leads Grizzlies to 121-114 OT Win Over Pelicans -

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Lance Stephenson scored a career-high 33 points, Matt Barnes recorded a triple-double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 121-114 in overtime Friday night.

78. Haslam's On-Again, Off-Again Gas Tax Could Return This Year -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's on-again, off-again gas tax hike could return this year. Maybe.

The governor spent much of last fall traveling across the state to draw attention to the state's transportation funding needs, but said at the start of this year's legislative session that he didn't think there was enough support to take up the matter this year.

79. Higher-Ed Shuffle Stokes Fears of UT-TSU Merger -

Anthony Joshua, who moved to Nashville from Madison, Wis., to attend Tennessee State University, says he’s worried his historically black institution could be in for serious change – for the worse.

80. Haslam Takes Issue With Lawmakers Ordering Refugee Lawsuit -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday took issue with a move by fellow Republicans in the Legislature to order the state attorney to sue the federal government over the refugee resettlement program in Tennessee.

81. Tennessee Senate to Vote on Directing AG to Challenge Refugee Program -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A resolution directing Tennessee's attorney general to mount a legal challenge to the federal refugee resettlement program is headed for a vote in the state Senate.

82. Harwell: Durham Scandal Won't Affect Gubernatorial Decision -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — House Speaker Beth Harwell said Tuesday that the scandal surrounding a Republican lawmaker who has gone on hiatus amid sexual harassment allegations shouldn't damage her prospects as a serious gubernatorial candidate in Tennessee.

83. Tenn. Approves Incentives for TV Series Production in Memphis -

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has approved a grant of up to $4.3 million to support production of a TV series that will be shot in Memphis this spring.

The series will be an eight-episode, Memphis-themed scripted drama that Viacom’s CMT network is adapting from the Tony Award-winning musical “Million Dollar Quartet.”

84. Complex path to higher-ed reform -

Only half a year after taking on the presidency of Motlow State Community College, Anthony Kinkel is trying to keep his eye on the pea.

The task of running one of the state’s fastest-growing community colleges is becoming increasingly complex, and it has nothing to do with thousands more students enrolling to take advantage of free tuition through the Tennessee Promise scholarship program.

85. Cutting taxes, school choice, tort reform drive Sen. Kelsey -

State Sen. Brian Kelsey calls himself “a proud conservative who likes to get results.”

86. Complex Path to Higher-Ed Reform -

Only half a year after taking on the presidency of Motlow State Community College, Anthony Kinkel is trying to keep his eye on the pea.

The task of running one of the state’s fastest-growing community colleges is becoming increasingly complex, and it has nothing to do with thousands more students enrolling to take advantage of free tuition through the Tennessee Promise scholarship program.

87. Tennessee Legislature Opens 2016 Session on Capitol Hill -

The Tennessee General Assembly's 2016 session will be a short one, likely done by early April. The gavels fall in the House and Senate chambers in Nashville at noon Tuesday, Jan. 12, opening the election year session.

88. Let’s Not Forget -

BELL. BOWLING. CROWE. GARDENHIRE. KELSEY. NICELY. ROBERTS. AND NORRIS. As the Tennessee General Assembly gets going in 2016, let’s remember how they started 2015 – with the abandonment of common sense and decency and hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans.
The story of what they did bears repeating as a cautionary tale. If we let them do it again, we all bear responsibility.

89. Candidates Already Gearing Up For August Elections -

The ballot for the March 1 Tennessee presidential primaries and county primaries for General Sessions Court Clerk was set while many voters were focused on the holidays and preparations for the new city leaders taking office in January.

90. Last Word: Council Round-Up, One Beale's Third Tower and the Battle Over the ASD -

On a clear day, the song goes, you can see forever.
In Memphis though, it seems that no two politicians will see exactly the same thing or have precisely the same opinion.
On a somewhat sunny but not necessarily clear Tuesday in our fair city there was a lot to see.

91. Bid to Adjust Tennessee Senate Schedule Leads to Grumbling -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Some state Senate Republicans are grumbling about an effort to have the upper chamber's committees meet on an additional day during the upcoming legislative session, saying the change would allow less time to attend receptions and to prepare for other meetings.

92. Measure Increasing Seat Belt Fines Among New Tennessee Laws -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Motorists in Tennessee who don't buckle up could face stiffer fines under one of many new Tennessee laws taking effect Friday.

The tougher seat belt law increases the fine for first-time offenders from $10 to $25 and from $20 to $50 for repeat offenders.

93. Refugees, Regents, Privatization On Tap for New Session -

State Sen. Ken Yager isn’t quite ready for the state of Tennessee to reclaim the Refugee Resettlement Program from Catholic Charities.

94. Transportation Group Maps Infrastructure Backlog -

Leaders of the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee have mapped the state’s $5.3 million worth of backlogged road projects as part of the discussion about how the state should fund the projects.

95. After a Year of Triumphs and Defeats, Haslam Looks Ahead -

Eight days into 2015, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam formally set a special session of the Tennessee legislature for February on his Insure Tennessee plan, a Medicaid expansion Haslam negotiated with the Obama administration.

96. Transportation Coalition Maps Tenn. Infrastructure Backlog -

Leaders of the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee have mapped the state’s $5.3 million worth of backlogged road projects as part of the discussion about how the state should fund the projects.

97. Last Word: Recovery in North Mississippi, Opera in 2016 and Uptown North of Chelsea -

It’s been a holiday season of challenged hopes and muted emotions in our corner of the world.
The beginning of the series of storms and tornadoes they spawned killed eight people in North Mississippi where recovery is still a fact of life in this last week of 2015.
This will be a week of funerals and damage assessments for federal disaster aid throughout our region.
And you will hear more stories of escapes and new beginnings after losing everything of any material value.
But even in our spared city, our thoughts will return instinctively to the young lives taken so suddenly and so close to the family gatherings in which our youngest give so much more in the way of hope than they will realize at this tender age.

98. Tenn. Senate Majority Leader Honored for Service to States -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris has been honored for his service to the states.

99. Delavega Joins Hooks Institute Leadership Team -

Dr. Elena Delavega, assistant professor in the University of Memphis’ Department of Social Work, has been named associate director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the U of M. A former policy fellow at the institute, Delavega specializes in the study of poverty and economic development.

100. Last Word: More Medical Expansions, Norris & Harris and Christmas In Hell's Kitchen -

Last Word is a new daily online column that offers an overview of what’s happened at the end of shift, so to speak. Picture a dimly lit newsroom in the Downtown night and the last person in the place leaving a memo for the morning shift and you have a pretty good idea of what we are aiming for.