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1. Thompson Asks for Suspension of Legislative Session for MLK Anniversary -

Democratic state Rep. Dwayne Thompson of Cordova wants legislative leaders to suspend the current session of the legislature April 4 and 5 so lawmakers can attend events in Memphis marking the 50th anniversary of the sanitation workers strike and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

2. Shot Fired From Memphis Ignites Civil War Rematch -

Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest died in 1877, but 140 years later some people just can’t let their hero or the Old South go away.

In fact, the state Legislature is set to reignite the Civil War – to some degree – in 2018. We hope no gunshots are fired.

3. Tennessee Lawmakers Head Into Session With Elections Looming -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee lawmakers return Tuesday for a session colored by upcoming elections and Gov. Bill Haslam's final lap before he hits his term limits.

This year, the Republican-led General Assembly likely won't face a monthslong fight over one topic, like the roads-funding package with gas tax hikes and other tax breaks that Haslam ushered into law in 2017.

4. Democrats Look to Cooperate on Key Issues -

With the state’s budget projected to be tight and lawmakers lining up to run for re-election in 2018, the coming legislative session isn’t expected to yield many surprises.

But the 110th General Assembly still has a long row to hoe as the session starts Jan. 9 with new legislative offices and committee rooms in the renovated Cordell Hull Building in downtown Nashville.

5. Haslam Considering Changes to UT Board of Trustees -

Gov. Bill Haslam is considering reducing the number University of Tennessee Board of Trustees members and trimming the number of finalists presented for top leadership positions in the UT system, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally has confirmed.

6. Rep. Black Describes Enduring Sexual Misconduct as Lawmaker -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – U.S. Rep. Diane Black says she knows from personal experience, having endured sexual misconduct as a state lawmaker, why Congress needs to expose federal lawmakers who settled cases, force them to repay any tax dollars involved and ban such taxpayer-funded settlements going forward.

7. Last Word: Grizz Troubles Deepen, Germantown Kroger Enigma and The Strikers -

Tigers over Great Danes Tuesday at the Forum 67 – 58. The Grizz are in Washington Wednesday to play the Wizards and some of the attention around the Grizz is shifting away from what happens on the court. What would you call the place that the Grizz are at this mile marker past Grit & Grind? It is more than a losing streak, says Don Wade in his Press Box column.

8. Officials Break Ground on New Tennessee State Library -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – State officials have broken ground on a new state Library and Archives building slated to be complete in fall 2019.

According to a news release from the Tennessee secretary of state, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Gov. Bill Haslam, Senate Speaker Randy McNally, House Speaker Beth Harwell and Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill were on hand for the groundbreaking Monday afternoon at the future site of the Nashville facility.

9. Tennessee Senate Speaker Wants Comptroller Probe Into ACT -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The state Senate's leader wants an investigation into the ACT, which hasn't released scores from wrongly administered tests.

Speaker Randy McNally's letter last week asks Comptroller Justin Wilson's office to investigate.

10. Last Word: Grizz Ownership Moves, Confederate Deadline and Medical Family Tree -

As many of us were focused on Tigers football and the journey to Orlando last week, there was word that either both or one of the two minority owners of the Grizz had exercised a buy-sell provision in the NBA team’s unique ownership agreement. And what could be a fight for control of the team’s ownership is underway. The sports website The Athletic broke the story last Thursday. Here it is. It also talks about the timing of this coming with the controversial sacking of David Fizdale, an interim coach at the helm of a changing team and lead owner Robert Pera’s lack of visibility in all things Grizz around the city.

11. Black: State, Congress Should Release Sex Harassment Claims -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Congresswoman Diane Black wants Tennessee's General Assembly and Congress to disclose sexual harassment claims and settlements involving lawmakers and staffers.

12. Senate Speaker: UT to Accept Botched ACT Scores -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The state Senate's leader says the University of Tennessee will accept scores from ACT tests that weren't administered correctly last month, though ACT still won't release scores it deemed invalid.

13. Last Word: Lake District Recycling, The New First and The AAC 'Glass Ceiling' -

The U.S. Senate vote on a tax reform plan is now set for 10 a.m. our time Friday morning following more debate in D.C. that began Thursday as the trigger provision to raise tax rates if economic growth from the proposed tax cuts doesn't materialize was ruled out of order by the Senate parliamentarian. This was the provision on which the support of U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee hinged. And Corker is leading a group of deficit hawks whose block of votes is considered crucial in what happens to a proposal that was being reshaped as midnight approached. Here's Politico with comments from Corker as of late Thursday

14. Flap Over Botched ACT Test Leads Tennessee to Consider SAT -

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A disagreement over ACT scores withheld from students at a Tennessee high school could lead state officials to consider moving to a rival assessment test.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and state Senate Speaker Randy McNally were among officials who met with ACT officials Tuesday in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade them to validate the scores of 409 Bearden High School students who took the test last month.

15. Is There Room for Common-Sense Gun Legislation? -

The Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action picks its battles judiciously. Once labeled as a bunch of anti-gun extremists, the group is anything but, spokeswoman Kat McRitchie says.

“We seek common ground. We work with legislators on both sides of the aisle. We’re nonpartisan,” McRitchie explains. “We’re simply looking for common-sense gun solutions, which the majority of Americans support.”

16. Grab a Gun, Go See Your State Representative -

When legislative leaders started to allow guns in the Legislative Plaza nearly two years ago, the Sierra Club’s Scott Banbury had his daughter take pictures of him wearing his holstered Ruger and lobbyist ID card to put on lawmakers’ desks with the question: “Is this what you want?”

17. Guns to be Allowed at New Tennessee Legislative Complex -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – People with state-issued handgun carry permits will be allowed to be armed within Tennessee's new legislative office complex.

Lawmakers and staff are beginning their move into the renovated Cordell Hull office building near the state Capitol this week. The facility is scheduled to open to the public this month.

18. Special Panel to Weigh Medical Marijuana in Tennessee -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Legislative leaders are setting up a special committee to examine whether medical marijuana should be legalized in Tennessee.

WKRN-TV reports that the panel appointed by House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville and Senate Speaker Randy McNally of Oak Ridge includes eight Republicans and two Democrats. The panel is co-chaired by Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby and Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville, two Republicans who this year sponsored unsuccessful medical marijuana legislation.

19. Legislature Losing Some Powerful, Familiar Members -

A shakeup in leadership is looming for the state Legislature, though it may portend more of a change in personalities than party strength.

In the House, longtime Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, the affable Democrat from Ripley in West Tennessee, is preparing for a 2018 gubernatorial run, a move that would knock him out of his House seat, at least temporarily, and the position as Democratic Caucus leader.

20. Celebrating Our Independence -

As we celebrate the declaration of our independence from the British Empire, it is important to remember the history behind the holiday. While much of the focus is on BBQ, ball games and fireworks, it is important to reflect on the real meaning of the day.

21. Norris to Oversee Second Panel Reviewing Juvenile Justice -

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris is set to oversee a comprehensive review of Tennessee’s juvenile justice system in an effort to reshape the lives of offenders.

22. View From the Hill: Haslam Credits GOP ‘Experiment’ for Tennessee’s Success -

If you ask Gov. Bill Haslam, Republican government is the best thing since sliced bread.

Not only is GOP leadership responsible for a myriad of tax cuts leading to record surpluses and a $37 billion budget funding better K-12 and higher education, shoring up the rainy day and TennCare funds, shrinking state debt and building an economic environment for job creation, Haslam says. It’s even bringing us the cleanest air since before the industrial revolution.

23. Haslam Credits Republican Leadership for Budget, Economic Accomplishments -

With the legislative session finished, Gov. Bill Haslam is touting budget accomplishments and a strong economy as the result of Republican leadership.

In a Capitol Hill press conference shortly after the General Assembly adjourned for the year, the governor called passage of a $37 billion budget, the second consecutive one with no new debt, as the Legislature’s most important act.

24. Tennessee Senate Approves $37B Budget -

The state Senate approved a $37 billion budget Monday complete with the governor’s IMPROVE Act package of fuel tax increases and tax reductions.

Senators passed the measure 28-2 and sent it to the governor despite opposition led by Democratic Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis, who argued the body would be breaking the Copeland cap, a law prohibiting the spending of revenue that exceeds the state economy’s growth rate.

25. Lawmakers Still Seek Answers as Outsourcing Contract Gets Underway -

A majority of Tennessee’s legislators, including several Shelby County lawmakers, are asking the state to hold up on a facilities management outsourcing contract with Jones Lang LaSalle.

Seventy-five of the General Assembly’s 132 members, 17 in the Senate and 58 in the House, have signed a letter to Terry Cowles, director of the Office of Customer Focused Government, asking the office to slow down on outsourcing so it can “study and understand the effect” on public services, the economy and state employees.

26. View From the Hill: IMPROVE Act an Insight Into Testy Election Ahead -

In case anyone’s keeping stats, Senate leadership soundly defeated House leadership this session in the gas tax/tax cut battle.

Whether this is a forerunner to a Republican gubernatorial primary remains to be seen as Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and House Speaker Beth Harwell weigh decisions. It’s not as if they’d be facing off against each other, though, since businessman Bill Lee and former Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd are definitely in the race and not hurting for money.

27. Governor’s Supplemental Budget Includes More Transportation Funding -

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris calls the governor’s $125 million supplemental budget a “strong foundation” for completing work on the IMPROVE Act.

28. House Concurs on Gas Tax Senate Version, Sends to Haslam For Signature -

Wrapping up wide-ranging legislation that dominated the opening year of the 110th General Assembly, the House concurred Monday with the Senate’s IMPROVE Act, inserting a $7 million measure to increase property tax breaks for veterans.

29. House, Senate Approve IMPROVE Act -

The House and Senate are nearly ready to send the IMPROVE Act to Gov. Bill Haslam, passing it with relatively wide voting margins after months of debate.

Only one adjustment is needed in a measure providing property tax relief for veterans, the disabled and elderly before the measure can be sent to Haslam.

30. View From the Hill: Tearful End for Non-Citizen Tuition Relief Bill -

State Rep. Raumesh Akbari grew so emotional she couldn’t speak. On the verge of tears, the Memphis Democrat started to talk about a high school from her Shelby County district with a large number of undocumented immigrant students.

31. Veterans Want Tax Relief Addressed Separately -

Members of the Legislature’s Veterans Caucus are renewing a call to increase property tax relief statewide for veterans and the elderly in a measure separate from the governor’s IMPROVE Act.

32. Fuel-Tax Bill Short of Votes in the House -

NASHVILLE – Votes aren’t adding up in the House of Representatives for passage of the governor’s gas tax/tax cut legislation.

With floor debate scheduled Wednesday morning, not only is a Republican head count showing lack of support, Democrats aren’t exactly lining up behind the measure. The minority party says it wants concessions on other items from the governor before it can vote for the IMPROVE Act, and some Democrats say they won’t go for a combination of tax cuts for wealthy investors tied to a higher gas tax.

33. Mistreated GOP Legislators Only Want to Be Heard -

Word has it extra tissue will be placed on the desks of some House members in the coming weeks so they can dry their tears of pain.

It seems a faction of the Republican supermajority just hasn’t gotten a fair hearing – from their own party – on opposition to Gov. Bill Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, which contains a dreaded gas and diesel tax increase to rebuild the state’s roads and bridges. It’s the gas tax versus the surplus, which is pretty big at $1 billion in one-time money and another billion in extra recurring money.

34. Norris, Proponents of Current IMPROVE Act Stand Firm as Alternative Bills Are Devised -

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris gets revved up when he talks about the IMPROVE Act as a tax-cutting and bridge-safety measure. It’s a message he’s been sending for weeks, yet other lawmakers aren’t catching on.

35. IMPROVE Act Proponents Stand Firm as Alternative Bills Are Devised -

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris gets revved up when he talks about the IMPROVE Act as a tax-cutting and bridge-safety measure. It’s a message he’s been sending for weeks, yet other lawmakers aren’t catching on.

36. GOP Happy to ‘Wait and See’ on Medicaid -

Republicans say ho, Democrats say go. In the wake of Trumpcare’s congressional crash, states such as Kansas and North Carolina are joining the majority of the nation in expanding Medicaid rolls.

37. Senate Campaign War Chests Could Swell -

NASHVILLE – Legislation enabling state lawmakers to raise campaign funds during even-year session recesses evolved into a markedly different bill this week – one allowing significant contribution increases for Senate candidates.

38. Immigrant Tuition Break Gaining Support in Tennessee -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A push to offer in-state college tuition rates to students whose parents brought them into the country illegally is picking up unlikely momentum from some Republicans in Tennessee, a deeply conservative state that voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump and his tough stance on immigration.

39. Democrats Put Squeeze on Republicans To Defeat Outsourcing of State Assets -

Legislative Democrats are calling on Republicans to join them in passing a slate of bills to combat Gov. Bill Haslam’s outsourcing plans for everything from state parks to facilities management at universities.

40. Democrats Put Squeeze on Republicans to Defeat Outsourcing -

Legislative Democrats are calling on Republicans to join them in passing a slate of bills to combat Gov. Bill Haslam’s outsourcing plans for everything from state parks to facilities management at universities.

41. View From the Hill: A Disjointed Stash of Marijuana Bills -

This year’s marijuana bills are a mixed bag.

Rep. Jeremy Faison is sending his medical marijuana legislation to a task force, as opposed to “summer study,” typically considered the trash heap for unwanted bills.

42. Two Memphis Democrats Help Move Amended Fuel-Tax Bill Along -

NASHVILLE – Two Memphis legislators helped move the governor’s IMPROVE Act and fuel-tax increases out of the House Transportation Committee Tuesday, March 21, saying they support a section allowing local governments to raise funds separately for mass transit.

43. Tennessee Legislative Leaders Pursue Open Records Law Review -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee legislative leaders are moving forward with a review of exemptions to the state's open records laws.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2n0EMFh) that Senate Speaker Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell sent a letter Monday to the Office of Open Records Counsel. They requested a thorough and comprehensive review of exemptions to the Tennessee Public Records Act.

44. Singing Along With Tone-Deaf Legislators -

Often dull, but never boring. They might even make you break out into song.

Halfway through the 2017 session, the General Assembly could be accused of lacking sharpness or sensibility, but what it lacks in luster it makes up for with lots of political song and dance.

45. Norris Presents Amended Fuel-Tax Bill With Larger Sales Tax Cut -

NASHVILLE – Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris pushed a revised fuel-tax bill through the Transportation Committee on Monday, March 13, making a sharper cut in the grocery tax to offset phased-in increases at the gas pump.

46. Norris Presents Amended Fuel-Tax Bill With Larger Sales Tax Cut -

NASHVILLE – Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris pushed a revised fuel-tax bill through the Transportation Committee on Monday, March 13, making a sharper cut in the grocery tax to offset phased-in increases at the gas pump.

47. Tennessee’s First Female State Architect ‘Blessed’ With Great Role Models -

The mother remembers her daughter drawing pictures almost from the time that she could walk. As the girl grew older, the art matured with her. Beautiful landscapes and portraits of people that proved she had more than just a little talent.

48. Tennessee Transgender Bathroom Bill Postponed -

NASHVILLE – Legislation requiring public school students to use restrooms based on their sex at birth is on hold.

State Rep. Mark Pody, saying he wants to bring “common sense” and “clarity” to the matter, took his bill off notice Tuesday in a House Education subcommittee, saying policies and court decisions are changing so quickly he needs more time to amend the measure.

49. View From the Hill: Outsourcing Win More About Turf Than Trends -

As Fall Creek Falls folks celebrate a state decision to postpone park privatization, the question is whether public opposition or failure to follow long-standing state protocol led to the plug-pulling.

50. Rep. Mark Pody Pushes ‘Common Sense’ Transgender Bill Some Say Isn’t Needed -

Despite a reversal of federal guidelines for public school restroom use, state Rep. Mark Pody is prepared to present legislation Tuesday, March 7, restricting bathroom use to a student’s sex at birth.

51. Last Word: Who Needs To Be Watched, Hopdoddy and Fresh Fed Numbers -

Three Memphis City Council members on Behind The Headlines had quite a bit to say about protesters and lists and police surveillance. Council chairman Berlin Boyd and council members Kemp Conrad and Worth Morgan all say the surveillance question, which is the central issue now that the City Hall list has been pared significantly, is complex because of public postings and protests in public places.

52. Pody Pushes ‘Common Sense’ Transgender Bill Some Say Isn’t Needed -

Despite a reversal of federal guidelines for public school restroom use, state Rep. Mark Pody is prepared to present legislation Tuesday, March 7, restricting bathroom use to a student’s sex at birth.

53. Tennessee Leaders Weigh In on Death of Longtime Lawmaker -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Former Sen. Douglas Henry, a lawmaker with the longest tenure in the history of the Tennessee General Assembly, died at 90 years old on Sunday.

54. Former Sen. Douglas Henry, Longest-Serving Lawmaker, Dies -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Former Sen. Douglas Henry, a larger-than-life former state lawmaker with the longest tenure in the history of the Tennessee General Assembly, has died. He was 90.

55. Bills Aimed at Raising Permanent Funding For Road Projects Collide Again This Week -

NASHVILLE – The chairwoman of the House Transportation Subcommittee is defiant in her handling of legislation that could have derailed Gov. Bill Haslam’s fuel-tax plan, a high-profile measure on the panel’s calendar again Wednesday, March 1.

56. Last Word: Gas Tax Conflict, Redbirds Changes and Hidden Office Space -

The CEO of Memphis-based AutoZone, Bill Rhodes, among the corporate leaders meeting with President Donald Trump recently to urge him to abandon plans for a border tax. This is the tax on goods imported to the U.S. from other countries that U.S. Rep. David Kustoff says also has some opposition among Republicans in D.C.

57. Bills Aimed at Raising Road Project Funding Collide Again This Week -

NASHVILLE – The chairwoman of the House Transportation Subcommittee is defiant in her handling of legislation that could have derailed Gov. Bill Haslam’s fuel-tax plan, a high-profile measure on the panel’s calendar again Wednesday, March 1.

58. View From the Hill: ‘Moral Mondays’ Draw Crowds, But Are Lawmakers Listening? -

Johnny and Julie Erwin don’t look like typical protesters, but the senior couple joined the “moral Mondays” ruckus recently at the State Capitol, Johnny wearing his Air Force cap and Julie holding a list of social legislation they oppose.

59. Beavers Shuts Down Office As Protesters Gather Outside -

NASHVILLE – The sponsor of two bills aimed at the LGBT community left the Legislative Plaza in a huff Tuesday, Feb. 21, as protesters gathered around her office to object to her “retaliation” in the wake of a short-circuited press conference.

60. Tennessee Capitol Protests Lead to Call for Tighter Security -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – After recent protests around the state Capitol in Nashville, some Republicans want a crackdown on demonstrators and tougher security requirements for entering the legislative office complex.

61. Tennessee GOP Mulls Capitol Complex Security Clamp-Down -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee Republican legislative leaders are suggesting stricter security to enter the Capitol complex after a few dozen protesters interrupted a news conference about transgender bathroom access.

62. View From the Hill: Outsourcing, Rates Worry Park Fans -

Dunlap resident Kathy Gilbert opposes privatization of Fall Creek Falls on a number of fronts.

If a vendor comes in to run the state park, as planned by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration, she’s worried about the possible loss of jobs or pay and benefits by state employees, the funneling of revenue to private investors and the raising of rates at the state park’s lodge when it’s rebuilt, potentially making it less affordable for families to visit.

63. Lovell Resigns Tennessee House Seat, Democrats Seek Probe -

NASHVILLE – House Democrats are calling for a probe into the sudden resignation of first-term Rep. Mark Lovell, who denies being involved in sexual misconduct as he leaves the state Legislature after just one month.

64. Norris Filing Catch-All Bill for Variations of Proposed IMPROVE Act -

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris is filing legislation for the Haslam administration to catch all transportation tax and revenue-related bills in an effort to “start anew” and minimize confusion.

65. View From the Hill: Legislators Feel Free to Work Against Haslam -

Democrats appear delighted about division within Republican ranks concerning Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed fuel-tax increase, detecting a possible chink in the armor.

“How many times does the supermajority have to stab the governor in the back and undermine his core proposals before the people of the state of Tennessee wonder whether they need a different group up here?” asks Mike Stewart, House Minority Caucus chairman.

66. Governor Defends Big Proposals for Statewide Infrastructure -

NASHVILLE – Protesters overshadowed Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s State of the State address Monday night, chanting in the Capitol in opposition to a spate of executive orders from President Donald Trump.

67. Newly Elected Tennessee Senate Speaker Names Top Staffer -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Newly-elected state Senate Speaker Randy McNally isn't wasting much time in reshaping the leadership of his office.

68. Tennessee Lawmakers Act on Balanced Budget Convention to Curb ‘Crippling’ National Debt -

Saying they can avoid a “runaway” convention for “crazy or radical ideas,” Republican state legislators are filing legislation calling for a convention of states in Nashville to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

69. Tennessee Acts on Balanced Budget Convention to Curb ‘Crippling’ National Debt -

Saying they can avoid a “runaway” convention for “crazy or radical ideas,” Republican state legislators are filing legislation calling for a convention of states in Nashville to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

70. Last Word: Rallings at Rotary, The Weight of Cotton and Ugwueke's Path -

It’s becoming pretty obvious that this is going to be a big year for the issue of crime and violence in our city. It’s also becoming the year that Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings has found his voice in a job that may be the ultimate glass house for politicians.

71. McNally Voted Tennessee Senate Speaker -

Promising to maintain Tennessee’s strong fiscal standing, veteran legislator Randy McNally of Oak Ridge took the gavel Tuesday as Senate speaker, replacing Ron Ramsey, who over the last decade led a Republican majority to power in the Tennessee General Assembly.

72. Last Word: Opening Day in Nashville, Parking Pass or Parking Space and Ell Persons -

Lots of formalities Tuesday in Nashville where the 2017 session of the Tennessee Legislature begins. And that’s what this first week back will be about on the floors of the state House and the state Senate. Away from the floors, the real business of speculation and vote counting and drafting language is already well underway.

73. The Week Ahead: January 10-16 -

Good morning, Memphis! Just as the weather here can go from frigid to balmy in a matter of days, the mulching of Christmas trees clashes with the Boys of Summer this week. Plus, the Tennessee General Assembly kicks off its new session, and Paradiso is “Singin’ in the Rain.” Here’s what else you need to know in The Week Ahead…   

74. Last Word: Convention Center Hotel, The Crime Discussion and A Gas Tax Hike Plan -

Grizzlies fall to the Clippers 115-106 in Los Angeles. They play Golden State Friday in another West Coast road game.

During the California sojourn, Chandler Parsons turned up on the tabloid TV show TMZ clubbing in the general vicinity of Kendall Jenner after New Year’s Eve with Kate Beckinsale.

75. Growth Accelerates Need for Tennessee Road Projects -

Tennessee’s lieutenant governor-in-waiting predicts Gov. Bill Haslam will propose a modest fuel-tax increase in early 2017 to bolster the state’s road and bridge construction program.

Republican Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge, the Senate’s outgoing Budget Committee chairman and likely next Senate speaker, says his “reading of the tea leaves” projects Haslam asking legislators to raise gas and diesel taxes but equalize the rates, which are separated by 3 cents per gallon.

76. Tennessee Lawmakers Could Raise, Lower Taxes This Session -

The 110th General Assembly is set to convene on Jan. 10 with unfinished business from previous sessions likely to dominate debate.

Here’s a look at some of the hottest topics expected to arise.

77. New Year, New Resolutions for Legislators -

Some Tennesseans recall the days when the state Legislature met every other year and wonder if it should revert to that schedule. Considering the General Assembly pushes most of its work into 3 1/2 months, it might be worth a try.

78. Tennessee Lawmakers To Convene in January -

State lawmakers are scheduled to convene the 110th Tennessee General Assembly on Jan. 10.

The three-day organizational session will kick off with the formal elections for speaker in both chambers, though heavy Republican majorities in both the Senate and House mean that little drama is expected for the Republican nominees, Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge and Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville.

79. Last Word: Collierville Cold Feet, William Bell's Return and SCOTUS Rules -

Grizz beat the 76ers 96-91 Tuesday night at the Forum as Zach Randolph makes an emotional return to the court.after the death of his mother.

Don Wade has an NBA notebook with various stops around the league including the hardship rule that brought Toney Douglas to Beale Street. And Luke Walton came to town last weekend with the Lakers and Walton talked about his time working for Josh Pastner at the U of M.

80. Tennessee Lawmakers To Convene in January -

State lawmakers are scheduled to convene the 110th Tennessee General Assembly on Jan. 10.

The three-day organizational session will kick off with the formal elections for speaker in both chambers, though heavy Republican majorities in both the Senate and House mean that little drama is expected for the Republican nominees, Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge and Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville.

81. Last Word: Fires In the East, Corker at Trump Tower and The Toll of the Cure -

As our week here began very windy and very rainy with clouds all day Monday, there was a different kind of overcast day unfolding in East Tennessee. And by the time of this post the National Guard was patrolling parts of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge where wildfires had forced evacuations of both towns – all of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, according to the city manager of Pigeon Forge.

82. Last Word: Ford Rumors, School Plans and Harwell Survives In State House -

If the Friday after Thanksgiving is “Black Friday” what is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving? You know, the day many of us are scurrying about with our hair on fire to get everything done so we can legitimately claim that we will absolutely not be a part of the Black Friday mob whose hair is also alight.

83. 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.

84. Harwell Wins GOP Nomination for New Term as House Speaker -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – House Speaker Beth Harwell on Thursday won the Republican nomination to serve for another two-year term as leader of the lower chamber of the Tennessee General Assembly.

85. 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.

86. 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.

87. Haslam Drops $150K Into PAC for Tennessee Legislative Races -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has opened his wallet for state legislative campaigns throughout the state.

According to the final campaign finance reports to be filed before the Aug. 4 primary, Haslam gave $150,000 to his political action committee, Jobs4TN. The committee then contributed all but $4,000 of that amount to the campaigns of 44 lawmakers.

88. Red State, Blue Mayors -

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, a Democrat in Tennessee’s sea of red, finds herself adapting to the control Republicans hold over the state Legislature.

89. UT’s Legislative Spanking Could Have Been Worse -

In a state where many people bleed orange, the University of Tennessee found itself in an unusual position during the 2016 legislative session: fighting for its life.

The folks representing Rocky Top, typically a sacred cow, had to battle for respect after emails surfaced from UT-Knoxville’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion urging teachers to use gender-neutral pronouns for transgender students and to downplay Christmas during holiday parties.

90. 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.

91. Legislative Losers: All Who Disagree With Legislators -

The 109th General Assembly is done – almost – for the year. Here’s a look at the winners and losers.

Winner: State budget

Buoyed by $400 million in surplus revenue from fiscal 2015 and $450 million in projected surpluses for the coming fiscal year, Gov. Bill Haslam spread the wealth in a $34.9 billion budget. 

92. Tennessee AG to Appeal Recount Order on Abortion Amendment -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The office of Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced on Tuesday that it is going to appeal a federal judge's ruling requiring a recount of a 2014 vote that made it easier to restrict abortions in the state.

93. 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.

94. Last Word: A Cleansing Breath, Urban Child Three Months In and Sugar In South Main -

Let’s all take a deep cleansing breath, away from the mounds of pollen that are amassing in the Memphis spring.
And resolve, however in vain it might be, that the word de-annexation will not be used in our presence at least until Monday – Tuesday if possible.

95. Randy McNally Announces Bid for Speaker of Tennessee Senate -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Longtime state Sen. Randy McNally plans to run for Senate speaker after this year's elections.

96. 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.

97. Tennessee Lawmakers Plan Hearings on VW Emissions Scandal -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Lawmakers in Tennessee plan to hold hearings over whether the Volkswagen emissions scandal could imperil the nearly $900 million in state and local incentives that have been directed toward the German automaker's lone U.S. plant in Chattanooga.

98. 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.

99. 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.

100. 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.